Connections: From Buckboard to Concorde (Part 2)

Jesse Lee Johnson and wife Dora—widow of “gentleman gunfighter” Clay Allison (see Part 1)—were almost forty years old at the turn of the century when they began their rise to social and business prominence in their adpoted hometown of Fort Worth. Dora’s daughters Patti and Clay—children of Clay Allison—and Jesse Lee and Dora’s son, Jesse Lee Jr., were, respectively, fifteen, twelve, and nine years old.

By 1905 Jesse Lee Johnson Sr. had helped to found Cicero Smith Lumber Company and was a director of Martin Bottom Loyd’s First National Bank, along with Samuel Burk Burnett.

As her husband began his rise in business, Dora became involved in civic affairs. The top clip is from 1902, the bottom clip from 1910.

Daughters Patti and Clay practically grew up on the society pages of the Star-Telegram. These seven clips are from a single page.

The two Clay Allisons: These clips are from 1904. The Clay Allison of the clip on the left was then a girl of sixteen. Her namesake father, subject of the clip on the right, had been dead seventeen years.

The two daughters of Clay Allison married in 1908 (Patti Dora Allison) and 1911 (Clay Pearl Allison).

johnson 4-1-17When son J. Lee Johnson Jr. married in 1917, the Star-Telegram on April 1 devoted an entire page to the women of the wedding.

J. Lee Johnson III was born in 1918.

Mrs. Dora Johnson—Robert Clay Allison’s widow—died in 1926. Jesse Lee Johnson Sr. died in 1937.

johnson j lee srJesse Lee Johnson Sr. is buried in Oakwood Cemetery.

Patti Dora Allison Byars—older daughter of Robert Clay Allison—died in 1971.

The name—and bloodline—of Robert Clay Allison lived on in his younger daughter. Mrs. Clay Allison Parker’s family seemed at times star-crossed: In 1960 her niece was convicted of murder without malice in the killing of her estranged husband in Houston. In 1962 Mrs. Clay Allison Parker and her granddaughter were killed when their car, driven by her husband, J. Loyd Parker Sr., hit a truck. In 1963 her great-niece was murdered in Arizona.

And in 1963 Mrs. Clay Allison Parker’s son, J. Loyd Parker Jr., who blamed his father for the car crash that had killed Mrs. Parker in 1962, shot and killed his father.

J. Loyd Parker Sr. was perhaps the most prominent Fort Worth murder victim since William Clark. Parker’s son initially was ruled insane but later ruled sane, tried, convicted, imprisoned, and paroled. J. Loyd Parker Jr. died in 1985.

The Johnson line of the former sheepherder and the widow of gunfighter Clay Allison fared far better, giving decades of civic leadership to Fort Worth.

J. Lee Johnson Jr. was, like his father, an officer of First National Bank. He was a director of the Fort Worth & Denver railroad, the chamber of commerce, and the Stock Show. He was also a TCU trustee and active in the Red Cross, Casa Manana, Texas Boys Choir, Fort Worth Opera Association, Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra Association, and Tarrant County Savings Bond Committee. He was a past president of the Exchange Club and of the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History. He was known as the “father of the United Fund” of Fort Worth and Tarrant County. He died in 1974.

J. Lee Johnson III continued the civic leadership of his father. In 1946 he married Ruth Carter, daughter of Amon Carter and heir to leadership of the Carter Foundation. In 1961 Johnson became vice president and director of Carter Publications (Star-Telegram and WBAP). He was president of the chamber of commerce. Boards he served on included those of the University of Texas, Texas Law Enforcement Foundation, Fort Worth parks, Cook Children’s Medical Center, Saint Joseph Hospital, Stock Show, and Better Business Bureau.

And in 1973, when the Concorde supersonic jet touched down at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, J. Lee Johnson III, grandson of the widow of gunfighter Clay Allison, was vice chairman of the airport board and for a decade had worked to make the airport a reality. He died in 2002.

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