Colorado County Biographies 

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Prominent among the men who were influential in developing and advancing the industrial interests of Colorado county was the late Hon Ibzan W Middlebrook, of Columbus, a man of excellent business ability and judgment. Capable, selfreliant, and possessing much force of character, he managed his private affairs most ably, and in public positions of trust was ever mindful of the good of the state, county and the people. He was born in November, 1838, in Mississippi which was also the birthplace of his father James Birdsong Middlebrook.

Migrating from Mississippi to Texas, James B. Middlebrook lived for a year in Lavaca county. Going then to Little Rock. Arkansas, he purchased a large tract of land which he operated with slave labor until his death carrying on farming and stock raising successfully. Of his union with Maria Bray, whose death occurred in Lavaca county, nine children were born and reared.

Having acquired his early education in the schools of his native state, Ibzan W. Middlebrook came with his parents to Texas, and for a number of years was in the employ of Mrs. Hardeman, of Bastrop. managing her large estate. On the breaking out of the Civil war, he enlisted and under General Whilfield participated in various marches, battles and campaigns. About seventeen months prior to the close of the conflict he was taken prisoner, and from that time was confined at Fort Donelson. On his return he remained at home about two years, and then in 1867 came to Columbus to engage in the lumber business. He met with great success in his undertakings, and as the railroad was extended he enlarged his operations, establishing lumber yards in different localities. In 1890 Mr. Middlebrook was appointed inspector of convict camps, a position of trust that he retained five years. About 1885. in partnership with his brother, Oscar Middlebrook, he bought several thousand acres of timber land in Hardin county, erected a saw mill, and about 1891. established a large cattle ranch, and for awhile carried on a substantial business. His health failing in 1897, he was forced to withdraw from active labor, and thenceforward lived retired until his death. in July. 1899. Politically he was a stanch Democrat. and twice served his fellow citizens in the state legislature, to which he was first elected in 1876, and again in 1888.

Mr. Middlebrook married in 1869. Miss Hattie Cunningham. a daughter of Leander Calvin Cunningham. and into the household thus established five children were born, namely: Earl S., of Hardin county; Ibbie, wife of Jefferson Lee. of Houston; Robert M.. of San Antonio, Ray. wife of Edward Coffin, and Perry C. Mrs. Middlebrook still occupies the old home in Columbus where she has the respect and esteem of a large circle of friends and neighbors.

A Twentieth Century History of Soutwest Texas, Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1907 pages 355-356

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