Nahor Biggs Yard, Galveston business and civic leader, was born in Trenton, New Jersey, on March 12, 1816. He left home at twelve to work for his uncle, Jacob S. Brinley, a tailor in Philadelphia. He was there until 1837 and moved to Galveston on January 18, 1838. After an unsuccessful effort in the tailoring trade he formed a partnership with John Jackson to transport people to and from vessels off Galveston. Yard was elected to the first board of aldermen on March 14, 1839. He resigned on September 24, 1839, and joined the Galveston Volunteers, a force that repelled Indian raids along the frontier of the Republic of Texas. Yard returned to tailoring in 1841. During October 1845 he formed a partnership, Briggs and Yard, with Jacob L. Briggs. This men's clothing store operated until 1861, when it burned; it then resumed business in 1866 and operated until Briggs's death on the Varuna when it sank off the coast of Florida in 1870. Yard served as director and president of the Galveston Gas Company (1855–79) and treasurer of the Galveston, Houston and Henderson Railroad Company (1859–60). He helped incorporate the Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe Railway Company in 1873 and took part in organizing the Union Fire and Marine Insurance Company. He was president of the Howard Association (1857–79), which was active in the relief of victims of the 1867 yellow fever epidemic in Galveston. Yard was appointed superintendent of Galveston County schools in 1853. He was one of the earliest Masons in Texas and was treasurer of Harmony Lodge for thirty-eight years. During the Civil War he helped muster the Galveston Rifles and rose to the rank of colonel of the First Regiment, First Brigade, Texas State Troops. Yard brought the first lawsuit in Galveston in 1838 and served as foreman of the first jury empaneled there. He also helped organize Hook and Ladder Company No. 1, the first fire company in Texas. Yard married Caroline Nichols of New York on February 15, 1846. They had six children, three of whom survived childhood. Yard died in Galveston on May 6, 1889, and was buried in the cemetery of Trinity Episcopal Church.
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Charles Waldo Hayes, Galveston: History of the Island and the City (2 vols., Austin: Jenkins Garrett, 1974). History of Texas, Together with a Biographical History of the Cities of Houston and Galveston (Chicago: Lewis, 1895). William Manning Morgan, Trinity Protestant Episcopal Church, Galveston (Houston: Anson Jones Press, 1954).
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.
Casey Edward Greene,
“Yard, Nahor Biggs,”
Handbook of Texas Online,
accessed August 15, 2022,
Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
Original Publication Date:
September 1, 1995