Broiles, Hiram Stokley (1845–1913)


By: Ray F. Lucas

Type: Biography

Published: May 11, 2021

Updated: May 19, 2021


Hiram Stokley Broiles, veteran of the Civil War, physician, and two-term mayor of Fort Worth, son of Hiram Wilson Broiles and Fanny (Hoover) Broiles, was born on December 2, 1845, in Millersburgh, Rutherford County, Tennessee. Broiles, one of ten siblings, had six sisters and three brothers. His father, a farmer, owned three slaves in 1850 and six slaves in 1860.

At the age of fifteen, Broiles ran away from home and, claiming to be eighteen, joined the Confederate Army. He enlisting in the Forty-fifth Tennessee Infantry. He was captured by the Union Army at Chattanooga, Tennessee, on November, 25, 1863, and was held as a prisoner of war in Louisville, Kentucky. In December 1863 he was transferred to Rock Island Prison in Rock Island County, Illinois. Seizing the chance to liberate himself from the horrible living conditions of the prisoner of war camp, Broiles enlisted for a one-year term in the Union Army on October 6, 1864. He served as a private in Company F of the Second U. S. Volunteer Infantry, which consisted of “Galvanized Yankees,” former Confederate servicemen who took the oath of allegiance to the Union and served on the western frontier. On October 10, 1865, after the end of his term but before he was discharged, he abandoned his post at Fort Zarah in Kansas and took some Union equipment with him. This resulted in a charge of desertion, which was not removed until 1910.

After returning to Tennessee, Broiles farmed with his family and then attended the University of Nashville. He graduated with a medical degree in 1873 and had moved to Texas by August of the same year. He was a member of the Tarrant County Medical Association, had a medical practice in Fort Worth, and later had an office in Waco.

In addition to his medical practice, Broiles involved himself in politics. During the same year he immigrated to Texas, he acted as secretary at political meetings in Precinct 5 of Tarrant County. Later, he joined the Farmers’ Alliance and the Knights of Labor. Broiles was part of what became known as the “Dark Lantern Party.” “Dark Lantern Party” was a derogatory term used to describe an independent, anti-monopoly coalition, made up of members of the Knights of Labor, the Greenback party, the Farmers’ Alliance, and the Republican party who challenged Democratic control in Tarrant County in the 1880s. Broiles was elected mayor of Fort Worth as an “independent” in 1886 and 1888. As mayor, he championed improved water infrastructure, the graveling and grading of roads, constructing a new city hall and new school buildings, eliminating whipping in the schools, and the institution of public health measures against cholera (see EPIDEMIC DISEASES). In 1888 the newly-formed Union Labor party nominated Broiles for lieutenant governor of Texas, but he declined the nomination. On August 17, 1891, Broiles attended the organizational meeting of the Texas People’s party in Dallas and was a party leader in Fort Worth. He ran for mayor of Fort Worth as an independent in 1892. He earned the endorsement of several Black political organizers in the city. Broiles lost the election to Democrat Boardman Buckley Paddock in a landslide.

Broiles served as the People’s party chairman for Fort Worth in 1893. Reportedly eschewing politics two years later, he relocated to San Antonio and resumed practicing medicine. In 1898 he worked as an insurance agent in Central Texas, although he soon returned to practicing medicine. He eventually moved back to Fort Worth, and in 1904 Broiles, as a Republican, attempted to run for alderman from the seventh ward. However, the recently-returned Broiles did not meet the city charter’s length of residency requirement. Undeterred, he unsuccessfully ran for Fort Worth mayor as a Republican that same year. Broiles became a dedicated socialist. He gave a speech denouncing the Democratic party at a 1906 meeting of Fort Worth socialists (see SOCIALIST PARTY). Predicting that the Democrats would eventually take socialist ideas as their own, he declared that “socialism was his religion.”

Broiles was married twice. In 1874  he married Charlotte Wilmouth Grant. His first marriage lasted until Charlotte died in 1891. He and Charlotte had at least six children—four boys and two girls. Only two sons and one daughter survived to adulthood. Broiles married Amma Yarbrough, on October 31, 1894, in Bell County, Texas. The couple had four children—three sons and a daughter. One son, Barnes Hoover Broiles, became the publisher of the Jacksonville Daily Progress.

Broiles was still running his medical practice in Fort Worth in 1909, but by the following year he and his family had relocated to Nacogdoches, Texas. In May 1912 he suffered a stroke which caused paralysis on one side of his body and in his lower limbs. The next month, Broiles was admitted to the National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers, Western Branch, in Leavenworth, Kansas. Hiram Stokley Broiles died of a cerebral hemorrhage at the old soldier’s home on July 27, 1913. He was buried in the Leavenworth National Cemetery in Leavenworth, Kansas.

Gregg Cantrell, The People’s Revolt: Texas Populists and the Roots of American Liberalism (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2019). Compiled Service Records of Confederate Soldiers Who Served in Organizations from the State of Tennessee, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C.  Compiled Service Records of Former Confederate Soldiers Who Served in the 1st Through 6th U.S. Volunteer Infantry Regiments, 1864–1866, National Archives Trust Fund Board, National Archives and Records Service, General Service Administration, Washington D.C. Fort Worth Daily Gazette, January 1, 1887.

Categories:
  • Health and Medicine
  • Physicians and Surgeons
  • Politics and Government
  • Government Officials
Time Periods:
  • Late Nineteenth-Century Texas
  • Progressive Era
Places:
  • North Texas
  • Dallas/Fort Worth Region
  • Fort Worth

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

Ray F. Lucas, “Broiles, Hiram Stokley,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed July 02, 2022, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/broiles-hiram-stokley.

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May 11, 2021
May 19, 2021

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