John Haizlip
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By W. T. Block

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Dr. John Henry Haizlip (b. December 17, 1872-d. April 11, 1938) was born in Salem Chapel, near Winston-Salem, North Carolina, the son of Hardin Haizlip (of Pittsylvania County, Va., b. September 4, 1824-d. September 11, 1913) and Christina Elender Dalton (of Stokes County, North Carolina, b. April 28, 1939-d. April 17, 1896). His maternal grandparents were Isaac David Dalton (b. 1809-d. 1867) and Susan Marshall (b. 1814) of Stokes County, North Carolina. His maternal great grandparents were David Dalton, Jr. (b. January, 1785-d. March 19, 1847) and Christina Bostick (b. Ca. 1785-d. Ca. 1863), both of Albemarle County, Virginia. No information is available on his paternal ancestry.

Dr. Haizlip graduated from the common schools of Salem Chapel. Later, he graduated from College of Physicians and Surgeons and the University of Maryland, both of them in Baltimore, where he also received his Doctor of Medicine degree.

On October 5, 1898, Dr. Haizlip married Frances Celestia Walker (b. November 12, 1877-d. October 31, 1965) at Brown's Summit, North Carolina. She was the daughter of William Thomas Walker, a Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) minister (b. May 5, 1844-d. May 27, 1895) and Frances Celestia Rudd (b. May 27, 1849-d. May, 1926), both of Caswell County, North Carolina. At one time, her father, Rev. W. T. Walker, was a candidate for governor of North Carolina on the Prohibitionist Party ticket.

Mrs. Haizlip's paternal grandparents were George Garrison Walker (b. July, 1816-d. March 10, 1865) and Minerva Elizabeth Anderson (b. February 7, 1824), both of Alamance County, North Carolina. Her maternal grandparents were William Anderson (d. July 29, 1828) and Lucinda O'Kelly (b. May 12, 1795-d. November 20, 1879) of Chatham County, North Carolina. Lucinda O'Kelly (Anderson) was the daughter of William O'Kelly and Mary Elizabeth Merritt of Chatham County, and the "William O'Kelly" given name has been perpetuated in each generation of descendants, including the family of Dr. and Mrs. Haizlip. Also, each first-born son in several generations of Walker descendants was expected to enter the Christian Church ministry, and William O'Kelly Haizlip and (Judge) William T. McNeill (Mrs. Haizlip's nephew) were the first of their line to break with that tradition.

Dr. Haizlip had two brothers, Dr. N. A. Haizlip and R. F. Haizlip, residing in Little Rock, Arkansas, and they enticed Dr. J. H. Haizlip and his wife to move to that state about 1900. As a result, the Haizlip first-born son, William O'Kelly Haizlip, was born in Brown's Summit, North Carolina, in October, 1899, and the second son, John Hardin Haizlip, was born at White Cliffs, Arkansas, in 1901. About 1900, when he first moved to Arkansas, Dr. Haizlip became company doctor for a cement plant at White Cliffs (now an extinct town believed to have been in the vicinity of Mena or Vandervoort, Arkansas), that belonged to the "Holland Syndicate," meaning that it was a subsidiary company of the Kansas City Southern Railroad. As a result, Dr. Haizlip had a family pass to travel without charge on that railroad.

At White Cliffs, Dr. John and Frances Haizlip met a couple, John H. and Alice Chase, who were to become their lifelong friends. Chase was chief engineer of the cement plant at White Cliffs, Arkansas, and when Kansas City Southern Railroad decided to close the cement plant in 1903, they transferred Mr. Chase to Nederland to replace C. E. Land, who had been chief engineer of the Port Arthur Rice and Irrigation Company (another K. C. S. RR. affiliate) pumping plant at Smith's Bluff, about one mile north of Nederland on the Neches River. In 1903, the Chase family invited Dr. and Mrs. Haizlip to come to Nederland and inspect the financial prospects, particularly in rice-farming, there, which they did. Nevertheless, the Haizlips did not move to Texas until 1905. As of that time, rice-farming in Nederland was very profitable, and one might expect to realize a $10,000 profit from harvesting a 100-acre field. (At that time, rice field laborers earned $1.00 a day for a 12-hour work day.)

In 1905 the Haizlip family arrived in Texas and settled for one year between Port Neches and Groves on land where later the Jefferson Chemical Company (now Texaco Chemical, East) would be built. In 1906, they moved to another rice farm on C. X. Johnson land, now Mobil (Magpetco) tank farm in Port Neches, where their new home was located on Port Neches Avenue, where later the Builder's Lumber Company would be built (where the Mobil tank farm's east fence intersects Port Neches Avenue). During this period, Dr. Haizlip was preparing to take his examination before the Texas State Board of Medical Examiners, so he could obtain his license to practice in Texas. In 1906, the rice market "went bust," and it does not appear that Dr. Haizlip followed that pursuit any longer after he obtained his Texas medical license to practice.

In 1907, Dr. Haizlip moved his family into a house in the 1100 block of Atlanta (probably 1147 Atlanta), a house with a bay window that William Doornbos tore down in 1972. In 1908, the family moved into the house at 211 Thirteenth Street, that was to remain the Haizlip residence for more than sixty years. At first, Dr. Haizlip maintained his office in the front room of his new home. Later, he moved it to the second floor of the McNeill Building.

When Dr. Haizlip began his practice in Nederland in 1907, there was also another physician, named Dr. William Sammons, in practice here. After Dr. Sammons left Nederland about 1912, Dr. Haizlip was to be the only physician in Nederland for the next ten or twelve years until Dr. Tribble arrived about 1924. When Dr. Tribble died about 1931, Dr. Haizlip was again the only physician in town until Dr. J. C. Hines arrived in 1933. When Dr. Haizlip died in 1938, he and Dr. Hines were still the only physicians in town.

The writer recalls a story related to him many times by his mother, the late Sarah Jane Staffen Block. In 1909, she was Mrs. Robert L. Staffen, and she resided next door to the John H. Chase family at the Smith's Bluff pumping plant, where her husband was a stationary steam engineer. On December 19, 1909, Jane Staffen went into labor with her first child (E. A. Staffen), and when Dr. Haizlip arrived, he never left her side for the next 36 hours until she gave birth.

When Dr. Haizlip arrived in Nederland in 1905, his children included William O'Kelly Haizlip (b. October, 1899) and John Hardin Haizlip (born 1901-d. 1973). In 1909, a third son, Francis Haizlip was born, who lived to age twelve and died of infantile paralysis. On May 5, 1912, the only daughter in the family, Christine Haizlip, was born. On July 4, 1917, the fourth son, Robert Franklin "Bob" Haizlip was born, and in 1919, the fifth son, Richard Carey "Dick" Haizlip, was born.

Mrs. Frances Haizlip, in addition to home maker and mother, was Nederland's most prolific painter, whose lifetime total of paintings by her own admission "was probably up in the thousands." As of 1957, she had already been painting for 55 years (having started in 1902), "just for relaxation." Also as of 1957, she had never been interested in exhibiting her collection, but she was finally persuaded to do so at a South Texas State Fair, where she won all the first-place awards. As of 1957, 36 paintings were hanging in her living room, 54 more in her library, 17 in the dining room, and 45 more in one bedroom. Mrs. Haizlip claimed that she had not had two dozen formal art lessons in her entire life.

An early merchant named Bradley Bell is said to have owned the first "second hand" automobile in Nederland, but Dr. Haizlip could claim to have owned the first "brand new" car in town, a 1910 Maxwell coupe, a photo of which appears in the 1973 booklet, "Nederland Diamond Jubilee." He built one of the earliest brick business buildings in town, the Haizlip Building, in the 1100 block of Boston. He surveyed and platted the Haizlip Addition, of several hundred lots, on the east side of Nederland. About 1938, he sold to the school district the tract of land, containing two square blocks and bounded by 12th and 13th Streets, Helena and Franklin Streets, where the new Langham School was built in 1940. He also accumulated several other lots and tracts of land in the vicinity. The Haizlip family's largest real estate holding is a 1,400-acre tract, with 3.5 miles of Rio Grande River frontage, near Laredo, Texas, which is still owned by the Haizlip siblings.

The Haizlip family were lifelong members of First United Methodist Church, taught its Sunday school classes, and served on its various church committees and auxiliary organizations. Dr. Haizlip was a member, and for many years chairman, of the church's Board of Stewards, and his name appears on many of the church's old deeds, leases, and other legal documents. Dr. Haizlip belonged to the Jefferson County Medical Society, the Texas Medical Society, and the American Medical Association. For thirty years he was a member of the Jefferson County Democratic Executive Committee. In November, 1919, he was an organizer and stockholder of Security State Bank and Trust Company of Beaumont, and he served on its Board of Directors.

Three of the Haizlip children graduated from Nederland High School, whereas William and John finished at Beaumont High School. William O'Kelly Haizlip attended a number of colleges, including South Park Junior College, now Lamar University, and Colorado School of Mines. In 1926 he and his brother John founded the Neches Company grocery in the Haizlip Building at 1152 Boston, which they operated until 1934. In 1928, "Bill" Haizlip married Miss Margaret Poage, who attended Kidd-Key College at Sherman, Texas, and was a Nederland school teacher. (See the "Memoirs of William O'Kelly Haizlip, Sr.," Part W, Volume III, pages 76-83, of "The Chronicles of The Early Families of Nederland, Texas.")

In 1933, following the election of Franklin D. Roosevelt as president. Bill" Haizlip won appointment and was commissioned as Nederland's new Democrat postmaster, replacing C. X. Johnson. He promptly moved the post office to 1144 Boston, where it was housed in a wooden building, that was later moved in 1940 to 216 Thirteenth Street and became the Nederland City Hall building for about ten years. In its place, Mrs. Frances Haizlip erected the brick building at 1144 Boston that would house the new Nederland post office until November, 1955.

"Bill" Haizlip began th U. S. Savings Bond program and the U. S. Postal Savings Note program at the Nederland post office. He often related to this writer of his experiences during World War II when, at a time when Nederland had no bank, he usually worked until midnight, issuing the U. S. Savings "War" Bonds that he had taken orders for throughout the day. He added that most of the faces in Nederland during 1942-1945 were those of total strangers, who were numbered among the 10,000 laborers who arrived to help build the new rubber plant complex in Port Neches.

In 1940 "Bill" and Margaret Haizlip founded Nederland Furniture Company at 1152 Boston in the same building that earlier had housed the Neches Company. On May 1, 1952, "Bill" Haizlip resigned as postmaster in order to devote full time to the furniture business, which he did until he retired on a Civil Service pension about 1965.

Bill and Margaret Haizlip resided at their home at 1163 Chicago for more than fifty years, and both of their sons were born there. William O'Kelly Haizlip, Jr., known as "Pos," married Nelwyn Martin, and they reside in Port Arthur. They are the parents of two sons, Frederick O'Kelly Haizlip and Martin Alan Haizlip. Frederick O'Kelly Haizlip, who works as a geologist for Enrone, is married to the former Jeannine E. Lamair, who is an attorney. They are the parents of one son, Edward O'Kelly Haizlip, and the family resides in Houston. Martin Alan Haizlip, a tankerman for Marine Fueling Service, is married to the former Julia E. Thompson, and they are the parents of one daughter, Lucy Ann Haizlip. They plan to move into the Bill Haizlip home in Nederland very soon. William O'Kelly "Pos" Haizlip works for Polisar Chemical Company in Orange.

The youngest son of "Bill" and Margaret Haizlip is John Robert Haizlip, known as "Ettie." He is married to the former Peggy Holstead, and they are the parents of two children, Cynthia and Randolph. They reside in Vidor, and John R. Haizlip is employed by Marine Fueling Service.

"Bill" and Margaret were faithful members of First United Methodist Church. For years, "Bill" taught the Men's Bible Class, and when the class grew too large for church facilities during World War II, they moved into the local theater auditorium. Margaret Haizlip died in 1982, and is buried on the Haizlip plat in Oak Bluff Cemetery. Bill" Haizlip, now (1991) age 91, resides in Park Central Nursing Home.

John Hardin Haizlip attended Southwestern University at Georgetown, Texas. For eight years, he was in the grocery business with his brother. In 1934, he joined Great Lakes Carbon Company and superintended that company's Lockport, Illinois, plant while residing at nearby Joliet. He married the former Jane Beilharz, and they became the parents ot two daughters, Sally Hardin Schweikert and Susan Jane Garrett. About 1967 he retired and moved to his retirement home at Bull Shoals, Arkansas. He died there in 1973. His daughter, Sally Schweikert, sings for the Chicago Chorus. Her husband, Norm, is a member of the Chicago Symphony, and her son, Eric Carl Schweikert, also plays in a symphony.

Christine Haizlip graduated from Stephen F. Austin University at Nacogdoches, Texas, and became a school teacher. On June 20, 1939, she married Robert S. Phelps at the First Methodist Church of Nederland, and they settled at Laredo, where Phelps was a practicing attorney until he retired and where they still reside. Robert and Christine Phelps became the parents of three children, including a son, Robert Phelps, who has a son named Truman Robert; and two daughters, Mary Frances Hansen, who has a daughter named Kimberley; and Christine H. Herrmann, who has two children, Dereck Scott and Paula Christine.

Robert F. "Bob" Haizlip planned from childhood on to become a physician, specializing in surgery. He pursued pre-med and biology majors to within three hours of graduation when his eyesight failed, requiring him to wear very thick glasses. For that reason, he was exempted from military service. For four years, he helped build the rubber plant facilities in Port Neches, after which he began working in the Nederland post office. From 1948 until 1953, he farmed on the Haizlip family ranch at Laredo. In 1953, Robert Haizlip returned to Nederland and to the post office where he worked for about thirty years until he retired on Civil Service annuity. He then sold out his real estate holdings in Nederland and moved to Woodville, Texas, where he still resides with his brother, Richard Haizlip.

Richard Carey "Dick" Haizlip graduated from the University of Texas with a degree in biology. In 1942, he was commissioned a lieutenant in the U. S. Army during World War II. After the war, he and his mother resided in Laredo for about three years while "Dick" operated a florist business from 1947 until 1950. About 1951, they returned to their family home in Nederland. Later Dick taught biology for six years in the public schools, in addition to ten years at Bishop Byrne High School, the last three of which he served as assistant principal there. He now resides in Woodville.

After living out their lives in Nederland, the infant Dutch colony in Texas that they adopted as their own, Dr. John Henry Haizlip died on April 11, 1938, and was buried in Magnolia Cemetery in Beaumont. A year earlier, he had been injured when a car jumped a curb and struck him as he stood on the sidewalk. Frances Haizlip survived her husband for 27 years, passing away at Nederland on October 31, 1965, at age 88. They are still fondly recalled and sorely missed by their surviving children, grand children, and a host of friends whose lives they touched.

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Copyright 1998-2023 by W. T. Block. All rights reserved.
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