Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Blucher Haynes Erskine (1849-1929)

Portrait from Personnel of the Texas State Government, 1889.

    After several weeks of profiling a number of unusually named New England political figures we journey south to Frio County, Texas and Blucher Haynes Erskine. A farmer and stock raiser, Erskine represented Frio County in the Texas House of Representatives for three terms beginning in 1889. A lifelong Texas resident, Blucher H. Erskine was born in Guadalupe County on August 10, 1849, the eldest son of Andrew Nelson (1826-1862) and Annie T. Erskine (1826-1914). 
   Erskine attended schools local to Guadalupe County and was left fatherless at just thirteen years of age, with Andrew Erskine losing his life at the Battle of Antietam. Blucher Erskine married in May 1872 to Ada Cotton (1850-1939) and would have four sons, Andrew Nelson (1873-1954), John P. (born 1875), Blucher Haynes Jr. (1880-1963) and Fredrick Paul (1885-1958). 
  After entering young adulthood Erskine began a career in milling and stock-raising, first in Guadalupe County and later in Frio County. Following his removal to the latter county he became one of that area's leading cattlemen, and in 1884 journeyed to St. Louis to take part in the First National Convention of Cattle Growers of the United States. A representative from the Frio County Stock Association to that meeting, Erskine served on the committees on Credentials, Permanent Organization and Resolutions during the convention proceedings.
  In November 1888 Erskine was elected to represent Frio County (and the rest of the 21st district) in the Texas House of Representatives. Taking his seat at the start of the 1889-91 session, Erskine was named to committees on Finance, Internal Improvements, Lands and Land Office, Public Debt, Stocks and Stock Raising, and Roads, Bridges and Ferries. He would also chair the committee on Irrigation. Erskine won his second term in the house in November 1890 and during that legislative session held a number of new committee assignments, including Finance, State Asylums and chairing the committee on Claims and Accounts.
  Erskine's third win at the ballot box occurred in November 1892, and during his final stint in the legislature chaired the committee on Public Lands and the Land Offices, as well as serving on the Finance and Military affairs committees. Following his time in government Erskine returned to raising shorthorn cattle and was acknowledged as a "liberal contributor to stock journals of the country." Sadly, Erskine encountered financial hardship in his later years, and in July 1919 wrote the following letter to the Shorthorn World cattle journal:
"Years of drouth [sic] and financial misfortune forced me completely out of the cattle business and I reluctantly parted with my Shorthorns in 1918 after over forty years--1875-1918 as a Shorthorn breeder. I felt like a man suddenly jerked from near the top of the ladder. I had to rub my bruises awhile before trying to mount again. Although nearly 70 years old, I am going to try in a small way, as my little money left will allow me to enter the ''ranks" again and when the final call comes, die a Shorthorn breeder."
   Erskine's last years were spent in Cometa, Crystal City, Texas and during this time was an avid researcher of his family's history, work that would see him author a piece on his father's exploits (published in the June 1927 issue of the Frontier Times Magazine) as well as compiling a 116 page biography entitled "Life of Andrew Nelson Erskine, 1826-1862". Blucher Haynes Erskine died at age 80 on December 20, 1929, with burial occurring at his ranch in Crystal City, Texas.

From the Personnel of the Texas State Government, 1892.

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