Biographical Sketch On The Life Of Austin McGary
AUSTIN McGARY was born at Huntsville, Texas, February 6, 1846. His father settled in Texas at an early day, fought in the battle of San Jacinto, and guarded Santa Anna the night after he was captured. He was also Sheriff of Montgomery County, Texas, in the turbulent times of long ago, and for twenty years was County Clerk of Walker County, Texas. He was a candidate for the Legislature on the Sam Houston ticket in 1858, but his opponent defeated him by the close margin of three votes, in the counties of Grimes, Madison, and Walker. He died in 1866. The mother of A. McGary died when he was a child.
In his twentieth year be was married to Miss Cyrene Jenkins, who was then sixteen years old. She bad two children—a son and a daughter. The daughter is dead, and the son, Wigfall McGary lives in New Mexico. She died in 1873, and in 1875 he was married to Miss Lucie Kitrell, who bore nine children, three of whom are now dead. She was noted especially for the strength of her faith, the purity of her life, and the constancy and fervor of her zeal as a Christian. She encouraged her husband in every way she could to be a Christian and preach the gospel, and no sacrifice was too great, no burden too heavy, for her to assume cheerfully and gladly to help him in the work of the Lord. She died on June 1, 1897, and her dying request was that he devote his whole life to preaching the gospel.
On June 26, 1898, he was married to Miss Lillian Otey, of Huntsville, Texas, whom he has known since she was a child. He is a man of strong convictions and indomitable energy, and by perseverance he has made his way through life against formidable obstacles. When he was about thirty years old, he served two years as Sheriff of Madison County, Texas, and made considerable reputation as an efficient officer. In the line of his official duties he arrested some of the most notorious outlaws in Texas in the days when Texas probably had as fine specimens of courageous, defiant, and dangerous desperadoes as could be found anywhere. For arresting two men, he received a reward of five hundred dollars in each case, and in many other cases he received smaller rewards for making. arrests. He resigned his office as Sheriff of Madison County and took charge of the work for the State to transport convicted prisoners to the penitentiary. In this service he spent most of his time on the border between Texas and Mexico, where the State had to deal with desperate men. He was assigned to this duty because he was known to be a mail who could be relied upon many emergency which demanded coolness, courage, and unwavering fidelity. He had to transport to the penitentiary prisoners who were convicted at the forts.
There were no railroads in Western Texas in those days, and he, therefore, had to take his prisoners across the plains by private conveyance through a country infested by wild Indians and organized bands of desperadoes. On some of those long trips he had as many as eight prisoners, and only one assistant. He camped on the prairies at night, and often traveled several days in succession without seeing any one but his assistant and his prisoners. He had to guard his convicts day and night, and at the same time be constantly on the alert to avoid hostile Indians and bands of desperadoes, who sometimes followed him, on the watch for an opportunity to rescue their friends from his custody. He served the State in this work two years, and never lost a prisoner. Every convict committed to him was safely landed in the penitentiary. His religious experience began rather late in life. In boyhood and early manhood he was wayward, and at thirty-five he was a skeptic.
He became interested in religion, and, with a desire to know the truth, be decided to carefully investigate the evidences of Christianity. Carrying out this purpose, he began to study the arguments, pro and con, in the Campbell and Owen debate. While he was reading this book, he heard Harry Hamilton preach a series of sermons at Madisonville, Texas. Being convinced by what he read and heard that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, he was baptized by Brother Hamilton, December 24, 1881. Soon after he was baptized be began to preach, and on September 1, 1884, he published the first number of the Firm Foundation, a weekly paper issued from Austin, Texas, which now has 9,700 subscribers. He has been the senior editor of this paper from the time it was started to the present. He has also preached extensively in Texas, and has made several tours into other States. His paper has a general circulation in all the States of the South, and many subscribers in other parts of the United States. In addition to his work as editor and preacher, be has successfully managed some important business enterprises.
--Biographies And Sermons, by F.D. Srygley, F.D. Srygley Publisher, c.1898, pages 358-361
Note: The article above was written in 1898 when McGary was still living. The Firm Foundation Magazine ceased publication in 2010.
Location Of Grave
McGary is buried in the Oakwood Cemetery in Huntsville, Texas. Huntsville is located between Dallas and Houston off I-45. From I-45S take Exit 114. Go to the traffic light and turn left on to FM RD 1374 (Possum Walk) Cross the interstate at go several miles, (two or three) tot he next main intersection. At the light turn right on to 75. Get in you left hand lane and turn left at the next light on to Sycamore (There will be a Texaco Station at the turn) Go through two four-way stops. Once you cross the railroad track you'll come to a traffic light (Sometimes it blinks as a caution or stop light). Turn left and get into the right lane. At the next traffic light turn right on to Ave. F. The next street will 9th St. You will need to go just past 9th St. and turn left into the cemetery. Park in curve under the old cedar tree. Take the gravel path next to the tree, and go down the path as if you are going to the grave of Sam Houston. Just before the path becomes paved go off to your right and look for the plot. It is facing west. In front of the plot is another plot with and Iron fence surrounding it.
Note: Be sure to see the grave of Sam Houston while in this cemetery.
Webmaster's Note of Thanks: I want to express my thanks to Debbie Walding, and the Walding Family of Huntsville, Texas for helping locate and photograph the final resting place of Austin McGary. Debbie is a faithful member of the Fayetteville Church of Christ in Atlanta, Georgia, but grew up in Huntsville, Texas. After discussing McGary with her, she found his grave while at home on vacation in 2001.