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In 1883 the idea occurred to him that it would be profitable to the stockmen of his community to sell dressed beef in Western and foreign markets, so he therefore organized a stock company known as the Columbus Meat and Ice Company. He was unanimously elected president and put in a plant at the cost of $250,000, with capacity of 250 head of cattle and forty tons of ice per day. The company filled an order with an English syndicate and for some time shipped dressed beef to Chicago, New Orleans, Galveston and other points. But the business was not as .successful as he desired so he closed the factory, and again confined himself to selling to Western buyers, and shipping from his ranches to New Orleans, Galveston and Houston.
July 7, 1890, about seven o'clock in the afternoon, Robert E. Stafford and his brother John, a partner in many enterprises, although unarmed and unable to defend themselves were slain upon the streets of Columbus, by men, one of whom Robert E. Stafford had befriended. He was a member of the Masonic fraternity and of the Knights of Honor. In politics he was a Democrat and took a deep interest in public affairs. He was many times a delegate to state conventions.
Robert E. Stafford was a devoted husband, kind and loving father, true friend and a citizen above reproach. He did much to develop the section in which he lived.
Lafayette Ward was the son of Lafayette Ward, Sr., a Kentuckian by birth, and Agnes Ward, who were married in Missouri and moved to Texas in 1840 and settled on Carancahua Bay, in Jackson county, where the elder Ward helped make a part of early Texas history. It was here that Lafayette Ward was born in the year 1854. He grew to young manhood under his mother's guidance