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DODDRIDGE, PERRY

DODDRIDGE, PERRY (1832–1902). Perry Doddridge, merchant and banker, was born in Little Peach Tree, Alabama, on June 1, 1832. He was brought to Texas in 1840; his father died at Trinity, and a short time later his mother died in Galveston. He was employed as a clerk in Galveston. In 1852 he was working for M. Kenedy and Company, Brownsville. Major J. Durst appointed him deputy collector of customs at Roma in 1853. Doddridge then went into commerce on his own as a freighter and merchant at Mier, Tamaulipas. In 1865 he opened a merchandising business in Corpus Christi under the name Manuel Bustamente and Company and financed other enterprises. In partnership with Allen M. Davis, he purchased the exchange and commission business of H. F. Kirsteen in 1868. Doddridge and Davis established the first bank in Corpus Christi in 1871. Davis sold out to go to New York in 1885, leaving Doddridge and Company a sole proprietorship. The bank closed in February 1891 during a national monetary crisis and collapse of a local boom inspired by Col. Elihu H. Ropes. Ropes had promoted schemes to build a deepwater port at Corpus Christi and a railroad from Corpus Christi through Brownsville to Panama, but was unable to marshal enough financial support to complete the works. Doddridge was unable to reopen the bank but obtained employment managing the local electric company.

He was instrumental in securing land for the public schools in Corpus Christi and served as president of the school board for twenty years. He was elected mayor in 1874 and later served on the county commissioners' court. He played a decisive role in the development of transportation in South Texas, particularly the ship channel into Corpus Christi Bay and various railway projects. His long-standing conflict with Norwick Gussett involved both their banking activities and shipping. He was a great friend and advisor to Richard King and was named an executor of King's will.

Doddridge married Rachel Fullerton of Corpus Christi on June 12, 1862. He was a Presbyterian and a member of the Rio Grande Masonic lodge. He was a scholar and owned a library of a thousand volumes, including several rare editions that his widow was forced to sell to support herself. Doddridge died on June 11, 1902, and was buried in the family cemetery near his residence.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Corpus Christi Caller, June 13, 1902. Tom Lea, The King Ranch (2 vols., Boston: Little, Brown, 1957).

Frank Wagner

Citation

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Frank Wagner, "DODDRIDGE, PERRY," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fdo42), accessed September 18, 2014. Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.