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John E. Jirou

Male 1850 - 1924  (74 years)

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  • Name John E. Jirou 
    Born 1850  Beaumont, Jefferson county, Texas, USA Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Male 
    Census Jun 22, 1880  Jefferson county, Texas, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  [1
    Died Oct 20, 1924  Beaumont, Jefferson county, Texas, USA Find all individuals with events at this location 
    • East Texas historian W.T. Block wrote:
      "In 1873, John E. Jirou organized the Beaumont Brass Band, also known as the Lumbermen's Brass Band, which, except for short periods of disbandment, was a special feature of Beaumont's entertainment scene until long after 1900. The first surviving record of that band dates from Beaumont's Centennial celebration on July 4, 1876. As of December, 1895, the Beaumont City Band was directed by Prof. F. J. Cutter, with the following members, namely: Lee Blanchette, Ed Eastham, Jim Minter, Sid Levy, Oscar Hille, Abe Solinsky, Byron Wiess, P. Green, Dorr Chapin, Ray Wiess, and C. G. Conn."
      1880 census, TX, Jefferson, pct 1, p 7, sd 1, ed 40, (T9-1313, p.190)
      June 22, 1880
      __ HH 324/344
      Andrus, F??? J, W, M, 31, LA, LA, LA
        "  , Mary H, W, F, 21, wife, TX, ??, ??
        "  , Lizzie, 4, dau, TX
        "  , ?Fidora?, 2, dau, TX
        "  , S. Emma, ?/12, May, dau, TX
      __ HH 325/345
      Jiron, Joseph, M, W, 42, LA, LA, LA
        "  , David, 20, son, TX
        "  , Henry, 13, son, TX
        "  , Benjamin, 10, son, TX
        "  , Clara, 7, dau, TX
      Jiron, Patsy, W, F, 76, mother, LA, LA, LA
        "  , John, 21, brother, TX
      Monday, October 20, 1924, pp. 1 - 7
      (Headline) -- John C. Ward and John E. Jirou, Two Beaumont Pioneers Die Suddenly End Comes Simultaneously And Without Warning For Friends and Brothers-in-Law Both Among City's Most Prominent Figures In Business World
      Brothers-in-law and close personal friends until their death, John C. Ward, 1695 Park street, and John E. Jirou, 457 Pine street, died within a few hours of each other, suddenly and under similar circumstances, early Monday morning.
      Both had been up and about Sunday, apparently in the best of health.  Mr. Jirou died at 2:30 Monday morning, while Mr. Ward's body was found by his wife probably a half hour later.  Heart disease was pronounced the cause of death in each case.
      Both Die Suddenly
      At 2 o'clock Monday morning, Mr. Jirou summoned members of his household, stating that he was ill.  Dr. Dru McMickin was called, but was unable to prolong the patient's life, death occurring only a few minutes after the physician's arrival.  A.J. Ward, another brother-in-law of Mr. Jirou, was called and instructed to notify John C. Ward and other relatives.  When he called the Ward home he was advised that his brother had also died.  Physicians said he had been dead for several hours.
      Both men had played important parts in the history of Beaumont during the past half century.  Mr. Ward was active in business up to the time of his death, being president of the Texas Ice company. Mr. Jirou had retired from active life several years ago, living quietly at his home on Pine street.
      John Clark Ward was born in Titus County, Texas, in 1851, and was brought to Beaumont by his parents when only five years old. Practically his entire life had been spent in this city, the only exceptions being four years spent in Corpus Christi, just prior to the year 1893, when he returned to this city, and from 1902 to 1907 which time was spent in Waco.
      Successful in Business
      One of his successful business ventures was the Beaumont Ice, Light and Refrigerating company which he headed up to 1902 when he left the city for Waco.  He was president of the First National Bank for six years, relinquishing that post when it was consolidated with the Gulf National Bank.
      Mr. Ward was twice married.  His first wife was Miss Pickie Kyle, who died in 1884.
      Later he married his present wife who was Miss Belle Carrol (sic) and who survive (sic) him. Besides his widow he is survived by 10 children as follows: Kyle Ward of the First National Bank, John Ward, Jr., J.S. Ward, Mrs. H.E. Martin and Carroll E. Ward, all of Beaumont; H.L. Ward of Chicago; Mrs. J. H. McCorkle, of Port Arthur; Mrs. Seawillow Stafford and Mrs. E.B. Kelso of Beaumont, and King Ward, who is attending school in Chicago. He is also survived by two sisters, Mrs. T.J. (sic) Dalton of Uvalde and Mrs. R.H. Talley of Taylor, and one brother, A.J. Ward of Beaumont. All the relatives residing in Beaumont with the exception of Mrs. Stafford, who is visiting in California, were in the city at the time of their father's death.  Funeral arrangements have not been completed pending news from the two sons in Chicago and Mrs. Stafford.
      Mr. Ward was prominent in Masonry, but it has not been announced what part that order will have in the funeral services. When John Clark Ward was 16 years old his father died, and the boy went to work at the sawmill of Longe & Sons.  It was the start of his career, and he stayed with Longe & Sons until he was 20 years old.  During the four years he spent with them, he studied the work going on around him and thoroughly learned the sawmill business.
      Organized Company at 20
      Mr. Ward organized his first company when he was 20.  He left his position with Longe & company, and interested another young man in the business and the two of them went into partnership and bought out a mill at Smith's Bluff, with Ward himself in active management of the mill, which grew rapidly under the able handling of the youthful manager. Eighteen months after he and his youthful partner took over the mill, Ward dropped out of the active management and undertook a job for the state to clean out the Neches river.  He personally directed this work and when he had completed the job he disposed of his interest in the Smith's Bluff mill and set about organizing the Sabine Mill company.
      The Sabine Mill company was first organized as a partnership concern, and it was not until some time later that it was incorporated.  Ward's partners in the venture were W.A. Fletcher, John W. Keith, John N. Gilbert, George Carroll and T.L. Carroll.  Each partner had some branch of the work under his direct control but Ward was in charge of the mill work end.  The first site of the mill was in Orange county on the Sabine river and the company began operations in 1875.
      In 1877, the Sabine Mill company moved its plant to Beaumont and changed its name to the Beaumont Lumber company, with Ward continuing in active charge of the mill end.  It was not until after the mill was moved here that it was incorporated.  About the time of the oil boom in Beaumont he sold out his interest in the company and it finally passed into the hands of the Kirby Lumber company.
      To Corpus Christi
      John C. Ward left Beaumont shortly after he had disposed of his interest in the lumber company and sometime before it was bought out by the Kirby Lumber company.  He moved from Beaumont to Corpus Christi and San Antonio and went into the ice manufacturing business in those cities, dividing his time between them.  He came back to Beaumont in 1892 and went into the ice business here, buying out the controlling stock of the Beaumont Ice, Light and Refrigerating company which was the greatest public service corporation in the city at that time as it had control of the city's light, water and ice companies.
      Dabbles in Rice
      While he was in charge of the Beaumont Ice, Light and Refrigerating company, Ward became interested in rice farming, which at that time was just coming into prominence as an industry in this part of the country.  He began buying land on Taylor's bayou and when he had accumulated more than 5,000 acres in a single tract, he went into the rice farming business, putting in most of his time on his rice farm.  He ran the farm as a ice farm for about four years and was finally forced to abandon the culture of rice because of an inadequate water supply.  He still owned the land at the time of his death however.
      Ward was president of the Beaumont Ice, Light and Refrigerating company until he sold out the plant to the Crystal Ice company.  He then built another ice factory on Park street and a short time later sold that plant also to the Crystal Ice company.
      On January 10, 1901, oil was struck at Spindletop and the city became potentially rich overnight.  John Ward was one of the first to visualize the opportunities the oil field offered to progressive businessmen and a short time after the discovery organized Ward Oil and Fuel company with a capitalization of $100,000, but a very brief space of time later changed it into the Keith-Ward Oil company and increased its total capitalization to $1,000,000.  Stock of the company was put on the market and when $10,000 of treasury stock had been sold, withdrew it from the market as no more sales were needed, although the entire amount could have been easily disposed of.  Frank Keith and Ward were of course the principal figures in the company and in less than 12 months after organization of the company, dividends of 33 1/3 per cent were declared on the million dollar capitalization.
      To Waco in 1905
      Ward moved from Beaumont to Waco in 1905, and although he kept his connections with Keith-Ward Oil company and the Beaumont Ice, Light and Refrigerating company, of which he was still president, he retired from active participation in business while he was in Waco and took a year's rest. But while he was in Waco, he liquidated the Keith-Ward Oil company which had ceased to pay dividends and was merely making expenses, declaring at the time that a "business that failed to make money is as bad as one that loses money."
      In 1906, Ward returned to Beaumont and started back to work. He associated himself with J.S. and W.W. Rice in the sawmill business again, and the three erected a mill at Ward which had been named for John Clark Ward.  This mill ran for several years until the timber in that section had been exhausted.
      Ward had been connected with the banking business along with his other businesses for many years and had served as president of the old Commercial National Bank, which was located where the Pierce-Goodall company now is. That was in 1902, but he sold out his stock several months after he was made president and resigned. In 1914, Ward was made president of the First National Bank in which he had been a director for many years.  At that time, the bank was situated where Kidd-Russ is now located, and he devoted almost his entire time to this until till about 1920, when the bank was consolidated with the Gulf National Bank, and moved to its present location, which had been occupied by the Gulf bank.
      After severing his connection with the bank, Ward went back into the ice business, buying out a controlling interest in the Texas Ice company, which had been organized by his son John C. Ward, Jr.  He was still engaged in the active management of this company when he died.
      John E. Jirou, 74, was born in Beaumont in 1850 and spent his entire life here.  In the early days he engaged in the sawmill business, which was the main industry of the then village of Beaumont.  Later he conducted a store on Tevis street, which was the center of the village.
      The Jirou addition is one property formerly owned by Mr. Jirou, and was promoted by him several years ago, being laid out and the streets named by him.  He retired from the business world early, however.
      He is survived by two sisters, Mrs. E.P. Gray, 1102 Orleans street and Mrs. Valeria Blanchette, 1515 Victoria street, and two children, H.P. Jirou, 2365 McFaddin street, and Mrs. W.W. Watson, 457 Pine street. His wife [Mary Kate Ward Jirou] died April 23, 1910.
      Funeral services were set for 3 o'clock at the residence in charge of Pipkin & Brulin Undertaking company.
      John E. Jirou was educated in the public schools of Beaumont, which at that time was a very small village, scarcely larger than a hamlet.  As a boy he worked for his father, John M. Jirou, riding the range on his father's ranch. His father moved to Beaumont in 1840 and was one of the first settlers on the site of the present city.
      Mr. Jirou went into business for himself in 1872, and a small sign over a small store at the corner of Tevis and Travis streets read, "J.E. Jirou, General Merchandise."  His store was opposite the site of the present power plant, and at that time was one of the best stores in the city, which contained about 600 inhabitants.  He handled everything, including drugs.
      In 1880, he closed up his business and went into partnership with E.C. and L.P. Ogden.  They had a mercantile business on what is now known as "Ogden's corner," the site of the present Ogden hotel and Loeb's Cigar store. He retired from business in 1901.
      Jirou was well known in Beaumont and all of east Texas by his nickname "Tear" Jirou.  He laid out the present Jirou addition west of Calder avenue in 1897 and did everything in his power to build up that section of the city.  When the Santa Fe lines were building through Beaumont, he gave the railroad company 10 acres of ground on which to erect their depot.
      Mr. Jirou has taken very little part in business life since retiring from his merchantile business, however.
    Person ID I136379  mykindred
    Last Modified Jun 11, 2008 

    Father John M. Jirou,   b. circa 1810, Texas, USA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d.
    Mother Patsy (__),   d.
    Family ID F44582  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family Mary Kate Ward,   b. Dec 10, 1854, Mount Pleasant, Titus county, Texas, USA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Apr 23, 1910, Beaumont, Jefferson county, Texas, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 55 years) 
    Married Feb 20, 1877  Beaumont, Jefferson county, Texas, USA Find all individuals with events at this location 
    +1. Harry Potter "H.P." Jirou,   b. circa 1883, Beaumont, Jefferson county, Texas, USA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Y
     2. Katie Jirou,   b. Nov 08, 1895, Beaumont, Jefferson county, Texas, USA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Y
    Family ID F44583  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Sources 
    1. [S135] 1880 US federal census, 1880 census, TX, Jefferson, pct 1, p 7, sd 1, ed 40, (T9-1313, p.190).