His Benefactions and How He Made Fortune Recalled; Brought First Ship to Beaumont
Funeral services for Capt. W.C. Tyrrell, prominent citizen and philanthropist, who died at his residence at 1347 Calder avenue early Sunday morning, probably will be held Wednesday afternoon, according to tentative arrangements. It is likely that the Masonic lodge will have charge of services at the grave.
The body was prepared for burial yesterday and lay in state at the family residence throughout the day where it was viewed by hundreds of friends and associates of the deceased.
It is believed that Captain Tyrrell’s death occurred about 12:45 a.m. and that his death, which was caused by heart failure, was peaceful and without suffering. He was found by his son-in-law, Dr. J.W. Garth, at 1:15 a.m. and it was evident at that time that he had been dead about half an hour.
Big Asset to City
Captain Tyrrell was 78 years of age and was considered one of the wealthiest and most influential residents of Texas. He came to Beaumont in 1901 from Belmond, Iowa, and since that time has taken an active part in the building and development of this city.
He was at various times interested in the oil, rice and real estate business and through his exceptional ability to see prosperity ahead virtually every enterprise with which he ever identified was crowned with success.
Capt. Tyrrell’s first visit to Beaumont was in the ‘90s. At that time he purchased several tracks of land here and at Port Arthur, but returned to his home in Belmond, Iowa, without taking any further interest.
In Oil Business
In 1901, however, he returned to this city. It was the day after he arrived here that the Lucas gusher came in at Spindle top [sic]. He formed the acquaintance of Dewey Heywood of Pennsylvania, and they entered the oil business, forming the Heywood Oil company. The company operated in Texas, Louisiana and Oklahoma.
Among Captain Tyrrell’s first investments was the old Lake View hotel in Port Arthur which was recently moved to make room for the Deutser building, a four-story brick edifice completed during 1923 by the W.C. Tyrrell Investment Trust organized by Captain Tyrrell and his four children. The Port Arthur holdings of the W.C. Tyrrell Trust organization have increased from time to time and now it is one of the most extensive property owners in Port Arthur.
Among other things Captain Tyrrell holds the distinction of being the first man to bring a steamship to the port of Beaumont. The ship was the “Nicaragua”, which he purchased in New Orleans in 1910 and which he said at the time he would bring here “just to show the people that it was possible for ships to navigate the channel.” The vessel was later put in the Mexican trade.
In the past few years Capt. Tyrrell has given much of his attention to the Tyrrell-Combest Realty company which he organized with Ross Combest in 1918. This company was capitalized at $70,000 and has grown until its fully paid capital is $1,000,000. It was this company which developed Oaks addition in this city; Griffin residential park in Port Arthur, Portacres near Port Arthur, Hillcrest near Nederland and Wescalder fig acres near Amelia.
On January 1, 1920, Capt. Tyrrell created the “W.C. Tyrrell Trust,” with assets of approximately $2,000,000. Captain Tyrrell as the same time dividing equally his interest in the trust to his four children. Since the organization of the trust Captain Tyrrell has been sole trustee with full management and control and has largely increased its value. By terms of the trust agreement Harry C. Tyrrell of Tulsa is made acting trustee pending the selection of a permanent trustee by the individuals owning certificates of interest in the trust.
Shortly after the death of his wife, which occurred on August 2, 1919, Capt. Tyrrell gave the town of Belmond, Iowa, a park of 30 acres. The park has been named after its donor.
While his benefactions were numerous both here and at Port Arthur, all of which may never be known, there are two outstanding gifts which will long mark the memory of Captain Tyrrell in this city. They are the public library building and Tyrrell park in Fannett road. The library was formerly the First Baptist church. Tyrrell park consists of 500 acres now in the course of development.
Perhaps the most pretentious realty deal in Captain Tyrrell’s career was the purchase of 17,000 acres of land near Crosby in Harris county recently. This was consummated in the name of the Tyrrell Trust. The land was formerly the property of the San Jacinto Rice company and is being prepared at this time for colonization purposes.
The Stiver’s league, located in Fannett road, was one of Capt. Tyrrell’s first land acquisitions in this section of Texas. This he purchased in 1899, two years before coming here to make his home. The land was purchased for $6 an acre and is estimated to be worth $100 an acre today. Tyrrell park is located there.
Owns 48,000 Acres
It is estimated that the trust owns approximately 48,000 acres of Texas land at this point, the greater part of which is located in the vicinity of Beaumont and Houston.
In addition to the trust, the estimated value of which was $2,000,000 at the time of its creation, Capt. Tyrrell leaves a personal estate considerably in excess of $1,000,000, it is said.
Capt. Tyrrell was for many years a resident of Wright county, Iowa, and up to the time of his departure was perhaps better known than any other resident of that county. He moved to Wright county in the fall of 1868, in a covered wagon drawn by a pair of mules. He was born in Pennsylvania in 1847 and moved with his parents to Iowa in 1854. His father, Mallory Tyrrell, was a native of Connecticut, and his mother, Polly A., was born in the state of New York.
W.C. Tyrrell’s inheritance was the hard hand and the hardier spirit of these pioneers and when he settled upon the prairies of Wright county it was with a determination to win his way in the battle of life and meet all adventures with a cheerful spirit and indomitable courage.
In those days and for 20 years afterward everybody in Wright county loved “Cap” Tyrrell and regretted his permanent removal to Beaumont.
In 1867 Mr. Tyrrell married Helen F. Rorick whose parents, Cornelius H. and Julia A. Rorick, were natives of the state of New Jersey. Mrs. Tyrrell was born in Indiana in 1847 and died August 2, 1919.
Four children were born to them. The eldest, Esther L., is the wife of Dr. J.W. Garth of this city. The second, Vinnie, is the wife of David Rorick, Jr., a lawyer, at Oceanside, Cal. W.C. Tyrrell, Jr., the eldest son, now owns and occupies the Tyrrell farm near Belmond and is one of the most extensive and progressive farmers in Wright county, Iowa. Harry C. Tyrrell, the youngest child, is engaged in the oil business at Tulsa, Okla.
Among Capt. Tyrrell’s acts of charity and consideration for humanity in general were in connection with the flood in Port Arthur, where the people were in distress for food, in August, 1915. He bought in Beaumont and delivered in Port Arthur 8000 loaves of bread. At another time he sent a hundred thousand roses to Kansas City which were distributed among the churches and hospitals there. The sale of a lot adjoining the Y.M.C.A. building in Forsythe and Main streets to the Y.M.C.A. this year at a price approximately half the value of the grounds was considered another act of personal financial sacrifice.
Capt. Tyrrell was a Mason, a member of the Knights Templar, Cashan Grotto, Shriners, Elks, Beaumont Country club and Beaumont club.
Besides his four children he is survived by XX [sic] grandchildren, Dr. W. Leroy Garth of San Diego, Cal.; C. Tyrrell Garth of Beaumont; J.W. Garth, Jr., of Tulsa, Okla.; Thomas T. Garth of Beaumont; Mrs. Helen Rorick McGill, Mrs. Ruth Rorick Steves and David Rorick, Jr., of Oceanside, Cal.; Harry F. Tyrrell of Beaumont, and Preston Tyrrell, W.C. Tyrrell III, Miss Carol Tyrrell and David Tyrrell of Belmond, Iowa, and two great-grandchildren, William and Wilma Harle Garth, children of Dr. Leroy Garth of San Diego, Cal.
Source: Beaumont Enterprise, September 8, 1924.