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Historic McLennan County

An illustrated history of the McLennan County area, paired with the histories of companies, families and organizations that make the region great.

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Commissioned by the <strong>McLennan</strong> <strong>County</strong> <strong>Historic</strong>al Commission<br />

<strong>Historic</strong>al Publishing Network<br />

A division of Lammert Incorporated<br />

San Antonio, Texas


First Edition<br />

Copyright © 2010 <strong>Historic</strong>al Publishing Network<br />

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, without permission in writing<br />

from the publisher. All inquiries should be addressed to <strong>Historic</strong>al Publishing Network, 11535 Galm Road, Suite 101, San Antonio, Texas, 78254. Phone (800) 749-9790.<br />

ISBN: 9781935377221<br />

Library of Congress Card Catalog Number: 2010932567<br />

<strong>Historic</strong> <strong>McLennan</strong> <strong>County</strong>: An Illustrated History<br />

editor: Sharon Bracken<br />

contributing writers: Nell Buice Barton<br />

Louise Champagne<br />

Mary Ann Dunning Dameron<br />

Nancy Roberts Detlefsen<br />

Foy DuBois<br />

Mary Sue Hatter Duty<br />

Sharon Griffith<br />

J. Douglas Guthrie, Jr.<br />

Mimi Montgomery Irwin<br />

Van D. Massirer<br />

Lelia McDugal<br />

Jeannette Hatter McGinnes<br />

Lauren D. Mickens<br />

D’or Nelson<br />

Mary Alice O’Dowd<br />

Charles Olson<br />

Hal Pledger<br />

Carroll Prewett<br />

Anita Ward Rolf<br />

Sandra Horne Roming<br />

Cullen Smith<br />

Michael L. Toon<br />

Greta Watson<br />

cover design: Stephanie MacVeigh<br />

contributing writers for sharing the heritage: Eric Dabney<br />

Marie Beth Jones<br />

<strong>Historic</strong>al Publishing Network<br />

president: Ron Lammert<br />

project manager: Wynn Buck<br />

administration: Donna M. Mata<br />

Melissa G. Quinn<br />

book sales: Dee Steidle<br />

production: Colin Hart<br />

Glenda Tarazon Krouse<br />

Craig Mitchell<br />

Charles Newton III<br />

Evelyn Hart<br />

PRINTED IN THE UNITED STATES<br />

2 ✦ HISTORIC MCLENNAN COUNTY


4 FOREWORD<br />

5 INTRODUCTION<br />

CONTENTS<br />

51 CHAPTER 25 Moody<br />

54 CHAPTER 26 Ocee<br />

7 CHAPTER 1 Waco<br />

16 CHAPTER 2 Magic Suspension Bridge<br />

17 CHAPTER 3 Bellmead<br />

19 CHAPTER 4 Beverly Hills, Bosqueville<br />

20 CHAPTER 5 Julius Bledsoe<br />

21 CHAPTER 6 Bruceville<br />

22 CHAPTER 7 China Spring<br />

25 CHAPTER 8 Civil War Era in Waco<br />

26 CHAPTER 9 Crawford<br />

29 CHAPTER 10 Doris Miller, The First Hero<br />

30 CHAPTER 11 Eddy<br />

31 CHAPTER 12 Elm Mott<br />

32 CHAPTER 13 Gholson<br />

33 CHAPTER 14 Golinda<br />

34 CHAPTER 15 Harrison<br />

36 CHAPTER 16 Hewitt<br />

39 CHAPTER 17 Hillside<br />

40 CHAPTER 18 Lacy Lakeview<br />

41 CHAPTER 19 Leroy<br />

42 CHAPTER 20 Levi<br />

43 CHAPTER 21 Liberty Hill<br />

44 CHAPTER 22 Lorena<br />

47 CHAPTER 23 Mart<br />

49 CHAPTER 24 McGregor<br />

55 CHAPTER 27 Patton<br />

56 CHAPTER 28 Prairie Chapel<br />

58 CHAPTER 29 Richie<br />

59 CHAPTER 30 Riesel<br />

60 CHAPTER 31 Robinson<br />

64 CHAPTER 32 Rosenthal<br />

65 CHAPTER 33 Ross<br />

66 CHAPTER 34 Sandtown, South Bosque<br />

68 CHAPTER 35 Speegleville<br />

69 CHAPTER 36 Spring Valley<br />

70 CHAPTER 37 The Crossing<br />

71 CHAPTER 38 Waldo<br />

72 CHAPTER 39 West<br />

77 CHAPTER 40 The Crash at Crush<br />

80 CHAPTER 41 Willow Grove<br />

82 CHAPTER 42 Woodway<br />

83 CHAPTER 43 Governors With Ties to<br />

<strong>McLennan</strong> <strong>County</strong><br />

85 SMALL TOWNS OF MCLENNAN COUNTY,<br />

PAST AND PRESENT<br />

88 BIBLIOGRAPHY<br />

91 SHARING THE HERITAGE<br />

143 SPONSORS<br />

Contents ✦ 3


FOREWORD<br />

HISTORIC MCLENNAN COUNTY was undertaken as a special project of the <strong>McLennan</strong> <strong>County</strong> <strong>Historic</strong>al Commission.<br />

Originally spearheaded by our long-time Chair, Foy Dubois, the project was mounted as a history of cities, towns and communities of<br />

<strong>McLennan</strong> <strong>County</strong> told by their residents. Mr. Dubois encouraged reluctant commission members to take on this project, and it is to<br />

him that this book is lovingly dedicated.<br />

Members of the <strong>McLennan</strong> <strong>County</strong> <strong>Historic</strong>al Commission, who have a rich heritage from years past and present, have provided many<br />

of their cherished photos and most of the narratives for this book. We wish to thank all of the contributors for the time and effort that<br />

went into its production. We would also like to thank our Editor, Sharon Bracken, for her assistance and guidance in this project.<br />

This book is not intended to be a chronological or even a complete history of <strong>McLennan</strong> <strong>County</strong>, but rather a sampling of histories<br />

written by members of the commission about the communities to which they are linked. We hope that readers will appreciate our<br />

perspective and enjoy it for what it is.<br />

Dr. Michelle Toon<br />

<strong>McLennan</strong> <strong>County</strong> <strong>Historic</strong>al Commission<br />

<strong>McLennan</strong> <strong>County</strong> <strong>Historic</strong>al Commission<br />

Dr. Michelle Toon<br />

Chairperson<br />

Sharon Bracken<br />

Editor<br />

Editorial Assistants<br />

Melissa Perry, Lauren D. Mickens<br />

Members of <strong>McLennan</strong> <strong>County</strong> <strong>Historic</strong>al Commission<br />

Dannie Archie<br />

Dorothy Bates<br />

James Berryhill<br />

Scotty Bradsby<br />

Tom Charlton<br />

George Coffey<br />

Foy DuBois<br />

Dianne Friend<br />

Robert Gamboa<br />

Rick Gauer<br />

Jim Griffith<br />

Sharon Griffith<br />

J. Douglas Guthrie, Jr.<br />

Joe Johnson<br />

Joe Mashek<br />

Van D. Massirer<br />

Lelia McDugal<br />

David Miller<br />

Coke Mills<br />

Frances Olson<br />

Hal Pledger<br />

Anita Rolf<br />

Don Rose<br />

Dorothy Smith<br />

Elizabeth Taylor<br />

Kyle Guthrie Thomas<br />

Michelle Toon<br />

Michael L. Toon<br />

Bill Wardlaw<br />

Greta Watson<br />

Alex Williams<br />

4 ✦ HISTORIC MCLENNAN COUNTY


Introduction ✦ 5


Welcome to Waco sign on Interstate Highway 35, 2009.<br />

PHOTO BY ALESSIA BROWN.<br />

6 ✦ HISTORIC MCLENNAN COUNTY


The archaeological record indicates<br />

that man has inhabited the Waco area for<br />

over 10,000 years. Investigations have<br />

revealed artifacts, campsites and rock<br />

shelters from the Paleo-Indian, Archaic,<br />

and Late Prehistoric periods.<br />

The first mention of the area during<br />

the historic period came from an<br />

expedition led by Athanase de Mézières,<br />

a Frenchman working as an Indian<br />

agent for the Spanish. During a trek up<br />

the Brazos River in 1772, he noted<br />

two large villages, stretching from the<br />

site of present day Waco for several<br />

miles northward.<br />

In 1824, Stephen F. Austin received a<br />

report that the Waco village consisted of<br />

about 100 inhabitants with more than 400<br />

acres of corn, beans, pumpkins, and melons<br />

under cultivation and a peach orchard.<br />

The village stretched from the Brazos River<br />

to present day Eighth Street and south past<br />

Barron’s Branch.<br />

In 1828 a large group of Cherokee<br />

Indians left their homes in East Texas intent<br />

on raiding the Waco village to recover<br />

horses that had been stolen earlier that<br />

year. They attacked the Wacos who took<br />

refuge in riverbank breastworks. The<br />

Cherokees burned the village after killing<br />

55 of the residents. Some time after this<br />

incident, the Wacos abandoned the village.<br />

After the Texas Revolution a ranger<br />

outpost was established in February 1837<br />

near the abandoned Waco Indian village.<br />

This was in response to the Comanche raid<br />

on Fort Parker and the abduction of<br />

Cynthia Ann Parker and others from the<br />

fort. The rangers were withdrawn to the<br />

Falls of the Brazos when it was realized<br />

that they were too far in advance of<br />

the frontier settlements to offer much<br />

protection. The rangers were commanded<br />

by Captain Thomas Hudson Barron who<br />

named the outpost Fort Fisher in honor of<br />

William S. Fisher, Secretary of War for the<br />

WACO<br />

B Y M ICHAEL L. TOON<br />

Republic of Texas. One of the rangers,<br />

George B. Erath, a San Jacinto veteran and<br />

surveyor, thought that the village would be<br />

an excellent site for a town.<br />

George Barnard opened the Torrey<br />

Brothers Trading Post No. 2 on Tehuacana<br />

Creek in 1844. It was called the Brazos<br />

Post and consisted of several log buildings<br />

which served as warehouses and living<br />

quarters. Barnard bought the trading post<br />

from the Torrey brothers and moved it to<br />

Hood <strong>County</strong> in 1849.<br />

In 1845 Neil <strong>McLennan</strong> moved his<br />

family to a claim on the Bosque River. He<br />

had first viewed the country in 1839 while<br />

on a surveying trip with Erath. Both men<br />

had been impressed with the beauty<br />

and natural resources of the area. The<br />

<strong>McLennan</strong> family had first arrived in Texas<br />

in 1835. <strong>McLennan</strong> had received a league<br />

of land in Robertson’s Colony, but traded it<br />

for the site on the Bosque.<br />

Captain Barron, who had commanded<br />

the Ranger detachment that had<br />

established the Fort Fisher outpost in<br />

1837, homesteaded a 320-acre claim on<br />

the banks of the Brazos. His home would<br />

be the first to appear in what would<br />

become Waco. Barron would serve as clerk<br />

for <strong>McLennan</strong> <strong>County</strong>’s first district court,<br />

Judge Robert E. B. Baylor, presiding. From<br />

the late 1850s through the 1860s, Barron<br />

operated a steam mill on Barron’s Branch<br />

that ground corn and wheat, and<br />

eventually carded cotton and wool.<br />

General Thomas J. Chambers had<br />

received a land grant from the Mexican<br />

government in 1832 that included much<br />

of what would become <strong>McLennan</strong> <strong>County</strong>.<br />

Chambers was a naturalized Mexican<br />

citizen who had been named Surveyor<br />

General for Texas in 1829 by the Mexican<br />

government. He was involved in largescale<br />

land speculation before and after the<br />

Texas Revolution. In 1848, Chambers sold<br />

his land grant, which included the Waco<br />

village site, to John S. Sydnor of Galveston.<br />

Sydnor had been mayor of Galveston and<br />

was a prosperous merchant and slave<br />

trader. Sydnor hired land agent Jacob De<br />

Cordova to survey the land and offer it for<br />

sale at one dollar per acre. Later in 1848,<br />

Sydnor sold the land to Nathaniel A. Ware<br />

and Jonas Butler who joined with De<br />

Cordova as partners.<br />

De Cordova hired Erath as one of the<br />

surveyors for the project. Erath, who was<br />

familiar with the country, urged De<br />

Cordova to use the old Indian village as<br />

the new town site. By March 1, 1849, the<br />

first block had been surveyed and divided<br />

into lots that sold for $5. Although the<br />

three partners had chosen the name of<br />

Lamartine for the new town, Erath<br />

persuaded them to call it Waco Village.<br />

The Texas Legislature established<br />

<strong>McLennan</strong> <strong>County</strong> on January 22, 1850,<br />

in honor of Neil <strong>McLennan</strong>. De Cordova<br />

secured the county seat for Waco Village<br />

by donating lots for public buildings,<br />

schools and churches. The county<br />

government was organized in August<br />

1850, and the first courthouse was built<br />

later that year. The population of the<br />

entire county numbered fewer than 300.<br />

Shapley P. Ross had come to Texas in<br />

1839 and served in Captain Jack Hays’<br />

Rangers in 1842, and was a member of<br />

the poorly conceived Snively Expedition<br />

in 1843. After commanding ranger<br />

companies in 1846-47, Ross moved to<br />

Waco in 1849 and operated the ferry<br />

across the Brazos River. He also built the<br />

first hotel in Waco and in 1850 was<br />

appointed postmaster.<br />

Settlement of the area increased rapidly<br />

after the frontier was pushed farther west<br />

and the possibility of Indian attacks<br />

subsided. The majority of <strong>McLennan</strong><br />

<strong>County</strong>’s settlers before the Civil War<br />

were from the southern United States,<br />

or other regions of Texas. They brought<br />

Chapter 1 ✦ 7


Neil <strong>McLennan</strong>.<br />

THE TEXAS COLLECTION, BAYLOR UNIVERSITY, WACO, TEXAS.<br />

their culture, community and “peculiar<br />

institution” of slavery with them. Many<br />

were well to do, well educated planters<br />

who established a cotton-based plantation<br />

culture along the rich bottomlands of the<br />

Brazos River. They also brought civilization<br />

in the form of schools, churches and small<br />

businesses. By 1851 these first immigrants<br />

had brought Waco’s population to 152.<br />

Schools were first organized in 1854<br />

with the county divided into districts.<br />

The school was generally located near the<br />

most central community of the district<br />

and named for that community. Teachers<br />

were hired and paid by charging each<br />

student tuition.<br />

Major Robert Lambdin printed Waco’s<br />

first newspaper, the Waco Era, in 1854.<br />

Others papers followed during Waco’s<br />

early years, including the Waco Weekly<br />

Southwestern, published by William H.<br />

Parsons, a fire-eating secessionist who<br />

advocated states’ rights and the reopening<br />

of the African slave trade.<br />

The 1860 census of Waco recorded 800<br />

residents. <strong>McLennan</strong> <strong>County</strong>’s population<br />

consisted of 3,811 free citizens. About 270<br />

of these free citizens owned 2,395 African-<br />

American slaves. The 379 farms in the<br />

county produced 39,000 bushels of wheat,<br />

188,000 bushels of corn and 2,300 bales<br />

of cotton for the year.<br />

Richard Coke, one of the county’s<br />

largest slaveholders, was chosen as a<br />

delegate to the Secession Convention held<br />

in Austin in 1861. He voted for secession<br />

from the Union. The voters of <strong>McLennan</strong><br />

<strong>County</strong>, where most property valuation<br />

was in cotton and slaves, agreed with Coke<br />

and later that year ratified the secession<br />

ordinance by a 586-191 vote.<br />

Waco and <strong>McLennan</strong> <strong>County</strong> gave their<br />

heart, soul and most of the area’s men to the<br />

Southern Confederacy. Between 1,500 and<br />

2,000 males turned out to serve in the state<br />

and Confederate ranks. The first company<br />

raised in Waco was the Lone Star Guards. It<br />

marched out of Waco on July 22, 1861, 103<br />

men strong, under the command of Captain<br />

Edward D. Ryan, (they picked up two more<br />

recruits in Marlin) and would be <strong>McLennan</strong><br />

<strong>County</strong>’s only contribution to Robert E. Lee’s<br />

Army of Northern Virginia. They were mustered<br />

into Confederate service as Company<br />

E., 4th Texas Infantry Regiment. During the<br />

war, the company would add 17 more men,<br />

half from <strong>McLennan</strong> <strong>County</strong>, and the other<br />

from transplanted Texans in Virginia, for a<br />

total of 122 officers and men. They would<br />

serve the entire war from Lee’s assaults during<br />

the Seven Days, accompany Longstreet’s<br />

Corps to the Western Theater for bloody<br />

Chickamauga, and return to Virginia for the<br />

final campaigns, as part of Hood’s famed<br />

Texas Brigade. Company E would suffer 76<br />

battle casualties; 28 killed in action, 43<br />

Camp MacArthur Influenza Casualties, Austin Avenue (1918).<br />

THE TEXAS COLLECTION, BAYLOR UNIVERSITY, WACO, TEXAS.<br />

wounded, and five taken prisoner.<br />

Fourteen men died of disease and 38<br />

were honorably discharged during the<br />

war. In April 1865, when Lee surrendered<br />

at Appomattox, only 17 men remained of<br />

the company.<br />

Waco contributed six Confederate<br />

generals to the Confederacy, and almost a<br />

seventh. James Edward Harrison served in<br />

Texas’ Secession Convention and helped<br />

raise the 15th Texas Infantry. He served as<br />

colonel of the 15th Texas in the Trans<br />

Mississippi under General Tom Green. He<br />

was promoted to Brigadier General in<br />

December of 1864.<br />

Thomas Harrison, brother of James<br />

Edward Harrison, arrived in Waco in 1855.<br />

He entered local politics and lost a close<br />

race for district judge in 1857 to R. E. B.<br />

Baylor. Harrison was elected captain of a<br />

local militia group at the beginning of the<br />

war, but transferred to the 8th Texas Cavalry<br />

(Terry’s Texas Rangers). He became colonel<br />

of the regiment after Benjamin Terry was<br />

killed in action. He served under General<br />

Joseph Wheeler in the Army of Tennessee<br />

and was wounded in March of 1865. He<br />

was very unpopular with his troops for his<br />

penchant for corporal punishment to<br />

enforce discipline. He returned to Waco<br />

after the war and died July 14, 1891.<br />

8 ✦ HISTORIC MCLENNAN COUNTY


Felix Huston Robertson did not appear<br />

in Waco until after the war. He was a<br />

fourth year cadet at West Point when war<br />

became inevitable and he resigned in<br />

January 1861 to offer his sword to the<br />

Confederacy. He was commissioned as a<br />

2nd lieutenant of artillery in March of<br />

that year. He assisted in the reduction of<br />

Fort Sumter and its surrender. By the<br />

battle of Chickamauga he was a major<br />

commanding an artillery battalion. In<br />

1864 he was promoted to lieutenant<br />

colonel in command of artillery for<br />

General Joseph Wheeler’s Cavalry Corps.<br />

Robertson was promoted to Brigadier<br />

General in July 1864, and served for a<br />

time as Wheeler’s chief of staff. He later<br />

led a brigade, and then a division of<br />

cavalry until severely wounded in<br />

November 1864. After the war he moved<br />

to Waco and studied law. He was the<br />

last surviving general officer of the<br />

Confederacy when he died in April 1928.<br />

Jerome Bonaparte Robertson, the father<br />

of Felix H. Robertson, had settled in<br />

Independence in 1856 and served in both<br />

houses of the Texas Legislature. Robertson<br />

began his Confederate service as a captain<br />

in the 5th Texas Infantry. He was promoted<br />

to lieutenant colonel in November 1861,<br />

colonel in June 1862, and Brigadier General<br />

in November 1862. He led the Texas<br />

Brigade in 1862 and 1863 until wounded<br />

at Gettysburg. After service in the west at<br />

Chickamauga, he was transferred to<br />

command the Texas reserve corps. After the<br />

war he continued the practice of medicine<br />

and moved to Waco in 1879. He died there<br />

in 1891.<br />

Allison Nelson settled in Bosque<br />

<strong>County</strong>, Texas in 1856, after serving as<br />

mayor of Atlanta, Georgia, and as a<br />

member of the Georgia legislature in<br />

the 1840s. He was elected to the Texas<br />

legislature in 1859 as a pro-secessionist.<br />

After helping to raise the 10th Texas<br />

Infantry, he was elected its colonel. He<br />

was promoted to Brigadier General in<br />

September 1862. He fell ill with a fever on<br />

September 28, 1862, and died on October<br />

7. He is buried in Little Rock, Arkansas.<br />

Lawrence “Sul” Ross and Hiram B.<br />

Granbury were residents of Waco when the<br />

war started. They became legends in their<br />

service to the South. Ross was already<br />

something of a legend in Texas before the<br />

war. His parents had come to Waco when he<br />

was an infant. He was a graduate of<br />

Wesleyan College in Florence, Alabama, but<br />

had spent his vacations in Texas as the<br />

captain of a ranger company in service<br />

against the Comanches. In 1859 he had led<br />

the rescue of Texas’s most celebrated Indian<br />

captive, Cynthia Ann Parker. He entered<br />

Confederate service as a private. By May of<br />

1862 he was the colonel of his regiment,<br />

the 6th Texas Cavalry. He was promoted<br />

to Brigadier General in December 1863.<br />

Every officer he fought under universally<br />

commended him. He participated in 135<br />

engagements and had five horses shot from<br />

under him. He returned to Waco after the<br />

war penniless and in poor health from<br />

continuous campaigning. He farmed until<br />

the early 1870s and restored his health and<br />

some of his fortune. In 1873 he was elected<br />

sheriff of <strong>McLennan</strong> <strong>County</strong>. He was a<br />

member of the constitutional convention in<br />

1875 and elected state senator in 1881. He<br />

was elected governor in 1887 and re-elected<br />

in 1889. He became president of Texas<br />

A&M College in 1891 and served there<br />

until his death in 1898.<br />

Paul Quinn College art class, c. the 1920s.<br />

THE TEXAS COLLECTION, BAYLOR UNIVERSITY, WACO, TEXAS.<br />

Amicable Building under construction (1910).<br />

THE TEXAS COLLECTION, BAYLOR UNIVERSITY, WACO, TEXAS.<br />

Granbury came to Texas in the 1850s<br />

and settled in Waco. He was admitted to<br />

the Bar and served as chief justice for<br />

<strong>McLennan</strong> <strong>County</strong> from 1856 to 1858.<br />

He recruited the Waco Guards who were<br />

mustered into service with the 7th Texas<br />

Infantry. He and his regiment were captured<br />

at Fort Donelson in February 1862,<br />

but he was quickly paroled in an officer<br />

exchange. He was promoted to colonel<br />

Chapter 1 ✦ 9


Above: Ad from 1878 City Directory.<br />

THE TEXAS COLLECTION, BAYLOR UNIVERSITY, WACO, TEXAS.<br />

Below: From 1878-79 Waco City Directory.<br />

THE TEXAS COLLECTION, BAYLOR UNIVERSITY, WACO, TEXAS.<br />

and he commanded the 7th Texas at<br />

Chickamauga where he was wounded. He<br />

commanded a brigade during the long<br />

retreat out of Tennessee. He was commissioned<br />

Brigadier General in February 1864,<br />

and his brigade became a part of General<br />

Pat Cleburne’s crack division in Joseph<br />

Johnston’s Army of Tennessee during the<br />

Atlanta campaign. He was personally commended<br />

by Cleburne after the battle of New<br />

Hope Church. Granbury and his brigade<br />

were part of John B. Hood’s disastrous invasion<br />

of Tennessee. Under Hood, the brigade<br />

was part of the frontal assault during the<br />

battle of Franklin, Tennessee, in November<br />

of 1864. The brigade was decimated;<br />

Granbury, Cleburne and four other<br />

Confederate generals were killed. Although<br />

Granbury commanded the brigade for only<br />

one year, it forged a reputation for fighting<br />

ability unsurpassed by any other unit in<br />

the Army of Tennessee. Granbury’s remains<br />

were returned to Texas in 1893 and reinterred<br />

in Granbury, Texas, which had<br />

been named after him.<br />

William H. Parsons, Waco’s fiery prosecession<br />

newspaper publisher, could have<br />

been the city’s seventh Confederate general.<br />

When the war began, Parsons closed his<br />

newspaper and received a commission as<br />

a colonel from Governor Clark. He was<br />

also authorized to raise a regiment for<br />

Confederate service. It was mustered into<br />

Confederate service in 1861 as the 12th<br />

Texas Cavalry. Parsons commanded much or<br />

all of the Brigade at various times in the war.<br />

He was recommended for promotion to<br />

Brigadier General several times during the<br />

war, but it was never confirmed due to disputes<br />

with several other men who had commanded<br />

the brigade at times when Parsons<br />

was on detached service. During the Civil<br />

War, Parsons’ Brigade earned a reputation as<br />

one of the finest cavalry units in the Trans-<br />

Mississippi department. In 1871 President<br />

Grant appointed Parsons to be a United<br />

States Centennial Commissioner. Parsons<br />

moved to New York. He held other positions<br />

with the government that he had once<br />

sought to destroy until his death in 1907.<br />

The returning veterans who had suffered<br />

defeat at the hands of the federal<br />

government found an economy in decline<br />

in Waco and the surrounding area. From<br />

the middle of the war until 1866,<br />

<strong>McLennan</strong> <strong>County</strong>’s property tax receipts<br />

plunged 73 percent. Some 38 percent of the<br />

decline was due to the loss of slaves. Many<br />

Freedmen remained with their former<br />

masters under other arrangements, some<br />

moved to the city to find work, and several<br />

Freedmen communities like Harrison<br />

Switch and Downsville were established.<br />

Recovery was slow at first due to a lack of<br />

transportation and an economy overly<br />

dependent on agriculture.<br />

By 1867 black voters were the majority<br />

in <strong>McLennan</strong> <strong>County</strong>, and they elected<br />

Shepard Mullins, an ex-slave, to the Texas<br />

Legislature. Mullins also served on the<br />

<strong>McLennan</strong> <strong>County</strong> commissioner’s court<br />

with Stephen Cobb, pastor of the New Hope<br />

Baptist Church. Freedmen served as city<br />

aldermen, district school supervisors, and<br />

were seated on juries. John Mason, an<br />

African-American state policeman, proved to<br />

be a special irritant to the ex-Confederates.<br />

Waco was occupied by federal troops<br />

briefly in 1868. There was much ill<br />

feeling between the residents of the<br />

defeated city and their blue-clad<br />

conquerors. Racial relations worsened<br />

after Freedmen received citizenship and<br />

the vote during Reconstruction. The<br />

Freedmen’s Bureau recorded 42 acts of<br />

mob violence in <strong>McLennan</strong> <strong>County</strong><br />

between 1866 and 1868.<br />

Richard Coke’s election as governor in<br />

1873 signaled the end for Reconstruction<br />

in Texas. Ex-Confederate Democrats<br />

regained state political power and<br />

African- Americans saw a steady decrease<br />

in their rights until Jim Crow laws would<br />

completely disenfranchise them soon<br />

after the turn of the century.<br />

Due to its location and the farsightedness<br />

of its citizens, the Waco economy<br />

improved faster than many Southern cities<br />

after the Civil War. By the late 1860s Waco<br />

had become an important junction on a<br />

spur of the Chisholm Trail. The trail drive<br />

era of Texas saw over 700,000 longhorn<br />

cattle cross the Brazos at fords near Waco.<br />

The growing city became a favorite stop<br />

for trail bosses resupplying their outfits<br />

for the long trail to the Kansas railheads.<br />

Cowboys seeking relief from the trail<br />

dust frequented the city’s many saloons,<br />

gambling establishments, and bawdy<br />

10 ✦ HISTORIC MCLENNAN COUNTY


houses. It was this period when the<br />

Wild West atmosphere earned Waco the<br />

nickname of “Six-Shooter Junction.”<br />

As the economy slowly recovered, new<br />

elements unknown or impossible before<br />

the war began to have a stimulating<br />

effect on the area. Improvements in<br />

the transportation system such as the<br />

suspension bridge and the railroad gave<br />

thousands of land-hungry immigrants<br />

access to cheap land, while capitalists in<br />

the northern states found more and more<br />

opportunities to invest in the area.<br />

Before the Civil War most cotton was<br />

grown in rich river bottoms plantation style.<br />

After the war, many plantations were<br />

broken up and leased in small parcels to<br />

tenant farmers. As other large land holdings<br />

were sold for taxes, many new immigrants<br />

to the area were able to take up farming in<br />

other areas of the county. In 1870 the<br />

census showed just 937 farms in the county.<br />

By 1880 the total reached 3,256 farms. To<br />

the surprise of many older residents, these<br />

new farmers planted cotton in the black<br />

waxy soil away from the river bottoms. By<br />

1880 new methods of agriculture had<br />

produced over 499,000 acres under<br />

cultivation. This constituted a 300 percent<br />

increase from pre-war totals. These acres<br />

produced nearly 200,000 bushels of wheat,<br />

over 500,000 bushels of corn, and an<br />

amazing 13,000 bales of cotton.<br />

By the early 1880s Waco had become the<br />

center of a transportation network linking<br />

the area’s agricultural products to outside<br />

markets. The Waco Suspension Bridge had<br />

Texas Cotton Palace.<br />

THE TEXAS COLLECTION, BAYLOR UNIVERSITY, WACO, TEXAS.<br />

been completed in 1870 and had made<br />

Waco a major commercial center for<br />

both sides of the Brazos. The first rail<br />

connection came in 1872 when the Waco<br />

and Northwestern Railroad connected<br />

Bremond and Ross, giving the city and<br />

county rail service to Houston markets via<br />

the Houston and Texas Central line. The<br />

first passenger train reached Waco on<br />

September 18, 1872. In 1884 the city’s<br />

population reached 12,000 and 50,000<br />

bales of cotton were shipped from Waco.<br />

The growth of agriculture in the area<br />

also brought Robert Lloyd Smith, an<br />

African-American politician and businessman<br />

to Waco in 1885. Born in Charleston,<br />

South Carolina in 1861, Smith moved to<br />

Texas and established the Farmers’ Home<br />

Improvement Society. The purpose of the<br />

organization was to help farmers establish<br />

a less oppressive form of sharecropping.<br />

Eradicating the old system and implementing<br />

more efficient techniques gave<br />

farmers the ability to gain wealth through<br />

savings. By 1909 active membership<br />

rose to 21,000. In 1911, due to increased<br />

membership in the society, Smith founded<br />

the Farmers’ Improvement Bank in Waco,<br />

the first bank founded by an African-<br />

American in Waco and possibly even in<br />

the state of Texas.<br />

Other railroads came to the area in<br />

response to the highly lucrative agricultural<br />

bonanza. By 1889, Waco was connected<br />

by rail service to almost every city of<br />

importance in Texas. This became more<br />

important after March 10, 1889, when hot<br />

artesian water<br />

was discovered<br />

beneath the city.<br />

Waco, promoted<br />

as “Geyser City,”<br />

became the<br />

destination of<br />

choice for those<br />

convinced of the<br />

curative powers<br />

of the water from<br />

the wells drilled<br />

into the strata<br />

below the city.<br />

In an effort to regulate the large number<br />

of bawdy houses that had persisted since<br />

the trail drive days, Waco became the first<br />

city in Texas and only the second in the<br />

United States to provide an area for<br />

legalized prostitution. Houses of ill repute<br />

were licensed to operate under city<br />

regulations in the area bordered by the<br />

Brazos River, Barron’s Branch, Washington<br />

Street and Second Street. Working girls<br />

were subject to monthly physical exams by<br />

the city physician and were subject to stern<br />

laws if caught outside “The Reservation.”<br />

By 1890, Waco was one of the most<br />

important cotton markets in the South.<br />

Hundreds of thousands of dollars were<br />

invested in cotton gins, cotton mills, and<br />

cottonseed presses. In 1890 <strong>McLennan</strong><br />

county farmers cultivated 73,000 acres of<br />

cotton, a quarter of the improved acreage,<br />

30,000 bales of cotton were produced. In<br />

1910 half of the county’s available land,<br />

or 240,000 acres, produced 69,000 bales<br />

of cotton.<br />

Waco also became one of the nation’s<br />

most important manufacturing centers by<br />

the 1890s. By the turn of the century,<br />

Waco boasted over 150 factories and a half<br />

dozen banks. The city’s Kirksey Woolen<br />

Mills was the largest in Texas and there was<br />

at least one cotton factory producing yarn<br />

for a host of markets.<br />

In 1894 plans were made for a fair and<br />

exposition in honor of Waco’s recognition<br />

as one of the largest inland cotton<br />

markets in the United States. It would be<br />

known as the Texas Cotton Palace and a<br />

large building was erected at Padgitt Park<br />

for the inaugural event in November<br />

1894. In early 1895 a fire destroyed the<br />

building and the Texas Cotton Palace<br />

was not resumed until 1910. It would<br />

continue for the next 21 years as one of<br />

the most successful expositions in the<br />

nation, counting over eight million<br />

fairgoers during that period.<br />

The original Texas Cotton Palace drew<br />

newspaper reporters from cities across the<br />

state. One of these was William Cowper<br />

Brann who had been offered a job as an<br />

editorial writer by the Daily News in Waco.<br />

Chapter 1 ✦ 11


Methodist Home.<br />

THE TEXAS COLLECTION, BAYLOR UNIVERSITY, WACO, TEXAS.<br />

He kept the job only a short time<br />

and began publishing his own newspaper,<br />

The Iconoclast, in February 1895. From that<br />

date until April 1, 1898, Brann would<br />

conduct a holy war with the Baptists of<br />

Baylor University and anyone else who<br />

crossed his path. These years would see his<br />

abduction and near-lynching by Baylor<br />

students, his horsewhipping in the street by<br />

a Baylor Trustee, and gunfights which would<br />

kill a real estate agent, severely wound the<br />

<strong>County</strong> judge, and lead to the death of two<br />

other newspapermen and himself.<br />

On May 27, 1910, the family of<br />

William Cameron made an initial<br />

donation of over 100 acres along the<br />

Brazos River for a municipal park for the<br />

city of Waco. Additional gifts by the family<br />

and purchase by the city brought a total of<br />

over 400 acres. This gave Waco the largest<br />

natural municipal park in Texas.<br />

In just thirty years since<br />

Reconstruction, the former Indian village<br />

on the Brazos had become a full-fledged<br />

city nearing a population of 25,000. In<br />

addition to its success commercially, the<br />

city had attracted institutions of faith,<br />

learning, and community.<br />

Waco’s first church in 1850 was<br />

Methodist. The Baptists in 1851, and the<br />

Presbyterians in 1855 followed. An<br />

Episcopal church was organized in 1868,<br />

the first Catholic church was built 1870,<br />

and by 1871, Waco saw the establishment<br />

of its first synagogue. New Hope Baptist,<br />

the first African-American church was<br />

founded in 1866.<br />

Commercial success also attracted<br />

institutions of higher education. The Waco<br />

Classical School was formed in 1860 and<br />

became Waco University a year later. In<br />

1887 Baylor University moved from<br />

Independence in Washington <strong>County</strong> and<br />

merged with Waco University in Waco.<br />

Waco Female College began in 1856, but<br />

was forced to close by 1893. Paul Quinn<br />

College, operated by the African Methodist<br />

Episcopal church, came to Waco from<br />

Austin in 1872. In 1895, Add-Ran College<br />

opened in Waco and by 1902 had changed<br />

its name to Texas Christian University.<br />

Although Waco and Texas had closely<br />

followed Europe’s march to war in 1914,<br />

most Texans had maintained a neutrality<br />

about entering the war until March 1, 1917,<br />

when the Zimmerman Telegram hit the<br />

front pages of the nation’s newspapers. In a<br />

message decoded by British intelligence,<br />

Germany’s foreign minister, Arthur<br />

Zimmerman, offered Mexico substantial<br />

portions of the American Southwest<br />

(including Texas) to join the Central Powers<br />

against the Allies. On April 6, the United<br />

States declared war on Germany. Most<br />

Texans would support the war.<br />

In July 1917, construction began on<br />

Camp MacArthur, a 10,000-acre tract<br />

northwest of the city. The camp would serve<br />

as an infantry training camp and<br />

replacement depot, an officers’ training<br />

school, and after the war, a demobilization<br />

center. Eventually, it would cost over $5<br />

million and consist of nearly 1300<br />

buildings. Although the camp had a<br />

capacity of nearly 50,000 soldiers, the<br />

average monthly population of the camp<br />

during the war years ranged between<br />

25,000 to 30,000.<br />

To help build the camp and guard it<br />

during construction, the Army transferred<br />

a detachment of the 24th Infantry, Buffalo<br />

Soldiers from New Mexico, to Waco. The<br />

Army was initially hesitant to send black<br />

troops to Waco after the lynching of Jesse<br />

Washington in 1916. The Waco Chamber<br />

of Commerce and other city leaders<br />

assured them that the troops would be<br />

received patriotically and shown every<br />

consideration. The troop train arrived at<br />

midnight on July 28, 1917. They were not<br />

allowed to leave the train until 6 a.m. the<br />

next morning after being told by their<br />

commander and city officials of Waco’s<br />

strict segregation laws. By the end of<br />

that evening Waco had a riot on its<br />

hands as battle-hardened veterans of the<br />

Indian Wars and the Spanish American<br />

conflict encountered some of the strictest<br />

segregation laws in the South. After<br />

confrontations with armed whites, a dozen<br />

men of the Twenty-Fourth returned to<br />

camp and armed themselves. An exchange<br />

of gunfire followed and although no one<br />

was hurt, the 12 soldiers were arrested.<br />

The Army reacted by restricting the time<br />

that any of the black soldiers could visit<br />

the city. Waco cooperated by arresting<br />

white troublemakers capable of inciting<br />

more racial friction. The twelve soldiers<br />

were court martialed, dishonorably<br />

discharged, with six receiving prison<br />

sentences. Although Waco’s black<br />

community remained publically silent on<br />

the riot, they extended support to the<br />

Buffalo Soldiers working to build Camp<br />

MacArthur. Home-cooked meals, church<br />

socials and tickets to see Waco Navigators<br />

games of the Negro Baseball League helped<br />

the men to feel more at home during<br />

their short stay. On August 24, 1917, the<br />

battalion returned to New Mexico.<br />

12 ✦ HISTORIC MCLENNAN COUNTY


War boards of the federal government<br />

had grown alarmed that racial violence in<br />

Waco and other parts of the South was<br />

upsetting African American support for<br />

the war. Reports that hundreds of black<br />

workers were deserting Texas cotton fields<br />

for northern factories set off alarms now<br />

that cotton had become an important part<br />

of the war effort. Many were replaced by<br />

Mexican migrant workers who had been<br />

pushed out of Mexico by its revolution.<br />

The Council for National Defense sought<br />

to solve the problem by urging state and<br />

local councils to give blacks a stake in the<br />

war by involving them in patriotic affairs.<br />

The Texas Council for Defense never<br />

followed the recommendations and merely<br />

urged local councils to convince black<br />

leaders that African American support for<br />

the war was crucial. Lip service was given to<br />

promises of social improvement and many<br />

blacks saw that by working to keep the<br />

world safe for democracy, they could fight to<br />

be a part of democracy at home.<br />

A second military training center<br />

was established in August 1917, when<br />

construction began on Rich Field. The pilot<br />

training field was constructed at the cost<br />

of nearly $3 million and was located about<br />

3 miles west of the city. The city furnished<br />

water, electricity, and a railroad spur to the<br />

80 buildings and 16 hangars that comprised<br />

the base. During the two years that the field<br />

was operated, 339 pilots were trained with<br />

only eight fatalities during the period.<br />

The city’s population was doubled by the<br />

influx of the military during the years 1917-<br />

1919. Many of the recruits in training had<br />

families visit Waco and the economy<br />

boomed. One business that did not fare well<br />

during these times was “The Reservation.”<br />

Waco’s famed legalized prostitution district<br />

was forced to close by the military.<br />

The Spanish influenza epidemic that<br />

started in the fall of 1918 reached Camp<br />

MacArthur in September 1918. The disease<br />

spread rapidly, overwhelming the base<br />

hospital. Doctors and nurses became sick<br />

and replacements were brought in from as<br />

far away as Iowa and Indiana. As the general<br />

hospital filled with the seriously ill, 250-man<br />

mess halls were converted to field hospitals<br />

to hold the less-seriously afflicted. Transfer<br />

to the hospital was generally considered a<br />

death sentence. The first death was reported<br />

on October 3, 1918, as the severe cases<br />

developed into pneumonia. During the<br />

epidemic, soldiers were forced to take a<br />

spoon of castor oil as they stood in<br />

formation before meals. All of the men in<br />

formation would use the same spoon. All<br />

schools, churches and public events were<br />

closed down during the epidemic. Funeral<br />

home records indicate 193 deaths from early<br />

October 1918, through January 1919.<br />

The June 1919 issue of the Texas<br />

Medical Journal may have been on to<br />

something when it published the results<br />

of testing by the United States Medical<br />

Corps. Tests were made on samples of<br />

dishwater at ten different restaurants in<br />

an undisclosed city. The investigations<br />

showed an average bacteriological count<br />

of four million per cubic centimeter. This<br />

was a far higher bacteria count than found<br />

in samples of sewage at the same time.<br />

The armistice was announced on<br />

November 11, 1918, and soldiers of Camp<br />

MacArthur celebrated by performing<br />

military drills for thousands of Waco’s<br />

citizens on the old Cotton Palace grounds<br />

on Webster Street. The war to make the<br />

world safe for democracy was over and<br />

Waco returned to a peacetime economy.<br />

Between the turn of the century and<br />

1930, the racial makeup of Waco changed<br />

as rural blacks left the countryside for<br />

the city in search of a better life. Waco’s<br />

population doubled again and support<br />

services grew to meet the demands of<br />

more city dwellers.<br />

Many African Americans who had<br />

participated in wartime activities in Waco<br />

had seen this as a way to prove to the<br />

white citizens that they deserved greater<br />

freedom. The wartime need for racial<br />

cooperation ended with the end of the<br />

war as whites sought to reestablish the<br />

pre-war social control that had existed<br />

since the end of Reconstruction.<br />

A more militant and less accommodating<br />

sense of their civil rights carried over among<br />

The flightline at Blackland Army Airfield, 1943.<br />

THE TEXAS COLLECTION, BAYLOR UNIVERSITY, WACO, TEXAS.<br />

black citizens in the post war years. This<br />

fueled a rebirth of the Ku Klux Klan as<br />

whites sought a return of race relations<br />

that had existed before the war. In July<br />

1923 more than 2,000 Klansmen paraded<br />

through the streets of Waco to demonstrate<br />

the power of the reborn Klan.<br />

Social turmoil would dominate the<br />

1920s as veterans returned home disillusioned<br />

with the “war to end all wars,” to<br />

find that women had been given the vote,<br />

and alcohol consumption had finally been<br />

prohibited by religious fundamentalists.<br />

The latter produced speakeasies that<br />

sparked a demand for alcohol produced by<br />

An air traffic controller at Blackland Army Airfield, 1943.<br />

THE TEXAS COLLECTION, BAYLOR UNIVERSITY, WACO, TEXAS.<br />

Chapter 1 ✦ 13


After the tornado in 1953.<br />

THE TEXAS COLLECTION, BAYLOR UNIVERSITY, WACO, TEXAS.<br />

the many illegal stills operating in the area.<br />

Many of these social ills would not be<br />

remedied until the economic turmoil of<br />

the Great Depression and the demands of a<br />

second World War once again changed the<br />

face of the city on the Brazos.<br />

The 1930 census revealed that Waco’s<br />

population had exceeded 53,000 as the city<br />

had continued to grow and prosper.<br />

However, the Great Depression battered the<br />

city’s economy and slowed growth for the<br />

next decade. A severe drought from 1928<br />

until the early 1930s affected much of the<br />

agricultural area that the city depended<br />

upon and added to the misery of the times.<br />

During the same years the price of cotton<br />

fell from 20 cents a pound to 5 cents a<br />

pound. As cotton prices fell, farmers<br />

reduced the number of acres under<br />

cultivation and had fewer dollars to spend<br />

with Waco merchants. As businesses failed<br />

and unemployment rose, The Cotton<br />

Palace, a symbol of the city’s prosperity,<br />

closed in 1930.<br />

During the Depression, Waco used its<br />

transportation network as a distribution<br />

center for the government’s surplus commodities.<br />

A National Youth Administration<br />

program was begun at Baylor University,<br />

and the Works Progress Administration<br />

constructed University High School. The<br />

population of the city slowed during the<br />

1930s, and by 1940 it had reached 55,982.<br />

We grew a lot of cotton hereabouts,<br />

and when the Depression hit in the thirties,<br />

nobody, nowhere had any money to<br />

buy cotton or anything else. Mostly, we<br />

planted vegetables where some of the cotton<br />

usually was, just so we could have<br />

something to eat. Walter M. Granger<br />

Waco, Texas October 1998.<br />

The Stars Were Big and Bright<br />

Thomas E. Alexander, 2000<br />

The onset of World War II and the United<br />

States’ entry would stimulate and<br />

reinvigorate Waco’s economy. Many new<br />

manufacturing companies moved to Waco<br />

to join in the war effort as the demand for<br />

cotton and cotton products skyrocketed.<br />

In August 1941 city and <strong>McLennan</strong><br />

<strong>County</strong> officials learned that the War<br />

Department would consider Waco for a large<br />

airfield, if the land was available and could<br />

be leased by the government for one dollar<br />

per year. Construction began soon after and,<br />

by May 5, 1942, the airfield was ready to<br />

conduct basic flight classes. The installation<br />

was originally named Waco Army Flying<br />

School, but was later re-named Waco Army<br />

Air Field. Thousands of pilots serving in all<br />

theaters of the war would receive their basic<br />

pilot training in Waco until the base was<br />

deactivated in 1945. Cold War defense<br />

requirements saw its reactivation as a basic<br />

pilot-training school in 1948. In June 1949<br />

the name was changed to James Connally Air<br />

Force Base and by 1951 all pilot training had<br />

ceased. Later the base would offer instrument<br />

flying, radar operation, navigation and<br />

bombardier training. The program was<br />

discontinued in 1962 and the Air Force<br />

established headquarters for the 12th Air<br />

Force at the base in 1966. The former base is<br />

now shared by Texas State Technical College<br />

and L-3 Communications.<br />

A second installation was activated June<br />

1942 and initially named China Spring<br />

Army Air Field and also called Waco<br />

Army Air Field No. 2. It was later re-named<br />

Blackland Army Air Field. It began life as a<br />

glider pilot training school, but was<br />

redesigned as an advanced two-engine pilot<br />

training facility. The base was deactivated in<br />

1945, and by 1950 was operating as the<br />

Waco Municipal Airport.<br />

The Waco economy experienced a<br />

resurgence during the 1940s and early<br />

1950s. Near the end of the war the city had<br />

been chosen for the site of the first major tire<br />

factory in the southwest, and the General<br />

Tire and Rubber factory provided many jobs<br />

during the postwar years. The city retained<br />

its position as the sixth largest industrial<br />

center in the state. More than 250 factories<br />

produced glass, furniture, tires, sports<br />

equipment and many other consumer<br />

goods. This industrialization diversified the<br />

area’s economy and caused changes in the<br />

agricultural sector as many rural residents<br />

gave up the farm in exchange for the steady<br />

pay of urban jobs. Many small farms<br />

disappeared as emphasis shifted to larger<br />

commercial agribusinesses. Cotton, once<br />

King, gave way to more diversified crops.<br />

Waco Tornado Path.<br />

THE TEXAS COLLECTION, BAYLOR UNIVERSITY, WACO, TEXAS.<br />

14 ✦ HISTORIC MCLENNAN COUNTY


The city and the area suffered a physical<br />

blow in May 1953, when a monstrous tornado<br />

struck the downtown area. The twister<br />

touched down first in the Bell’s Hill area,<br />

rolled through the old Cotton Palace Park,<br />

and tore into downtown, crossed the Brazos<br />

almost at the suspension bridge, ravaged East<br />

Waco residential neighborhoods, and exited<br />

the city. Entire city blocks in the downtown<br />

area were completely devastated. The tornado<br />

killed 144 people and more than 1,000 were<br />

injured. In town, 196 business buildings were<br />

destroyed and more than 300 more were so<br />

damaged that they had to be razed. Property<br />

damage totaled more than $50 million. The<br />

storm had torn the heart out of the city.<br />

Following the tornado many businesses<br />

rebuilt in suburban areas abandoning<br />

the downtown business district. Racial<br />

integration of public schools during the<br />

1960s prompted “white flight” to other<br />

suburban areas. Waco’s downtown area<br />

suffered from the blight that affected many<br />

American cities during the 1950s and 1960s.<br />

The Lake Waco dam project began in June of<br />

1958 and was completed in early 1965. The<br />

Roosevelt Hotel closed in 1961 but reopened<br />

as the Regis Home for the Elderly in 1963. In<br />

late 1965 <strong>McLennan</strong> Community College<br />

was created and in early 1966 classes were<br />

first offered at Texas State Technical Institute<br />

at the old Connally Air Force Base. In a<br />

1966 effort to begin the revitalization of<br />

downtown, Waco voters approved a $17<br />

million capital improvements program. This<br />

program plus a $2.9 million grant and a $1.2<br />

million city sales tax went into effect in an<br />

effort to reduce the blight and tornado<br />

damage to the historic inner city. The money<br />

was spent for beautification of Austin Avenue<br />

from 9th Street to the Brazos River, trash<br />

control, improvements in traffic flow, and the<br />

creation of a modern, progressive image for<br />

the city. The Interstate 35 section through<br />

Waco was completed in 1966. This year also<br />

marked the election of the first African-<br />

American, Dr. Gary Radford, to serve on the<br />

Waco City Council.<br />

The city would continue its drive to<br />

create a forward, progressive image for<br />

the remainder of the 20th century. It would<br />

enter the new century with a new face as<br />

older heavy industry was replaced with new<br />

technology and use of its history to promote<br />

tourism. The Brazos Urban Renewal Project<br />

cleared all buildings between 3rd Street and<br />

the Brazos River except for City Hall in the<br />

Central Business District in 1968. Waco was<br />

selected as one of the first cities in the<br />

nation to receive federal funds for a Model<br />

Cities action year.<br />

The 1970 census saw Waco’s population<br />

reach 95,000. In 1971 the suspension<br />

bridge was closed to vehicular traffic and, in<br />

early 1972, the Waco Convention Center<br />

opened. In 1974 Waco welcomed its first<br />

African-American mayor, Oscar De Conge.<br />

The Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum<br />

was dedicated in 1976.<br />

Despite the fact that Waco’s economy<br />

underwent a turndown during the 1980s<br />

and early ’90s, the population passed<br />

100,000 in 1980 and the new Hilton Hotel<br />

opened in 1981. The Waco City Council<br />

established a Tax Abatement District in<br />

1982 and many firms took advantage by<br />

renovating downtown buildings. The Waco<br />

Suspension Bridge, as part of the Texas<br />

Sesquicentennial, was selected by the Texas<br />

Society of Professional Engineers as one<br />

of the five outstanding achievements in<br />

Texas. That same year the renovated Waco<br />

Hippodrome reopened as a performing arts<br />

center. In 1991 the city lured the Texas<br />

Sports Hall of Fame from Grand Prairie to<br />

Waco. A new, modern Cameron Park Zoo<br />

replaced the old Central Texas Zoo in 1993.<br />

The new zoo featured beautiful landscapes<br />

and displays of hundreds of animals.<br />

The 21st century would see the city continue<br />

an aggressive policy of beautification<br />

and renovation with an increased sense<br />

of historical preservation. An outstanding<br />

example of community spirit resulted in the<br />

retention of the Waco Veterans Affairs<br />

Medical Center. Baylor’s pursuit of top tier<br />

status has given the city a world-class museum<br />

to accompany the designation of the<br />

Waco Mammoth Site as part of the national<br />

park system. A multi-million dollar expansion<br />

by the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and<br />

Museum, as well as continued expansion of<br />

Churches promotional ad.<br />

THE TEXAS COLLECTION, BAYLOR UNIVERSITY, WACO, TEXAS.<br />

the Texas Sports Hall of Fame have kept two<br />

of Waco’s top tourist attractions up to date.<br />

The Lake Waco Riverwalk will figure highly<br />

in their plans. Downtown Waco has continued<br />

to change from a square full of cotton<br />

bales to a modern business district featuring<br />

a new “green” Greater Waco Chamber of<br />

Commerce building, as well as upscale lofts<br />

in the Austin Avenue Flats complex. Both<br />

the Convention Center and the Dr Pepper<br />

Museum are receiving extensive renovations,<br />

and $7 million was provided to<br />

“protect, preserve and improve Cameron<br />

Park by the time of its centennial in 2010.”<br />

Waco appears headed in the direction of<br />

a modern Southern city, reaping rewards<br />

from its history, and broadcasting a message<br />

that this is not your father’s Waco.<br />

Chapter 1 ✦ 15


THE MAGIC BRIDGE<br />

T HE W ACO S USPENSION B RIDGE<br />

The following is a revised version of Mary Alice O’Dowd’s The Magic Bridge.<br />

In the beginning “magic” was the<br />

word used by travelers to describe the<br />

historic span across the Brazos River<br />

known then and now simply as the<br />

Suspension Bridge.<br />

Prior to the Suspension Bridge, the<br />

only safe place to cross the treacherous<br />

Brazos River was a ford down below<br />

Marlin at the falls of the river.<br />

Construction on the Suspension<br />

Bridge in Waco began in 1866, and the<br />

475-foot span was officially opened to<br />

the public with great celebration on<br />

January 7, 1870. It was the first bridge<br />

across the Brazos, and was at that time the<br />

longest single span suspension bridge in<br />

the world.<br />

The New York firm of John A. Roebling<br />

Co., the originators of the suspensiontype<br />

bridge, were given the contract to<br />

build the bridge, the same company that<br />

built the famed Brooklyn Bridge ten years<br />

prior. The company sent Thomas M.<br />

Griffith to Waco as chief engineer.<br />

Griffith completed his drawings and<br />

mailed them to foundries in the East<br />

where the pieces were tooled, then<br />

returned by boat to Galveston. From<br />

there they were transported part of the<br />

way by rail, but the last 145 miles was<br />

covered by ox teams, which was a long<br />

haul across the dusty Texas plains.<br />

The shifting, sandy banks of the river<br />

made the setting of the piers and anchor<br />

houses extremely difficult. J. W. Mann of<br />

Waco supplied 2,700,000 bricks for the<br />

project, and Waco’s Trice and Company<br />

did the brick work. The total cost of<br />

construction was $130,000.<br />

The Suspension Bridge was operated<br />

as a toll bridge for nearly twenty years.<br />

Pioneers recall that tolls were collected<br />

by means of a basket lowered on the end<br />

of a rope to discourage robbery. A high<br />

board fence surrounded the bridge<br />

keeper’s house on the west bank. One<br />

Wacoan remembers that her father paid a<br />

dollar to take his 10 children, wagon and<br />

oxen across the bridge.<br />

In 1889 <strong>McLennan</strong> <strong>County</strong>, by a bond<br />

issue of $80,000, purchased the historic<br />

span from the local bridge company and<br />

conveyed it to the city of Waco for the<br />

sum of one dollar and the consideration<br />

that it would be maintained and operated<br />

as a free public highway.<br />

The bridge was an awe-inspiring sight,<br />

with people detouring many miles to see<br />

it. It was regarded by many as one of the<br />

wonders of the world.<br />

On May 5, 1917, the Henry Downs<br />

Chapter, Daughters of the American<br />

Revolution, erected a granite monument<br />

to the first crossing and to Waco<br />

Springs. The spring was a magnate that<br />

drew the Waco Indians to establish their<br />

village there.<br />

The Magic Bridge.<br />

On December 6, 1959, tribute was<br />

paid again to the “Old Suspension Bridge”<br />

when the Heritage Society of Waco<br />

unveiled a bronze plaque placed in one<br />

of the arched windows of the west<br />

anchor housing facing Bridge Street<br />

(University Parks Drive). The marker<br />

lists the main facts about the historic<br />

structure and serves as a memorial for<br />

an early-day Waco lawyer, the late<br />

Judge William Sleeper, who as a 9-yearold<br />

boy sat on the riverbanks and<br />

watched the bridge’s construction.<br />

Although those who were there<br />

for the construction have long passed,<br />

the important role the bridge played<br />

in this area continues to be remembered,<br />

and it still plays a role today<br />

as a beautiful focal point for the city<br />

of Waco. The bridge is now closed to<br />

vehicle traffic but is still used as a<br />

scenic pedestrian crossing for residents<br />

and visitors.<br />

16 ✦ HISTORIC MCLENNAN COUNTY


M-K-T Locomotive House in Bellmead.<br />

THE TEXAS COLLECTION, BAYLOR UNIVERSITY, WACO, TEXAS.<br />

BELLMEAD<br />

C OMPILED BY C HARLES O LSON<br />

The roots of Bellmead, Texas, grew out<br />

of the Missouri, Kansas, and Texas Railway<br />

(M-K-T). In June of 1910, the M-K-T purchased<br />

90 percent of the Texas Central<br />

Railway that ran 268 miles from Waco to<br />

Rotan with a 40 mile branch to DeLeon,<br />

Texas. Because of its central location, the<br />

M-K-T built a massive locomotive complex<br />

(called a roundhouse) in a rural area<br />

near Waco. In 1911, the M-K-T President<br />

Charles Schaff, on an inspection tour of the<br />

new facility, noted to a Katy railroad attorney<br />

that the area around the roundhouse<br />

reminded him of the farm where he grew<br />

up in Belle Meade, Tennessee. Belle Meade<br />

is French for “beautiful meadows” and the<br />

area around the roundhouse soon became<br />

known as Bellmead.<br />

In 1913, “Bellmead Court” was laid out<br />

in lots and blocks. There were few buyers<br />

as the land was prone to flooding.<br />

Eventually, the Ashleman Farm (which lay<br />

adjacent to the M-K-T property) was<br />

divided into lots that sold for $35 each to<br />

families working for the railroad and to<br />

those wishing to provide goods and<br />

services to those families. Over time, more<br />

people moved to the beautiful area and<br />

more businesses followed.<br />

The 1928-29 Polk City Directory was the<br />

first to list Bellmead streets. The first<br />

merchant was Jess Golding, who operated a<br />

small store at the corner of Carla and Katy<br />

Lane. The 1928 directory showed the<br />

Golding store, a two-story rooming house, a<br />

garage, barber shop, gas station, grocery<br />

store and the Bellmead Baptist Church. State<br />

Highway 84 was constructed by the State<br />

Highway Department in 1932, bringing a<br />

vital transportation link to the area.<br />

Schools in the area were consolidated<br />

in 1927 to form the LaVega Independent<br />

School District. A post office was established<br />

in 1937 with A. L. Gilliam as the<br />

first postmaster.<br />

Water was initially brought to Bellmead<br />

by a water line from Waco. During<br />

the Depression, the Work Progress<br />

Administration built water and sewer lines to<br />

serve the Bellmead area. Those water lines<br />

were connected to four artesian wells in the<br />

early 1940s About that same time, a volunteer<br />

fire department was established and the fire<br />

station became the center of civic activity.<br />

WWII CREATES OPPORTUNITY<br />

Before World War II, the economy for<br />

the Bellmead area was dependent on the<br />

M-K-T railroad shops. The war created new<br />

Chapter 3 ✦ 17


and different economic activity. A General<br />

Tire Plant came to produce military truck<br />

tires. Waco Army Airfield, later called James<br />

Connally Air Force Base, was established,<br />

and the M-K-T Railway was given a boost as<br />

it was one of the chief transporters of crude<br />

oil from Texas to the rest of the country.<br />

All the activity centered around the<br />

war effort caused a rapid increase in<br />

the population. In the early 1940s the<br />

population was approximately 25, but by<br />

1949 it had increased to 800.<br />

In 1951, a Bellmead citizen, Chuck<br />

Lovelace, learned from a Waco city councilman<br />

that Waco was planning to annex<br />

the Bellmead area in 1952. After talking<br />

with other prominent Bellmead citizens,<br />

Lovelace convinced the county commissioners<br />

to hold an incorporation election so<br />

that the citizens of the area could determine<br />

whether they wanted to be a separate city.<br />

Those for and against the election<br />

organized and the election was held on<br />

December 19, 1952. The election was very<br />

close, but the incorporation was approved.<br />

The initial charter was drafted by a local<br />

group of residents including George Baer,<br />

O. B. Lusk, J. H. West, Mrs. J. C. Oakes and<br />

Chuck Lovelace. The first City Council<br />

meeting was held on November 12, 1953.<br />

The initial city manager was B. K. West and<br />

the first city attorney was Lyndon Olson<br />

who served 51 years.<br />

In 1960 Bellmead had 85 businesses and<br />

5,127 residents. In 1965 James Connally<br />

Air Force Base was closed, but Texas A&M<br />

took the base and established the James<br />

Connally Technical Institute, known today<br />

as Texas State Technical Institute.<br />

Through hard work and good planning,<br />

the population and economy of Bellmead<br />

has grown significantly. The population of<br />

the city in 2008 was 9,500. By that same<br />

year, the value of real property improvements<br />

had grown to $337 million. Bellmead<br />

completed construction of a new city hall in<br />

2007 and constructed a new headquarters<br />

for its police department. The city is now a<br />

hub of economic activity along Interstate<br />

Highway 35 and Loop 340 in <strong>McLennan</strong><br />

<strong>County</strong> with a population in 2000 of 9,214.<br />

M-K-T officials in Bellmead.<br />

THE TEXAS COLLECTION, BAYLOR UNIVERSITY, WACO, TEXAS.<br />

Candidates for Bellmead’s first municipal election. Left to right, front row: Nick Bontello, R. K. Carter, J. H. West,<br />

O. B. Lusk; second row: James E. Scott, John A. Hyden, Charles Gee, J. Matt Smith; third row: J. W. Bounds,<br />

H. E. Rodick, Jasper Pyburn and Leon Willis. Not shown are A. H. Hartsfield and I. E. Skinner.<br />

PHOTO BY BILL MILLER. THE TEXAS COLLECTION, BAYLOR UNIVERSITY, WACO, TEXAS.<br />

18 ✦ HISTORIC MCLENNAN COUNTY


BEVERLY HILLS<br />

C OMPILED BY S HARON B RACKEN<br />

Beverly Hills is located approximately<br />

4 miles from downtown Waco. Residents<br />

decided to incorporate the city just prior<br />

to 1950. Eventually the city of Waco<br />

surrounded Beverly Hills and left no<br />

room for the city to expand.<br />

Mayors that have served the city<br />

include H. W. Wright, Scott A. Poage,<br />

E. R. Long, Sam Johnson and R. A. Bryant.<br />

In the early 1940s the population was<br />

approximately 237. After Beverly Hills<br />

incorporated, it grew rapidly from<br />

approximately 703 in 1950 to 2,289 in the<br />

1970s. In 2000 the population was 2,113.<br />

Beverly Hills has no school system.<br />

Student living in Beverly Hills attend<br />

schools that are part of the Waco<br />

Independent School District even though<br />

some are located in Beverly Hills. The city<br />

also connects to the Waco water and<br />

sewer system.<br />

South Valley Mills Drive, a busy stretch<br />

of road that runs through Beverly Hills<br />

and Waco also connects to Interstate<br />

Highway 35. The majority of businesses<br />

in the Beverly Hills city limits are located<br />

on South Valley Mills Drive.<br />

Left: Dedication plaque of City Hall in Beverly Hills. Right: Beverly Hills City Hall on Memorial Drive, 2010.<br />

PHOTOS BY LAUREN D. MICKENS.<br />

BOSQUEVILLE<br />

C OMPILED BY N ANCY R OBERTS D ETLEFSEN<br />

Bosqueville, located 7 miles northwest<br />

of Waco, was one of only three communities<br />

in existence when <strong>McLennan</strong><br />

<strong>County</strong> was established in 1850, and<br />

was considered for the county seat.<br />

Pioneers settled in the area because<br />

of the rich alluvial soil, and cotton<br />

production was the primary agricultural<br />

crop. Early families included the<br />

Worthams, Scotts, Cobbs, McNamaras<br />

and Stewarts.<br />

In 1860, the population of Bosqueville<br />

was recorded as 531 persons. The public<br />

school district, created in 1854, still<br />

exists today.<br />

In 1856 John Collier established<br />

the largest school in the county, the<br />

Bosqueville Academy for Boys and<br />

Seminary for Young Ladies, which<br />

closed at the beginning of the Civil<br />

War. Reorganized in 1862 as the<br />

Bosqueville Male and Female College, it<br />

was the first coeducational institution in<br />

the county.<br />

The first Masonic Lodge in <strong>McLennan</strong><br />

<strong>County</strong>, Bosque Lodge #171, was charted<br />

in 1855 in Bosqueville. By the late 1880s<br />

the community had four stores, a post<br />

office (1858-1910), gins, barber shop<br />

and blacksmith shops. Descendants of<br />

the founding families still reside in the<br />

community today. The population, as of<br />

2000, was approximately 1,900.<br />

Chapter 4 ✦ 19


JULIUS BLEDSOE<br />

C OMPILED BY L AUREN D. MICKENS<br />

Jules Bledsoe.<br />

THE TEXAS COLLECTION, BAYLOR UNIVERSITY, WACO, TEXAS.<br />

After graduating from Bishop College<br />

in 1918, Bledsoe continued his education<br />

attending Columbia University to study<br />

medicine. After his mother’s death,<br />

Bledsoe realized that his true calling was<br />

musical performance.<br />

One of Bledsoe’s coaches while at<br />

Columbia was Lazar Samoiloff. On April<br />

20, 1924, at Aeolian Hall in New York,<br />

Bledsoe performed his professional<br />

debut under the guidance of Samoiloff.<br />

In 1926, Bledsoe made his stage debut<br />

as Tizan in the opera, “Deep River.”<br />

This production helped to shape future<br />

roles. Bledsoe was later cast in the stage<br />

production of “Show Boat.”<br />

“Show Boat” opened on December 27,<br />

1927, at Ziegfled Theater in New York.<br />

A new standard of excellence was<br />

established after the musical ran for 572<br />

performances. This lead to his film debut<br />

in the 1929 film version of “Show Boat.”<br />

Bledsoe continued to make history as<br />

the first African-American artist to be<br />

continuously employed by a Broadway<br />

theater and the first African-American to<br />

sing in the Metropolitan Opera House.<br />

Bledsoe stared in many other<br />

productions but is most remembered for<br />

“Show Boat.” On December 2, 1935, he<br />

returned to New Hope Baptist Church<br />

where 500 townspeople gathered to<br />

hear him sing classics, spirituals and<br />

his original work. On July 14, 1943,<br />

Bledsoe died from a cerebral hemorrhage.<br />

His body was brought from Hollywood,<br />

California, to Waco, Texas. Bledsoe’s<br />

funeral was held at New Hope Baptist<br />

Church and he was laid to rest at<br />

Greenwood Cemetery.<br />

Waco native, Julius Bledsoe, a talented<br />

baritone singer and composer, became<br />

famous when he was cast as Joe in<br />

the movie “Show Boat” and sang the<br />

song “Ol’ Man River.” The part of Joe<br />

was specifically created for Bledsoe<br />

and he helped make the song an<br />

American classic.<br />

Bledsoe was born in Waco, Texas, on<br />

December 29, 1899, to Henry L. and<br />

Jessie Cobb Bledsoe. His aunt taught<br />

him how to sing and play the piano. At<br />

a young age Bledsoe began singing<br />

at New Hope Baptist Church where his<br />

grandfather, Stephen Cobb, was the first<br />

African-American licensed preacher and<br />

founder of the church.<br />

Bledsoe attended preparatory school,<br />

Central Texas Academy, where he<br />

graduated valedictorian. He received his<br />

undergraduate degree at Bishop College<br />

in Marshall, Texas, where he studied<br />

liberal arts and music.<br />

Jules Bledsoe, standing in front of the theater where “Show Boat” was performed.<br />

THE TEXAS COLLECTION, BAYLOR UNIVERSITY, WACO, TEXAS.<br />

20 ✦ HISTORIC MCLENNAN COUNTY


BRUCEVILLE<br />

C OMPILED BY M ARY A NN D UNNING D AMERON<br />

Bruceville is between Lorena (Aerl)<br />

and Eddy (Marvin) in the southwestern<br />

corner of <strong>McLennan</strong> <strong>County</strong>. It is located<br />

1 to 2 miles south of where it was when<br />

it was named Mastersville or Masterville.<br />

Prior to that it was called Cow Bayou.<br />

It is likely that the original village of<br />

Mastersville was in the vicinity of the<br />

Cox Family Cemetery, also known as the<br />

Cedar Bridge Cemetery, just west of<br />

Interstate Highway 35 near Exit 319. It<br />

was located on the land that belonged to<br />

E. Thomas Cox (1829-1917) prior to the<br />

Civil War. The Cedar Bridge was on Cox’s<br />

land. Friends of Cox crossed the South Cow<br />

Bayou for free, but all others paid tolls.<br />

The bridge and a church were in the<br />

proximity of Mastersville, where Cox built<br />

the first gin in this part of the county in 1867<br />

or 1868. The Mastersville post office was<br />

also established in 1868. It was one of four<br />

in the county in 1870. Mollie Rutherford<br />

was the postmaster. The Mastersville Post<br />

Office was the successor to the second<br />

post office in the county, the Cow Bayou<br />

Post Office that opened in 1865.<br />

DR. BRUCE<br />

BRINGS COMMERCE,<br />

MEDICAL CARE TO AREA<br />

Bruceville’s name came from Dr. Lucian<br />

Bruce. In 1867, Bruce came from North<br />

Carolina/Tennessee to (old) Mastersville<br />

with his wife, Dorinda and their four<br />

children. He was the only physician in the<br />

area for many years and his practice<br />

covered approximately a 20-mile area.<br />

Between 1870 and 1880, Bruce built a<br />

flourmill for $20,000 and laid out town<br />

lots to bring people closer to the train.<br />

This convinced the Missouri, Kansas, and<br />

Texas Railway (M-K-T) that it would be<br />

profitable to bring the Waco/Temple<br />

extension across Bruce’s 1,000 acres.<br />

Most of the first village of Mastersville<br />

moved to the west of the proposed depot<br />

site designated Bruceville by M-K-T.<br />

The United States Postal Service<br />

would officially recognize the town as<br />

Bruceville on March 15, 1887. George W.<br />

Kincher, the last Mastersville postmaster,<br />

became the first Bruceville postmaster.<br />

CHURCHES<br />

By 1881 the new Mastersville<br />

(population 250) was located 2 miles<br />

north of Marvin, and 5 miles south of<br />

Aerl (Bruceville). The Mastersville<br />

churches, the Methodist (organized by<br />

members from Cedar Bridge Church,<br />

1863), and the Baptist (Church at Salem,<br />

1871) held services on alternate Sundays<br />

in a shared building on the “Church<br />

Block” that was donated by Bruce.<br />

In 1874, David Return Kincannon, his<br />

wife J. Katherine, and nine children<br />

settled on 1,000 acres they purchased for<br />

21 bales of cotton. The acreage was<br />

located near old Mastersville. Many of<br />

their children stayed in the area including<br />

five of their sons and their wives.<br />

Other early residents included<br />

Charlotte and Charles Dunning who came<br />

from New York City to make their home<br />

2 miles west of Eddy (Marvin) in 1874.<br />

Dr. G. B. Harris (1856-1917), son of Mary<br />

Cox and stepson of E. Tom Cox, returned<br />

home from Vanderbilt Medical School to<br />

become the town’s second doctor.<br />

A 1911 “History of Central and<br />

Western Texas” notes that in 1890,<br />

Bruceville (population 236) was one of<br />

seven principal towns in the county and<br />

places it among the population centers<br />

(population 289) in 1900.<br />

EDUCATION<br />

During this same period of time the<br />

old Davenport home on the north side<br />

of Bruce Street had served as the<br />

schoolhouse for some years. But in 1912,<br />

a new two-story red brick schoolhouse<br />

was built.<br />

In 1928 the high schools of Bruceville<br />

and Eddy moved one mile to the present<br />

school complex that was purchased<br />

from Nora M. and Henry M. Appleby.<br />

Bruceville-Eddy became the first rural<br />

consolidated high school in the county.<br />

COMMERCE<br />

AND THE HIGHWAY<br />

Businesses such as Kincannon Bros.<br />

Lumber and Hardware, Edwards’<br />

Mercantile, a barbershop and the<br />

Bruceville State Bank all flourished in<br />

Bruceville in the early 1900s.<br />

In 1928 the new Waco-Temple Highway<br />

followed the route of First Street through<br />

downtown Bruceville. The construction<br />

of U.S. Highway 81 in Oct. 1932 put<br />

Bruceville halfway between Waco and<br />

Temple. The Bruceville overpass, built in<br />

1932, was the only viaduct on this two<br />

lane, 20-feet wide stretch of highway.<br />

Commerce followed the new highway<br />

with Firquin Grocery and Gas relocating<br />

a few hundred yards north of Bruce<br />

Street with added bungalows for a<br />

“motor hotel.”<br />

In the 1930s Bruceville had a<br />

population of 430, but its downtown<br />

district was a shadow of its former self.<br />

In 1957, Interstate Highway 35 was<br />

constructed beside U.S. Highway 81,<br />

with some sections of 81 becoming east<br />

and some west frontage roads.<br />

The communities of Bruceville and Eddy<br />

were incorporated as the city of Bruceville-<br />

Eddy in April 1974. Later, both city halls<br />

moved to the new Municipal Building and<br />

Fire Station across from the school. Total<br />

population of the combined communities<br />

in the 2000 census was 1,568.<br />

Chapter 6 ✦ 21


China Spring High School, 1924.<br />

COURTESY OF FRANCES OLSON.<br />

CHINA SPRING<br />

C OMPILED BY H AL P LEDGER<br />

One day’s walk from the Huaco Indian<br />

Village, under a grove of chinaberry trees,<br />

was a large, dependable spring. Native<br />

Americans would rest at this spring located<br />

on the Comanche Trail. As the trail riders and<br />

settlers arrived in the area, the spring<br />

continued to be a popular campground. The<br />

Village of China Spring took its name from<br />

this watering place. Some maps showed the<br />

town name as China Springs, and five road<br />

signs in the 1960s also used the town name<br />

of China Springs, but there was only one<br />

spring, and the correct name is China Spring.<br />

China Spring is part of the Miguel Rabajo<br />

11 league (48,711.3 acres) Mexican land<br />

grant. Rabajo was given the land in 1834,<br />

but never claimed it, so subgrants were<br />

carved in 1835 and given to Isaac Crouch,<br />

Hardin Nevill, John S. McCoy, William Neill<br />

and John Hannor. After the Civil War,<br />

permanent settlers arrived, and by 1870 a<br />

community known as China Spring existed.<br />

In the summer of 1870, Norman H.<br />

Conger, along with 18 family members and<br />

employees left Knox <strong>County</strong>, Illinois, and<br />

after 43 days of travel, crossed the new<br />

suspension bridge in Waco on Oct. 10,<br />

1870. He and his two brothers, Edward D.<br />

and Harvey E. Conger, bought the rest of<br />

the Miguel Rabajo Mexican land grant<br />

(28,000 acres) in the spring of 1873. They<br />

brought high quality livestock from Illinois,<br />

including the seventh registered bull in<br />

Texas. The property was called the Conger<br />

Free Grass. But in 1874, Norman Conger<br />

enclosed a pasture with barbed wire,<br />

probably the first time the wire was used in<br />

<strong>McLennan</strong> <strong>County</strong>.<br />

Another early family was the Cicero<br />

Talbert family. Talbert had come from<br />

Alabama in the 1870s, and married Alberta<br />

Garrett. Together they had 13 children. With<br />

each child, Talbert expanded the house. It<br />

was used as the only hotel in China Spring.<br />

This was also the first house in the area with<br />

a Delco electric light system.<br />

On May 26, 1873, the post office was<br />

established, with Charles S. Eichelberger the<br />

first postmaster. He and two brothers settled<br />

at what became known as Eichelberger’s<br />

Crossing on the North Bosque River in<br />

about 1858. Eichelberger Island became a<br />

popular camping ground.<br />

EARLY COMMERCE<br />

Notely M. Roberts owned the first store<br />

in China Spring. It was a mercantile store<br />

he moved from Wortham Bend in 1880.<br />

He also owned a ranch where he raised<br />

horses and cattle. Other early businesses<br />

included Callaway and Nail’s Meat Market<br />

and Grocery, where on a Saturday, a small<br />

bowl of chili could be purchased for a<br />

nickel or a large bowl for a dime, with<br />

crackers and ketchup for free.<br />

22 ✦ HISTORIC MCLENNAN COUNTY


Two general stores, one owned by Sam<br />

Walker, the other by Will Davis, were also<br />

early establishments. The Davis store had a<br />

candy and dry goods section in the front,<br />

with a hardware and saddle section in the<br />

back. Other early businesses included:<br />

Carpenter’s Grocery and Mercantile, Hick’s<br />

Drug Store, Barnard’s Drug Store and Ice<br />

Cream Parlor, Ben Roberts Barber Shop,<br />

Johnny Rogers Shoe Shop, Elgie and Richard<br />

Null’s Blacksmith Shop, Henry Ledenham’s<br />

Blacksmith Shop and Lawrence Pierce<br />

Garage and Service Station.<br />

On May 1, 1903, Lavantia Conger,<br />

widow of Harvey E. Conger, sold a tract of<br />

land to M. M. Roberts and G. P. Harris,<br />

trustees for the China Spring Tabernacle, for<br />

$16. The plain frame Tabernacle was built<br />

with a stage on the first floor, and outside<br />

stairs leading to the second floor that were<br />

used by the Order of Woodmen of the<br />

World, camp 707. “For generations this<br />

historic building has faithfully served its<br />

community as a convenient and pleasant<br />

civic center, involving such varied uses as<br />

church revivals, school assemblies, amateur<br />

theatricals, traveling shows and lectures as<br />

well as innumerable old-time displays of<br />

political oratory,” Roger N. Conger, a China<br />

Spring native, said. It is the oldest building<br />

in continual use in China Spring.<br />

Tabernacle, China Springs[sic], Texas 1908.<br />

COURTESY OF FRANCES OLSON.<br />

DOWNTOWN DISTRICT BURNS<br />

The town suffered a major structural<br />

loss one hot Sunday in late August 1922,<br />

when two boys smoking behind their<br />

house started a fire that burned all of<br />

the nine businesses in the two block<br />

downtown district. Some of the buildings<br />

were eventually rebuilt with brick or<br />

concrete structures, but the area was never<br />

again considered the center of commerce.<br />

CHURCHES<br />

In 1884 the Methodist church was started<br />

on the hundredth anniversary of Methodism<br />

in America when circuit rider G. W. Harris<br />

organized a congregation of 40 members.<br />

The Baptist church formed in 1886. There<br />

China Spring Baptist Church, 1908.<br />

COURTESY OF FRANCES OLSON.<br />

was also a Christian congregation organized,<br />

and the three churches held joint services in<br />

a one-room building. The Methodist held<br />

services one Sunday a month, the Baptist<br />

two Sundays, and the Christian one Sunday.<br />

If there was a fifth Sunday in the month, a<br />

non-denominational service was held. In<br />

1890 the Methodists raised $734.40 and<br />

built a 30 by 40 foot sanctuary. The Baptist<br />

completed their building in 1904. By 1910,<br />

the Christian church had disbanded.<br />

EDUCATION<br />

In 1884 the China Spring School<br />

District formed, with the first trustees<br />

being Ben Kennedy, Eli Ditto and William<br />

Smith. In the 1890s Adams Academy, an<br />

institute of higher learning, was operated<br />

by the Disciples of Christ. Some of the<br />

boys who attended were Robert G.<br />

Granger, Will <strong>McLennan</strong>, Les Talbert and<br />

Dee Conger.<br />

Chapter 7 ✦ 23


EARLY SETTLER INCLUDING<br />

“ THE MAN WHO WALKED<br />

EVERYWHERE”<br />

M. E. Church, China Springs[sic], Texas 1908.<br />

COURTESY OF FRANCES OLSON.<br />

China Spring, Texas, Main Street, with Dr. Beverly Caldwell’s buggy in front of Mac Crawford’s house, 1909.<br />

COURTESY OF FRANCES OLSON.<br />

TOWN PHYSICIANS<br />

Ralph Edward Conger, son of Norman<br />

Hurd and Mary A. (Wheeler) Conger, after<br />

attending Baylor University, graduating from<br />

Tulane Medical School and interning at St.<br />

Mary’s Infirmary in Galveston, opened a<br />

practice in the China Spring-Valley Mills-<br />

Wortham Bend area. He practiced from<br />

about 1901 or 1902 until his death in 1922.<br />

Dr. Conger successfully diagnosed and<br />

treated the laboring and poor families around<br />

China Spring for pellagra, a dietary<br />

deficiency disease treated with supplements.<br />

Another early China Spring doctor was<br />

Beverly Caldwell. He graduated from<br />

Louisville Medical Center and practiced one<br />

year in west Texas, then two years in Waco.<br />

He moved to China Spring where he<br />

practiced for 42 years, retiring in 1926.<br />

In 1902, N. M. Roberts, R. R. Cox and<br />

George Harris bought five acres of land to<br />

start the China Spring Cemetery. The<br />

Eichelberger family had a family graveyard<br />

near Eichelberger’s Island. It was moved<br />

when Lake Waco was expanded.<br />

Notable citizens include Isaac Brock<br />

who was born in North Carolina on<br />

March 1, 1787, and died in China Spring<br />

September 3, 1909, at age 122. He<br />

walked to Texas in 1820 after working<br />

in the coal mines of North Carolina.<br />

At age 64 he married for the second time<br />

18-year-old Sarah Sparks. They had 12<br />

children. He was known as “the man<br />

who walked everywhere,” and thought<br />

nothing of a 35 mile stroll from China<br />

Spring to Waco and back. He would let<br />

his sons load up his wagon with cotton in<br />

China Spring, telling them to come on to<br />

Waco when they got ready. When they<br />

arrived with the wagon, there he would<br />

be, having made arrangements for the<br />

sale. He loved horses and said he did not<br />

want to ride in order to save them.<br />

Other early families included: Amos;<br />

Sam Bakers; Burts; Callaways; Cannens;<br />

Carpenters; Jasper Chaffins; Clemmons;<br />

Mac Crawfords; Crowsons; Curtons;<br />

Culpeppers; Cunninghams; Lee R. Davis;<br />

Andy Garretts; Hallmarks; George and Callie<br />

Harris; John Harris; Hawkins; Ben Jacksons;<br />

Jays; Kellys; Keplers; Kilpatricks; William<br />

B. E. <strong>McLennan</strong>s; Mabrys; Nails; Paynes;<br />

P. D. and Kirby Smiths; and John Talberts.<br />

China Spring is probably the largest<br />

town in the county that has continued<br />

to thrive without a railroad. The original<br />

economy was built on cattle with good<br />

grassland and water available. Cotton<br />

and wheat farming were prevalent in<br />

the late 1800s. In 1880 China Spring<br />

reported five cotton gins, a gristmill, a<br />

church and several businesses with a<br />

population of 200. The 1910 census<br />

reported a population of 300. Dairying<br />

replaced cotton as the chief business after<br />

the Depression.<br />

Compiled with assistance from: Sally Jo<br />

<strong>McLennan</strong> Truhlar; Ben H. (Buddy) Roberts,<br />

Jr.; Ann Payne Moore; Rev. Allen Grant; Ethel<br />

Smith; Wheeler Smith; Lynn and Robert<br />

Powers; Rose McLaughlin and Frances Olson.<br />

24 ✦ HISTORIC MCLENNAN COUNTY


CIVIL WAR ERA IN WACO<br />

C OMPILED BY J. DOUGLAS G UTHRIE, JR .<br />

Sam Houston, while traveling Texas<br />

speaking against secession and Texas leaving<br />

the Union, spoke on the <strong>McLennan</strong> <strong>County</strong><br />

courthouse steps and at the First Methodist<br />

Church. Houston closed each speech with,<br />

“And grass will grow on the streets of Waco.”<br />

When Texas did secede from the Union<br />

the first military unit to leave Waco was<br />

Company E, 4th Texas Infantry Regiment of<br />

Hood’s Texas Brigade. Upon leaving, Sgt.<br />

Oscar Downs wrote, “With 100 of my<br />

Fellowmen I now shoulder my musket and<br />

go to defend our Southern soil from the<br />

base impositions of Northern Fanatics.”<br />

It has been estimated that some 17 military<br />

units, cavalry and infantry, were raised<br />

in Waco alone. The county commissioners<br />

authorized $10,000 in taxes to arm these<br />

units and a special “Uniform Committee”<br />

was appointed to clothe the troops.<br />

At the time the <strong>McLennan</strong> <strong>County</strong><br />

population was less than 2,500 but it<br />

supplied some 900 men to the Confederate<br />

Army and another 400 men served in the<br />

state militia. The militia guarded the frontier<br />

against marauding Comanches.<br />

Commerce in Waco slowed<br />

considerably during the war. Businesses<br />

closed due to owners leaving to serve in the<br />

Confederate military or due to the<br />

economy. Business owners leaving to serve<br />

not only left a hole in commerce, it also left<br />

a hole in the families’ purses in that the<br />

breadwinner in almost half of the families<br />

in <strong>McLennan</strong> <strong>County</strong> was serving in the<br />

military. This placed a tremendous strain<br />

on the community to provide for the<br />

affected families. The <strong>McLennan</strong> <strong>County</strong><br />

Commissioners and the community, as a<br />

whole, responded by aiding these families.<br />

There was widespread counterfeiting of<br />

Confederate currency and the Confederate<br />

dollar was quite unstable. As such, barter<br />

was a preferred way to do business, but<br />

was not practical in all instances. The<br />

Commissioners found it necessary to issue<br />

script as legal tender. This script was<br />

backed only by the Commissioners Court<br />

and was not readily accepted outside of<br />

<strong>McLennan</strong> <strong>County</strong>.<br />

In March 1862 the <strong>County</strong> Commissioners,<br />

for the purpose of aiding soldiers’ families,<br />

levied a tax of 5 cents on property valuation<br />

per $100. In May this tax was increased to<br />

10 cents per $100 valuation. This produced<br />

funds enough to provide $500 to needy families.<br />

In October 1862 another $300 was given<br />

to each family. Additionally the <strong>McLennan</strong><br />

<strong>County</strong> court “ordered the sum of $15 or so<br />

much as be necessary” be appropriated to<br />

pay the expenses for the burial of soldiers.<br />

In addition to providing financial<br />

support to soldier’s families the leaking roof<br />

of the courthouse was a regular problem<br />

facing the Commissioners Court. It had<br />

been “successfully repaired,” any number<br />

of times since its construction in 1859, but<br />

still leaked. The Commissioners appointed<br />

a justice of the peace “to superintend<br />

the repairing.” He apparently could not<br />

effectively get the repairs done and Sheriff<br />

A. E. Twaddle was assigned to see that the<br />

roof was fixed. Twaddle failed as well.<br />

In January 1863 another $5,000 in<br />

warrants was issued for the relief of destitute<br />

service families.<br />

Summer, fall, and winter of 1863 were<br />

particularly depressing due to the loss at<br />

Gettysburg and the fall of Fortress Vicksburg.<br />

These disasters cast a pall all over the South,<br />

particularly in Waco and <strong>McLennan</strong> <strong>County</strong>.<br />

The courthouse roof troubles gave locals<br />

some fodder for conversations rather than<br />

the depressive news from the war front. The<br />

Commissioners again funded materials for<br />

the roof repair to see the job through.<br />

The concern for the soldiers’ families<br />

stayed on the Commissioners Court agenda.<br />

Again, in October and November, $4,900<br />

was set aside for distribution to these families.<br />

A tax of 35 cents per $100 valuation<br />

was assessed for paying expenses of the<br />

county and another 10 cents was earmarked<br />

for soldiers’ families.<br />

As of October 1864, <strong>McLennan</strong> <strong>County</strong><br />

was supporting the families of 245<br />

soldiers—a total of 919 people. It was<br />

estimated that for 1865, the effort would<br />

require 2,600 bushels of wheat, 4,000<br />

bushels of corn, 20,000 pounds of bacon,<br />

5,000 pounds of wool, and 10,000 pounds<br />

of cotton. In an effort to defray this<br />

expense it was decided to tax large planters<br />

and farmers 4,000 bushels of corn.<br />

In that inflation had made Confederate<br />

money virtually worthless, the Commissioners<br />

Court in January 1865 recommended that all<br />

taxes due for support of soldiers’ families be<br />

paid in kind rather than in worthless money.<br />

In order to establish an equitable charge<br />

and tax credit for produce, the following price<br />

list was established: corn, $5 per bushel;<br />

wheat, $10 per bushel; flour, $25 per 100<br />

lbs.; bacon, $80 per 100 lbs.; beef, $60 per<br />

head; salt, $30 per 100 lbs.; cotton, $60 per<br />

100 lbs.; and wool, $1 per lbs. unwashed,<br />

$1.33 washed.<br />

The Committee for Safety was responsible<br />

for the proper distribution of the produce to<br />

soldiers’ families.<br />

During the January 1865 session of the<br />

Commissioners Court among income items<br />

to the county for 1864 was $4,405.20 from<br />

the sale of cloth woven by families of soldiers.<br />

In the waning months of the war and<br />

after the Confederate surrender, the citizens<br />

of the county did what they could to aid<br />

soldiers passing through <strong>McLennan</strong> <strong>County</strong><br />

by providing food and lodging.<br />

It should be noted that in the first meeting<br />

of the Reconstruction Commissioners<br />

Court, the main item on the agenda was<br />

“The leak in the roof of the court house.”<br />

Despite the leak and the effects of the war,<br />

<strong>McLennan</strong> <strong>County</strong> did survive and prosper.<br />

And according to Edward Rotan, who came<br />

to Waco shortly after the war, “grass grew on<br />

the streets around the court house.”<br />

Chapter 8 ✦ 25


CRAWFORD<br />

C OMPILED BY V AN D.MASSIRER<br />

The Tonkawa Indians appear to have<br />

been the first human inhabitants of the<br />

Crawford area. This nomadic group roamed<br />

the area between the Trinity and Colorado<br />

Rivers, clashing with the Waco Indians and<br />

angering the Spanish with their refusal to<br />

stay in Spanish missions. Artifacts reveal<br />

that the area along Tonk Creek, now known<br />

as Tonkawa Park, was an Indian campground<br />

and at times also a burial ground.<br />

Petroglyphs carved into the creek bed<br />

testify to both the Tonkawa presence and<br />

also the probable influence of the Spanish.<br />

While early explorer Zebulon Pike described<br />

the Tonkawa as a “tall, handsome people”<br />

who exhibited a “peculiar clucking” in conversation<br />

and who owned large numbers of<br />

horses, other observers noted that the<br />

Indians had an unsavory tendency to partake<br />

of their enemies’ flesh in a victorious ritual<br />

following a battle.<br />

After the Tonk Indians’ removal to the<br />

Brazos Indian Reservation in 1855, only<br />

legends remained. Decimated by a smallpox<br />

epidemic, the remaining 97 Tonkawa<br />

were moved again in 1884, and only a<br />

handful of the tribe exists today in the<br />

town of Tonkawa, Oklahoma.<br />

WHITE SETTLERS<br />

Although the first white settlers were<br />

granted land in the Crawford area in the<br />

1830s, it was not until 1867, in the aftermath<br />

of the Civil War, that the true signs<br />

of a town appeared with an influx of settlers<br />

from the Deep South.<br />

Initially called Tonk Crossing and situated<br />

on the site of an abandoned Indian camp<br />

about a mile north of present-day Crawford,<br />

the village was located at the intersection of<br />

roads from Waco to Gatesville and Belton to<br />

Fort Worth. The village provided a stop<br />

and remount station and an inn on the<br />

Brownwood Stage Line. A branch of the<br />

Chisholm Trail also made its way through<br />

the area, and old timers remember their elders<br />

talking about large herds of cattle bedded<br />

down for the night immediately south<br />

of the village.<br />

A ONE- ROOM SCHOOL, AN<br />

INN, AND A TRADING POST<br />

The first justice court was held in 1870<br />

under a live oak tree, with Judge W. E.<br />

Costley presiding. By 1871 the little village<br />

had a post office, with John Heamlin as the<br />

first postmaster, a one-room school with<br />

John H. Gouldy as the lone teacher, an inn,<br />

a trading post and several other businesses.<br />

In 1872 came a new name for Tonk<br />

Crossing—Crawford. While the identity of the<br />

town’s original namesake is still disputed, the<br />

list of possible honorees includes the grader of<br />

the old creek crossing, a railroad director, a<br />

ranger stationed at the inn, and an early<br />

pioneer, all with the name of Crawford.<br />

Other surnames associated with the founding<br />

and early development of Tonk Crossing<br />

include Billman, Cranfill, Crosse, Davis, Ford,<br />

Hedrick, Hornsby and Uriah Tadlock, a business<br />

owner who donated the land for the town<br />

cemetery, the Methodist Church, and a school.<br />

TOWN RELOCATES<br />

TO MEET THE RAIL<br />

Cotton bales being loaded on railcar, Crawford, Texas, 1906.<br />

By 1881 the Santa Fe railroad was extending<br />

its tracks northward, and the citizens of<br />

Crawford decided to move their town to a<br />

site near the tracks and elected Amos<br />

Fremont Damon as the first mayor. Now<br />

with a greatly improved method of transporting<br />

goods and passengers both to and from<br />

the town, it began to flourish. Within a few<br />

years, the town grew to include a cotton gin,<br />

an inn, a hotel, flour and grist mills, several<br />

general stores, a drugstore, and a new tworoom<br />

school with two faculty members.<br />

Farming, especially the production of cotton,<br />

provided continued economic growth. Oats,<br />

wheat, barley and corn were also grown by<br />

local farmers and shipped from an elevator<br />

built next to the railroad tracks, and cattle<br />

were shipped from pens built especially for<br />

loading the animals directly onto rail cars.<br />

26 ✦ HISTORIC MCLENNAN COUNTY


GERMAN AND AUSTRIAN<br />

IMMIGRANTS SETTLE,<br />

SCHOOLS ESTABLISHED<br />

Many European immigrants, predominantly<br />

German and Austrian farmers, settled<br />

in the Crawford area, mainly west of<br />

town, during the late 1880s and 1890s.<br />

In 1886, Crawford College, a private<br />

school, consolidated with the public school<br />

and, with a faculty of three, offered instruction<br />

through the seventh grade. By the early<br />

1900s, Crawford’s population had grown to<br />

over 600, and a new four-room rock school<br />

was built in 1903, with instruction offered<br />

through the ninth grade. An auditorium<br />

was added in 1912, and instruction was<br />

increased through the eleventh grade.<br />

Benjamin Brown, Crawford’s first resident.<br />

Uriah B. Tadlock and grandson, Jolly F. Herring, c. 1913.<br />

POPULATION GROWTH<br />

SPURS COMMERCE<br />

The town was home to approximately 35<br />

businesses, multiple cotton gins (one source<br />

says five gins, another says six, with one gin<br />

that could produce either a circular or a rectangular<br />

bale), and Methodist, Baptist and<br />

Presbyterian churches. Saturdays brought<br />

the farm folks to town to trade eggs, cream<br />

and other produce for groceries at Bennett’s<br />

Store and in later years at Luedeker’s Store.<br />

They could also find more groceries<br />

plus clothing, shoes, hardware, and other<br />

necessities at the Patton Brothers Store or<br />

at Amsler’s Store, where Clyde Roberts<br />

and later, Frank Hodel, and finally,<br />

Franklin Hodel, were the managers.<br />

Amsler’s also maintained a large lumberyard<br />

and offered funeral services.<br />

Anyone in the market for farm equipment<br />

could find International Harvester<br />

products at Patton’s and John Deere at<br />

Amsler’s. Livestock feeds were available at<br />

the Abbe Feed and Poultry Store, which had<br />

as its successive owners Charlie Richardson,<br />

Bobby Heath, Eldon Schmalriede, and finally<br />

Kenneth Dieterich.<br />

Farmers and town folks alike who had<br />

surplus funds could buy a fresh cut of<br />

meat at Jordan’s Meat Market or the Red<br />

Bull Meat Market and have it prepared to<br />

their liking, or they could imbibe a bit at<br />

one of several saloons in town. Traveling<br />

circuses and medicine shows came<br />

through town and provided entertainment.<br />

Those not in a buying mood could<br />

deposit their extra funds at the First<br />

National Bank of Crawford, which had<br />

originally been organized in 1901 as the<br />

Bank of Crawford. In 1917, Civil War<br />

General Felix H. Robertson and other<br />

local investors established a second bank,<br />

the Farmers State Bank.<br />

The Depression, which began for farmers<br />

shortly after World War I ended, hit<br />

Crawford hard, and the town’s population<br />

and number of businesses declined significantly.<br />

As in many other small towns, the<br />

banks failed, closed and never opened<br />

again. However, an exception to this decline<br />

was the Tonk Quarry, which opened in the<br />

1930s and has continued operations (with<br />

several name changes) to the present time.<br />

Although the Presbyterian congregation<br />

disbanded, the town again got a third church<br />

in 1947, when Peace Lutheran moved from a<br />

rural setting to its present location and<br />

changed its name to St. Paul Lutheran.<br />

The decline proved to be temporary and<br />

was followed by a period of several decades<br />

when both population and commerce held<br />

steady. Claude Richardson’s Chevrolet dealership<br />

opened for business in the 1930s,<br />

and was taken over by Charles Travis in<br />

1946. It ceased operation as a dealership in<br />

1958. In the late 1960s and early 1970s,<br />

Crawford and the surrounding area participated<br />

in the statewide rural community<br />

improvement program and won first place<br />

in 1968 and again in 1969. The Crawford<br />

Civic Club, with James E. Damon and later,<br />

Van D. Massirer, as president, sponsored<br />

participation in the program locally.<br />

Although the number of businesses later<br />

dwindled somewhat, population and school<br />

enrollment and facilities began growing<br />

once again. One of the most important factors<br />

influencing this growth was the favorable<br />

reputation that the school system<br />

earned under the able leadership of<br />

Superintendents C. K. Burns, William<br />

Farney and Kenneth Judy. During their<br />

tenure, the repeated honors that both the<br />

academic and athletic programs garnered<br />

attracted new residents not only to the city<br />

itself but also to the surrounding area.<br />

Many other men and women, mainly<br />

teachers, business owners and civic leaders,<br />

have played important roles in both the early<br />

and continued development of Crawford.<br />

Surnames not already mentioned include,<br />

but are not limited to, the following:<br />

Alexander, Anderson, Berry, Bond, Booker,<br />

Bost, Bottlinger, Brown, Compton, Crouch,<br />

Golson, Harris, Holmes, Humphrey,<br />

Chapter 9 ✦ 27


Lammert, Love, Mappe, Marks, McCage,<br />

Medford, Miller, Nail, Nichols, Noland,<br />

Nunley, Plemons, Sadler, Schandler, Scott,<br />

Shofner, Spencer, Steinkamp, and Walker.<br />

IN THE NEWS<br />

Crawford has had a succession of weekly<br />

newspapers since 1885, when W. W.<br />

Warrock founded the Crawford Yoeman. In<br />

1896, The Advocate, owned by J. M. B.<br />

Gresham and E. W. Billings, appeared, and<br />

then a second newspaper, the Crawford Grit,<br />

was introduced in 1901 by S. T. Compton.<br />

In 1908, the Grit was sold to Earl Day, and<br />

several years later to J. W. Gay, who changed<br />

the name to the Crawford Advance. A Mr.<br />

Crews was the next owner of the paper, and<br />

he continued the publication until 1925.<br />

Then for a time, the paper was printed in<br />

McGregor by the owners of the McGregor<br />

Mirror, until S. B. Compton (son of the earlier<br />

S. T. Compton) began the Crawford Sun<br />

in 1928. In 1957, Compton sold the Sun to<br />

the Sellman Publishing Company. The Sun<br />

was later discontinued as a separate newspaper<br />

and consolidated in 1969 with the<br />

McGregor Mirror, where it has continued as a<br />

section of that paper. In addition, The Lone<br />

Star Iconoclast was introduced by W. Leon<br />

Smith late in 2000.<br />

TONK<br />

PARK<br />

For many years, Crawford has been<br />

unique among area cities of comparable<br />

size in that it has had a relatively large city<br />

park. In the early years, the park was located<br />

on Tonk Creek on the northwest side of<br />

town. In 1933 the state established Tonk<br />

Park at the waterfall on Tonk Creek on the<br />

east side of town. The park was later deeded<br />

to the city, and Roosevelt-era government<br />

funding was used to build rock<br />

entrances, a clubhouse and caretaker’s<br />

house, and to make other improvements.<br />

The park also had a rodeo arena that<br />

served double duty as the high school football<br />

field. After rodeo activities ceased, the<br />

pens were demolished, and over a period<br />

of several years, the school district made<br />

Crawford Old Rock School Building, 1909.<br />

numerous improvements to the field and<br />

the facilities. In recent years, a community<br />

center was built in the park as well as a<br />

new riding facility, and in the 1980s, Earl<br />

and Kathryn Frady Blanton operated a<br />

seafood restaurant in the clubhouse and<br />

the caretaker’s house.<br />

THE WESTERN WHITE HOUSE<br />

In 1999 the unlikely happened, and<br />

Crawford took on a new role and responsibilities<br />

when Texas Governor and presidential-hopeful<br />

George W. Bush bought a ranch<br />

a short distance northwest of town in the<br />

Prairie Chapel Community. When Bush<br />

won the presidency and set up the Western<br />

White House on the ranch, Crawford was<br />

Tonkawa Falls.<br />

transformed almost overnight from a quiet<br />

little Texas neighborhood to a place of international<br />

fame. A new bank was organized,<br />

several shops selling Bush souvenirs opened,<br />

and a new restaurant opened quickly and<br />

catered to tourists flocking to the area and<br />

hoping to catch a glimpse of the president.<br />

The international press set up shop in<br />

one of the school’s gyms when Bush was<br />

at the ranch and made sure that the world<br />

knew about Crawford. Now that Bush has<br />

left the presidency, the town will most<br />

likely return to being just a quiet neighborhood,<br />

but with new stories and memories<br />

to share with future generations.<br />

Compiled with assistance from Raydean<br />

Brown Damon, Kathryn Frady Place and<br />

Gary Walker.<br />

28 ✦ HISTORIC MCLENNAN COUNTY


DORIS MILLER, THE FIRST HERO<br />

B Y M ICHAEL L. TOON<br />

More than 300 men from <strong>McLennan</strong><br />

<strong>County</strong> made the ultimate sacrifice<br />

during World War II. One of these, Doris<br />

Miller, became one of the first heroes of<br />

the conflict on America’s first day in the<br />

war. Miller was born near Waco. The<br />

midwife who assisted his mother during<br />

his delivery named Miller, she was sure<br />

he would be a girl.<br />

Miller enlisted in the U.S. Navy in<br />

1939 and was serving as a mess attendant<br />

aboard the battleship West Virginia on<br />

December 7, 1941. The Japanese surprise<br />

attack caught the Pacific Fleet at anchor<br />

and left it in smoldering ruins. After<br />

carrying his mortally wounded captain<br />

to safety, Miller manned a .50 caliber<br />

machine gun, which he had never been<br />

trained to use, and commenced firing<br />

at the attacking Japanese planes.<br />

Although the West Virginia claimed<br />

none of the downed Japanese planes<br />

that day, Miller was awarded the Navy<br />

Cross for “valor beyond his training<br />

and assignment.”<br />

After Pearl Harbor, Miller was<br />

assigned to the heavy cruiser Indianapolis.<br />

The Indianapolis formed part of the<br />

aircraft carrier Lexington’s screen and<br />

delivered some of the earliest counter<br />

attacks by the United States in the<br />

Pacific. These raids brought a limited<br />

tactical victory for the American Navy<br />

but strategically slowed Japanese plans in<br />

the South Pacific.<br />

The Lexington group returned to Pearl<br />

Harbor in March after 54 days at sea. The<br />

Indianapolis received an overhaul at Mare<br />

Island Navy Yard and proceeded back to<br />

Pearl Harbor where Miller was presented<br />

the Navy Cross by fellow Texan, Admiral<br />

Chester Nimitz, on May 27, 1942. On<br />

June 1 Miller was promoted to Mess<br />

Attendant 1st Class, a petty officer rank.<br />

The Indianapolis then became part of<br />

Admiral Theobald’s fleet sent to the<br />

Aleutian Islands to counter Japan’s attack<br />

during the Midway campaign. Miller<br />

was transferred from the Indianapolis<br />

in November 1942 and assigned to a<br />

receiving ship at Pearl Harbor. He<br />

returned home to Waco in December<br />

1942 while on a U. S. War Bond tour.<br />

In May 1943, Miller was assigned to<br />

the Naval Receiving Station, Puget Sound<br />

Naval Yard and promoted to Cook Third<br />

Class. Miller was assigned as part of the<br />

commissioning crew for the Liscome Bay,<br />

a Casablanca class escort carrier. The<br />

Liscome Bay departed Pearl Harbor on<br />

November 10, 1943, as part of the<br />

American invasion of the Gilbert Islands.<br />

The Japanese Navy sent nine submarines<br />

to contest the invasion. On November<br />

Doris Miller speaking at N.T.S. Great Lakes, Illinois.<br />

24, only minutes after going to battle<br />

stations, a torpedo from Japanese<br />

submarine I-75 hit the carrier’s aft<br />

magazine. The ship exploded and sank in<br />

just 23 minutes, taking 645 members of<br />

its crew, including Cook Third Class<br />

Doris Miller, to the bottom of the Pacific.<br />

Doris Miller became the first, and<br />

possibly, the only African-American to<br />

receive national attention during World<br />

War II. He remains a potent symbol<br />

of America’s fighting men, who have<br />

always found a way to strike back at our<br />

nation’s enemies, whether trained for that<br />

specific purpose or not. In Waco and<br />

<strong>McLennan</strong> <strong>County</strong>, he has become as<br />

much an icon as the suspension bridge or<br />

the courthouse.<br />

Chapter 10 ✦ 29


EDDY<br />

C OMPILED BY S ANDRA H ORNE R OMING AND F OY D U B OIS<br />

Eddy, in southern <strong>McLennan</strong> <strong>County</strong>,<br />

near the Falls <strong>County</strong> Line, was known as<br />

Marvin prior to 1881 when the Missouri,<br />

Kansas and Texas Railroad established<br />

a station there. The community was<br />

renamed Eddy for Colonel Everett B.<br />

Eddy, a Katy division superintendent,<br />

formerly of the Confederate Army, when<br />

he offered to purchase the railroad<br />

right-of-way through Marvin and<br />

southern <strong>McLennan</strong> <strong>County</strong>. The land<br />

on which Eddy was built belonged to<br />

F. P. Kincannon and H. Riley.<br />

EARLY COMMERCE AND<br />

THE MEDIA<br />

Frank E. Richardson, a storekeeper,<br />

became the first Postmaster in July 1882.<br />

By 1885 the town had two churches, a<br />

private school, a cotton gin, a grist mill<br />

Eddy Bank.<br />

THE TEXAS COLLECTION; BAYLOR UNIVERSITY, WACO, TEXAS.<br />

and a population of 150. In 1893 it was<br />

the fifth largest town in <strong>McLennan</strong><br />

<strong>County</strong> with a population of 300.<br />

In 1900 the population had risen to<br />

472. The Eddy bank, established in 1901<br />

by Dr. J. R. Knight, was incorporated<br />

as the Eddy State Bank in 1906. In 1907<br />

the Farmers and Merchants State Bank<br />

opened. The two banks consolidated in<br />

1908 and became the First National Bank<br />

in 1915. It closed in 1942.<br />

By the early 1890s Eddy had two<br />

hotels and a weekly newspaper, The News<br />

and Messenger. Eddy also had two other<br />

papers, The Eddy Eldorado, printed in<br />

1895 and The Eddy Journal, printed in<br />

1912. Joe F. Coffee was publisher, owner<br />

and editor of the paper which was printed<br />

with hand set type—subscription rate $1<br />

per year. Other businesses have included<br />

grocery merchants, lumber yards,<br />

garages, general mercantile stores, barber<br />

shops, drug stores, cafés, auto supplies, a<br />

movie theater that later became home to<br />

the KCEN-TV Broadcasting Station.<br />

EDUCATION<br />

Before there was a public school Eddy<br />

had a private school that opened in 1884<br />

by James Madison Bedichek. The school’s<br />

name was the Eddy Literary and Scientific<br />

Institute, but is was more popularly<br />

known as the Bedichek Academy. It was<br />

owned and operated by James Madison<br />

Bedichek and opened in 1884. Bedichek’s<br />

wife and daughter assisted him in running<br />

the school. On September 1, 1890,<br />

Bedichek was appointed Superintendent<br />

of Schools in Falls <strong>County</strong>.<br />

The Eddy school district was incorporated<br />

in March 1906 with Clarence M.<br />

Elwell as superintendent. In<br />

1928 the schools of Eddy<br />

and nearby Bruceville were<br />

joined to form the county’s<br />

first consolidated rural high<br />

school district.<br />

In 1890 there were three<br />

churches—Methodist,<br />

Baptist, and Christian.<br />

Later came the Pentecostal.<br />

Only the Methodist and the<br />

Baptist, first known as<br />

Sage Chapel, remain. Eddy<br />

Women’s Club was quite<br />

active with community<br />

projects. In 1921 there<br />

were 35 members.<br />

In 1974 Eddy and its sister<br />

city, Bruceville, formed a<br />

joint government. In 1970<br />

Bruceville has a population<br />

of 600. Bruceville has continued<br />

to grow slowly with<br />

a reported population of<br />

1,075 in the 2000 Census.<br />

30 ✦ HISTORIC MCLENNAN COUNTY


The earliest recorded land grants in the<br />

area of Elm Mott were to Samuel Burton<br />

on January 17, 1849, signed by Governor<br />

George T. Wood. Another land grant followed<br />

on July 10, 1850, when Texas Governor P. H.<br />

Bell and Commissioner of the General Land<br />

Board granted Edward Holmes 1,280 acres.<br />

Seth Miller also acquired 150 acres in 1861.<br />

Miller sold his land to Edward M. Long<br />

on January 7, 1869, and on March 4, 1892,<br />

Long placed on record at <strong>McLennan</strong> <strong>County</strong><br />

a plat of the town of Geneva that was called<br />

Long’s Addition to the town of Geneva.<br />

On October 27, 1870, Louis Bishop<br />

Christian purchased 150 acres, part of the<br />

1,280 acres granted to E. H. Holmes. He later<br />

added to this land until he owned 388 acres.<br />

Long and Christian were the two earliest<br />

settlers in what they described as near<br />

wilderness or “an earthly Eden,” as they said.<br />

Christian arrived in Waco Village in 1867 after<br />

serving in the Civil War. Like Christian,<br />

Long also came to Elm Mott after serving in<br />

the Civil War. Long was born in Columbia,<br />

Maury <strong>County</strong>, Tennessee, to a wealthy family.<br />

The first post office was established on<br />

November 8, 1872, and the town’s name<br />

changed from Geneva to Elm Mott<br />

because another Texas town already existed<br />

with that name. The name Elm Mott<br />

was chosen because of a nearby elm grove.<br />

William C. Griffin was the first<br />

postmaster. The post office ceased<br />

operation on November 11, 1873, but was<br />

reestablished May 12, 1876, with W. A.<br />

Miller as postmaster. Through the years<br />

the post office was housed in businesses<br />

around the area including a store owned<br />

by Frank Rust (later purchased by a<br />

man with the surname of Miller who<br />

continued to operate the post office), a<br />

store owned by Joe Beheler, a store owned<br />

by Cain Christian and a bank.<br />

In 1876, Long gave land for a building<br />

to be built and used by the Methodist<br />

Episcopal Church South, The Cumberland<br />

Presbyterian Church, Missionary Baptist<br />

Church and the State of Texas for a public<br />

ELM MOTT<br />

school. Completed in 1876, the building was<br />

called Union Grove and located near the railroad<br />

in Geneva. The Methodists and White<br />

Rock Baptist Church held services there.<br />

In February 1878 the Union Grove<br />

building burned, but was immediately<br />

rebuilt. School was held there and the<br />

Methodists continued to hold services,<br />

but the Baptists moved to the Williams<br />

School House near Aquilla. In 1886 two<br />

acres were donated to the deacons of the<br />

Baptist church by Mary E. Thomas. The<br />

church is still on this land.<br />

In 1890 Long and his second wife,<br />

Elizabeth, gave land for a larger Methodist<br />

church. Six buildings have been built over<br />

the years on this land and the current<br />

Methodist church is on this land.<br />

Beginning in 1953 the Church of Christ<br />

also had a presence in Elm Mott, starting<br />

with a small house on a corner of the school<br />

property. A house for worship was moved to<br />

the church’s current location in 1955.<br />

Prior to using the Union Grove building<br />

as a schoolhouse, Elm Mott had a oneroom<br />

log cabin in Lewis Christian’s pasture.<br />

One teacher taught all grades. Some<br />

of those known to have taught in the area<br />

included men with the surnames Wales,<br />

Faulkner, Smelzer, Garrett, Head, Brown,<br />

Erwin and Bob Thompson, Charlie Cook<br />

and J. B. Cook.<br />

In 1920 Dr. O. C. Elliott was president of<br />

the school board when J. D. Long gave land<br />

for a new school. A two-story building was<br />

erected at the site. In 1938, under the leadership<br />

of Superintendent Sligh, the second<br />

story of the building was removed and<br />

turned into a gym and auditorium.<br />

In 1940 Chalk Bluff School was consolidated<br />

into Elm Mott Independent School<br />

District. During the 1946-47 school year<br />

the district had 10 grades and six teachers.<br />

The Elm Mott Independent School<br />

District and the Lakeview Independent<br />

School District were combined in 1951<br />

to form the Connally Consolidated<br />

Independent School District.<br />

The Missouri, Kansas, and Texas railroad<br />

(M-K-T) laid tracks from Hillsboro to<br />

Taylor in 1881, passing through Elm Mott.<br />

Members of the McFerrin family were agents<br />

at the depot and the family had a house that<br />

faced the east side of the depot that was used<br />

as a boarding house. This house was also the<br />

first hotel in Elm Mott. Joe Beheler purchased<br />

this hotel sometime prior to 1903.<br />

The depot area was the center of commerce.<br />

Besides the boarding house, Cain<br />

Christian’s store was on the west side of<br />

the depot with a loading pen for cattle<br />

beside the store, and Stroman Barber Shop<br />

was on the east side of the railroad track.<br />

By the mid 1880s the area had approximately<br />

40 residents and by the early<br />

1890s it had a hotel, a gristmill and gin,<br />

two general stores, two churches and 150<br />

residents. The population grew to 247 by<br />

1900 and to 300 by 1914. In 1921 a private<br />

bank opened in Elm Mott, but was<br />

closed by state examiners in 1926 after a<br />

drought the previous year kept area farmers<br />

from being able to repay their loans.<br />

Another rail line passed through Elm<br />

Mott after Mary E. Thomas deeded land<br />

to the Northern and Texas Central<br />

Railroad Co. on October 28, 1879.<br />

The track was laid on the west side of<br />

what is now the Old Dallas Road. The<br />

track was laid to Ross, Texas, and<br />

renamed the Waco & Northwestern Co.<br />

M-K-T attempted to purchase the line,<br />

but failed and built their own line. On<br />

April 11, 1929, the line of Waco &<br />

Northwestern was abandoned.<br />

In 1913 an interurban line from Dallas<br />

was completed. It passed through Elm Mott<br />

on its way to Waco. The line was parallel to<br />

the M-K-T line on the west side of Elm Mott.<br />

It ceased operation on December 31, 1948.<br />

The Community Water Works was<br />

chartered on May 13, 1947, and dissolved<br />

on March 12, 1964. Elm Mott Water is<br />

the present day water company that<br />

services 530 businesses and residences.<br />

Elm Mott’s population in 2000 was 190.<br />

Chapter 12 ✦ 31


GHOLSON<br />

C OMPILED BY L ELIA M C D UGAL<br />

Gholson is part of the 11-league<br />

Joaquin Moreno Land Grant. On April 25,<br />

1835, the state of Coahuila and Texas conveyed<br />

to Samuel Gholson one league of<br />

the 11 in accordance with the colonization<br />

law of the Republic of Mexico. It was<br />

known as head right number 181 and is<br />

along the east side of the Brazos River<br />

about 12 miles north of Waco and west of<br />

the Aquilla Creek. The area was first called<br />

Sardis but was later renamed Gholson.<br />

The first school in Sardis was built in<br />

1854 and the first post office was established<br />

in 1858 with John S. Bell as the first<br />

postmaster. In addition to Samuel Gholson,<br />

his brother Benjamin was also one of the<br />

first settlers. A new post office was established<br />

in 1887 with the Gholson name and<br />

Thomas Rhodes was the postmaster. In<br />

1905 the post office ceased operation and<br />

was replaced by rural delivery from Ross.<br />

Samuel Gholson was a distinguished<br />

colonel in the War of 1812. He was a surveyor<br />

by profession and involved in the<br />

Lelia McDugal at Gholson Cemetery Marker dedication, May 3, 1981.<br />

Santa Fe Trade. His vision was to become<br />

a cattle baron, but he soon realized the<br />

area he acquired was not suited for cattle<br />

and he moved elsewhere.<br />

Early settlers in the area included Mary<br />

Elizabeth Davis Ware (1820-1886), a<br />

widow who received one league and labor<br />

of land from the Republic of Texas. She<br />

married Thomas Williams and in 1847<br />

they settled at Sardis. During the Civil<br />

War, Mary Ware Williams sold 900 acres<br />

of her land to R. B. Talley and H. Peters for<br />

$12 to pay the confederate war tax of $4.<br />

Green Berry Hardwick and his wife,<br />

Sarah McCary Hardwick bought 1,550 acres<br />

from Thomas and Mary Ware Williams, and<br />

operated a general store and ferry at Eagle<br />

Crossing on the Brazos River. Hardwick was<br />

elected Justice of the Peace of Sardis in 1858.<br />

The 1860 census reported the population<br />

of Sardis as 156 with 77 males and<br />

79 females. No free African-Americans<br />

were recorded and slaves were considered<br />

chattel property and were not recorded.<br />

Aaron and<br />

Elizabeth Estes and<br />

children moved<br />

from Missouri in<br />

1840 and settled on<br />

640 acres in Sardis.<br />

In 1848, Aaron Estes<br />

helped organize the<br />

first public school in<br />

<strong>McLennan</strong> <strong>County</strong>.<br />

In 1854 he was<br />

elected Trustee of<br />

District Four in the<br />

first school election.<br />

Other schools in<br />

the area included<br />

the Kellum School<br />

named after Thomas<br />

Smith Kellum, Sr.,<br />

who came to the area<br />

in 1855; the Walker<br />

School, named after<br />

James LaFayette Walker who built the<br />

school in 1888; the Fairview School; the<br />

Caddenhead School and the Gholson<br />

School. The Gholson School, which goes<br />

through the eighth grade, is the only<br />

school still operating. The other schools<br />

were eventually consolidated into the<br />

Gholson School.<br />

A two-acre fenced area was legally set aside<br />

for Gholson Cemetery by William Umberson<br />

in 1885. A Texas <strong>Historic</strong>al Marker was<br />

placed in the cemetery in May 1981.<br />

Umberson was the first deacon in the Baptist<br />

Church and a member of the Woodmen of<br />

the World fraternal organization.<br />

In April 1891, a building was erected on<br />

land donated by Frank and Lucy Sparks for<br />

Wesley Chapel United Methodist Church.<br />

A Texas <strong>Historic</strong>al Marker was placed at the<br />

site in 1989. In 2008 Wesley Chapel celebrated<br />

130 years.<br />

In 1966, 120 families in and around<br />

Gholson formed the Gholson Water<br />

Supply Corp. that is still in operation<br />

today and serves 994 customers.<br />

The City of Gholson was incorporated<br />

in 1973 in order to keep the City of Waco<br />

from taking it into its extraterritorial<br />

jurisdiction. By 1974, the city of Gholson<br />

lost two lawsuits and Waco claimed jurisdiction,<br />

taking in the Gholson Store, the<br />

Baptist Church, the Gholson Cemetery,<br />

the Brazos River and land.<br />

In 1975, Gholson voted to incorporate<br />

again less than one square mile with a 200-<br />

person township. H. T. Sexton was elected<br />

mayor and in 1989, Mayor Sexton<br />

petitioned the City of Waco to release the<br />

land acquired in 1974. Waco released its<br />

jurisdiction and once again Gholson was<br />

able to claim it original boundaries.<br />

From the early 1930s to the early 1970s<br />

the population in Gholson was approximately<br />

35, but in 1975 after the city incorporated<br />

population estimates were around<br />

650. As of 2000, the population was 922.<br />

32 ✦ HISTORIC MCLENNAN COUNTY


How do you spell Golinda? In the<br />

1932 map of <strong>McLennan</strong> <strong>County</strong>, as well<br />

as the W. R. Poage book <strong>McLennan</strong> <strong>County</strong><br />

before 1980, it is spelled “Galindo.” In<br />

the book by Dayton Kelley, Handbook<br />

of Waco and <strong>McLennan</strong> <strong>County</strong> Texas, published<br />

in 1972, it is spelled “Golindo.”<br />

More than likely the original spelling<br />

was probably Golindo after Ignacio<br />

Golindo who was granted 8 to 11<br />

leagues. Poage’s book says 8 leagues<br />

while people in the area say 11 leagues.<br />

GOLINDA<br />

C OMPILED BY H AL P LEDGER<br />

Golinda is on the Ignacio Golindo<br />

land, at the border of <strong>McLennan</strong> <strong>County</strong><br />

and Falls <strong>County</strong>. Bullhide Creek is just<br />

north of the community.<br />

Golinda was established in about<br />

1870. By 1880, Sallie Hatch was<br />

appointed postmistress on the Falls<br />

<strong>County</strong> side of the community. In<br />

1885, Robert B. Duty became the<br />

postmaster, and the post office was<br />

moved to the <strong>McLennan</strong> <strong>County</strong> side of<br />

the town.<br />

For many years Bradford Hunt<br />

ran a general mercantile store on<br />

the <strong>McLennan</strong> <strong>County</strong> side of the<br />

community. In 1890 there were three<br />

businesses in Golinda and 50 residents.<br />

In 1900 the Lorena post office took<br />

over rural delivery. By the 1940s<br />

there were 100 residents and four<br />

businesses reported.<br />

Golinda was the first community in<br />

Texas to establish a rural water system<br />

under the Poage-Akin Bill.<br />

Clockwise, starting from top left: Golinda sign, Golinda Baptist Church, Golinda City Hall, 2010.<br />

PHOTOS BY LAUREN D. MICKENS.<br />

Chapter 14 ✦ 33


HARRISON(’S) (SWITCH/STATION)<br />

C OMPILED BY L OUISE C HAMPAGNE<br />

Founded in 1873 as an 80-acre “depot<br />

tract” along Waco’s first railroad, the community<br />

was first known as “Harrison’s<br />

Switch” or “Harrison’s Station,” but later<br />

became the town of Harrison after it was<br />

granted a post office in 1879.<br />

Located about 8 miles southeast of<br />

Waco on State Highway 6, Harrison<br />

Switch was noted for having the highest<br />

percentage of African-American residents<br />

of any community in <strong>McLennan</strong> <strong>County</strong>.<br />

For many decades, there were only a few<br />

white residents living, or working, in or<br />

close to the town site.<br />

Founded not long after the end of the<br />

Civil War, Harrison Switch was also distinguished<br />

by the fact that its African-<br />

American residents were not sharecroppers,<br />

but landowners and farmers noted<br />

for their independence and progressive<br />

farming practices.<br />

FOUNDER JAMES E. HARRISON<br />

James E. Harrison, who came to Texas<br />

in 1857, founded the town. Harrison<br />

played a prominent role in the social,<br />

political and commercial development of<br />

<strong>McLennan</strong> <strong>County</strong> and the state until his<br />

death at age 59 in 1875.<br />

Along with the slaves who traveled<br />

with him from Monroe <strong>County</strong>,<br />

Mississippi, Harrison established a large<br />

cotton plantation on 1,500 acres mostly<br />

in the Manchaca grant along Tehuacana<br />

Creek and Shaw’s Creek. The slaves felled<br />

trees, plowed the prairie and planted cotton.<br />

They built log houses, as well as the<br />

first cotton gin, sawmill, gristmill, and<br />

together with slaves from the Dunklin<br />

plantation, built the first “bush arbor”<br />

church (primitive outdoor church) in that<br />

part of the county.<br />

Although Harrison had joined the First<br />

Baptist Church in Waco, in the summer<br />

of 1859, he and his neighbor, Dunklin,<br />

organized the construction of a bush<br />

arbor church on Dunklin’s land. With<br />

“benches enough to seat 300” for regular<br />

Baptist services and revivals, this outdoor<br />

church was almost certainly built to<br />

accommodate not only the few white families<br />

in the Brazos Bottoms, but also their<br />

many slaves. Harrison was later a founding<br />

deacon of New Hope Baptist Church,<br />

built on the site of this bush arbor.<br />

Five years after his slaves had been<br />

emancipated, Harrison helped organize<br />

another Baptist church. According to his<br />

wife’s diary, on June 19, 1870, a “Negro<br />

church” was organized in a bush arbor on<br />

the Harrison homestead. Five members of<br />

the new church were baptized in the<br />

Tehuacana Creek with the help of a white<br />

preacher connected with the Harrison<br />

family. A church building was constructed,<br />

and in 1874, Harrison deeded three<br />

acres around this church to the African-<br />

American deacons of Pilgrim Rest Baptist<br />

Church (some of whom were former<br />

Harrison family slaves) for “church,<br />

school and burial purposes.” Although<br />

many years later the church was moved to<br />

State Highway 6, the church cemetery<br />

remains on these three acres on FM 1860.<br />

HARRISON &<br />

THE RAILROAD<br />

Harrison played a prominent role in<br />

bringing the first railroad to Waco. He was<br />

a stockholder in the Waco Tap Railroad<br />

Company, authorized by the state legislature<br />

in 1866. This railroad provided cotton<br />

planters and others in <strong>McLennan</strong><br />

<strong>County</strong> with rail access for passengers and<br />

shipping of crops to coastal ports and<br />

markets. Tracks were laid from Bremond<br />

to East Waco, passing through Harrison’s<br />

extensive land holdings.<br />

Harrison gave the railroad a right-ofway<br />

through his property, with the condition<br />

that a switch be built for loading cotton<br />

from the large farms on the east side<br />

of the Brazos. The enterprising cotton<br />

planter sold an 80-acre “depot tract” on<br />

the northeast corner of his property to the<br />

trustees of the Waco and Northwestern<br />

Railroad Company, reserving for himself<br />

“one business lot...to be taken near the<br />

depot house...the size of other business<br />

lots in the place of such town as the<br />

Company may lay off.”<br />

FIRST SETTLERS’<br />

DESCENDANTS STILL<br />

IN RESIDENCE<br />

Though the town that developed was<br />

never more than a village, trains have<br />

been running along this route since the<br />

line was completed to East Waco on Sept.<br />

18, 1872. Even more remarkable is the<br />

fact that much of the acreage in and<br />

around the original town site is still<br />

owned by the African-American descendants<br />

of the earliest residents and citizens<br />

of “Harrison’s Switch,” who purchased<br />

tracts of land there in the 1870s, just a<br />

few years after the end of the war and the<br />

abolition of slavery.<br />

A few of the African-Americans who<br />

purchased land in and around the depot<br />

tract were former Harrison family slaves<br />

or servants. But most who bought land at<br />

“Harrison’s Switch” came from other<br />

states, or other parts of Texas. The Olivers<br />

came from nearby Groesbeck; the<br />

Estelles, Holders, Huddlestons, Hardins<br />

and Snowdens all came from Tennessee.<br />

According to one deed, in 1876 Sidney<br />

Green Estell (a “free man of color”) paid<br />

$1,875 in gold for 375 acres, which<br />

included frontage along the new railroad.<br />

In its heyday, the village of Harrison,<br />

Texas, had a cotton gin with a large<br />

tank, a general store, blacksmith shop,<br />

Masonic hall, a school, three churches,<br />

34 ✦ HISTORIC MCLENNAN COUNTY


Goshen Cumberland Presbyterian, Harrison<br />

(Switch), Texas.<br />

and (between 1879 and 1905) a post<br />

office. Though cotton and corn were the<br />

primary cash crops, the family farms<br />

around Harrison also produced fresh milk,<br />

butter and eggs for the Waco market.<br />

Among the prominent early residents<br />

of Harrison, Sidney Green Estelle was<br />

noted for organizing Goshen Cumberland<br />

Presbyterian Church, and Gabriel Holder<br />

for founding Holder’s Chapel African<br />

Methodist Episcopal Church on land<br />

acquired in 1887 from Immanuel<br />

Snowden. Albert O. Estelle is<br />

credited with establishing the first<br />

Masonic Lodge in Harrison.<br />

For many years, Henry<br />

Ashburne owned and operated the<br />

general store; he was one of the few<br />

white residents of Harrison (other<br />

than the families who owned the<br />

Harrison/Neale/Driskell farm). In<br />

later years, Albert Wydermyre, a<br />

descendant of one of the first black<br />

families in Harrison, owned a general<br />

store and barbecue in town.<br />

During “the great migration”<br />

after the turn of the century, many<br />

Harrison residents left farming for<br />

jobs in Waco and other cities. The<br />

post office was closed in 1905,<br />

and with industrial opportunities<br />

elsewhere, the population begin<br />

to decline.<br />

Harrison’s widow and children<br />

had moved into Waco. His<br />

youngest daughter, Earle, and her<br />

husband, Waco attorney D. C. (Dewitt<br />

Clinton) Bolinger, were the last in the<br />

family to own part of the old plantation.<br />

They eventually moved to San Antonio,<br />

selling the Harrison farm and homestead<br />

to Will Driskell in 1910. In 1921, Driskell<br />

sold to W. J. Neale. After the Harrisons<br />

and Bolingers were gone, many Harrison<br />

community residents continued to find<br />

work at “Will Driskell’s place,” “the Neale<br />

Farm” and “Neale’s Dairy.”<br />

In 1932 the state highway department<br />

re-routed State Highway 6 from Old<br />

Marlin road to the north side of the<br />

railroad. The new route was constructed<br />

through the middle of the town, right<br />

over the old gin tank, and a number of<br />

buildings, including Goshen Church, had<br />

to be relocated. Still, there was a public<br />

school at Harrison Switch until 1954, and<br />

residents organized the Harrison volunteer<br />

fire department about 1960.<br />

In 1947 the northernmost tract of<br />

James E. Harrison’s land (some 300 acres<br />

in the de la Vega Grant) was sold to the<br />

Glassie family, who operated a dairy farm<br />

Harrison Church in Harrison Switch.<br />

there for approximately 30 years. Corn is<br />

now the primary crop on the Robinson<br />

farm, grown on hundreds of acres south<br />

of Old Marlin Road. To the north,<br />

pastures where the Glassie dairy cows<br />

grazed are now under cultivation by<br />

Tehuacana Creek Vineyards.<br />

EDUCATION<br />

For many years, African-American<br />

children in Harrison Switch attended<br />

school in the Pilgrim Rest Church<br />

building. By 1902 the school had<br />

been moved to Holder’s Chapel. Later,<br />

residents organized the Harrison School<br />

Club and purchased land for a school<br />

building constructed by the county. In<br />

1954 the Harrison school was closed,<br />

and students from Harrison Switch were<br />

bussed to the African-American school<br />

in Riesel.<br />

Three cemeteries are known to exist in<br />

the Harrison area: Pilgrim Rest Cemetery,<br />

Goshen (Harrison) Cemetery and Santa<br />

Cruz Cemetery.<br />

Chapter 15 ✦ 35


Hewitt is part of the O’Campo Mexican<br />

Land Grant. On November 13, 1830, Don<br />

Carlos O’Campo petitioned the state of<br />

Coahuila and Texas for five leagues for his<br />

service in the Mexican Army. In 1851,<br />

Leonard W. Groce, Carlos O’Campo’s<br />

attorney, sold the land that was to become<br />

Hewitt, to C. A Hooper. There ensued a<br />

series of land flips, and on April 8, 1857.<br />

J. B. Earle bought 640 acres from Sheriff<br />

John <strong>McLennan</strong> at the Bank House Door<br />

for $60 (Vol. G, page 394, <strong>McLennan</strong><br />

<strong>County</strong> Records).<br />

After the Civil War, Isham Harrison<br />

Earle, his wife Addie Graves Earle, and<br />

their twin daughters Mary and Eliza,<br />

moved to the Earle Ranch. They built a log<br />

cabin, and Major Earle, who had attained<br />

that rank serving in the regiment Allison<br />

HEWITT<br />

C OMPILED BY H AL P LEDGER<br />

Nelson organized in <strong>McLennan</strong> <strong>County</strong>,<br />

raised horses and farmed cotton on the<br />

ranch. He became the <strong>McLennan</strong> <strong>County</strong><br />

Agriculture Agent on October 30, 1876,<br />

and sent monthly reports to the United<br />

States Department of Agriculture. He also<br />

logged the first weather reports in the state.<br />

On May 6, 1868, John H. Bower bought<br />

land from John B. Earle, Major Isham<br />

Earle’s brother. Bower was a shipping<br />

magnate, cotton merchant and at one time<br />

served as Consul for the Republic of Texas<br />

in New York.<br />

CHURCHES<br />

White Hall Baptist was the first church<br />

in the area. “On the First Sabbath in<br />

August 1871 the following persons<br />

organized a Sabbath School at White<br />

Hall in <strong>McLennan</strong> <strong>County</strong> (Rev. R. B.<br />

Burleson presiding) and elected B. J.<br />

Kendrick superintendent and I. H. Earle<br />

assistant superintendent,” according to<br />

the Graves-Earle family papers in the<br />

Texas Collection. Some of the other<br />

people listed as organizers include Lucy<br />

Erath, Lucy Kendrick, Mollie Pogue, May<br />

Erath, Nannie Pogue, I. H. Earle, B. J.<br />

Kendrick, and William Pogue. On Oct.<br />

20, 1894, the White Hall Baptist Church<br />

voted to organize a church at Hewitt.<br />

In 1875 Martha and Thomas Richey<br />

donated land for Stanford Chapel. Martha<br />

was a daughter of Thomas Stanford, who,<br />

with Edward Rosmon (E. R.) Barcus,<br />

founded Stanford Chapel. People would<br />

come to hear Rev. Stanford preach and<br />

Rev. Barcus sing. Stanford Chapel was the<br />

Mother Church of Methodism in the<br />

area. A school was also located on<br />

the grounds, and the Stanford Chapel<br />

Cemetery is now a perpetual care cemetery.<br />

The Hewitt Methodist Church was<br />

formed at the session of the Northwest<br />

Texas Conference in 1900. On December<br />

16, 1900, the Hewitt Methodist<br />

Church South was organized by Rev.<br />

Stephen W. Turner.<br />

The Mt. Calvary Baptist Church, an<br />

African-American church, was organized<br />

in Valley Hall and moved to Hewitt in<br />

1890. Mozelle Irvin was the pastor.<br />

AFRICAN- AMERICAN<br />

COMMUNITY<br />

E. C. Kellogg’s home in Hewitt on First Street, three lots from the railroad.<br />

Hewitt’s thriving African-American<br />

community included the Woods family<br />

who worked on the Earle Ranch. Jim<br />

Richardson headed another pioneer<br />

African-American family. He moved to<br />

Hewitt in 1910 with a brother and began<br />

working in the cotton fields there. He<br />

worked into his 90s.<br />

36 ✦ HISTORIC MCLENNAN COUNTY


EARLY SETTLERS<br />

Daniel Lee Chapman, born in Ohio,<br />

traveled from Iowa by rail in 1875 to<br />

Waco. He had his own railway car, half<br />

filled with furniture, the other half filled<br />

with his animals. He moved his family to<br />

Hewitt in 1900. Mason Robert Chapman,<br />

his brother, also born in Ohio, moved from<br />

Iowa and arrived in Hewitt about 1876.<br />

Mason was in Sherman’s March to the Sea<br />

and the Seige of Richmond. Even though<br />

he probably had some interesting stories<br />

to tell, he never talked about his war<br />

experiences, and had no guns in his home.<br />

Other early settlers included John<br />

Allison Warren, who came to the<br />

community in the fall of 1877 from<br />

Illinois, and John Perry Blanton who<br />

married Sarah Jociehene Johnson before<br />

1877 in what was to become Hewitt. In<br />

1885, John Whaley came from Alabama.<br />

THE RAILROAD<br />

CHOOSES A NAMESAKE<br />

It was the coming of the railroad that<br />

put Hewitt on the map. The Missouri,<br />

Kansas and Texas Railway Company<br />

(M-K-T), was the first railroad to enter<br />

Texas from the north. The M-K-T Railway<br />

wanted a track from Waco to Taylor to the<br />

south, and needed a switch 6 miles south of<br />

Waco. The property selected for the switch<br />

belonged to the estate of John H. Brower.<br />

Attorneys John B. Blydenburgh and<br />

Thomas Browning Hewitt (1842-1921)<br />

were the trustees for Brower’s estate. Hewitt<br />

was born and raised in Stonington,<br />

Connecticut, educated at Yale University,<br />

and was a successful corporate attorney in<br />

New York. He was also married to Brower’s<br />

daughter, Amanda E. Brower. It was Hewitt<br />

the M-K-T chose as the namesake for the<br />

switch when it opened the line in 1882.<br />

THE POST OFFICE<br />

In 1884 there were enough people in<br />

the area to open a post office. Thomas J.<br />

McMurry was the first postmaster, with Ervin<br />

A. Warren, eldest son of John Allison<br />

Warren, taking over in 1885. Also in 1885,<br />

Aaron Clay Barnes bought a 300-acre farm at<br />

the head waters of Bullhide Creek for $100.<br />

In 1886, Virgil M. Wolf became<br />

postmaster. He and his wife, Sarah Jane<br />

Brown, and daughter Jessie came to Texas in<br />

about 1885, where their son Fred was born.<br />

Around 1890 the area was reported to have<br />

approximately 60 residents.<br />

HEWITT BECOMES A TOWN<br />

In 1888, John Allison Warren, who had<br />

started a lumberyard in the area in 1885,<br />

became the postmaster, but he did much<br />

more than sort mail. On January 10, 1893,<br />

Warren bought 40 acres from the estate of<br />

John H. Brower for $4,911.54, with Hewitt<br />

Switch in the center of the property. On<br />

August 30, he filed a plat with the county<br />

with the property divided into lots. The<br />

streets were Warren, Johnson (his deceased<br />

wife’s maiden name), and Graham (probably<br />

the name of the attorney who handled the<br />

transaction). The cross streets were First<br />

through Sixth Streets, with the town square<br />

mapped out around the Hewitt switch. There<br />

was talk of renaming the town Warren,<br />

but there were already too many Warren<br />

townships on the map, so the name the<br />

railroad gave the switch was kept.<br />

Warren used a marketing tool of giving<br />

away a lot of land if the owner would buy<br />

lumber from his lumber yard. Early families<br />

who bought or were given lots from Warren<br />

were: J. H. Reynolds; P. Phillips; M. R.<br />

Chapman; U. S. Warren, his son and<br />

<strong>McLennan</strong> <strong>County</strong> Chairman of the<br />

Democratic Party for years; R. B. Cooksey; C.<br />

K. Warren, another son; C. N. Smith; and B.<br />

F. Sneed (for a store). Records show other<br />

land holders or homeowners in early Hewitt<br />

were: Dan Hugh Attaway, C.L. Cousins;<br />

George W. Bolger; George Blanton; John F.<br />

Chapman; John W. Harrison, a former<br />

senator from Mississippi; John Whaley; John<br />

Lewis; Jim Hardings; George Rodan Trice;<br />

Tom Trice; Tom Lindsey; Ira Moore; J.<br />

Bradbury; Fred Wolf; Nick Johnson; the J. O.<br />

Rheas. John Attaway; Frank Attaway; M. A.<br />

Hewitt Methodist Church and members.<br />

COURTESY OF ANNE BARNES WARREN.<br />

Vaughan; Alton Broadway; Homer Attaway;<br />

John Bolger; Fred Hyman; C. O. Lloyd, the<br />

barber and father of Brown Lloyd; Joe<br />

Bozarth; the Ben Smiths; and the J. L. Byrds.<br />

One of those men, who received land<br />

from Warren was Dan Attaway. In 1898 he<br />

left Mississippi and followed the hay crop<br />

from East Texas to Itasca to the Hay Place at<br />

what are now Bagby Drive and Loop 340. At<br />

the Waco Scales, he saw the daughter of Dan<br />

Chapman, owner of the operation. She was<br />

helping her father by weighing the bales of<br />

hay. As their daughter Ila Ree Attaway tells it,<br />

“Once Daddy met my mother, he stopped<br />

following the crops, and settled in Hewitt.”<br />

EARLY COMMERCE<br />

Waco Times Herald, January 16, 1898<br />

noted many of the businesses and<br />

establishments in Hewitt at the time:<br />

“Hewitt boasts of one store [B. F. Sneed],<br />

one black smith shop [Otis Rhea worked in<br />

it], one lumber yard [J. A. Warren], one gin<br />

[Ervin Warren], one doctors office, occupied<br />

by two doctors [B. A. Phillips & probably<br />

Dr. Graves], one school building where<br />

exists two teachers in charge [Professor B. F.<br />

Quicksall & Miss Azalete Piedcocke] with<br />

about 75 pupils in attendance; one church<br />

(Baptist) though at this church several<br />

different denominations worship. This is<br />

also the place where a most successful<br />

Sunday School is held every Sunday evening<br />

at 3 o’clock.”<br />

Chapter 16 ✦ 37


A WELL- KNOWN NAME<br />

SETTLES IN HEWITT<br />

The E. C. Kellogg family, part of the<br />

Kellogg cereal family, came to Hewitt and<br />

settled in a large two-story house on First<br />

Street, about a block from the railroad track.<br />

E. C. Kellogg had been a POW during the<br />

Civil War, spending six months in<br />

confinement, four of those in Andersonville.<br />

Eleanor Kellogg, one of the five daughters<br />

of E. C. and Sarah Kellogg, married<br />

DeWitt Barnes, oldest child of Aaron and<br />

Sarah Barnes, on Tuesday, April 17, 1894,<br />

in Hewitt, with John Jill Luther, D. D.,<br />

from Baylor, performing the ceremony.<br />

Unfortunately, due to an accident, the<br />

marriage did not last long. In 1898, four<br />

years after they were wed, they were traveling<br />

through downtown Waco, during Carnival.<br />

Southerners were not allowed to have<br />

cannons after the Civil War, so gunpowder<br />

was put under anvils, lit, and the metal was<br />

shot into the air for celebrations. As the<br />

Barnes’ buggy passed by a blacksmith shop,<br />

the gunpowder under an anvil was lit, it flew<br />

up, and a piece of metal broke off, hitting<br />

DeWitt in the back of the head. In horror,<br />

Eleanor took the reins, and raced to the<br />

Conger home on Fifth Street, their intended<br />

destination, where Dewitt died four hours<br />

later. That same year, Aaron Clay Barnes<br />

and John Allison Warren also died.<br />

The next year, on February 11, 1899,<br />

in the midst of a heavy snowstorm, E. C.<br />

Kellogg died. The ground was too frozen to<br />

bury him, so his body was stored on the back<br />

porch until a proper burial was given. Many<br />

Hewitt people used this event as a reference<br />

date in time.<br />

HEWITT RESIDENTS<br />

BORN AND RAISED<br />

The next generation of Hewitt residents<br />

included Harriet (Hallie) Earle, the<br />

youngest daughter of Major I. H. and Ada<br />

Graves Earle. Born in 1880 Hallie became<br />

the first female doctor in <strong>McLennan</strong><br />

<strong>County</strong>, and made the highest grades at<br />

Baylor and Baylor Medical School. Her<br />

John Allison Warren.<br />

papers are buried in the cornerstone of the<br />

Carroll Science Building.<br />

In 1895, after farming in Vernon, Texas,<br />

C. K. Warren moved his family back to<br />

Hewitt, buying back 193 and 3/4 acres from<br />

his father. He and Anne Barnes Warren had<br />

one child when they moved back, 2-yearold<br />

Cleon Barnes Warren. Helen, Annebel,<br />

Homer and Mae Beth (Peggy), were all born<br />

on the farm in Hewitt.<br />

The principle crop was cotton, but the<br />

Warrens also owned 7 or 8 Jersey cows that<br />

were milked, and butter sold on the square<br />

at the J. A. Early grocery in Waco. The dairy<br />

grew, and by World War II, Homer and<br />

Cleon were milking 50 Jersey cows. Warren<br />

Brothers Meadowbrook Jersey Farms raised<br />

the feed crops, milked the cows, bottled and<br />

delivered milk to all of Waco, including the<br />

public schools and Baylor. During the<br />

Depression, ice cream was made and sold<br />

from the production plant.<br />

The First State Bank of Hewitt was<br />

organized on October 23, 1912, with W. D.<br />

Chapman elected president. Directors were<br />

C. K. Warren, F. M. Sego, M. C. Chapman and<br />

J. M. Attaway. Due to competition from Waco<br />

banks, and the automobile making banking<br />

in town accessible, the bank closed February<br />

4, 1916, paying off all depositors, and giving<br />

stockholders 85 cents on the dollar.<br />

Around 1910 a man opened a pool hall<br />

in Hewitt. The town fathers, headed by W.<br />

D. Chapman, decided this was not good<br />

for the youth of the town, and bought the<br />

man out, then proceeded to pull the pool<br />

tables into the street and set them on fire<br />

as an example to the young people.<br />

HEWITT’ S INVENTOR<br />

IN RESIDENCE<br />

Pascal Barcus, grandson of E. R. Barcus,<br />

was born on the family farm near Stanford<br />

Chapel in 1890. He was called “Bailing Wire<br />

Barcus,” because if he couldn’t fix it with<br />

bailing wire, it couldn’t be fixed, said the<br />

locals. Barcus built the oldest, continually<br />

running feed mill using natural gas. He<br />

originally used the motor from W. D.<br />

Chapman’s old Nash Rambler.<br />

“Pat Barcus was really smart,” Clayton<br />

Thompson recalled. “He invented this fly<br />

catcher. He had a box about 2 feet by 1 foot<br />

and 10 inches high made out of carpenter’s<br />

cloth,” Thompson said. “Inside the metal<br />

mesh box he put an electric coil and when<br />

he plugged it in, it electrified the box. Flies<br />

would light on it and be electrocuted. He<br />

invented the bug zapper and if he had<br />

patented it, he would have made a fortune.”<br />

In 1938, as World War II was on the<br />

horizon, Kendrick Wall was the first man<br />

from Hewitt to join the military. Others who<br />

served were Vaughan Hyman, Jack Wall, B. F.<br />

Broadway, J. W. Maddox, Willis Chapman,<br />

Henry McDonald, Leslie Earl Taylor, Roy<br />

Byrd, Tommy Blanton, and Billy Blanton.<br />

Those who made the ultimate sacrifice were<br />

Robert (Bob) Southern, who was killed in<br />

training, and Alfred Chapman who was killed<br />

by a sniper bullet in the taking back of Tarawa<br />

Island, Philippines, on April 14, 1945.<br />

HEWITT<br />

TODAY<br />

The city of Hewitt was incorporated on<br />

June 25, 1960. It begin to see a boom in<br />

population in the 1970s.<br />

In the 2000 United States Census,<br />

Hewitt had a population of 11,085 and<br />

covered 6.89 square miles. According to the<br />

cities official Web site in 2009, the city is<br />

home to approximately 13,000 residents. In<br />

2007, Hewitt was ranked 44th in the nation<br />

by Money Magazine’s top places to live in the<br />

United States.<br />

38 ✦ HISTORIC MCLENNAN COUNTY


HILLSIDE<br />

C OMPILED BY H AL P LEDGER<br />

“The Norman H. Conger family, which left<br />

Oneida, Illinois, on September 1, 1870, consisted<br />

of Norman and his wife Mary; their<br />

daughter, Clara, who was 17 years old at the<br />

time; their younger sons, Newt and Ralph,<br />

who were aged 9 and 7 respectively; and<br />

the eldest son, Charles, who was 19 years of<br />

age, accompanied by his wife, Abbie Grant,”<br />

according to Roger Conger who tells of the<br />

Conger families migration to Texas in<br />

“Immigration of the N H Conger Family from<br />

Oneida, IL, to Waco, TX, in 1870,” reprinted<br />

from The Southwestern History Quarterly, Vol<br />

LXIV, July 1960, #1. When asked why the family<br />

settled in Waco, Charles Conger said that<br />

the land was very similar to Knox <strong>County</strong>, Ill.<br />

“Sons Charles, Newt and Ralph engaged<br />

in large scale breeding and farming,” Roger<br />

Conger wrote. “Charles built an attractive<br />

home on his ranch a few miles south of<br />

Waco, near present Robinsonville, and<br />

named it Hillside Farm. Here he and his<br />

two brothers operated a mercantile store in<br />

addition to their agricultural activities.”<br />

A post office was established at<br />

Hillside in 1891, with Newton A. Conger<br />

William Porter Rhea family about 1888 at Hilltop on Bullhide Creek.<br />

as postmaster. The office was closed in<br />

1903. In 1892 the community had a general<br />

store, a hotel, and 100 residents. By<br />

the mid 1890s, there were two general<br />

stores, a flour mill and a gin.<br />

Hillside was located between two stage<br />

line routes. According to a clipping in the<br />

Texas Collection at Baylor University vertical<br />

file titled “Stagecoach Lines,” a railway took<br />

passengers from Houston to Hempstead,<br />

then the stage line ran to Waco via<br />

“Anderson, Piedmont Springs, Boonville,<br />

Wheelock, Owenville, Alto Springs &<br />

Marlin.” The route was east of State Highway<br />

77, on what is now FM 434. Another line<br />

ran from Austin to Waco, stopping at what is<br />

now The Stagecoach Inn in Salado.<br />

A. J. Barlow came to <strong>McLennan</strong> <strong>County</strong> in<br />

1876. He had been born in Kentucky in<br />

1822, moved to Mississippi at age 18, and<br />

worked as an overseer for 2 years, then on to<br />

Louisiana, where he was a successful overseer.<br />

During the Civil War, he was employed<br />

by the Confederate Government as superintendent<br />

of the salt mines at Avery’s Island in<br />

Louisiana. In 1847, Barlow married Euphinie<br />

Carintin of French heritage from Louisiana.<br />

The family were members of the Missionary<br />

Baptist Church of Hillside, with the exception<br />

of Mrs. Barlow who was educated in<br />

Catholic schools and remained a Catholic.<br />

Barlow bought 640 acres with his sonin-law,<br />

Robert Lawson, in the Hillside<br />

area, where they engaged in the livestock<br />

business. At one time they owned 500 cattle<br />

and 100 horses. According to Memorial<br />

and Geographic History of Bell, <strong>McLennan</strong>,<br />

Falls and Coryell Counties, published in<br />

1893, “Mr. Barlow now has a beautiful<br />

farm, well improved with handsome residence,<br />

other buildings, etc. and has 250<br />

acres under cultivation. This place is well<br />

supplied with fine living water.”<br />

The William Porter Rhea family came<br />

from Arkansas in 1887 and lived on<br />

Bullhide Creek at what is now Cooksey<br />

Lane. There were 12 children in the family,<br />

the youngest, Tessa, being about 4 at the<br />

time of the move. Edith Rhea, eighth child<br />

of W. P. and Mary Ann Rhea, married Will<br />

Lawson. Their first child is buried in the<br />

Lawson-Barlow family cemetery on Bullhide<br />

Creek, just south of Rosenthal Parkway.<br />

William Porter Rhea was a 1st Lieutenant<br />

in Co. F, 63 Tenn. Inf., Conf. St. Army. He was<br />

born March 7, 1830, married Mary Ann Byrne<br />

December 6, 1857, and died September 9,<br />

1892. He and Mary Ann are both buried in<br />

Fletcher Cemetery, south of Robinson. Other<br />

Hillside pioneer families included the Frosch<br />

family and the Wuebker family.<br />

With no railway or major road going<br />

through Hillside, and the automobile making<br />

transportation to larger markets easier,<br />

Hillside dried up. The school and church<br />

were closed, the children were sent to<br />

Rosenthal schools, and the last member of<br />

the church died. The buildings were dismantled,<br />

and the wood was used for a home on<br />

Levi Parkway. The land was used for a community<br />

garden for several years, but Hillside<br />

no longer shows up on new road maps.<br />

Chapter 17 ✦ 39


LACY-LAKEVIEW<br />

C OMPILED BY S HARON B RACKEN<br />

Lacy-Lakeview is located approximately<br />

5 miles north of Waco on<br />

Interstate Highway 35 in <strong>McLennan</strong><br />

<strong>County</strong>. Lacy Lakeview was actually part<br />

of the league and labor of land granted to<br />

Sarah Ann Vauchere Walker in 1843 for<br />

her husband Jacob Walker’s service at the<br />

Alamo. Walker died on March 6, 1836,<br />

and is considered to be the last man to<br />

fall at the Alamo.<br />

The land grant awarded to Walker’s<br />

widow was east of the Brazos River, north<br />

of the mouth of the Bosque River and<br />

extended past White Rock Creek. The<br />

property also extended east beyond<br />

Tehuacana Creek.<br />

Sarah was living in Nacogdoches when<br />

her husband was killed. Not long after<br />

his death she married again—a common<br />

custom at the time. She married her<br />

husband’s cousin, Jim Bob Walker.<br />

Interurban train running through Lacy.<br />

THE TEXAS COLLECTION; BAYLOR UNIVERSITY, WACO, TEXAS.<br />

Sarah, her husband and seven children<br />

did not immediately relocate to the land<br />

grant because she was pregnant with her<br />

eighth child. Not long after this birth she<br />

became pregnant again. The baby was<br />

actually delivered during the move on the<br />

Sabine Trail.<br />

Before the family could get established<br />

on the land, Sarah’s second husband died,<br />

and the 1850 Census listed her as “family<br />

head, occupation farmer.”<br />

Sarah somehow managed to get a log<br />

cabin built on the Brazos River. She sold<br />

off parcels of her land grant to support<br />

her family and leased other parts of it.<br />

She eventually built a two-story Greek<br />

Revival house and for years her house was<br />

the only one north of the Waco Indian<br />

Village on the Military Road.<br />

In the 1850s two communities were<br />

established in the vicinity. Lacy was<br />

named for William David Lacy, who<br />

sold farm lots for development in the<br />

early 1880s. Walter G. Lacy, Sr., of Waco<br />

financed the construction of roads and<br />

water services for the community in 1910.<br />

In 1912 Lacy became a station on the<br />

Texas Electric Railway, an interurban line<br />

that connected Dallas and Waco. By the<br />

1930s the area had two businesses and<br />

forty residents. In the 1950s its population<br />

rose to fifty.<br />

Lakeview was named for some<br />

small spring-fed lakes in the area.<br />

Lakeview also became a station on the<br />

interurban railroad.<br />

The Frost School was the first school<br />

in the community. It was named after<br />

Josiah Frost who donated land for the log<br />

cabin school to be built. The school was<br />

eventually moved to a site across from<br />

the Dallas Highway. The building later<br />

burned but was replaced.<br />

The Lakeview School replaced<br />

the Frost school in nearby Lacy<br />

in 1915 and became the focus of<br />

an independent district in 1927.<br />

It was a four-room, two story<br />

red brick building built in the<br />

Lakeview Addition. The school<br />

burned on two occasions in<br />

1939, but was rebuilt with help<br />

from the WPA. A new school was<br />

built again in 1964.<br />

The Lacy and Lakeview communities<br />

established a common<br />

city government in 1953 and<br />

elected Frank Mosley mayor.<br />

Lacy-Lakeview became a suburban<br />

community to the city of<br />

Waco. The population estimates<br />

were approximately 2,200 in<br />

the early 1960s and rose to<br />

2,558 by the early 1970s. By<br />

1990 a population of 3,617 was<br />

reported. In 2000 the population<br />

had reached 5,764.<br />

40 ✦ HISTORIC MCLENNAN COUNTY


LEROY<br />

C OMPILED BY H AL P LEDGER<br />

Thomas J. Casey received a land patent<br />

in 1840 for land near what was to become<br />

Leroy in northeast <strong>McLennan</strong> <strong>County</strong>. He<br />

probably did not move to the area until<br />

the late 1860s or early 1870s. Other early<br />

settlers included Thomas A. Kirkland, Sr.,<br />

E. A. Kirkland, John Harrison, John Allen<br />

and John Silas Edens.<br />

The Kirkland ranch, owned by E. A.<br />

(Pick) Kirkland and his brother Tom, grew<br />

to 14,000 acres. Parts of this ranch are in<br />

Hill, <strong>McLennan</strong> and Limestone Counties.<br />

Republic of Texas President Lamar, in<br />

a speech given to the Texas Congress on<br />

December 20, 1838, urged the Congress to<br />

establish a system of education. On January<br />

26, 1839, 50 leagues (about 220,000 acres)<br />

were set aside to endow a university. In<br />

1872, 41,000 acres of the university lands<br />

between Leroy and West and to the county<br />

line were put up for sale. At $1 an acre,<br />

the land attracted the attention of German<br />

and Czech immigrants. On November 11,<br />

1872, a group from Illinois arrived in the<br />

area, and named their settlement St.<br />

Martinsville since November 11 is the day<br />

of the feast of St. Martin. The settlers<br />

changed the name to Tours (the birthplace<br />

of St. Martin was Tours, France) since there<br />

was already a St. Martinsville, Texas.<br />

Other early landowners in the area<br />

included the heirs of H. T. Houston, who<br />

were granted about 1,920 acres of land<br />

by the Republic of Texas in what was to<br />

become northeastern <strong>McLennan</strong> <strong>County</strong>.<br />

Houston died serving in the army of the<br />

Republic of Texas. In 1885, Captain C. H.<br />

Higginson and W. H. Janes bought the<br />

land, and William Henry Harrison Janes<br />

built a home there in 1902. W. H. Janes<br />

had come from Kentucky to Texas at age<br />

19, and fought in the Civil War in Hood’s<br />

Texas Brigade. After the war, he founded<br />

a successful freight-hauling business<br />

between Bremond and Waco, bought and<br />

sold land in the Leroy area, and helped<br />

found a private bank in Leroy, the first in<br />

<strong>McLennan</strong> <strong>County</strong>.<br />

The International and Great Northern<br />

Railway (also known as the I. & G. N.; it was<br />

rumored to have used bribes to get their<br />

charter through the Texas legislature) began<br />

work on a line in 1898. The track was laid<br />

through the area in 1902. Smith Land and<br />

Improvement Company bought the town<br />

site and filed a plat August 7, 1902. Leroy<br />

Trice was head of both companies, the I. &<br />

G. N. and the Smith Land and Improvement<br />

Company. The town is named for him.<br />

Also, around this same time in 1900 the<br />

post office was established in the community,<br />

with Joe S. Lumbley as postmaster.<br />

The first minister in Leroy is believed to<br />

have been Reverend Cornelius, a county<br />

Baptist missionary. He was holding meetings<br />

successfully, until one night no one<br />

showed up. He packed up and went home,<br />

never realizing that everyone had gone to a<br />

wedding dance at Chada Hall. Religion in<br />

Leroy, however, didn’t end there—the deed<br />

to the Baptist Church was signed in 1909<br />

by Leroy Trice, with S. M. Briley, N. B.<br />

(Poley) Edens and J. R. Frazier trustees. In<br />

1923, with membership down, the Baptist<br />

congregation merged with the Methodist,<br />

with a joint Sunday school, and each<br />

denomination furnishing the pastor on<br />

alternating Sundays. An early African-<br />

American church was located in the main<br />

business block, but it did not last. Later,<br />

the James Chapel Baptist Church, another<br />

African-American church, was located on<br />

land donated by Lula Bell.<br />

The first business in town was Ed Duke’s<br />

Dry Goods Store. The I. & G. N. Saloon,<br />

named after the railroad, was the largest<br />

building in town. It was owned by John<br />

Holzer and had a meat market, whiskey<br />

warehouse and pool hall housed in the<br />

building as well. Other early businesses in<br />

the business block were an icehouse,<br />

Etchenberg Blacksmith Shop, Dr. Legg’s<br />

office, the Casey Saloon, John Beheler’s brick<br />

grocery store, Beheler Mercantile store, and a<br />

drug store operated by Lee Clements who<br />

was an avid domino player. Customers had<br />

to wait on his game. “I’ll wait on you in a<br />

minute” was a frequent greeting.<br />

A lumber yard was founded by D. T.<br />

Janes in 1902. There was also a cotton<br />

gin, and for a brief period, there was a<br />

weekly newspaper, The Leroy World, that<br />

folded when the editor-publisher angered<br />

some of the town folk with his writing.<br />

Other businesses were a barbershop, the<br />

Keller store, with the Woodman Lodge on<br />

the second floor, and Dr. Boethel’s office<br />

and drugstore. Across the road was Louis<br />

Rose’s blacksmith shop. In 1910, Rose built<br />

a car that ended up looking like a buggy<br />

with an engine attached. It had 3 horsepower,<br />

but as Louis Rose told D. T. Janes,<br />

“By shucks, it doesn’t pull like 3 horses.”<br />

A meat market, once operated by Will<br />

Schroeder, a grocery and mercantile store,<br />

the Fricke Saloon and Ice House, and<br />

another blacksmith shop comprised the<br />

early downtown business district.<br />

Around 1911, Aunt Rosie came to<br />

town. She was born in Ardmore,<br />

Oklahoma, on or about August 16, 1847.<br />

She was of Creek and Choctaw Indian<br />

parentage. She was a midwife and took<br />

care of the Leroy community using her<br />

knowledge of native plants. She lived to<br />

the age of 111.<br />

With well patronized drinking establishments,<br />

Saturday fights were a regular fare in<br />

Leroy, so a wooden jail was built to house<br />

the lawbreakers. It was a small one-room<br />

structure with no windows that worked<br />

well for the community until an occupant<br />

burned it down, with no harm to himself.<br />

After that, prisoners were chained to a tree.<br />

In 1925 all but the two brick buildings,<br />

the Leroy Bank and the Beheler<br />

store, were destroyed by fire in the downtown<br />

business block.<br />

Chapter 19 ✦ 41


In July 1897, John Young was appointed<br />

postmaster of a small community in<br />

southeastern <strong>McLennan</strong> <strong>County</strong>, near the<br />

Falls <strong>County</strong> line. Young was a New<br />

Englander, who had established a store in<br />

the farming area, and named it for his son,<br />

Levi Young. As the store was called Levi’s,<br />

the post office was also named Levi.<br />

Levi is located in Precinct 1, on the<br />

banks of the Bull Hide Creek on the<br />

Galindo 11 League Grant. It was a farming<br />

community, with much of the land<br />

rented by large tenant farmers who pay<br />

the landowner either one third or one<br />

fourth of the crop (depending on what<br />

was planted) as rent for use of the land.<br />

Grain storage in Levi on Bullhide Creek.<br />

PHOTO BY LAUREN D. MICKENS.<br />

LEVI<br />

C OMPILED BY H AL P LEDGER<br />

The great-grandparents of Julius<br />

Oswald Purczinsky, Jr., and Furn<br />

Purczinsky Smith came to Texas from<br />

Prussia through Galveston Island in 1874.<br />

They lived in Round Top, where Otto<br />

Henry Purczinsky was born. In the<br />

1880s, they came to the Levi area and<br />

bought land from the Lankford family.<br />

The Purczinsky family is now the major<br />

landowner in the Levi community.<br />

The area had a cotton gin, a school and<br />

a general store. The post office was discontinued<br />

in September 1902, and mail<br />

was delivered from Lorena. In 1910,<br />

George W. Lankford ran the general store,<br />

which was located on what is now Levi<br />

Parkway and Bull Hide Creek. It was<br />

closed in the 1930s and used for storage.<br />

The Levi schoolhouse was two stories,<br />

with the second story used by the fraternal<br />

lodge, the Woodmen. The school went<br />

through the eighth grade. This school lasted<br />

until sometime between 1920 and<br />

1921, with the last teacher being Doris<br />

Hobbs. In the 1930s children were taken<br />

to the Rosenthal School in a cattle truck<br />

until a school bus was obtained.<br />

The original cotton gin was on the corner<br />

of Levi Road and Bull Hide Creek<br />

Road. By the 1930s it was abandoned with<br />

only the foundation visible. The schoolhouse<br />

was also gone, and there was a new<br />

general store-gas station and shop owned<br />

by Myrtle and Ben Schwank. A new gin<br />

was built with a pool (for dumping bales)<br />

and at times was used for baptisms.<br />

The road to Levi was originally a dirt<br />

road with deep ditches. Gravel was added<br />

later, and it presently is a paved farm-tomarket<br />

road (FM). The telephone was a<br />

party line with short and long rings.<br />

Until electricity came to the area in 1935,<br />

households used coal oil lamps for light<br />

and wood stoves for heat.<br />

Herman Perczinsky was in World War<br />

I and died of pneumonia in the northeast<br />

during the war. Julius O. Purczinsky, Jr.,<br />

served in World War II and received the<br />

bronze star and Purple Heart.<br />

Furn Purczinsky Smith said her<br />

great-grandmother, Susanna Lebkowsky<br />

died at age 99 in 1917, and the funeral<br />

home in Lorena handled the arrangements.<br />

“The hearse was black with<br />

glass sides and each black horse had a<br />

plume on his head,” Smith’s grandmother<br />

told her.<br />

In the 1930s and 1940s, a few scattered<br />

houses marked the community<br />

on county maps. The population was<br />

estimated at 48. The population was<br />

almost the same in 2000 at 50.<br />

42 ✦ HISTORIC MCLENNAN COUNTY


LIBERTY HILL<br />

C OMPILED BY M ARY S UE H ATTER D UTY<br />

The Liberty Hill community is located<br />

east of Moody and was home to many<br />

prominent families that made important<br />

contributions to the Moody area.<br />

The Liberty Hill Baptist Church was<br />

organized in 1910 and met in the Mills<br />

Hill School. It was located in an area<br />

where the present church is today. The<br />

families who began the church were<br />

Mr. and Mrs. T. A. Coulter, Mr. and Mrs.<br />

Wash Johnson, Mr. and Mrs. J. G. Watts,<br />

and Mr. and Mrs. John Briscoe.<br />

In 1914 the one room church was<br />

built. This project was done by the men<br />

of the community who would take their<br />

teams of mules and wagons to the Leon<br />

River woods to cut logs for lumber. They<br />

worked many long hours to get the<br />

church built, often spending the night at<br />

the cutting ground. In the fall of 1914 the<br />

church was completed. Services were<br />

held every other Sunday with preaching<br />

in the morning and evening and Sunday<br />

school in the afternoon.<br />

The Tabernacle, which was located<br />

between the school and the church,<br />

housed many revivals and community<br />

affairs. They were often called “Big<br />

Meetings” instead of revivals. These<br />

were held every summer and sometimes<br />

lasted two weeks. Baptisms were held in<br />

the Leon River near Moody, often at<br />

Halbert’s crossing.<br />

The first pastor was W. J. Cook who<br />

served from 1914 to 1926. Miss Agnes<br />

Akins (Mrs. Tone Patrick) was organist.<br />

Early deacons were Gordon Watts,<br />

Thomas A. Coulter, Wash Johnson, John<br />

Briscoe, Pat Bostick, Earl Coulter, Pete<br />

Cagle, Oscar Porter, Walter Raby, Carl<br />

Day, Jimmie Marrs, Lee O. Bench, Jackie<br />

Watkins, Bob Barker and Irvin R. Johnson.<br />

Other pastors were the following: John<br />

Paul Jones (1926-1932), James Roy Clark<br />

(1932), H. C. Funderburk, Pastor Wagner,<br />

Henry Kincaid, Roy Smith, George<br />

Blaylock (1934), A. J. Martin (1932-36),<br />

Pastor Marshall (1939-40), Harvey Wolf<br />

(1941-42), Pastor Higginbotham (1943-<br />

44), Pastor Seal (1945), Don Miller<br />

(1946), Ray Latimer (1947), Clyde<br />

Rhinehart (1948-49), Bob Walker (1950-3<br />

months), Sis Manderson (1950-51), Bill<br />

Davenport (1952-55), Johnny Trafton<br />

(1956-57), Jack Smith (1957-59), Charles<br />

Goodson (1960), Dick Rosenthal (1961-<br />

62), Bernard Beeman (1963), Maurice Hill<br />

(1963-65), Parma Newman (1965-67),<br />

Keith Rosenbaum (1967-68), Fred Raney<br />

(1968-69), David Cearley (1969), Fred<br />

Raney (1969-70), David Cearley (1971-<br />

73), James Scarborough (1973-75),<br />

Joe Taylor (1975-76), R. B. McCurdy<br />

(1976-77), Wallace Pelton (1977), Homer<br />

Coffman (1977-79), Keith McKensie<br />

(1980), W. A. Irvin (1981-84).<br />

The Liberty Hill School was also a big<br />

part of the community. The first school<br />

consisted of two rooms. Students as well<br />

as teachers walked to school, carrying<br />

their lunches in syrup buckets. A teacher<br />

was hired at $90 per month for a school<br />

year lasting six months. The school year<br />

began the first Monday of October and<br />

ended in the spring with a big picnic. The<br />

average attendance was 15 to 17 children<br />

in first through seventh grade. Early<br />

teachers were Cora Mae Buckner, Mr.<br />

Goodman, Otis Henderson, Illa Alford,<br />

Ethel Veach, Will Veach, Mr. McMeeken,<br />

Joe Coffee, Nannie Goode, Ensor Miller,<br />

Grace Griffen, Boss Briffin, Mildred<br />

Pruitt, Inez Fegette, and Lela Hartman. It<br />

was common practice for teachers to<br />

board in the community.<br />

Two favorite teachers of the early years<br />

were Eugenia Land and her sister-in-law<br />

Willie Mae Land. They stayed with Pat<br />

and Bernice Bostick during the school<br />

week. Will Land would come to Liberty<br />

Hill on Fridays to pick up Eugenia, Willie<br />

Mae, and her daughter Margaret and<br />

bring them back Sunday evenings.<br />

Chapter 21 ✦ 43


LORENA<br />

C OMPILED BY H AL P LEDGER<br />

“On July 18, 1849, Governor George<br />

T. Wood, granted to Jacob De Cordova,<br />

two labors of land in the Milam District<br />

on the waters of the Cow Bayou about<br />

14 miles southwest from the Waco<br />

Village. On March 15, 1856, G. B.Erath,<br />

attorney in fact, for Jacob De Cordova,<br />

conveyed 357 acres of this land to<br />

Daniel Aerl,” according to Ella Aerl Griffis<br />

in “A History of the Lorena, Texas Area,<br />

1854-1981,” compiled by the Lorena<br />

<strong>Historic</strong>al Committee of the Lorena<br />

Cemetery Association.<br />

EARLY SETTLERS<br />

Daniel Aerl was born October 6, 1807,<br />

in Adams <strong>County</strong>, Ohio. His wife, Sarah<br />

Mariah House Aerl was born October 18,<br />

1829, in New York. Three of their eight<br />

children, Robert D., Aron G. and Mary<br />

accompanied the family to Texas.<br />

Henry Clay Williams, born in<br />

Lynchburg, Virginia, on April 2, 1832,<br />

moved his family to the area in the fall of<br />

1859 and bought the ranch “Ten Oaks.”<br />

He had married Sarah Jane Jones of<br />

Lynchburg in 1857. Ten Oaks became the<br />

permanent home of H. C. and Sarah and<br />

their seven children. Sarah’s widowed<br />

sister and son came to settle near her, as<br />

did Henry’s widowed sister Mary Jane<br />

Williams Fields. Mary Jane’s daughter,<br />

Cora, was courted in Lynchburg by<br />

Herbert James Hudson, an immigrant<br />

from Cambridge, England. He followed<br />

Cora to Lorena in 1877, and they were<br />

married May 20, 1880.<br />

Henry Williams “was addicted to<br />

horses and really gave the name to the<br />

principal creek, which was ‘Caballo.’ The<br />

Yankee map makers translated this to<br />

“Cow Bayou” in later years and so it is<br />

known today,” according to Elizabeth<br />

Williams Estes, granddaughter of H. C.<br />

and Sarah, in A History of the Lorena Area.<br />

Charles Alexander Westbrook and<br />

his wife, Virginia Whitsitt and young<br />

daughter, Lorena, came to the area in the<br />

mid 1800s. They built a four-room house<br />

on a rock bluff overlooking Cow Bayou<br />

Creek, fronting on the old Waco-Temple<br />

road. Then, in 1874, they began building<br />

a permanent home across the creek<br />

from the original home and about onefourth<br />

of a mile south. The three-story<br />

house made of rock took about a year<br />

to complete and accommodated the 11<br />

children in the family. The house was also<br />

used as a stage stop.<br />

RAILROADS, CHURCHES &<br />

SCHOOLS<br />

Realizing that the railroad was<br />

important to the development of the area,<br />

Daniel Aerl gave land to the Missouri,<br />

Kansas and Texas Railway (M-K-T) in<br />

1881 to induce the company to build a<br />

track through this part of the state. Aerl<br />

Westbrook house in Lorena.<br />

Switch was the name given the railway<br />

stop. C. M. Dodge, a M-K-T agent, came<br />

to Aerl Switch to partition the 40 acres<br />

left over into lots and auction it.<br />

The J. B. Strother private school was<br />

located on the Westbrook property and<br />

was attended by the Westbrook and<br />

Williams’ families. Another private<br />

school, the Cedar Bridge School and<br />

Church, was located on Cow Bayou<br />

where a cedar bridge crossed the creek.<br />

On March 19, 1883, Daniel Aerl gave<br />

land for a public school.<br />

“The C. A. Westbrook family wanted<br />

the town called Lorena for their daughter.<br />

Daniel Aerl did not object but said, ‘Just<br />

so we have the railroad and town, the<br />

name does not matter,’ ” according to Ella<br />

Aerl Griffin in A History of the Lorena,<br />

Texas Area 1854-1981.<br />

Reverend Thomas Stanford (1813-<br />

1892) and his wife Lemereles K. W. Harris<br />

Stanford (1815-1900) were born in<br />

Tennessee. Their families migrated to<br />

44 ✦ HISTORIC MCLENNAN COUNTY


Arkansas where they met and married in<br />

1832 and where he was ordained as a<br />

Methodist minister. In the midst of the<br />

Civil War, Reverend Stanford moved his<br />

family to Texas, and in 1875 bought a<br />

farm 8 miles west of Waco at Richie<br />

Station on the St. Louis, Arkansas and<br />

Texas railway. The Stanford family was<br />

large, and many of the children settled in<br />

the Lorena area.<br />

Reverend Stanford and Reverend E. R.<br />

Barcus founded Stanford Chapel, the first<br />

Methodist church west of Waco. People<br />

came to hear Reverend Stanford preach<br />

and Reverend Barcus sing.<br />

The Lorena Methodist Church was<br />

established after the Cedar Bridge<br />

Church and School burned. In A<br />

History of the Lorena, Texas Area, E.<br />

Hudson Long gives an accounting of<br />

his grandfather: “Formerly of the<br />

Church of England, of which his<br />

brother, Ernest, was Rector at Hayes,<br />

Middlesex, Hudson became a<br />

Methodist. He served as Sunday<br />

School Superintendent, donated land<br />

for the parsonage, and arranged for<br />

the church to be constructed according to<br />

plans he secured from England.”<br />

In September of 1882, the Lorena<br />

Baptist Church was established. The<br />

organizer and first pastor was Elder John<br />

S. Allen. There were 22 charter members.<br />

EARLY COMMERCE<br />

According to The Handbook of Texas<br />

Online, “In 1884 the community had a<br />

general store, two grocery stores, and 150<br />

residents; area farmers shipped cotton,<br />

corn and livestock. By 1890 Lorena had<br />

grown to include a hotel, a school, a<br />

steam cotton gin and gristmill, two<br />

churches, three general stores and<br />

250 residents. Population estimates<br />

rose to 375 in 1892 and to 500 in 1896,<br />

and a wide assortment of businesses<br />

prospered there.”<br />

H. J. Hudson engaged in the<br />

mercantile business when he first arrived<br />

in Lorena. He then opened a<br />

private bank, the Bank of Lorena, in<br />

1894. It was reorganized in 1909 as the<br />

Lorena State Bank and consolidated with<br />

the First National Bank of Lorena in<br />

1922. The bank closed in 1928. Efforts to<br />

reorganize ended in 1931 with the<br />

liquidation of the assets. Hudson died<br />

February 1, 1935.<br />

Elijah Hooper moved with his<br />

family to the Lorena area in the early<br />

1890s. His son, Horace Sherman<br />

Hooper, married Jessie Murphy on<br />

November 15, 1896. The Murphy family<br />

had moved from Eufala, Alabama, in<br />

1880, while the Hooper family came to<br />

Matagorda, Texas, from Tennessee.<br />

Horace was born in Matagorda September<br />

9, 1867. Jessie Murphy Hooper was one<br />

of the early teachers at the Lorena<br />

two-room school and was active in the<br />

Lorena Woman’s Club and the Lorena<br />

Cemetery Association. The family was<br />

also active in the Methodist Church.<br />

Horace was ambitious and a hard worker,<br />

and the family prospered. His business<br />

interests included farming, cotton buying<br />

and the emerging automobile industry.<br />

He was an Odd Fellow, a 32nd degree<br />

Mason and a Shriner.<br />

The Horace Hooper family bought the<br />

large home built by the Westbrook family,<br />

started in 1907 and finished in 1909. The<br />

beautiful home still stands today and is<br />

reminiscent of one found on a southern<br />

cotton plantation.<br />

“In the fall of 1894, a young man<br />

sporting a frocktail coat, bat wing<br />

collar, and a red flower in his button<br />

hole rode into Lorena, Texas. He was<br />

William Franklin Shipp, doctor of<br />

medicine…” writes Eileen Shipp Taylor.<br />

Thomas Bowman describes him “like the<br />

storybook family country doctor, and<br />

he got plenty of practicing on a<br />

whole community. His bitter pink<br />

medicine cured everything from the<br />

neurotic to the truly sick. He never lost<br />

a pneumonia patient and could be<br />

counted on for every emergency from an<br />

infected insect bite or broken bone to<br />

fatal diseases.”<br />

Mount Rose Missionary Baptist Church, 2008.<br />

THE AFRICAN- AMERICAN<br />

COMMUNIT Y<br />

In May of 1920 the Mt. Rose<br />

Missionary Baptist Church opened in the<br />

African-American community along<br />

Houston Street. There was also the Lorena<br />

Methodist Church A.M.E. and an African-<br />

American school on Houston Street.<br />

About 10 or 12 families made up the<br />

community, and they rotated the services<br />

between the churches, one Sunday being<br />

held in the Methodist Church, the next<br />

in the Baptist. The pioneer families were<br />

as follows: Williams, Lewis, Matthews,<br />

Knox, Fields, Smith, Jackson, Page, Cox,<br />

Hibbler, Darby, and Sneed.<br />

KLAN CONFRONTATION<br />

On October 1, 1921, the Ku Klux<br />

Klan had a parade in Lorena, after<br />

being told Waco would not allow the<br />

march. The county sheriff, Bob Buchanan,<br />

had announced that masked parades<br />

were forbidden, but the Klan defied<br />

his order. The KKK mounted horses,<br />

and with white robes flapping, masks<br />

in place, they marched down North<br />

Borden at Castro Street. A local resident<br />

called Sheriff Buchanan. As Mack Wood<br />

tells it, “Buchanan brought 20 deputies<br />

with him and all but two, Red Burton<br />

and I, Mack Wood, returned to Waco<br />

when they saw the crowd and the<br />

determination of the Klansmen to carry<br />

out their plans.”<br />

Chapter 22 ✦ 45


Sheriff Buchanan was equally set in<br />

his purpose to stop the parade. “It is<br />

not right for them to pass through here<br />

when no one knows who they are. It is<br />

not the law. They can’t go through until<br />

they get me,” he said. He spent more than<br />

an hour trying to talk them out of<br />

parading. Efforts of those trying to<br />

dissuade the sheriff were futile. The<br />

sheriff’s posse (three men) and about 100<br />

marchers confronted each other at the<br />

first cross street. The leading figure<br />

carrying the American flag was stopped<br />

by the sheriff. The sheriff attempted to<br />

remove his mask and the melee began.<br />

Pistol shots rang out and knives were<br />

brought out.”<br />

As Florence Lawson recalled, “A man<br />

was determined to break up the march by<br />

firing his gun wildly into a crowd that<br />

contained women and children. My<br />

father, a bystander, received a slash to the<br />

throat trying to prevent the deputy sheriff<br />

from stashing a knife.”<br />

“I was 5 years old and remember<br />

standing on one of the counters at the<br />

Ford Agency,” Jessie Lee Wolfe Janes said.<br />

“One could feel the excitement and the<br />

fear that was present in the crowd. There<br />

was a very large crowd and tempers were<br />

high. The sheriff from Waco and other<br />

officers were there to try to control the<br />

crowd,” she said.<br />

COMMERCE &<br />

COMMUNITY<br />

Otis Rhea moved back to Lorena<br />

from Post, where he had a Ford<br />

agency and garage, around 1921. He<br />

brought some of his mechanics from<br />

Post, and started the Ford agency in<br />

Lorena. The Rhea family consisted of<br />

Otis, his wife Jessie Wolf Rhea,<br />

daughters Celest and Jessie Lee. They<br />

were active in the Methodist Church,<br />

Celest and Jessie sang in the choir<br />

and Otis was on the Board of Stewards.<br />

They were close friends with the Joel<br />

Hooper family and together were called<br />

“the four Jessies.”<br />

As Jessie Lee recalled, “Mrs. Joel<br />

Hooper played the piano. She had<br />

long curls that she pulled up from the<br />

back and had these “fat” curls on top<br />

of her head. She was a beautiful<br />

woman and made an impression on<br />

me that has stayed all of my life. She<br />

was always gracious and became<br />

the organist after the church purchased<br />

one. She continued this job for many<br />

years.” Her husband was the mail carrier,<br />

a lover of people, and a raiser of<br />

Greyhounds. She tried to “live above<br />

this hobby!” She was active in the<br />

Women’s Missionary Society at both the<br />

local and state level and was often a<br />

delegate to the district meeting for Lorena<br />

Methodist Church.<br />

Florence Lawson writes about the<br />

livery stable that housed a Sunday<br />

morning card game every week, with<br />

large sums of money involved. “The<br />

thing I remember most about it is that<br />

our Sunday School teacher would<br />

mention this sinful event to our class, and<br />

Lorena Methodist Church.<br />

I would always turn pale because I knew<br />

my father was one of the gentlemen<br />

playing cards.”<br />

On April 14, 1923, Lorena hosted a<br />

“Great Community Trade Day.” The<br />

following merchants were listed in the ads:<br />

J. O. Rhea Auto Co., First National Bank,<br />

Lorena Mercantile Co., Shipp’s Drugstore,<br />

Lorena Lumber & Hardware Co., Will<br />

Piper’s Market, Autrey & Honeycutt<br />

Service, J. D. Maxey Groceries, O. O.<br />

Ashenhurst Grocery, W. B. Maxey Barber<br />

and Barber Supplies, American Tailor<br />

Shop, Lawson Service Station, Mercantile<br />

Co., Evans-Westbrook Mercantile Co.,<br />

McAdams Grocery, Westbrook & Evans<br />

Gin Co., G. W. Norwood Café, City Café,<br />

Williams Gin Co. and McBride’s Pharmacy.<br />

The entertainment for the Trade Day<br />

included a mule race, rat killing contest,<br />

a 16-dog stake race, musical programs<br />

by the glee clubs and barber shop<br />

quartet and band, airplane flying circus,<br />

and the launching of a number of live<br />

guinea hens from 1,000 feet with various<br />

prizes tied to their feet. A parade with<br />

floats and a solemn funeral procession<br />

and burial of “Old Man Knocker” kicked<br />

off the event.<br />

Lorena begin experiencing a downturn<br />

in the 1920s. The two banks in Lorena,<br />

Lorena State Bank and First National<br />

Bank were consolidated in 1922 and<br />

continued to operate as the First National<br />

Bank until closing in 1928. In the 1930s<br />

the population was 342, but between<br />

1933 and 1945 the number of businesses<br />

decreased from 22 to seven. The<br />

population declined as well to 242 in<br />

the 1950s.<br />

The economy got a boost in the late<br />

1950s and 1960s, when Interstate<br />

Highway 35 was built along U.S.<br />

Highway 81. The community, which<br />

incorporated in 1959, also began to grow<br />

again when families started moving from<br />

Waco in part to escape desegregation. In<br />

the mid-1970s the population had grown<br />

to 516. Growth has continued steadily<br />

and in 2000 the population was 1,433<br />

with 150 businesses.<br />

46 ✦ HISTORIC MCLENNAN COUNTY


Downtown Mart (date unknown).<br />

MART<br />

C OMPILED BY G RETA W ATSON<br />

The land patent, which includes the<br />

present city of Mart, was granted to<br />

William Donahoo on November 9, 1859.<br />

W. H. Criswell came in 1876, with<br />

his wife, Clarette Wilder, whom he had<br />

married on November 25, 1875. They<br />

came from the Criswell settlement in<br />

Falls <strong>County</strong> to the head of Big Creek in<br />

the southeastern corner of <strong>McLennan</strong><br />

<strong>County</strong>. Criswell was considered the first<br />

settler to live in the area that included the<br />

corporate limits of Mart.<br />

Mr. and Mrs. W. L. Cowan came to the<br />

settlement in the winter of 1877-1878.<br />

There were several families living on the<br />

east side of Big Creek at the time<br />

including W. H. Criswell, Albert Breeland,<br />

Perry Douglas, Dr. J. R. Gilliam, W. B.<br />

Stodghill, H. C. Cowan, Lewis Stephens,<br />

W. C. Easter and Dr. W. B. Carpenter.<br />

WILLOW SPRINGS<br />

The community originally took the<br />

name “Willow Springs” from the spring<br />

and willow trees that were located near<br />

the Criswell home, however, the name<br />

didn’t last long.<br />

William B. Stodghill submitted an application<br />

for a post office for Willow Springs<br />

on February 2, 1880. When it was learned<br />

there was already a post office named<br />

“Willow Spring,” a new name had to be<br />

chosen. In about 1880, Willow Springs<br />

became Mart. “Old” Mart was in the area<br />

that was the old cemetery and what are<br />

now Carpenter and Navarro streets.<br />

CHURCHES<br />

As the community prospered, other<br />

families came, and with these<br />

Chapter 23 ✦ 47


families came the need for a school<br />

and churches.<br />

On April 28, 1878, under a tree, the<br />

Baptist church was organized with 18<br />

members. The Methodist church was<br />

organized in 1890 with seven charter<br />

members, and the Presbyterian church<br />

was also organized in 1890.<br />

Across from the Baptist church a crude<br />

one-room building for a school was<br />

erected, to be replaced by a structure of<br />

four rooms in 1885, where the present<br />

school on Navarro Street is located.<br />

COMMERCE<br />

Cotton was the primary crop being<br />

grown outside of Mart, and a cotton gin<br />

was built by Bill Ingram. Before the gin<br />

was built, cotton had to be taken to<br />

Harrison Switch to be ginned.<br />

After the cotton gin was built, an oil<br />

mill was built and stores were located<br />

near the cotton gin. Dr. Carpenter’s office<br />

was in the same vicinity.<br />

TOWN RELOCATES<br />

FOR THE RAILROAD<br />

The little village of Old Mart remained<br />

in the original location where the<br />

cemetery is located until the railroad<br />

came to Mart. The town of “New Mart”<br />

was built on Criswell’s farm.<br />

A committee was formed called the<br />

“Texas Land and Improvement Co.” The<br />

committee had representatives from<br />

the I. & G. N. railroad, a division of<br />

the Missouri Pacific Railroad, and<br />

members of the community of Mart. The<br />

committee guaranteed 10 miles of right<br />

of way to the railroad. With the coming<br />

of the railroad in 1901, the town of Mart<br />

flourished. A train station, a round house<br />

and a machine shop were constructed<br />

to accommodate the trains that came<br />

through Mart on a regular schedule.<br />

Both southbound and northbound trains<br />

carried passengers and products<br />

produced in and outside of the Mart<br />

community. The streets are wide in Mart<br />

because a civil engineer from the railroad<br />

platted the town.<br />

Mart grew quickly over a 10-year<br />

period from a population of 300 in<br />

1900 to 2,939 in 1910 and became<br />

Mart also had a bottling plant that<br />

bottled strawberry red, lemon and orange<br />

soda pop. There was also an ice plant in<br />

Mart that furnished ice to homes and<br />

businesses initially delivered by mule<br />

a thriving commercial community drawn wagons and later by trucks.<br />

with stores owned by W. B. Stodghill,<br />

Henry Ashburn, Ward Herwin and<br />

Pine Shelton.<br />

More doctors came to Mart as well,<br />

and hotels were built. The town also had<br />

drug stores, grocery stores, dry goods<br />

stores, a millinery shop, a leather shop, a<br />

blacksmith, a bakery, meat markets, feed<br />

stores, leather shops, insurance agencies,<br />

furniture stores, a funeral home, cafes,<br />

pool halls, and saloons. At first a theater<br />

was built showing only silent black<br />

and white movies with a resident piano<br />

player. A modern theater was built<br />

in 1949.<br />

The First National Bank of Mart<br />

opened for business on August 12, 1901.<br />

The First State Bank of Mart opened<br />

shortly after but merged with the First<br />

National Bank of Mart in the 1930s.<br />

When the railroad came, a YMCA was<br />

built close to the railroad tracks.<br />

This establishment provided rooms for<br />

rent, space for Boy Scout and Lions<br />

Club meetings, recreational activities,<br />

polling place for voters, and in the late<br />

1950s the Head Start program was<br />

housed there.<br />

With the arrival of the train in Mart,<br />

several fraternal organizations came<br />

to the area including The Masons,<br />

The Order of the Eastern Star, The<br />

Rebeccas, The Woodmen of the World,<br />

The Knights of Pythian, and numerous<br />

Railroad Brotherhoods.<br />

The last train left the Mart rail yard<br />

on November 13, 1968, and thus ended<br />

67 years of railroad history in Mart. The<br />

population of Mart as of the 2000 United<br />

States Census was 2,273.<br />

The Farmers and<br />

Merchants National<br />

Bank of Mart was<br />

organized on October<br />

22, 1904, and opened<br />

for business January<br />

5, 1905. The bank<br />

remained active under<br />

the same name until<br />

it was sold and then<br />

became the Enterprise<br />

Bank in Mart.<br />

At one time Mart<br />

had three active banks<br />

and five cotton gins,<br />

one being the world’s<br />

largest round bale gin.<br />

Cotton was “king”<br />

but because of years<br />

of planting cotton, the<br />

land became depleted,<br />

and with the disappearance<br />

of the main<br />

crop, the cotton gins<br />

disappeared too.<br />

Mart Drug c. early 1900s.<br />

THE TEXAS COLLECTION; BAYLOR UNIVERSITY, WACO, TEXAS.<br />

48 ✦ HISTORIC MCLENNAN COUNTY


McGregor Light & Power Plant currently used to house McGregor Waterworks.<br />

COURTESY OF JIM AND SHARON GRIFFITH.<br />

MCGREGOR<br />

C OMPILED BY S HARON G RIFFITH<br />

McGregor is an incorporated town<br />

16 miles southwest of Waco on U.S.<br />

Highway 84 in western <strong>McLennan</strong><br />

<strong>County</strong>. Originally known as McGregor<br />

Springs, it was established in 1882 at<br />

the intersection of the Gulf, Colorado<br />

and Santa Fe and the Texas and St. Louis<br />

railways. The new town was named<br />

McGregor Springs in honor of Gregor<br />

McGregor, a doctor who gave the railroad<br />

right-of-way to cross his land.<br />

Visitors to the prospective city came<br />

on excursion trains in response to advertisements<br />

that appeared in Texas newspapers,<br />

and on September 7, 1882, a state<br />

land commissioner sold lots at auction<br />

from the back of a railroad flatcar.<br />

COMMERCE<br />

McGregor’s favorable location in Central<br />

Texas drew much of its early population.<br />

Several businesses from nearby small communities<br />

like Banks and Comanche Springs<br />

in <strong>McLennan</strong> <strong>County</strong> and Eagle Springs<br />

in Coryell <strong>County</strong> moved to McGregor.<br />

The post office at Banks was transferred<br />

to McGregor in October 1882, keeping<br />

Thomas H. Baker as postmaster.<br />

By 1884 McGregor had a wide variety<br />

of businesses, a weekly newspaper, a<br />

school, and several hundred residents.<br />

The town adopted a city charter in<br />

November 1886. The next couple of<br />

decades brought the addition of two<br />

hotels, a national bank, a washingmachine<br />

factory, a tannery, a cottonseed<br />

oil mill and an artesian waterworks. The<br />

census of 1890 gave the population of<br />

McGregor as 774, but some estimates<br />

were as high as 1,500.<br />

WILLIAM DEYERLE<br />

William Deyerle, a colorful farmer and<br />

entrepreneur, came to McGregor in the late<br />

1800s. He and his wife, Willie, were<br />

prominent in the growth of McGregor. In<br />

the Spring of 1904, Deyerle organized one<br />

of McGregor’s strongest financial institutions,<br />

The Farmers Bank. The same year,<br />

he opened the bank, he bought out the<br />

water and light plant and built a stone<br />

building which stands to this day to house<br />

the city’s waterworks. His light and power<br />

plant furnished electric power to the entire<br />

city of McGregor. The power was generated<br />

by an 80-horse diesel engine Deyerle<br />

secured from a manufacturer in Germany.<br />

Deyerle also owned the Farmers Mill.<br />

Their leading brand of flour, “Pure Gold,”<br />

had a reputation that was almost<br />

statewide. The grain elevator service of<br />

this mill was considered excellent and the<br />

equipment was modern.<br />

Deyerle began construction of his twostory<br />

home in 1889 with stones quarried<br />

west of Mother Neff Park. Construction<br />

was completed in 1892, making it one of<br />

Chapter 24 ✦ 49


shipping point for much of western<br />

<strong>McLennan</strong> <strong>County</strong>. The population was<br />

listed as 1,864 in 1910 and 2,081 in 1920.<br />

Although the number of residents and<br />

businesses fell slightly during the Great<br />

Depression, the community weathered<br />

this period well.<br />

GOVERNMENT PLANT<br />

BOOSTS POPULATION<br />

The Farmer’s Mill.<br />

COURTESY OF JIM AND SHARON GRIFFITH.<br />

the oldest standing residences in Central<br />

Texas. Visitors to “The Mansion,” as it was<br />

called, entered the front gate beneath a<br />

stone archway. Six belts of “hand-picked”<br />

rocks, the most costly of all the ornamental<br />

stone used in the structure, run completely<br />

around the house at different<br />

intervals. Keystones are over each window.<br />

The original Mansion consisted of<br />

eight rooms, four up and four down, with<br />

hallways. There are six fireplaces, 12-foot<br />

ceilings, and two arched bay windows.<br />

The original front door, accented with<br />

stained glass panels, features an acidetched<br />

glass panel with a flower basket.<br />

Sharon and Jim Griffith purchased the<br />

Deyerle-Fall Mansion in 1993. After an<br />

extensive restoration, they received a Texas<br />

State <strong>Historic</strong>al Marker in 1998 from the<br />

Texas State <strong>Historic</strong>al Commission.<br />

McGregor continued to prosper in the<br />

early 1900s as the commercial center and<br />

In 1942, the United States Army<br />

announced plans to build the Bluebonnet<br />

Ordnance Plant on 18,000 acres just southwest<br />

of Town. As a result of this new industry,<br />

the population of McGregor tripled in<br />

three months to more than 6,000. After<br />

World War II, it fell back to about 2,000,<br />

and the ordnance plant was converted to a<br />

variety of peacetime industries, including<br />

stove and furniture manufacturing.<br />

In the 1950s, part of the old Ordnance<br />

Plant manufactured rocket engines, solid<br />

propellants, and gas generators. Much of the<br />

rest of the land was either sold to individuals<br />

or given to Texas A&M University for<br />

the development of an experimental farm<br />

and research center. These job opportunities<br />

attracted new residents to McGregor, bringing<br />

its total population to 2,664 in 1952 and<br />

4,642 in 1961. The population was 4,289 in<br />

1978 and 4,683 in 1990. In 2000 the population<br />

was listed as 6,563.<br />

MCGREGOR TODAY<br />

The Deyerle-Fall House.<br />

COURTESY OF JIM AND SHARON GRIFFITH.<br />

As of 2009, McGregor has industry,<br />

commerce and various attractions that<br />

continue to make it a thriving town.<br />

There is an active industrial park that<br />

occupies a large portion of the old<br />

Ordnance Plant property. Amtrak’s<br />

Chicago to Los Angeles Texas Eagle<br />

makes a stop in McGregor at the train<br />

depot. There is also a Founder’s Day celebration<br />

held every September that attracts<br />

hundreds of visitors to McGregor, and<br />

with the election of George W. Bush as<br />

President of the United States, McGregor<br />

found itself in close proximity to the<br />

Western White House.<br />

50 ✦ HISTORIC MCLENNAN COUNTY


MOODY<br />

C OMPILED BY J EANETTE H ATTER M C G INNES<br />

Moody is a small town located on<br />

State Highway 317 and FM 107 in the<br />

southwest corner of <strong>McLennan</strong> <strong>County</strong>,<br />

near the headwaters of Stampede Creek,<br />

Elm Creek and Cow Bayou.<br />

To review the history of Moody, Texas,<br />

one must realize that only sturdy and<br />

adventurous people could have come to<br />

the prairie of Central Texas, build a town<br />

and then move the entire village three<br />

miles south to reestablish the same town<br />

next to the railroad.<br />

EARLY SETTLERS<br />

The town, originally called Perry, was<br />

founded in the spring of 1852. A wagon<br />

train from Perry, Illinois, led by William<br />

Handcock, camped on the land overnight<br />

with the intention of going on to East<br />

Texas to find a place to settle. The<br />

morning, however, revealed the beauty of<br />

the area with bluebonnets and Indian<br />

blankets covering the prairie hills.<br />

The fertile blacklands seemed a perfect<br />

place to settle. Another Illinois wagon<br />

train soon joined the first settlers followed<br />

shortly by settlers from Kentucky, Georgia<br />

and a few other locations. All agreed to<br />

name their village Perry.<br />

Some of the early settlers in Perry<br />

included Jack and John McClain, J. F.<br />

Wood, Neph Horne, the Jones family,<br />

John and Steven Naler, Dixon and Tom<br />

Connally and Tuttle Stubblefield. Other<br />

surnames of settlers included: Sims,<br />

Welborne, Witte, Welch, Neeley, Naylor,<br />

Cox, Land, Dutton, Miller, Alexander,<br />

Thomas, Blair, Newman, McCauley,<br />

Larkin, McNeil, Bostick and Rice.<br />

A TOWN ON THE MOVE<br />

The Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe<br />

Railroad started laying tracks through the<br />

area in 1881. However, the railroad did<br />

not go through the community of Perry, so<br />

residents moved the town to the railroad.<br />

They named the town Moody for the<br />

Galveston railroad executive and banker<br />

Lt. Colonel William Louise Moody, Sr.,<br />

who served in the 7th Texas Infantry<br />

during the Civil War.<br />

William and Martha Jane Naler<br />

conveyed 120 acres of land in 1881 for<br />

railway purposes and for the use of the city<br />

to be named Moody. James Clements from<br />

Walker <strong>County</strong>, Georgia, also conveyed<br />

part of his land to the city of Moody.<br />

First to move to the new location was<br />

Daniel McClain and family followed by<br />

M. L. Cormany. All of Perry moved during<br />

the year leaving nothing except the<br />

cemetery, which is still at its original site.<br />

Joseph Naylor built the first home in<br />

Moody. Later, the home was sold to his<br />

nephew William Naler (Naylor and Naler<br />

are the same family name). Moody was<br />

incorporated in 1901.<br />

CHURCHES<br />

The Moody Cotton Festival sign.<br />

Moody has had many churches<br />

through the years. The First Baptist<br />

Church started in the home of Daniel<br />

McClain in 1855. Because of the Civil<br />

War it was inactive from 1861 to 1870.<br />

The church moved when the town moved<br />

from Perry to Moody in 1881. Pastors at<br />

the church included R. L. Crooms, L. L.<br />

Sams, Ray Mayfield, Jr., and J. A. McIver<br />

served as pastor during WWII and helped<br />

residents through the great flu epidemic.<br />

The Church of Christ began meeting in<br />

Stampede Valley in 1917 but moved to<br />

Moody in 1920. The congregation met in<br />

the old Presbyterian Church near Naler<br />

Chapter 25 ✦ 51


TOWN PHYSICIANS<br />

Many doctors have served the area<br />

through the years including Dr. C. C. Clay<br />

1881-1906, Dr. C. J. Crow 1885-?, Dr.<br />

C. K. Haggard 1891-1928, Dr. Moran<br />

Kuykendall 1880-1913, Dr. Riley Marshall<br />

1905-1933, Dr. Garnet Miller 1902-1964,<br />

and Dr. Whigham 1913-1918.<br />

EDUCATION<br />

The Jones-Vandiver Gin.<br />

Cemetery but later constructed a building<br />

on State Highway 317 in 1956.<br />

The United Methodist Church began in<br />

Moody in 1883, but the first full time<br />

preacher, Reverend George Owen, did not<br />

come until 1886. In 1901 Reverend J. T.<br />

Griswold was pastor and directed the<br />

building of a new church that was<br />

completed in 1903. He also wrote a book<br />

From Dug-Out to Steeple. For 53 years the<br />

red brick building stood serving members<br />

until the new house of worship was built<br />

with a parsonage and educational facilities.<br />

Another well-known Methodist Church<br />

is the Moody-Leon Methodist Church,<br />

located south of Moody in the Buckhorn<br />

community. It began in the home of C.A.<br />

Winkler in 1877. In the fall of 1905 several<br />

families moved to the community and a<br />

church was dedicated in 1908. The<br />

historical marker was dedicated in 1977.<br />

The church has flourished since its<br />

beginning, changing from its early German<br />

language services in the morning and<br />

English services at night to all English<br />

services in 1939.<br />

The Presbyterian Church was<br />

organized in 1882 and located near<br />

the Naler Cemetery. The records were<br />

destroyed but some early members were<br />

the Naler, Payne, Kuykendall, McSpadden<br />

and Anderson families. The church was<br />

torn down by Horace Payne in 1934.<br />

Another community church is the<br />

First Assembly of God Church. It began<br />

in an old tabernacle that was built in<br />

1917. In December 1942 the church<br />

was called Assembly of God and a<br />

parsonage was built. Later a rock<br />

building was constructed and the<br />

parsonage moved to Avenue A and<br />

Second Street. By 1963 the old church<br />

was replaced by a new brick building<br />

with work done by the members. A<br />

parsonage was completed in 1966 and,<br />

in recent years, a new church was built<br />

on State Highway 317 about a mile south<br />

of Moody.<br />

In June 1941 Mr. and Mrs. Cecil<br />

Teague and the Methodist Church of<br />

Moody formed a Sunday school for<br />

Hispanics who lived in the area. As a<br />

result, El Buen Pastor Church was<br />

organized with a permanent building<br />

on State Highway 107. Mrs. Teague and<br />

Mrs. McKay Rice, Sr., gave English<br />

lessons at the church. The name of the<br />

church is now El Buen Pastor Iglesia<br />

Metodista Unida.<br />

Peaceful Rest Baptist Church was<br />

established by the African-American<br />

community in Moody.<br />

Other churches currently in Moody<br />

include The Well, established by Jason<br />

Dean, Lady of San Juan Catholic and<br />

God’s House Ministry.<br />

Moody’s first school began in Perry in<br />

1854 and moved when the town moved.<br />

Jefferson Academy, a college preparatory<br />

school, was also established in Moody in<br />

1895 with 30 students. It was dissolved<br />

in 1906.<br />

The Moody Public School was formed<br />

in 1881 with each student paying<br />

tuition for a six-month term. In 1905<br />

a new school was built and in 1920<br />

another building replaced the 1905<br />

structure. Fire destroyed that building<br />

and all its records. In the fall of 1927 a<br />

new red brick school was built and in<br />

1940 another building was added for the<br />

high school.<br />

Around 1920 several schools in the<br />

area consolidated into Moody including<br />

Jones Hill, Ignorant Hollow, Gent, Liberty<br />

Hill, Round Top, Fields, Haunted Hill,<br />

Whitson, Willow Grove, Tilley, Buckhorn,<br />

Stampede and White Hall.<br />

COMMERCE<br />

Prior to a bank being established in<br />

Moody, a dentist, Dr. J. B. Young, kept<br />

community cash in his safe. After 1853<br />

this was no longer necessary as The First<br />

National Bank was established. The<br />

Downs brothers of Temple also opened<br />

the private Citizens Bank. In 1901 with<br />

the stock in the bank being $25,000 and<br />

deposits over $100,000, the bank became<br />

a national bank.<br />

In 1921 there were 28 members of the<br />

Moody Booster’s Club. The members were<br />

businessmen of Moody who promoted<br />

the town. In 1946 the Moody Chamber of<br />

52 ✦ HISTORIC MCLENNAN COUNTY


Commerce was established to promote<br />

Moody. Today the chamber sponsors the<br />

Cotton Festival each fall.<br />

A number of businesses still thrive in<br />

Moody today, including Harvey Pittman’s<br />

Hardware, David’s Grocery, Lucy’s Café,<br />

Neuman’s Texaco, Aycock’s Conoco,<br />

Ruby’s Flower and Gift Shop and a new<br />

restaurant, The French Quarter. Moody<br />

also has a newly formed industrial park<br />

for business development on State<br />

Highway 2113. There is also new home<br />

development in the Stampede Valley area<br />

and the Willow Grove area.<br />

The Moody community has had a<br />

number of civic and social organizations<br />

through the years. The Masonic Lodge<br />

was founded in 1898 with Captain Fuller<br />

as the first Worshipful Master followed by<br />

Dr. P. M. Kuykendall. The lodge is known<br />

as A.M. and F.M. 568. The town also had<br />

a literary club and a book of the month<br />

club. Still serving the community is the<br />

Lions Club and the Masonic Lodge.<br />

The Kykendall-Acres Home.<br />

NEWSPAPERS<br />

The Monitor, the first newspaper in<br />

Moody, was established sometime prior to<br />

1890. Josh Billings, the publisher of<br />

the paper, sold it to S. Hudley in 1890.<br />

Hudley renamed it The Courier. The Foxes<br />

also owned the paper for many years.<br />

Their daughter, Florine Fox sold it to<br />

J. W. Gay. The paper has been renamed<br />

The Suburban Courier and is owned by<br />

Bill Foster.<br />

CEMETERIES<br />

Moody has three cemeteries, the oldest<br />

one being the Naler Cemetery beginning<br />

in 1863 on land given by Joseph Nalor.<br />

Outside Moody is the Old Perry<br />

Cemetery, established when the town was<br />

in that area and settlers gave land in 1852<br />

for that purpose. The Moody Cemetery<br />

on State Highway 317 dates back to<br />

1887, when a committee of four men,<br />

Parker Naler, C. L. Clay, John Mote and<br />

J. G. Miller, started it.<br />

Payne Drug Store.<br />

Chapter 25 ✦ 53


Ocee is a rural church community<br />

located approximately 5 miles east of<br />

Crawford where FM 185 crosses Hog<br />

Creek. The village of Ocee was named<br />

for a baby boy, O. C. (Ocee) Witte Ewing,<br />

born in 1893 to Flem Ewing, who became<br />

the first postmaster in 1895.<br />

An early settler in the area was Thomas<br />

Farr, who brought his family from<br />

Arkansas about the time of the Civil War.<br />

The Bunyan Brown Family came after<br />

the war ended. Other early settlers<br />

included the Christians, Clarks, Ewings,<br />

Hunts, Olivers, Schroders and<br />

Smallwoods. Moving into the area later<br />

were the Compton, Foss, McCollum,<br />

Nelson, Owen, Pack, Plemons and<br />

Roberts families.<br />

In 1885, Torkel Foss, a Norwegian<br />

immigrant and his family, settled in<br />

the Ocee area. In 1899, Neal Nelson, a<br />

Swedish immigrant, and his wife, Ottillie<br />

Nehring, a German immigrant, moved<br />

their family from Bosque <strong>County</strong> to<br />

the Ocee Community. They lived on<br />

OCEE<br />

C OMPILED BY V AN D. MASSIRER<br />

what became known as<br />

Nelson Hill and raised<br />

a large family. Several<br />

descendants still live in<br />

the area.<br />

The cornerstone of<br />

the community, Shiloh<br />

Baptist Church, was<br />

founded in 1884 and is<br />

located on the west bank<br />

of Hog Creek a short<br />

distance northwest of<br />

Ocee. It has a full-time<br />

pastor and still holds<br />

regular services.<br />

For many years, there<br />

was a cotton gin at Ocee,<br />

originally owned by a man with the surname<br />

Regelworth and later by Arlie<br />

Ewing. It ceased operation in 1957. In<br />

addition, there were two general stores<br />

operating in the early years. One was<br />

owned by Jim Ewing and the other by<br />

Wayne McCollum, and John Arrowood<br />

owned and operated a blacksmith shop.<br />

The first store in Ocee, c. the late 1800s. The store was located on about the same spot as Russell Plemons’ Home.<br />

Johnny Nelson, c. the 1930s.<br />

There was a school west of the creek<br />

and immediately north of the presentday<br />

FM 185 that later consolidated with<br />

the Highland School. Highland was located<br />

about three miles south of Ocee and, in<br />

1950, did a split consolidation with<br />

Crawford and Midway. The Bellview<br />

School, located about three miles northwest<br />

of Ocee, consolidated with Crawford<br />

in 1927.<br />

In 1930 the recorded population was<br />

39. During this time M. Dick ran a gas<br />

station and grocery store, and across the<br />

road stood Arlie Ewing’s large general<br />

store. Johnny Nelson had a Gulf gas station<br />

across the road from Ewing’s store<br />

and on the opposite corner from M. Dick.<br />

Some years later, Mack Plemons had a<br />

small gas station and grocery store<br />

that Mildred Compton operated until the<br />

mid-1960s.<br />

Today’s lone remaining commercial<br />

building is the one that housed the cotton<br />

gin. Stripped of its ginning machinery, it<br />

is now owned by Michael Plemons and<br />

used in his farming operation.<br />

Compiled with assistance from Jene Nelson,<br />

Sharon Sparks Nelson, Doris Mize, and Bobbi<br />

Smith Owen.<br />

54 ✦ HISTORIC MCLENNAN COUNTY


Patton Baptist Church.<br />

PATTON<br />

C OMPILED BY V AN D. MASSIRER<br />

Patton is a farming and ranching community<br />

located about 6 miles north of<br />

Crawford where Highway 317 and the<br />

Burlington Northern-Santa Fe Railroad<br />

cross Hog Creek. Early settlers, anticipating<br />

the arrival of the railroad, founded the<br />

town of Patton in 1879, two years before<br />

the railroad actually arrived.<br />

It is believed that the town received its<br />

name from one of those early settlers,<br />

Joseph Patton, who owned ranch land in<br />

the area. Others living in the area then<br />

and later were the Alexander, Bonds, Elder,<br />

Cooper, Hill, Jaynes, Levan, McCracken,<br />

McMahon, Ponder, Simpson, Smith,<br />

Sockwell, and Zander families.<br />

As is the case with many other communities<br />

in central Texas, Patton began as a<br />

small town with the coming of the railroad<br />

and reached its zenith in the late 1800s<br />

and early 1900s, when it had three stores,<br />

a blacksmith shop, a cotton gin, a school,<br />

a church, and a population of 150. The<br />

first post office was established in 1879,<br />

when the town was founded, with John W.<br />

Saunders as the postmaster. It was discontinued<br />

and reestablished several times<br />

before it was permanently discontinued in<br />

1904, and the mail was delivered from<br />

Valley Mills. The school, which was located<br />

near the present-day church, fared somewhat<br />

better, but it also closed in the 1930s<br />

and consolidated with Valley Mills.<br />

One of the stores was operated by J. J.<br />

“Sach” Alexander, who had a family of 17<br />

children, six of whom died in infancy. The<br />

store stood on the east side of Hog Creek,<br />

near where the Pitts family operated a dairy<br />

in later years. Don Simpson, a current resident<br />

of Patton, recalls that the store sold regular<br />

and white gas, groceries, canned goods,<br />

candy and soda water. The big front porch<br />

had several tables where men gathered, especially<br />

on weekends, and played dominoes.<br />

A second store was owned by Sam Elder<br />

and was located a short distance northwest<br />

of Alexander’s store. Elder sold groceries<br />

and also had a baby chick hatchery.<br />

One of the early settlers in the area was<br />

Richard Simpson, who came from Missouri<br />

in 1853 in a wagon pulled by two horses. He<br />

came with his wife, Elizabeth, and his mother,<br />

who was also named Elizabeth. They<br />

arrived with a mere $200 in their collective<br />

pockets, but the family accumulated some<br />

4,000 acres of land in subsequent years.<br />

In the late 1850s, when there was still<br />

an occasional threat from Indians, Richard<br />

built a large two-story rock house a short<br />

distance south of what later became the<br />

town of Patton. The house had a partial<br />

basement with a water well inside and<br />

shoulder-height windows designed for<br />

shooters to use. Only parts of the foundation<br />

and the basement remain intact today.<br />

The first and only church congregation<br />

in the Patton area was organized in 1872 as<br />

the Walnut Grove Baptist Church of Christ.<br />

Worship services consisted of two to<br />

three-day meetings held once each month.<br />

Located a short distance south of what<br />

would later become the town of Patton, the<br />

church building was moved to its present<br />

location when the Simpson family donated<br />

land for a church and a public school in<br />

1878. In 1889, the congregation changed<br />

its name to Patton Baptist Church, and in<br />

1896, J. M. B. Grisham became the first<br />

full-time pastor. For the past 35 years, Pat<br />

Cummings has been the pastor.<br />

In 2009 the church building and its<br />

adjoining tabernacle, built in 1907 on land<br />

donated by J. J. Alexander, and the water<br />

well that served the school are the only visible<br />

reminders of the former town of Patton.<br />

Compiled with assistance from Don and<br />

Pat Simpson.<br />

Chapter 27 ✦ 55


PRAIRIE CHAPEL<br />

C OMPILED BY V AN D. MASSIRER<br />

The Prairie Chapel community is<br />

located 8 to 10 miles northwest of<br />

Crawford. The old Prairie Chapel School,<br />

located on Prairie Chapel Road, and the<br />

Canaan Baptist Church, located at the<br />

corner of Canaan Church Road and<br />

Coryell City Road, are the hubs of this<br />

farming and ranching community. Unlike<br />

many other present-day communities,<br />

there was never a town or post office at<br />

Prairie Chapel.<br />

SCOTCH- IRISH, GERMAN &<br />

AUSTRIAN SETTLERS<br />

Originally settled in the mid-1800s by<br />

Scotch-Irish people from the Deep South,<br />

the Prairie Chapel community began to<br />

take on a decidedly Teutonic flavor in the<br />

late 1800s when numerous Austrian and<br />

German immigrants moved into the area.<br />

These German-speaking people differed<br />

from their Lutheran and Catholic counterparts<br />

in most other German communities<br />

in that they were predominantly Baptist.<br />

Meeting in the home of Heinrich<br />

Engelbrecht, a German immigrant who<br />

had first settled in Washington <strong>County</strong> and<br />

later moved to <strong>McLennan</strong> <strong>County</strong>, a group<br />

of Prairie Chapel residents organized<br />

the Canaan Baptist congregation on October<br />

25, 1891. Surnames of the forty-seven<br />

charter members were: Althof, Charowecs,<br />

Engelbrecht, Fischer, Gerber, Goerz,<br />

Goettmann, Groth, Held, Hodel, Klass,<br />

Mack, Massier, Porth, Rabbe, Rueckrich,<br />

Schanz and Selzer. Other names added to<br />

the rolls later include Apel, Bekkelund,<br />

Bieber, Bietendorf, Blum, Bohne, Buck,<br />

Buth, Dreyer, Freyer, Gauer, Heichert,<br />

Hintze, Hoeffner, Hoehn, Hoppe, Jaeckle,<br />

Kimbrough, Koch, Kratzel, Krempin, Kuber,<br />

Lander, Landes, Landfried, Lengefeld,<br />

Lorenz, Luning, Massirer, Mattlage,<br />

Norgang, Rost, Sadowe, Schandler, Schaub,<br />

Schleichert, Shoesmith, Spross, Treder,<br />

Weber, Wendeborn, Weschke, Wehmeyer<br />

and Westerfeld.<br />

The congregation met in homes and in a<br />

school house until a church building was<br />

constructed and a plot for a cemetery was<br />

set aside in 1894 on land donated by the<br />

Engelbrecht family. The building has since<br />

been enlarged and modernized several<br />

times. Until a baptistry was installed, baptismal<br />

services were conducted in Rainey’s<br />

Creek on the Charlie Mattlage farm or in<br />

Bluff Creek on the Phillip Massirer farm.<br />

Worship services were conducted in<br />

German until a gradual transition began<br />

to English in the early 1930s. In 1971, the<br />

cemetery was placed in perpetual care,<br />

and in 1992, a Texas historical marker was<br />

erected at the church.<br />

In addition to the German Baptists, several<br />

German Lutheran families also settled<br />

in the community and attended the St. John<br />

Lutheran Church near Coryell City or the<br />

St. Paul Lutheran Church in Crawford.<br />

Surnames of these early families and others<br />

who came in recent years include Braswell,<br />

Ditto, Gohlke, Hinson, Kellum, Kevill,<br />

Landfried, Mattlage, Miller, Neuman,<br />

Nors, Pieper, Rohloff, Samuelson, Sanders,<br />

Schultz, Thiele and Weiss.<br />

ONE- ROOM SCHOOL HOUSE<br />

Canaan Baptist Church.<br />

Education was also high on the immigrants’<br />

list of priorities. Records indicate<br />

that there was a school in the area at least as<br />

early as 1879, probably located on the site<br />

of the present-day cemetery. The Prairie<br />

Chapel School was originally located a short<br />

distance south of its present location, but in<br />

1908, a new one-room school was built on<br />

the present site. The floor was constructed<br />

with narrow spaces between the boards in<br />

order to allow dirt to fall through the cracks.<br />

In 1913, a second room was added, and in<br />

1926 a third. At its peak, the school had<br />

approximately 70 students in grades one<br />

56 ✦ HISTORIC MCLENNAN COUNTY


Canaan Baptist Church baptisms in Rainey’s Creek.<br />

through nine. Students either walked or<br />

rode a horse to school until 1929, when the<br />

first bus appeared.<br />

With the coming of all-weather roads and<br />

bridges across the creeks in the late 1920s,<br />

some students, especially those who wanted<br />

to continue beyond the ninth grade, transferred<br />

to Crawford. So began a gradual<br />

decline in enrollment, and in 1936, the<br />

Prairie Chapel School consolidated with<br />

Crawford. However, grades one through six<br />

continued at Prairie Chapel until 1939,<br />

when the school was closed. In 1944 the<br />

east wing of the school was dismantled and<br />

the lumber used in the construction of a new<br />

cafeteria at the Crawford School, a move that<br />

upset some of the local folks who preferred<br />

to keep the old Prairie Chapel School<br />

intact. Following the filing of a lawsuit, the<br />

Crawford school board agreed to give the<br />

building to the county with the stipulation<br />

that it could be used by the local citizens.<br />

One of the main ways that the citizens<br />

used the building was as a voting box and<br />

meeting place for the local chapter of<br />

Germania Insurance. In the 1990s a group<br />

of local citizens did some repair work on<br />

the building and applied for and got a<br />

Texas historical marker. Annual Christmas<br />

parties began in 1993 and continue today.<br />

In 2001 the Prairie Chapel School<br />

Association was organized and in subsequent<br />

years has sponsored numerous<br />

activities to raise funds for restoration of<br />

the school. The Association’s ultimate<br />

goal is to transform the school into a<br />

museum displaying school memorabilia<br />

and personal items. Until restoration is<br />

completed, the school is open by appointment<br />

only.<br />

The Morgan School was a second school<br />

that served the southern and eastern portions<br />

of the Prairie Chapel community.<br />

Located about six miles northwest of<br />

Crawford on the present-day Prairie Chapel<br />

Road, the school offered classes through<br />

the seventh grade. It closed and consolidated<br />

with Crawford in the 1920s.<br />

During the 1930s and until about 1950,<br />

Otto Sanders, Sr., and his sons operated a<br />

beef club. Each member of the club provided<br />

one calf for slaughter during the summer<br />

months, so that all members had fresh beef<br />

on a regular basis. With the arrival of electricity<br />

and home refrigeration after WWII,<br />

the beef club disbanded.<br />

BUSH RANCH IN<br />

PRAIRIE CHAPEL<br />

The Prairie Chapel Baseball Team, 1934.<br />

In 2000 the Prairie Chapel community<br />

was suddenly thrust into the international<br />

spotlight when then-Texas Governor and<br />

presidential hopeful George Bush bought a<br />

ranch in the area. After Bush was elected<br />

president, the ranch became the Western<br />

White House and hosted several world<br />

leaders. Almost overnight Prairie Chapel<br />

went from being a relatively unknown<br />

place to being seen on television screens<br />

around the world.<br />

Compiled with assistance from Evelyn<br />

Miihlhause Bohne and Jerry and Sandra Gauer.<br />

Chapter 28 ✦ 57


The area that Richie, Texas, occupied<br />

was located near the junction of present<br />

day Chapel Road and Ritchey Road, about<br />

1 ½ miles west of Hewitt Drive and about 1<br />

mile south of State Highway 84, adjacent to<br />

the Stanford Chapel Cemetery on the west.<br />

The cemetery was established in 1875<br />

by two Methodist preachers and their<br />

wives, Thomas and Lamerle Stanford<br />

and Edward R. and Mary Barcus. There<br />

was also a church and a school, both of<br />

which were the first ones west of Waco in<br />

<strong>McLennan</strong> <strong>County</strong>. Land was donated by<br />

Thomas C. Richie and his wife Martha,<br />

a daughter of the Stanford family.<br />

Thomas Richie was a son of Robert T. and<br />

Eveline Richie. They, and another son,<br />

B. F. Richie, all came to <strong>McLennan</strong><br />

<strong>County</strong> from Giles <strong>County</strong>, Tennessee,<br />

between 1850 and 1860.<br />

RICHIE<br />

A farming community grew and<br />

prospered around the school, church and<br />

cemetery. A cotton gin and a general<br />

store sprang up during the late 1800s. In<br />

1881 the Texas and St. Louis railroad<br />

completed track from Texarkana to Waco<br />

and the following year added 46 miles to<br />

Gatesville. The railroad passed through<br />

the Richie community, about 8 miles west<br />

of Waco, and the stop became known<br />

as Richie Switch. In 1896 a post office<br />

began operations with Isaac Stanford,<br />

postmaster (Reverend Thomas and<br />

Lamerle Stanford’s son).<br />

The post office closed in 1905 and<br />

in 1912 the church disbanded; however,<br />

annual homecomings were held at the<br />

church or on the grounds until 1968.<br />

They were attended by people from all<br />

over the United States. Among some of<br />

the most notable were Governor and<br />

Mrs. Pat Neff of Austin.<br />

The only vestige left today of this<br />

pioneer community is the old cemetery,<br />

which still serves the area. Lettering<br />

above the gate reads “Stanford Chapel<br />

1875” and an official Texas State <strong>Historic</strong>al<br />

Marker stands nearby commemorating<br />

the founders and its history.<br />

Richie St. Chapel, entry to Stanford Chapel Cemetery.<br />

58 ✦ HISTORIC MCLENNAN COUNTY


RIESEL<br />

C OMPILED BY J. DOUGLAS G UTHRIE, JR .<br />

Riesel is in southeastern <strong>McLennan</strong><br />

<strong>County</strong> at the intersection of FM 1860 and<br />

State Highway 6 on the Missouri Pacific<br />

Railroad 14 miles southeast of Waco.<br />

The Houston and Texas Central Railway<br />

built a section house called Roddy on the<br />

site about 1880. A number of German<br />

families settled in the community, and in<br />

1890 W. H. Riesel built a gin there. A post<br />

office called Prospect was opened in the<br />

community in 1890. The following year<br />

the name of the post office and community<br />

was changed to Riesel, after the man<br />

who owned the gin.<br />

In 1895 Riesel Independent School<br />

District was established, and by 1896 the<br />

community had grown to include a hotel,<br />

two general stores, one dry goods store, two<br />

groceries and two lumberyards. The town<br />

newspaper, The Riesel Breeze, was founded in<br />

1896 and later renamed The Riesel Rustler.<br />

The town’s population in 1900 was<br />

268. A bank was opened in the community<br />

in 1906 and a second in 1910. By 1914<br />

Riesel had Lutheran, Methodist, Christian<br />

and Baptist churches. In 1930 it had 420<br />

residents and 20 businesses. The Texas<br />

Department of Agriculture established an<br />

experimental station just east of the community<br />

in 1940. That year Riesel had 433<br />

inhabitants, a school, two churches and<br />

22 businesses. The population slowly<br />

grew over the years from 403 in 1950,<br />

691 in 1980 and 839 in 1990.<br />

In the mid 1950s Texas Power and<br />

Light Company established and operated<br />

a large hydro-electric generating plant at<br />

Lake Creek, just west of Riesel. This plant<br />

is still in operation. As of 2000 the city<br />

had two police officers, a chief of police<br />

and volunteer fire department and the<br />

population was 973.<br />

First Baptist Church in Riesel.<br />

PHOTO BY ALESSIA BROWN.<br />

Friedens Evangelical and Reformed United Church of Christ (left) was founded in 1904 by eight German families. A Texas <strong>Historic</strong>al Marker in front of Friedens Evangelical and<br />

Reformed United Church of Christ (right).<br />

PHOTOS BY ALESSIA BROWN.<br />

Chapter 30 ✦ 59


The Robinson Academy building.<br />

ROBINSON<br />

C OMPILED BY H AL P LEDGER<br />

According to archeologists, the land<br />

that was to become Robinson was<br />

inhabited more than eleven thousand<br />

years ago by hunter/gatherers who<br />

were ancestors of the Tonkawa<br />

Indians. Witchita tribes moved in from<br />

Oklahoma about 1700 and by the<br />

time Europeans began arriving, some<br />

Caddo and Delaware Indians were also in<br />

the area.<br />

JOHN ROBINSON FAMILY<br />

In 1852 John Robinson came to the<br />

area 6 miles south of Waco on Flat<br />

Creek, bringing his wife Sophia, four<br />

sons and five slaves. They came from<br />

Demopolis, Alabama, and were of<br />

Scotch-Irish descent.<br />

Robinson amassed approximately<br />

2,000 acres, some through certificates<br />

of relocation and some through<br />

purchase at $1 to $5 an acre. He had<br />

500 acres in cultivation and 1,600 acres<br />

in pasture with cattle. The land was<br />

part of the O’Campo Mexican Land<br />

Grant and is now known as the<br />

J. W. Mann farm. He built a cedar log<br />

cabin, a log church for Presbyterian<br />

services, and an 18-by-18-foot oneroom<br />

log school with a fireplace in<br />

the center.<br />

Robinson’s brother, Levi Robinson, his<br />

wife Eliza and son Austin followed John to<br />

Central Texas in 1854, building a house<br />

nearby. A young teacher by the last name<br />

of Moore was hired to teach in the log<br />

schoolhouse. He lived with the Robinson<br />

families and was paid $20 per month.<br />

In 1860 John Robinson built a<br />

larger school building, and a man with<br />

the surname of Goodrich was hired as<br />

the first teacher, followed by Professor<br />

F. H. Rogan, who also served as<br />

the Presbyterian minister. About one<br />

hundred students attended the school,<br />

with some coming from other areas and<br />

boarding with the Robinson families.<br />

60 ✦ HISTORIC MCLENNAN COUNTY


FORMING THE TOWNSHIP &<br />

EARLY COMMERCE<br />

Reverend John Strauss.<br />

AFRICAN- AMERICAN<br />

COMMUNITY<br />

In 1865, when John Robinson freed his<br />

slaves, he deeded 4.8 acres for a school and a<br />

church for the African-American community.<br />

The school erected was called Post Oak<br />

Academy, and a man by the surname of<br />

Dorsey was one of the first teachers.<br />

In 1866, St. Paul’s Missionary Baptist<br />

Church was formed and built next to the<br />

school. It is the oldest continuously<br />

running church in Robinson. It was<br />

relocated in 1881 and remodeled in 1933.<br />

Some of the early African-American<br />

residents included: Levi (January 31,<br />

1888–March 28, 1974) and Savannah<br />

Jackson (1895-1967); M. J. (Mugg)<br />

Johnson, (May 16, 1865–January 23,<br />

1959); Walter Jackson; Abe James; Tom<br />

Bonner; Mary Willie Bonner; Elisha Bonner<br />

(April 11, 1859-December 30, 1919);<br />

Fannie Bonner Price, who was born in<br />

slavery and died June 2, 1957; Arthur<br />

Jackson; John Jackson, who was born<br />

August 19, 1893, and was a private in<br />

World War I, died February 25, 1968; Ed<br />

McDaniel; John Bilton; Henry Harkey;<br />

Carley Doarsey; the Williams family<br />

(Lizzie, 1868-1956; Robert, May 15, 1898-<br />

April 3, 1970; Arvella, June 20, 1898-June<br />

14, 1974).<br />

In 1866, Ed Robinson, John Robinson’s<br />

son, built a cedar log building and opened<br />

a general merchandise store.<br />

John Robinson deeded his sons,<br />

Henry, Joseph L., Edward, James Reed<br />

and Richard Arthur his land in 1867.<br />

They divided 171 acres into four-acre<br />

homesteads, and filed a plat with<br />

<strong>McLennan</strong> <strong>County</strong> in 1873. This was a<br />

six block by seven block grid, with 42<br />

four-acre blocks and a row of lots<br />

along Flat Creek. At this time, the<br />

Robinson brothers also named the<br />

streets. The township was six blocks<br />

deep, bordered by Shamrock on the<br />

north and Ward Street on the south.<br />

It was seven blocks wide, bordered by<br />

Old Robinson Road on the west with<br />

the eastern border over seven blocks.<br />

In a two-block area, bordered by Stegall<br />

Drive and Tate Street, on Old Robinson<br />

Road, was the business district. A<br />

blacksmith shop, a doctor’s office, a<br />

meat market, two stores and a shortlived<br />

saloon were all part of this<br />

district.The last blocks were never cut,<br />

and the town ends at the road to<br />

Robinson Cemetery. Block 35 was set<br />

aside for the original cemetery, one block<br />

was set aside for the Presbyterian<br />

Church, and block 42 was set aside for<br />

the African-American community.<br />

CEMETERIES<br />

The first burial in the Robinson<br />

Cemetery was in 1851. The Fletcher<br />

Cemetery is located on the south side of<br />

Robinson on State Highway 77. The first<br />

burial was in 1868, when early settler<br />

Sample Carrigan was interred in an<br />

unmarked grave. The graveyard was<br />

mostly a family cemetery for the Carrigan,<br />

Needham and Harris families, until<br />

Catherine Carrigan Fletcher donated<br />

three acres for a public cemetery in 1873.<br />

Seventeen veterans of the Civil War are<br />

buried there.<br />

Reverend Krueger.<br />

EUROPEAN SETTLERS<br />

A list of pioneer families of European<br />

heritage include Captain William F. Hague,<br />

D. R. and L. B. Estes, William G. Evans, J.<br />

F. and D. F. Abernathy, W. E. Stovall, M. E.<br />

Stegall, F. H. Rogan, W. G. Daniels, Nelson<br />

and E. F. Thomasson, A. B Daughtrey, N. R.<br />

Harris, Thomas J. Andrews, J. H. McKee,<br />

T. L. Hobbs, B. F. Gassaway, J. H. Tinsely,<br />

William Cornforth, D. G. Abernathy, A. J.<br />

McMurry, L. B. Foster, H. L. Quinius, John<br />

Strauss, A. B. Denison, and John P. Majors.<br />

Dr. Mabry T. Cox, Dr. J. A. Metcalf, Dr.<br />

J. C. Woods, and Dr. T. J. Everett were all<br />

early physicians in Robinsonville.<br />

On December 4, 1874, the Reverend<br />

Samuel King and 21 former members<br />

of the First Presbyterian Church of Waco<br />

organized Robinsonville Presbyterian<br />

Church. Within five days, 25 members<br />

joined, and by 1877 there were<br />

71 members.<br />

Henry and Herman Staas came from<br />

Germany about 1882, and were so pleased<br />

with the land and opportunities that they<br />

wrote back to their friends, who began<br />

arriving. The German influx was due<br />

partly to the good reports from the Staas<br />

family, and part to unrest in Germany.<br />

Families did not like their sons<br />

conscripted into the army at age fourteen.<br />

Chapter 31 ✦ 61


Families were sponsored by German<br />

settlers who came before them. When a<br />

family came from Germany, after docking in<br />

Galveston, they would make their way to<br />

Robinsonville. The immigrants had already<br />

been in contact with their sponsoring<br />

family, who helped with the selection and<br />

purchase of land as well as first year<br />

expenses. From 1879 to 1884, seven<br />

families and two single men had moved to<br />

Robinsonville from the area of Hunteburg,<br />

Hanover, Germany. Fred Williams and<br />

Henry Schaeper, Fred and Henry Frese,<br />

William Kettler and Herman Rueter were<br />

some of the early German settlers.<br />

In 1884, Reverend Christian E. Schaer,<br />

pastor of Zion Church in Waco, helped<br />

in the formation of an Evangelical<br />

congregation, which was part of the<br />

German Evangelical Synod in North<br />

America. The worship services were held<br />

in the homes of the members until the<br />

Presbyterian Church offered the use of<br />

their church. In 1890 the first place of<br />

worship was built. The services were held<br />

in German. In 1900 the first resident<br />

pastor, Reverend John Strauss was called,<br />

and he served the congregation until 1940.<br />

EDUCATION<br />

Robinson School.<br />

In the spring of 1888 some trouble in<br />

the public school caused the principal to<br />

resign. John Strauss, who had previously<br />

The first basketball team in Robinson.<br />

62 ✦ HISTORIC MCLENNAN COUNTY


taught at the first public schools in both<br />

Hewitt and Lorena, was hired to fill out the<br />

unexpired term. The schoolhouse was the<br />

Grange Building. On the night of May 8, a<br />

tornado completely destroyed the building.<br />

There was no storm in Robinson that night,<br />

and the path of the twister was 100 feet<br />

wide, and touched down only one half<br />

mile. There was no material left to use on a<br />

new building. The remainder of the school<br />

term was held in a nearby rent house.<br />

In the fall of 1888 some citizens formed a<br />

stock company and chartered the Robinson<br />

Graded School with “Professor” John Strauss<br />

the head. In 1891 the private and public<br />

schools separated. In 1898, “Professor”<br />

Strauss bought out the other stockholders,<br />

and the private school became the Robinson<br />

Academy. He expanded both the curriculum<br />

and the building (allowing room for<br />

boarders). It was considered a finishing<br />

school, the equivalent of a junior college<br />

today. In 1922, “Professor” Strauss sold the<br />

Academy and 11 acres of land to the<br />

Evangelical Synod of North America to<br />

ensure the continuation of the school. It<br />

burned in 1928, and was never rebuilt.<br />

THE RAILROAD<br />

The San Antonio and Aransas Pass<br />

Railroad passed by the present day eastern<br />

Herman and Martha (Frosch) Kettler.<br />

border of Robinson. The railroad was<br />

built from Yoakum (in south Texas near<br />

Victoria) to Waco some time between<br />

1887 and 1891. Originally chartered in<br />

1884, it eventually had 849 miles of track.<br />

MURDER LEADS TO LYNCHING<br />

A very dark chapter of Robinson’s history<br />

began around sundown on May 8, 1916.<br />

Lucy Fryer, wife of a well-respected cotton<br />

farmer, was found bludgeoned to death at<br />

the doorway of the farm’s seed house. Jesse<br />

Washington, a retarded, illiterate seventeenyear-old<br />

African-American, who lived in<br />

one of the tenant houses on the farm,<br />

confessed to the rape and murder. The<br />

confession he signed included language<br />

of an educated person, not of a<br />

“feebleminded” person who couldn’t read.<br />

After four minutes of deliberation, a jury<br />

found him guilty. Soon after, a lynch mob<br />

of approximately two thousand dragged<br />

him from the jail, a chain was placed<br />

around his neck and he was dragged to a<br />

tree where he was hauled up by the chain.<br />

When he tried to hold the chain, his fingers<br />

were cut off. He was then burned, and his<br />

remains put in a gunny sack, taken to<br />

Robinson and hung in front of a shop.<br />

A young woman, Elizabeth Freeman,<br />

was sent by W. E. B. Du Bois of the NAACP<br />

magazine The Crisis, to investigate the event.<br />

Her reports, complete with photos kicked<br />

off the young organization’s anti- lynching<br />

campaign and helped the rise of the NAACP.<br />

In 1934 the African-American school<br />

burned and was never rebuilt. Because of<br />

segregation, the African-American students<br />

then went to either the African-American<br />

school in Rosenthal or Waco.<br />

POSTAL SERVICE<br />

The first church in Robinson, St. Paul’s Missionary Baptist Church.<br />

The first post office in the area was<br />

named Hague, but was changed to<br />

Robinson on January 14, 1879. The post<br />

office continued until 1906, when the<br />

mail service was transferred to Waco.<br />

Robinson was called Robinsonville for<br />

about the first hundred years of its<br />

existence. The town was incorporated in<br />

1955 under the name of Robinson.<br />

In 1930, State Highway 77 was built,<br />

splitting Robinsonville in half. Martha<br />

Frosch Kettler remembers mules pulling<br />

the slip graders used in the construction.<br />

They were brought to the deep water well<br />

in her back yard to drink. The well has<br />

never gone dry.<br />

Compiled with assistance from Martha<br />

Frosch Kettler.<br />

Chapter 31 ✦ 63


ROSENTHAL<br />

C OMPILED BY C ARROLL P REWETT<br />

Rosenthal was on State Highway 77<br />

about four miles south of Robinson in<br />

southern <strong>McLennan</strong> <strong>County</strong> near the<br />

Falls <strong>County</strong> line. The area was settled in<br />

the 1870s, and a school community<br />

called Oak Grove was established on<br />

Castleman Creek. By 1880 the main<br />

focus of settlement had shifted slightly to<br />

the south.<br />

The new community is said to have<br />

been named in 1880, when a dry goods<br />

merchant named M. N. Rosenthal, a<br />

native of Poland, offered a family a free<br />

barrel of apples if they would name their<br />

town after him. A post office, called<br />

Rosenthal, was established in April 1888,<br />

with Alonzo W. Starrs as postmaster.<br />

By 1890 the community had two<br />

churches, a steam gristmill, a cotton gin,<br />

a general store and 75 residents. By 1896<br />

the population had increased to 125.<br />

<strong>County</strong> school records from 1896 indicate<br />

that the Rosenthal district had 81<br />

students and two teachers. The post office<br />

was discontinued in 1907, and the mail<br />

for the community was sent to Lorena. By<br />

the 1930s the population of Rosenthal<br />

had fallen to 55. A church, two businesses<br />

and several residences marked the<br />

community on highway maps in the<br />

1940s. The Rosenthal school district was<br />

consolidated with the Lorena I.S.D. in<br />

1956. It reverted to its common school<br />

district status in 1965 and was consolidated<br />

with the Robinson I.S.D. in 1968.<br />

The building remained in use until it was<br />

closed in 2001.<br />

The Rosenthal area was incorporated<br />

into Robinson by the mid-1980s, and<br />

today all that remains to mark where<br />

the busy town of Rosenthal once thrived<br />

is the abandoned school building, a<br />

cemetery, a large storage building, a<br />

small store, a tractor repair shop and<br />

a residential area with approximately<br />

200 houses.<br />

The first car in Rosenthal.<br />

Rosenthal School, 1916.<br />

64 ✦ HISTORIC MCLENNAN COUNTY


ROSS<br />

C OMPILED BY J. DOUGLAS G UTHRIE, JR .<br />

Ross is located on FM 3149 about 11<br />

miles north of Waco. The community<br />

began to form in the early 1870s when<br />

the Texas Central Railway extended<br />

its tracks from Waco through Ross. The<br />

community got its name from the post<br />

office that was established in the area in<br />

1880 and named in honor of Lawrence<br />

Sullivan Ross. The first postmaster was<br />

Charles E. Kingsbury.<br />

Children riding school bus in Ross.<br />

THE TEXAS COLLECTION; BAYLOR UNIVERSITY, WACO, TEXAS.<br />

The community continued to grow<br />

and by 1884 had a steam gristmill, cotton<br />

gin, a general store, two churches, a<br />

school and 50 residents. Ross also<br />

established a school district in 1897, and<br />

in 1914 Woodland and Bluff Springs<br />

schools were consolidated into Ross.<br />

The railroad continued to lay tracks<br />

in and around Ross. In 1882 the Texas<br />

Central Railway extended tracks from<br />

Ross to Albany. The Missouri, Kansas and<br />

Texas Railroad laid tracks from Hillsboro<br />

to Taylor that passed a mile or so to the<br />

east of Ross.<br />

The Texas Central Railroad was<br />

organized strictly for the transport of<br />

Central Texas cattle, and Ross was<br />

a gathering point for cattle being<br />

shipped north. Despite the fact that<br />

Ross had two railways running in and<br />

near it, it never grew into a large<br />

commercial area. In the 1920s the<br />

population was 25.<br />

In 1929 the Houston and Texas<br />

Central Railway abandoned part of its<br />

track between Ross and Waco, and in<br />

1967 abandoned the remaining tracks.<br />

In the 1960s the population did rise to<br />

100 after State Highway 81 was turned<br />

into Interstate Highway 35 bringing<br />

more business to the community.<br />

Residents voted in 1980 to<br />

incorporate with a reported population<br />

of 231. The population in 2000 was 228.<br />

In 1976 the Ross school district was<br />

consolidated with West Independent<br />

School District.<br />

Chapter 33 ✦ 65


SANDTOWN<br />

C OMPILED BY R OBERT G AMBOA<br />

Sandtown was a Hispanic community<br />

in South Waco dating back to the early<br />

1900s. The community was mostly<br />

inside the west bank of the Brazos River<br />

up through Mary Avenue and Jackson<br />

Avenue to South Second Street and<br />

across Jones Avenue (a few blocks from<br />

Interstate Highway 35).<br />

No one knows for sure how the area<br />

came to be known as Sandtown. One theory<br />

is the name is based on the location<br />

near the Brazos River. The river contained<br />

loose dirt and sand that would blow<br />

through the air whenever there was a<br />

strong wind.<br />

Sandtown’s population was mostly<br />

Mexican-American immigrants. Businesses<br />

in the area included grocery stores, auto<br />

garages, a cemetery, barbershop, taverns,<br />

an Assembly of God mission and a night<br />

club called “The Blue Moon,” which was<br />

also known as a gambling Hall.<br />

Even though Sandtown was not a<br />

location for many large businesses, it<br />

did include the Sunbright Paper Co.,<br />

three meat-packing plants and one major<br />

slaughterhouse, Rutland’s Meat Packing.<br />

Sandtown existed through the mid<br />

1970s when it was wiped out by the<br />

federal Urban Renewal Project that<br />

began around 1958 and terminated in the<br />

mid 1970s.<br />

Families with names of Gonzales,<br />

Martinez, Bravo, Gamboa, Serrano and<br />

Perez to mention a few came together in<br />

2004 to explore the history of Sandtown<br />

through an effort by the Waco History<br />

Project. The ongoing historical documentation<br />

has developed a strong sense of<br />

pride of what was the original beginning<br />

of the Hispanic community in Waco.<br />

Outreach efforts on behalf of the Texas<br />

Collection at Baylor University have also<br />

stirred interest for official recognition as<br />

an important area of Waco’s past.<br />

SOUTH BOSQUE<br />

Neil <strong>McLennan</strong> left the Isle of Skye<br />

just off the coast of Scotland for the New<br />

World in 1801. <strong>McLennan</strong>,* 24, along<br />

with his “old mother,” two brothers, a<br />

sister and their families settled first in<br />

North Carolina. They later migrated to<br />

Spanish Florida, joining and settling with<br />

a colony of families. From Florida the<br />

colony of settlers, sailed by schooner, to<br />

Mexican Texas, landing near the mouth<br />

of the Brazos River.<br />

In the fall of 1835 the group of<br />

settlers made their way by land up the<br />

river corridor. Eventually, the colony<br />

settled south of what would later<br />

become <strong>McLennan</strong> <strong>County</strong>. These were<br />

troublesome times because this was<br />

Indian territory, and Indians actively<br />

destroyed unprotected settlers, especially<br />

during each full moon.<br />

In 1839, Neil <strong>McLennan</strong> joined with<br />

the surveying parties of George B. Erath.<br />

More time was required fighting Indians<br />

than work related to surveying. The<br />

C OMPILED BY A NITA W ARD R OLF<br />

66 ✦ HISTORIC MCLENNAN COUNTY


surveying party moved northward<br />

through Waco Village and the Bosque<br />

River valley. <strong>McLennan</strong> liked what he saw<br />

of the beautiful Bosque valley, thought it<br />

had potential and made his home there.<br />

MCLENNAN MAKES HOME<br />

IN INDIAN TERRITORY<br />

Six years later, in l845 <strong>McLennan</strong> was<br />

again surveying in the area and got Erath<br />

to survey 320 acres of land, in part along<br />

the South Bosque River, to which he<br />

eventually obtained title. <strong>McLennan</strong> built<br />

a double log cabin with a “dog-run” on<br />

the South Bosque River. His was not the<br />

first home of a white settler in the area,<br />

but most certainly the first built west of<br />

the Brazos River in what was considered<br />

at that time to be Indian territory.<br />

<strong>McLennan</strong> continued to acquire land<br />

holdings and it was most probably on<br />

some of his land holdings, or certainly in<br />

the close vicinity, that South Bosque,<br />

Texas, became a community during the<br />

1850s. The town was located on the<br />

South Bosque River just south of present<br />

day State Highway 84.<br />

This was a fertile agricultural<br />

community. Cotton farming and cattle<br />

ranching became the principal<br />

livelihood. Free range cattle, sheep,<br />

horses, deer and buffalo were part of the<br />

settler’s way of life. Fences were built to<br />

keep animals out, not in. <strong>McLennan</strong><br />

owned the first recorded brand in the<br />

county, being an “M.”<br />

COMMERCE<br />

In the 1870s, G. H. Hammond built a<br />

store, a gristmill and a cotton gin. About<br />

the same time the Grimm Academy<br />

opened. The academy emphasized music<br />

and a band was formed with Grimm’s<br />

son as band director. Musical programs<br />

were provided for the community.<br />

The academy, however, never gained<br />

much prominence.<br />

The South Bosque post office was<br />

established on October 25, l872.<br />

Solomon M. Johnson was appointed<br />

postmaster. That same month on October<br />

7, land was deeded from S. Aquilla and<br />

Dilly Jones for the establishment of a<br />

church, schoolhouse and cemetery. The<br />

deed states that the property be used by<br />

the Methodists, Baptists, Presbyterians<br />

and Christians and “for no other<br />

purposes.” As recently as the early 1950s<br />

the Methodists and the Baptists were still<br />

having services on alternating Sundays<br />

following Sunday School classes taught<br />

by the same teachers each Sunday.<br />

THE RAILROAD<br />

In 1882 the Texas and Saint Louis<br />

Railway (also known as the Cotton Belt<br />

Railroad) laid track connecting Waco<br />

with Gatesville and passing through<br />

South Bosque. A railroad stop station<br />

was established. During World War I,<br />

the train carrying soldiers stopped on<br />

occasion and soldiers in uniform would<br />

get off and walk around to the delight<br />

of the children and the community.<br />

The town was located in a rather<br />

deep and narrow valley along the river.<br />

Business thrived along the South Bosque<br />

River. By 1890 there was a general<br />

store, a steam cotton gin, a gristmill, a<br />

brickyard, several houses and more<br />

than one saloon.There were 20 residents.<br />

Most of the improvements were subject<br />

to flooding and unfortunately, in 1890,<br />

a bad flood came. The community,<br />

however, did recover.<br />

In 1895 the South Bosque School<br />

District was one of nine districts<br />

established out of the very large Coke<br />

School District. There were 48 students<br />

and one teacher at South Bosque School<br />

in 1896.<br />

Around the turn of the century, just<br />

north of the community, Colonel William<br />

Prather, while boring for water, hit oil at<br />

a depth of about 250 feet. Though the<br />

field was never very productive, it was a<br />

small economic boost for the local<br />

economy. Within a decade there were<br />

two or three general stores, a cotton gin,<br />

a brickyard, gristmill, blacksmith shop,<br />

three doctors and a baseball team,<br />

school, railroad station and post office.<br />

People from the surrounding countryside<br />

came to town to trade with businesses<br />

and for the social activities.<br />

Floods came to the area again in 1913<br />

and 1917. During this time the town<br />

moved eastward from the river a short<br />

distance to a higher elevation and rebuilt.<br />

In 1918, the post office was discontinued<br />

and mail delivery then came from Waco.<br />

EARLY SETTLERS<br />

Early settlers included the families of<br />

J. H. Haley, Neil <strong>McLennan</strong>, J. H. Hanns,<br />

Squire Acquilla Jones, G. H. Hammond,<br />

J. N. Crain, James Black, Sandefur, and a<br />

little further west Henry J. Caufield, and<br />

J. T. Cavitt.<br />

In 1947 the South Bosque<br />

Independent School District consolidated<br />

with the Hewitt Independent School<br />

District and became Midway Independent<br />

School District. There were 203 students<br />

and 11 teachers that year. The first school<br />

building was located about halfway<br />

between the two towns. Through the<br />

years, with good leadership, strong<br />

academic emphasis, parental and community<br />

support and good student participation,<br />

the district has gained a reputation<br />

for excellence.<br />

With the consolidation of the two<br />

school districts in the late 1940s, and the<br />

planned enlargement of Lake Waco in the<br />

1950s and1960s when many homes and<br />

businesses had to be relocated, the<br />

community dwindled. The South Bosque<br />

town today no longer exists. There is a<br />

bronze marker on the site of the old<br />

South Bosque School. The marker was<br />

placed there in 2007 by former students.<br />

When the school was torn down, the<br />

bricks were cleaned and then used to<br />

build a brick home on the exact site at<br />

756 Church Road.<br />

Today the community is a suburb<br />

of Waco.<br />

* For whom <strong>McLennan</strong> <strong>County</strong> is named.<br />

Chapter 34 ✦ 67


SPEEGLEVILLE<br />

C OMPILED BY N ELL B UICE B ARTON<br />

Two years after Texas became a republic<br />

in 1836, Israel Washington Speigle<br />

formed a wagon train in Tennessee with<br />

several of his brothers and his wife’s family<br />

members to move to Texas. In 1845 Texas<br />

was admitted to the union and <strong>McLennan</strong><br />

<strong>County</strong> became very inviting.<br />

In 1849 Israel Washington (called<br />

Wash) Speigle was the fifth settler west<br />

of the Brazos River in <strong>McLennan</strong> <strong>County</strong>.<br />

He purchased 320 acres from Lee R. Davis<br />

for $1 per acre. The land was located near<br />

the Davis Creek, originally called Duck<br />

Creek. The Davis Creek flows near the<br />

Willow Grove Cemetery, behind the<br />

village of Speegleville. It converges with<br />

Speegleville Creek, which flows behind<br />

the L. E. Buice cotton gin, in front of Dr.<br />

Armstrong’s residence, and between the<br />

Baptist and Methodist churches. The<br />

Davis Creek had a flowing spring located<br />

just below the Speigle log cabin.<br />

Speigle held church services in his<br />

home made of logs. In 1850 Speigle<br />

donated land for the construction of a<br />

church building, a small log structure<br />

that was also used as a school. There was<br />

also a cemetery plot in which the first<br />

person buried was an African-American<br />

slave who belonged to Speigle.<br />

When the mail routes were established,<br />

Speigle was appointed the first postmaster<br />

for the Speegleville community on<br />

May 27, 1879.<br />

The log cabin used for church and school<br />

was replaced by a two-room frame structure<br />

in 1860. Louannah Speigle, Wash’s wife<br />

and their son sold an acre of land to the<br />

Baptist congregation for $100 and a new<br />

church building was constructed in 1891.<br />

The Mt. Zion Methodist Episcopal<br />

Church South and the Greenwood<br />

Methodist Episcopal Church South<br />

organized into the Speegleville Methodist<br />

Church in 1918. The first trustees were<br />

A. W. Short, J. W. Clark, Nathan Lawson<br />

and S. H. Thomas.<br />

The first building was a tabernacle<br />

constructed by the men of the church<br />

near the east bank of Speegleville Branch.<br />

Construction of a frame building was<br />

completed around 1920.<br />

The construction of Lake Waco in<br />

1930 caused the church to be relocated. A<br />

new building was built. A two-story<br />

school was constructed in 1912 that was<br />

replaced in 1948. In 1938 Speegleville<br />

was a village of about 39 homes, three<br />

grocery stores, a cotton gin, a blacksmith<br />

Children and teachers at Speegleville school 1899.<br />

THE TEXAS COLLECTION; BAYLOR UNIVERSITY, WACO, TEXAS.<br />

shop, a Methodist church and a Baptist<br />

church. Dr. A. L. Armstrong was a physician<br />

serving the community.<br />

In 1962 Lake Waco was enlarged<br />

requiring the village to move. The<br />

original village now lies beneath its<br />

waters. The Methodist church was<br />

moved to its present location. The<br />

Baptist church was replaced, and the<br />

Speegleville cemetery is now located on<br />

Interstate Highway 35 south of Waco.<br />

Speegleville school was replaced with a<br />

new brick structure with a gymnasium.<br />

The village closeness and intimacy<br />

seemed to be lost in the move. But in<br />

the years following, Speegleville has<br />

again grown in community unity. There<br />

are approximately 1,500 to 2,000 homes<br />

in Speegleville.<br />

68 ✦ HISTORIC MCLENNAN COUNTY


Kendrick Home in Spring Valley in 2008.<br />

SPRING VALLEY<br />

C OMPILED BY H AL P LEDGER<br />

Spring Valley is at the intersection of<br />

FM 2416 and FM 2113, 14 miles southwest<br />

of Waco, and 5 miles up the north<br />

fork of the Cow Bayou from Lorena.<br />

R. W. Lusk owned a large tract of land<br />

called the Bell and Lusk farm, therefore<br />

the post office that opened in May 1891,<br />

with Tillman H. Knight as postmaster,<br />

was called Lusk. The post office closed in<br />

January 1892. The community then took<br />

the name of the school that opened in<br />

1878, Leroy. When the town of Leroy<br />

was established in 1903 in northwestern<br />

<strong>McLennan</strong> <strong>County</strong>, the school district<br />

changed its name to Spring Valley. At that<br />

time there were two stores, one owned by<br />

a man with the surname of White, the<br />

other by Ira Lumley. There were also<br />

two churches—a Baptist and Methodist; a<br />

blacksmith shop; and a gin known as<br />

Padgitt’s gin located on the Knight farm.<br />

The gin began in the 1880s and was run<br />

by steam. A sixty-foot, hand-dug well<br />

supplied the water. This gin closed, probably<br />

due to competition from the White<br />

gin that was located near the two stores.<br />

In about 1903 the Hunter family<br />

moved from South Bosque and bought<br />

Lumley’s store. The Hunter family operated<br />

the store for 66 years.<br />

In 1933 Tillman H. Knight moved his<br />

gin from Moody to Spring Valley, moving<br />

it next to the Hunter Store. Knight died<br />

suddenly in 1940 and his daughter ran<br />

the gin until 1946 when it was sold to<br />

H. B. (Buster) Warren.<br />

In 1905 Meredith Kendrick and his wife,<br />

Eddie Connally Kendrick (sister of Texas<br />

Senator Tom Connally) built a Victorian<br />

home on their cotton farm. They had eight<br />

children, and the six-bedroom home had a<br />

floored attic with windows on all sides<br />

where dances were held. The family loved to<br />

entertain, and called the home “The Do<br />

Drop In,” and people did, and enjoyed the<br />

gracious hospitality. Kendrick inspected<br />

each bit of material that went into the house,<br />

and it is still a solid, beautiful home.<br />

Chapter 36 ✦ 69


THE CROSSING<br />

C OMPILED BY C ULLEN S MITH<br />

Texas won Independence from Mexico<br />

in 1836 and President Mirabeau B. Lamar<br />

called for an Expedition that would eventually<br />

cross the North Bosque River near<br />

China Spring on July 6, 1841.<br />

The Texan Santa Fe Expedition was to<br />

go to the Santa Fe (New Mexico) area in<br />

order to expand Texas’ influence and<br />

trade. No one on the expedition knew the<br />

way or distance from Austin through central<br />

and west Texas to their destination.<br />

This was no small undertaking across<br />

mostly uncharted land.<br />

The expedition left Brushy Creek,<br />

north of Austin, on June 21, 1841. There<br />

were 320 people on the expedition<br />

including a military force of 270 men, one<br />

cannon, merchants with their goods,<br />

other officials and observers, around 24<br />

wagons drawn by teams of six to eight<br />

pair of oxen, cattle for meat along the way<br />

and additional oxen.<br />

The expedition reached what is now the<br />

southern boundary of <strong>McLennan</strong> <strong>County</strong> and<br />

east of present day Moody around July 2. The<br />

previous day, coming over a hill the men saw<br />

buffalo as far as the eye could see. “Thousands<br />

of these noble animals blackened the prairie.”<br />

(Falconer). During their march across the<br />

county the men also encountered wild mustangs,<br />

bear, deer, Mexican hogs and antelope,<br />

not to mention rattlesnakes and tarantulas.<br />

The expedition proceeded generally<br />

northeast to the North Bosque River after<br />

fording the smaller South Bosque, Middle<br />

Bosque and Hog Creek. They reached the<br />

North Bosque on July 5. On July 6 they<br />

wrote “the labour of crossing the river was<br />

incredible.” The ascent was nearly perpendicular<br />

and some 40 feet high. It took<br />

20 yoke of oxen and about 50 or 60 men<br />

to pull one wagon up the bank.<br />

After this difficult day, the expedition<br />

camped at a spring a few miles away. The<br />

next day they headed for the Brazos River<br />

at Childress Creek.<br />

Fairly soon after the expedition made<br />

their crossing, the area began to develop<br />

and the crossing location was used<br />

for years as a place to ford the river.<br />

The crossing is known today as the<br />

Eichelberger Crossing and has a modern<br />

concrete bridge. A few feet away is the<br />

abandoned steel bridge built around 1925<br />

that is now a favorite fishing spot.<br />

In 1991 the Texas <strong>Historic</strong>al<br />

Commission approved the crossing as an<br />

official historic site.<br />

Things didn’t go so well for the expedition<br />

after the crossing in <strong>McLennan</strong><br />

<strong>County</strong>. Indian attacks, starvation and losing<br />

their way resulted in their capture in<br />

New Mexico and a bitter forced walk to<br />

Mexico City. Although the expedition<br />

passed through <strong>McLennan</strong> <strong>County</strong>, it, sadly,<br />

never made it to the final destination.<br />

The place where the Santa Fe Expedition crossed is known today as Eichelberger Crossing.<br />

70 ✦ HISTORIC MCLENNAN COUNTY


WALDO<br />

C OMPILED BY V AN D. MASSIRER<br />

Waldo is a small rural community<br />

located approximately 8 to 9 miles<br />

northwest of McGregor in western<br />

<strong>McLennan</strong> <strong>County</strong>. In the late 1800s and<br />

early 1900s, Waldo had a barber shop,<br />

owned by Tom Davis, a post office, a<br />

doctor’s office run by a Dr. Hall, and at<br />

least one general store where sundry<br />

items could be bought including wagon<br />

parts and harnesses.<br />

The first post office was established<br />

May 9, 1892, with Samuel T. Caldwell as<br />

postmaster. The post office was closed on<br />

October 31, 1907 when mail delivery<br />

began from McGregor.<br />

Waldo was also a voting box. During the<br />

1930s and 1940s, voting was done at the<br />

Henry Schulte home, with Schulte as election<br />

judge and John Bennett as assistant.<br />

Although Waldo was officially a part of<br />

the Tonk Creek School District, some of the<br />

children, especially those who lived in the<br />

western part of the community, attended<br />

Coryell Church Grammar School. The Tonk<br />

Creek School was located near Tonk Creek<br />

and present-day FM 185 highway. The<br />

school closed in the mid-1920s and consolidated<br />

with Crawford.<br />

From the beginning, people who lived<br />

in Waldo were primarily farmers producing<br />

cotton, corn and small grains. Surnames<br />

associated with the community over the<br />

years include Bennett, Burton, Buth, Davis,<br />

Freyer, Hall, Hoehn, Holt, Kelton, Knight,<br />

Lammert, Mansker, Nunley, Schmalriede,<br />

Schulte, Steinke, Westerfeld and Wiethorn.<br />

Compiled with assistance from Donna<br />

Steinke Lammert, Ray and Helene Schulte<br />

Westerfeld, and Mary Sue Davis Bass.<br />

Chapter 38 ✦ 71


Street scene in West, 1890.<br />

WEST<br />

C OMPILED BY M IMI M ONTGOMERY I RWIN<br />

The city of West traces its origins to<br />

the formation of <strong>McLennan</strong> <strong>County</strong> on<br />

January 28, 1850, by an act of the State of<br />

Texas. It was one of four small settlements<br />

located within this region (the others<br />

being Waco Village, Erath and White<br />

Rock) and was originally known as<br />

Bould Springs.<br />

Among the early settlers that followed<br />

Neil <strong>McLennan</strong> up from the Nashville<br />

colony and the first to the West area was<br />

Isaac B. Cauble. For his service in the war<br />

with Mexico in 1846, Cauble received a<br />

grant of land. He chose a site near one of<br />

several small flowing springs some 16<br />

miles north of the Waco Village.<br />

Cauble built a cabin about two hundred<br />

yards south of the spring, located on property<br />

now called Lake Park. This had been<br />

the site of one of the many Indian camps<br />

that dotted the fringe of the oak woods and<br />

the valley of the Brazos River. As the buffalo<br />

disappeared in the early 1850s, the<br />

Indians also departed the region. Having<br />

access to all the range for miles around,<br />

Cauble, or Dock Cauble as he was known,<br />

and his sons began raising horses and<br />

cattle here.<br />

BOULD SPRINGS<br />

The Caubles were soon followed by other<br />

pioneers into northeastern <strong>McLennan</strong><br />

<strong>County</strong>. The family of J. T. Wills settled about<br />

a mile north of the Cauble’s cabin. Carey<br />

Boulds built a small cabin near another<br />

spring two miles east of the Cauble cabin and<br />

adjacent to the present southern limits of<br />

West. Very little is known about the Boulds<br />

family. Within a few years they sold their land<br />

and moved elsewhere, but by 1850 the<br />

spring and the immediate area were referred<br />

to as Bould Springs or Bold Springs.<br />

In the early 1850s, the settlers of Bould<br />

Springs were attracted by the availability of<br />

both woodlands and blackland prairie. A<br />

sufficient number of people lived in the<br />

vicinity of the springs to justify the establishment<br />

of a post office on October 4, 1850.<br />

The postmaster was William D. Eastland.<br />

The location of the post office was moved<br />

several times during the first 15 years of<br />

operation. When postmaster Richard D.<br />

McCrary (June 23, 1852) and John F. Dunn<br />

were employed, the post office was located<br />

at the home of Jenny Lewis, about two miles<br />

south of the present community of West.<br />

The stage that ran from Waco to the Dallas-<br />

Fort Worth communities stopped there to<br />

change horses. In 1855 the post office was<br />

moved to the small White Oak Community<br />

with Alberto Vaughn as postmaster. During<br />

the Civil War, it was located at the home of<br />

the postmaster, Frederick MaKaig.<br />

UNIVERSITY LAND<br />

In 1856 the Texas Legislature designated<br />

a large section of northeastern <strong>McLennan</strong><br />

<strong>County</strong> as University Lands. The proceeds<br />

from the sale of these lands were used to set<br />

up endowments to support public schools,<br />

the University of Texas and institutions for<br />

the blind, deaf, insane and orphaned. This<br />

land sold for a $1 to $2.50 per acre.<br />

The pioneers were drawn to this land<br />

because of its excellent agricultural potential<br />

and reasonable price. Among the earliest<br />

families were: James T. Russell (1854);<br />

Cornelius S. Ingraham (1854); Patrick<br />

Martin (1855); Thomas W. McGhee (1855);<br />

Matthew Bates (1855); Walter Wade Bennett<br />

(1856); William C. Hurlock (1857); William<br />

W. Glasgow (1858); Jacob Clausner (1859);<br />

and William W. Westmoreland (1860).<br />

72 ✦ HISTORIC MCLENNAN COUNTY


Alberto Vaughn, pioneer farmer and<br />

postmaster, was instrumental in organizing<br />

Bold Springs Missionary Baptist<br />

Church, the only church in northeastern<br />

<strong>McLennan</strong> <strong>County</strong> in 1858. It is not<br />

known for certain who the first pastor<br />

was, but Dr. J. J. Riddle, both a physician<br />

and a preacher, held the post in 1860.<br />

Bold Springs became the first gathering<br />

place for the area. In addition to religious<br />

services, the principal community<br />

activities, according to James L. Cauble,<br />

son of the first settlers, were horse racing<br />

and dancing.<br />

As the Civil War began, many of the<br />

male residents left their homes to join the<br />

ranks of the Confederate Army, and further<br />

immigration was suspended. The 1860<br />

census of <strong>McLennan</strong> <strong>County</strong> listed Bold<br />

Springs as the second largest community<br />

in the county with a population of 311.<br />

THOMAS M. WEST<br />

Between 1860 and 1882 the community<br />

gradually coalesced around the area that was<br />

to become the town of West. In the late<br />

1860s Confederate veteran Thomas M. West<br />

established a stagecoach stop, a dry goods<br />

store and he became the postmaster. In 1872<br />

he purchased 260 acres of land that later<br />

became a significant part of the town layout<br />

for a business community and stop on the<br />

Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railway (M-K-T). By<br />

1882 the southern line of the M-K-T ran<br />

through the town site. On the official plat<br />

map filed in the <strong>McLennan</strong> <strong>County</strong> Clerks<br />

Office in Waco on January 4, 1882, the area<br />

was designated West and appeared as such<br />

on all official deed records.<br />

THE RAILROAD<br />

The M-K-T Railway created considerable<br />

interest in the West community. It<br />

afforded new job opportunities for local<br />

residents hired to assist in the construction.<br />

The land adjacent to the railroad was<br />

subdivided into lots and sold to land speculators<br />

and local people for development.<br />

Businesses along the railroad flourished.<br />

The Gerik Family Orchestra, c. the 1920s.<br />

The railroad also created an influx of professional<br />

people to serve the needs of the<br />

area. In 1882 Drs. A. L. Wylie and S. E.<br />

Snodgrass provided medical care to the<br />

community. In the same year the post office<br />

and the Missionary Baptist Church were<br />

relocated to West from Bold Springs. In<br />

1883 T. M. West opened a general store on<br />

his property adjacent to the M-K-T Railway.<br />

While the Anglo-Protestant community<br />

of West continued to develop, a new<br />

wave of European immigrants flocked to<br />

American shores. These new settlers had a<br />

profound effect on the sociological and<br />

economic character of West.<br />

CZECHS & GERMANS<br />

CALL WEST HOME<br />

Most of the immigrants who made their<br />

way to West were Czechs and Germans.<br />

The Czechs came to the United States<br />

from Bohemia and Moravia in the Austro-<br />

Hungarian Empire of the Hapsburgs, and<br />

the Germans came from the kingdoms of<br />

Hanover, Prussia and Bavaria.<br />

Both Czechs and Germans first established<br />

themselves in communities near<br />

West with the principal settlements being<br />

in Tours (St. Martinsville) and Gerald.<br />

The first known Czech settlers to the area<br />

were Martin Cvikel, his wife and two children.<br />

They homesteaded five miles east<br />

of West in 1867. They were followed<br />

between 1872 and 1874 by the families<br />

of Leopold Skrehot, Frank Urbanovsky,<br />

John Fojt, Frank Soukup, Vaclav Masek,<br />

and John Stanislav.<br />

In 1872 Detrich Blume was the first of<br />

the German pioneers to arrive. The following<br />

summer, wagon trains came from<br />

Illinois with the families of Edward and<br />

John Deiterman, Clemens Uptmor, and<br />

Frank Debendner as well as two single men,<br />

George Busher and George Hirshfeld. They<br />

were soon joined by August Groppe,<br />

George Kramer, J. A. Komel, A. C. Wendorf,<br />

and Ernest Willenborg.<br />

By the time the railroad entered the area<br />

in 1882, all of the University Lands had been<br />

taken, but the flood of German and Czech<br />

immigrants continued. Without funds to<br />

purchase land, many of them became tenants<br />

or sharecroppers on the large farms and<br />

ranches of the earlier Anglo-Protestant settlers.<br />

After years of hard work and frugal living,<br />

they fulfilled their desire to own land by<br />

purchasing from their landlords, who began<br />

to see bigger profits in real estate operations<br />

and in cotton farming than in stock raising.<br />

In 1889 flourishing farming conditions,<br />

commerce related to the railroad, and the<br />

Chapter 39 ✦ 73


Old Corner Drug Store.<br />

influx of the immigrant population created<br />

a boomtown mentality. In that year, Fred<br />

and Abe Whipkey founded the first newspaper,<br />

The West Weekly Times. It was affectionately<br />

known as the “Voice of West.’’<br />

By 1890, the first block of brick buildings<br />

were completed by T. M. West. Before<br />

this, all of the business houses were in<br />

wooden frame structures. In the following<br />

years, West founded the town’s first bank<br />

and the West Lumber Company.<br />

By 1892 the railroad-centered community<br />

of West had become the dominant economic<br />

and political unit in northeastern<br />

<strong>McLennan</strong> <strong>County</strong>. An election to incorporate<br />

West was held on June 11, 1892. The<br />

first officers of the new city government were<br />

elected on June 30, with Walter W. Morgan<br />

serving as mayor. This incorporation resulted<br />

in the establishment of vital municipal and<br />

public utilities including: West Volunteer Fire<br />

Department (1894); West Water Company<br />

(1894); an electric company (1900), and<br />

telephone services (1902).<br />

At the turn of the 20th century, West<br />

was a bustling town nearing 1,000 citizens.<br />

Over 70 business houses with wooden<br />

sidewalks lined the graded streets.<br />

Numerous saloons encouraged a lively<br />

town on weekends. Entertainment could<br />

be found at the West Auditorium and the<br />

Charles Jares Opera House. Side shows at<br />

the common market grounds helped<br />

encourage business on the trade days.<br />

THE INTERURBAN<br />

In 1912 a transportation milestone linked<br />

West to the rest of the state. Newly elected<br />

Mayor Barton B. Ingrahm led a group to<br />

petition the Southern Traction Company<br />

(operator of an electric railway from Dallas<br />

to Waxahachie) to route an Interurban<br />

through Hillsboro to Waco. The routes were<br />

approved, construction began, and in<br />

October 1913 Tommy Tucker turned on the<br />

generators. A line running down Reagan<br />

Street in West connected Waco with Dallas.<br />

In 1915 West benefited by being on<br />

the thoroughfare between Dallas-Ft. Worth<br />

and Austin and San Antonio that was then<br />

referred to as The Million Dollar Road. It<br />

followed what is now Main Street in West.<br />

By 1916 commercial development included<br />

three banks, two newspapers, several<br />

cotton gins, an oil mill, cotton mill and a<br />

bottling plant. In 1917 the Liberty Theater<br />

also opened. City fathers also appropriated<br />

$13,000 for the construction of the current<br />

West City Hall. In the next decade the<br />

town gained a broom and mop factory, a<br />

packing plant and a sausage works.<br />

CHURCHES & SCHOOLS<br />

During this growth period the religious<br />

congregations also prospered. Baptists<br />

(1858), the Evangelical and Reformed<br />

German Protestants (1882), and the<br />

Presbyterians (1883) were joined by congregations<br />

of Methodists (1884), Church of<br />

Christ (1886), Catholics (1892), and Czech<br />

Moravian Brethern (1892). All built new<br />

houses of worship. This ecclesiastical fervor<br />

led to a corresponding concern with the educational<br />

well-being of the young community.<br />

In 1890 Professor William O. Allen<br />

established a private institution called<br />

Allen’s Academy. It included both elementary<br />

and high school levels and a boarding<br />

facility. After the city’s incorporation, Allen<br />

led a successful drive for the establishment<br />

of the West Public School System, and West<br />

Elementary was constructed on Harrison<br />

Street. It was expanded in 1905 and 1909<br />

with the addition of grades 11 and 12.<br />

The First Presbyterian Church.<br />

Parochial schools were formed by the<br />

Catholic communities in West—St. Mary’s<br />

in 1892 and St. Martin’s in Tours in 1890.<br />

Numerous community schools such as<br />

Cottonwood, Leroy, Rodgers Hill and<br />

Marak served the rural areas as one-room<br />

facilities. Instruction at the parochial<br />

schools was predominantly in Czech at<br />

St. Mary’s and in German at St. Martin’s.<br />

CIVIC ORGANIZATIONS<br />

Civic-boosterism paralleled the development<br />

of religious and educational institutions.<br />

By 1910 a park, band pavilion and<br />

fountain graced the downtown area of West.<br />

Lodge organizations such as the Masons and<br />

Woodman of the World were a focus of the<br />

Anglo-Protestant culture. Germans attended<br />

74 ✦ HISTORIC MCLENNAN COUNTY


meetings of the Germania Club. Czechs<br />

founded the S. P. J. S. T. (fraternal), Sokol<br />

(athletic), and Slavie (literary) societies.<br />

Gradually, the Czech and German population<br />

achieved acceptance in community<br />

life. J. R. Peter’s Staple and Fancy Grocery<br />

and Saloon (1888) was soon followed by a<br />

variety of small groceries, mercantile stores,<br />

and blacksmith shops as well as the now<br />

famous Nemecek Brothers Meat Market<br />

(1896). By 1902 John Stanislav and Detrick<br />

Blume were board members of the Brazos<br />

Valley Cotton Mill. Of the business establishments<br />

found in West in 1911, over onethird<br />

were owned by Czechs and Germans.<br />

Gathering outside a church in West. Date and church unknown.<br />

Construction of St. Mary's Catholic Church of the<br />

Assumption in 1903.<br />

The immigrants’ success in commerce<br />

was followed by entry into politics. The<br />

first immigrant to hold public office was<br />

Method Pazdral, city attorney from 1905-<br />

1915, followed in 1919 by Mayor Protem<br />

R. J. Marak.<br />

West was unique in its celebration of the<br />

Fourth of July. For a half-century the largest<br />

picnic in the county was held on the<br />

grounds of the S. P. J. S. T. Hall. Local and<br />

state candidates addressed the crowds and<br />

passed out campaign cards in both English<br />

and Czech. Usage of the Czech language<br />

was further encouraged with a Czech<br />

(1909) supplement to the West News called<br />

Westke Noviny. In 1920 August Morris and<br />

Frank Muska formed the Czechoslovak<br />

Publishing Company. It printed a magazine,<br />

an almanac, and organizational literature in<br />

the Czech language, in addition to a small<br />

weekly newspaper in both Czech and<br />

English called the Czechoslovak. Joe Holasek<br />

joined the papers management in 1924 and<br />

in later years merged the Publishing<br />

Company to create today’s West News.<br />

WEST FACES CHALLENGES<br />

Several outside influences and internal<br />

struggles contributed to a stagnation in<br />

the city’s efforts toward continued expansion.<br />

Turmoil caused by cotton price fluctuation<br />

and speculation in 1912-1914 was<br />

followed by America’s entry into World<br />

War I and the subsequent rise in suspicion<br />

of foreign-born immigrants. And the 1918<br />

statewide prohibition laws followed by the<br />

adoption of the 18th Amendment dealt a<br />

blow to West’s liquor and saloon business.<br />

By the mid-1920s several groups formed<br />

uniting both Anglo-American and Czech-<br />

German elements of the community in an<br />

effort to halt the town’s reversal of fortune<br />

and re-energize the population. Farmers’<br />

organizations promoted fairs and trade days;<br />

the Chamber of Commerce was organized in<br />

1926 to focus merchants’ efforts; and the<br />

West Home Demonstration Club involved<br />

women in community efforts. As a result,<br />

Borden’s Milk built a cooling plant; the West<br />

Flour Mill expanded to support a growing<br />

poultry industry; automotive dealerships<br />

sprang-up; and a small airport was located<br />

two miles west of town. Bond elections<br />

funded street and municipal improvements<br />

(natural gas and a sewer system). School district<br />

taxation resulted in a freestanding high<br />

school and a separate school (Dunbar) for<br />

the African-American population was established.<br />

In 1927 West schools were rated as<br />

17th highest in the state.<br />

This brief period of optimism turned to<br />

uncertainty again as the Great Depression<br />

hit the country in 1929. Business activity<br />

slowed, one bank was forced into insolvency,<br />

but no store or industry closed its doors.<br />

The remaining banks worked with farmers<br />

to extend loan payments. Businesses chose<br />

to lower wages and reduce working hours<br />

to stay in operation.<br />

Chapter 39 ✦ 75


WEST DURING WWII<br />

World War II interrupted the slow<br />

recovery of the community. Hundreds of<br />

young men answered the call to arms,<br />

many serving in the famed 36th Division.<br />

A heavy bomber named The City of West<br />

was dedicated to the citizens of the community<br />

for their support of war efforts.<br />

Mayor George Kacir encouraged post-war<br />

development including the expansion of the<br />

West Flour Mill, building of the West Twine<br />

Mill, attracting a garment plant and the<br />

extension of the phone system to rural areas.<br />

Two of West’s most enduring institutions<br />

of family-fun appeared at the end of<br />

the 1940s. First was the Dulock family’s<br />

Playdium entertainment complex with a<br />

spring fed-pool, snack bar and a dancing and<br />

roller skating center. This was followed in<br />

1947 when the newly established West Fair<br />

and Rodeo Association sponsored a sporting<br />

competition and parade that is still a tradition<br />

on the second weekend in August.<br />

RESIDENTS LEAVE FOR<br />

BETTER OPPORTUNITIES<br />

These positive developments were not<br />

enough to deter the movement of a large number<br />

of people away from the community.<br />

Returning veterans migrated to larger cities in<br />

search of better jobs and educational opportunities.<br />

Young people were compelled to seek<br />

jobs elsewhere after finishing high school.<br />

Increased operating costs and decreasing<br />

incomes on small farms forced many farmers<br />

to sell to bigger operations. Fortunately,<br />

improved transportation systems, an expressway,<br />

and paved farm-to-market roads helped<br />

to enable those who remained in West to commute<br />

to jobs in the Waco and Hillsboro areas.<br />

As employment patterns changed, the<br />

school system in West and the surrounding<br />

areas addressed the demographic shift<br />

through consolidation of rural schools and<br />

the implementation of busing to a central<br />

campus. By the end of the 1960s, integration<br />

had occurred and under the leadership<br />

of Superintendent M. F. Kruse the district<br />

enrollment surpassed 1,000 students.<br />

Population shifts that had affected education<br />

and employment also dealt a blow to<br />

the town’s family-run business district.<br />

Accessibility to a broader market (Hillsboro,<br />

Waco, Dallas and Ft. Worth) forever<br />

changed consumer behavior and the town.<br />

CAPITALIZING ON<br />

“ CZECHNESS”<br />

West could have become another sleepy<br />

exit off of I-35, but its “Czechness” coupled<br />

with an entrepreneurial plan kept this<br />

from occurring. The designation as the<br />

Czech Point of Texas was the result of a<br />

renewed appreciation of a unique heritage<br />

and the promotion of a food product specific<br />

to the town’s culture—the kolache.<br />

The kolache craze started in 1952 when<br />

W. O. and Georgia Montgomery opened<br />

Texas’ first All-Czech Bakery on Oak Street<br />

in downtown West. The venture proved successful<br />

and encouraged others to open shops<br />

in West, and other Czech communities.<br />

A group of citizens expanded this kolache<br />

success story into the idea of a total Czech<br />

experience. In 1976, under the leadership of a<br />

seven-member board of directors (Sue Pescaia,<br />

president) and the support of the City Council<br />

(Adolph Muska, mayor), Westfest was born.<br />

Over 30 years later, it has grown into an annual<br />

Labor Day weekend event. Approximately<br />

35,000 people converge upon the town to<br />

enjoy a unique blend of culture, dance and<br />

food. In tribute to the town that started it all,<br />

West was designated “The Kolache Capital of<br />

Texas” by the State Legislature.<br />

The marketing of West as the Czech-<br />

Point of Texas has had an effect in terms<br />

of revenue, community recognition and<br />

economic development. Thousands of<br />

people travel daily through West on the<br />

I-35 corridor. Businesses frequented along<br />

that corridor include the internationally<br />

recognized Czech Stop and Czech Inn.<br />

West was recently designated a Texas<br />

Main Street City. Businesses along Main and<br />

Oak Street include The Czech-American<br />

Restaurant, Sulak’s Cafe, The Old Corner<br />

Drug, Nemecek’s Meat Market, Snokhous<br />

Blacksmith Shop and the Groppe Building.<br />

The population in West as of the 2000<br />

census was 2,692. The town currently has<br />

a community center, library, a new V. F. W.<br />

Post 1819 and the Westfest and West Fair<br />

and Rodeo Association Grounds.<br />

Prominent men of West, first row, left to right: S. B. Jones, J. M. Moore, S. L. Makaig, W. R. Thompson. Second row:<br />

C. C. Clayton, B. B. Ingraham, W. C. Hurlock, T. M. West (for whom the town was named). Third row: W. W. Glasgow,<br />

Jake Denton, Josh King, W. M. Mauk, John Carpenter and Tom Bennett, February 13, 1909.<br />

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF BY J. F. HURTIK.<br />

76 ✦ HISTORIC MCLENNAN COUNTY


Trains "shaking hands" before backing up.<br />

THE TEXAS COLLECTION, BAYLOR UNIVERSITY, WACO TEXAS.<br />

THE CRASH AT CRUSH<br />

C OMPILED BY M ICHAEL L. TOON<br />

In the late summer of 1896, <strong>McLennan</strong><br />

<strong>County</strong>, Texas, possessed the largest city<br />

in the state. It existed only one day, but<br />

produced a wealth of history, legend, and<br />

lore that survives in Texas to the present.<br />

During the last decade of the nineteenth<br />

century, railroads were the growth industry<br />

of Texas and the Southwest. In an era of<br />

fierce competition, the promise of rail service<br />

was great. Trains moved mail, freight<br />

and people at amazing speeds when compared<br />

to other conveyances of the period.<br />

Rail companies entering these new markets<br />

actively sought the support of communities<br />

in order to secure financial backing. All<br />

companies used various promotions to<br />

secure their goals, but in the late summer of<br />

1896, one company would hold the entire<br />

nation’s attention as it sought to publicize<br />

itself in a spectacle never before seen.<br />

The company was the Missouri, Kansas<br />

and Texas Railway (M-K-T), a relatively new<br />

player in the opening of the Southwest to rail<br />

service. The railway planned a public relations<br />

stunt that would see two obsolete M-K-T<br />

locomotives smash head-on into each other at<br />

a combined speed of over 80 miles per hour.<br />

In the summer of 1896, Frank Rouse,<br />

president of the M-K-T, somewhat reluctantly,<br />

gave William George Crush, general<br />

passenger agent for the Katy Line, permission<br />

to carry out one of the most stunning<br />

publicity stunts of the nineteenth<br />

century. Mr. Rouse gave Crush the goahead<br />

to run two surplus Katy locomotives<br />

into each other at full speed.<br />

PREPARATIONS<br />

Crush selected a long straight valley,<br />

which ran due north and south, about 16<br />

miles north of Waco for the site of his<br />

“Monster Crash.” Both ends of the track<br />

sloped upward and would give added<br />

impetus to both engines. Gently rolling<br />

hills rose from either side of the tracks to<br />

form a natural amphitheatre. The event<br />

would be held on September 15, 1896,<br />

near the Czech community of West, Texas,<br />

in <strong>McLennan</strong> <strong>County</strong>. Crush set 500 men<br />

to work constructing a 2,000-foot-long<br />

wooden platform next to the tracks to disembark<br />

visitors expected to arrive by special<br />

train. The site was named Crush,<br />

Texas, in honor of its creator.<br />

Crush tried to provide all the comforts<br />

a crowd would need during the day of the<br />

event. Concession rights were awarded to<br />

Leo Wollson of Dallas, who built dozens of<br />

lemonade stands. A circus tent was borrowed<br />

from Ringling Brothers Circus and<br />

used as a restaurant. A dozen special waiters<br />

were brought in from St. Louis to service<br />

the huge tent. Smaller tents housed a<br />

fiddle band, a medicine show, as well as a<br />

carnival midway. A small grandstand for<br />

visiting dignitaries was erected opposite<br />

the point of impact. A photographers’<br />

stand was built even closer to the expected<br />

point of impact. On the morning of the<br />

15th, eight tank cars filled with artesian<br />

water would arrive from Waco. Lines with<br />

spigots and attached cups would lead from<br />

each tank car across the grounds. Although<br />

no alcoholic beverages would be served at<br />

the event, there was no prohibition against<br />

consuming them. A temporary wooden jail<br />

was built to hold pickpockets and drunks.<br />

Sheriff John W. Baker and 200 temporary<br />

constables were hired to keep the peace<br />

and maintain safety.<br />

Deane Photography of Waco contracted<br />

for the exclusive photographic rights<br />

to the event. The Deane brothers, Martin<br />

and Jervis, planned on multiple camera<br />

exposures to show the actual sequence<br />

of the engines’ approach, collision, and<br />

Chapter 40 ✦ 77


assured him that the locomotives’ boilers<br />

would not burst upon impact.<br />

Before the event, the trains arrived and<br />

rehearsed for three days. They made practice<br />

runs to determine the length of track<br />

to be covered, the speed to be reached, and<br />

the exact time and place for the engineers<br />

to jump. A timber was driven into the<br />

ground to mark the exact spot where the<br />

collision would take place. Engine No. 999<br />

was faster so it would travel a quarter mile<br />

further to reach the point of impact. Each<br />

of the trains to be crashed weighed over 35<br />

tons and would have close to two miles to<br />

reach top speed.<br />

SEPTEMBER 15TH<br />

Crush Special Excursion Ticket.<br />

THE TEXAS COLLECTION, BAYLOR UNIVERSITY, WACO, TEXAS.<br />

aftermath. In addition to the still photographers,<br />

Thomas Edison’s lab sent a man<br />

with their new “Kinetescope” to perform<br />

the first newsreel photography in Texas.<br />

ADVERTISING<br />

Bright red posters of trains colliding<br />

were printed and posted along the Katy<br />

Line on fences, barns and in store windows.<br />

Mr. Crush visited the Katy repair<br />

shops in Denison to choose the engines.<br />

He selected two old, but well-maintained,<br />

1869 Baldwin locomotives, No. 999 and<br />

No. 1001, both with the old fashioned<br />

diamond-shaped smoke stacks. No. 1001<br />

was painted red with green trim, while<br />

No. 999 was painted green with red trim.<br />

Each engine received four boxcars. The<br />

first two would serve as traveling billboards<br />

for the event. The last two were<br />

sold to advertise the Ringling Brothers<br />

Circus and the Oriental Hotel of Dallas.<br />

Several weeks before the event, the two<br />

locomotives, with attached boxcars filled<br />

with railway ties, steamed up and down<br />

the Katy Line to give onlookers in various<br />

towns a preview of the coming event.<br />

Mr. Crush also consulted with railroad<br />

engineers and mechanics to determine<br />

what would happen when the collision<br />

occurred. All, except one engineer,<br />

The day dawned bright and sunny with<br />

many spectators arriving before first light.<br />

A total of 33 excursion trains, including all<br />

available coaches owned by the Katy Line,<br />

were routed to the site, some from as far<br />

away as Kansas City and Chicago. The passenger<br />

cars from Dallas were so crowded<br />

that many had to ride on the roofs. The<br />

cost to ride the excursion trains was $2 per<br />

person. Northbound trains deposited their<br />

fares at the site and then proceeded to<br />

Hillsboro, where they parked for the day.<br />

Southbound trains parked in Waco after<br />

adding their charges to the growing crowd.<br />

A reporter noted that the arriving trains<br />

contained “a mix of people representing<br />

every class and grade of society.”<br />

By 10 a.m. there were over 10,000 spectators<br />

present. It had been decided that there<br />

would be no admission charge, since the<br />

idea was to attract as many people as possible<br />

to the spectacle. As the afternoon drew<br />

on, families from the surrounding towns and<br />

countryside arrived in wagons, buggies, and<br />

on horseback to swell the crowd to an estimated<br />

40,000 to 50,000 by 4 p.m.<br />

The two locomotives slowly steamed<br />

toward each other until they nearly<br />

touched at the post marking the point of<br />

impact. The crowd surged around engines,<br />

photographs were taken, and speeches<br />

given. The trains then slowly backed to<br />

their starting positions as the constables<br />

78 ✦ HISTORIC MCLENNAN COUNTY


cleared the crowd back to the safety zones.<br />

Rails were removed from behind each train<br />

to prevent a runaway, in case one of the<br />

engines jumped the track. Mr. Crush strode<br />

to the point of impact and raised both<br />

arms. He then shouted for the telegrapher<br />

to flash the starting signal.<br />

The crowd roared as the engineers<br />

opened their throttles to start the suicidal<br />

run of their iron horses. After tying down<br />

the throttles, the crews waited for 16<br />

exhausts from the smokestack, or four turns<br />

of the drive wheels, then jumped to safety.<br />

Small explosive torpedoes had been set<br />

on the tracks after the trains had returned<br />

to their positions. After the crews had<br />

jumped from the engines, the crowd erupted<br />

at the sight and sound of steam whistles<br />

screaming, bells clanging, and torpedoes<br />

exploding as the combatants headed for<br />

their self-destruction. Some spectators<br />

couldn’t stand the tension and turned away.<br />

In less than two minutes the engines<br />

reached the point of collision, only five or<br />

ten feet from the timber driven into the<br />

track, and collided with an earth shaking<br />

roar. The locomotives appeared to rear up<br />

on their hind wheels as their cars smashed<br />

into each other with a loud splintering.<br />

Seconds later, both boilers exploded and<br />

filled the air with deadly shrapnel. A cloud<br />

of steam and dust hung over the collision<br />

as pieces of hot metal showered the area.<br />

Pieces of iron weighing 200 pounds were<br />

propelled hundreds of feet into the air.<br />

Part of one of the smokestacks landed over<br />

a quarter of a mile away. The destruction<br />

was almost complete. Of the two engines<br />

and 12 cars, only the badly battered end<br />

cars from each train bore any resemblance<br />

to railroad rolling stock.<br />

The thousands of steel and iron fragments<br />

from the explosion of the boilers<br />

began returning to earth and casualties<br />

began to mount. Screaming people began<br />

to scatter to avoid the large pieces that<br />

appeared to be heading in their direction.<br />

The debris field would extend for hundreds<br />

of yards in all directions. Earnest Darnell, a<br />

teenager from Bremond, standing on the<br />

limb of a mesquite tree, was struck in the<br />

head by a length of brake chain, crushing<br />

his skull. He never regained consciousness.<br />

Roy Kendrick had an iron bolt pass<br />

through his leg before it knocked a Mrs.<br />

Overstreet unconscious. Dewitt Barnes of<br />

Hewitt was reported to have been killed by<br />

a piece of flying metal while standing<br />

between his wife and another woman.<br />

Jervis Deane, stationed very near the point<br />

of impact, had a four-inch bolt driven into<br />

the socket of his right eye. He required<br />

immediate medical attention, as did a score<br />

of other spectators. A number of doctors in<br />

the crowd furnished first aid. Dozens of<br />

others had minor injuries from the flying<br />

debris. John Morrison of Ferris, Texas,<br />

became the last fatality, when he fell under<br />

the wheels of his excursion train as it left<br />

the depot in West.<br />

Before the wreckage finished falling,<br />

the rubble was swarmed over by thousands<br />

of souvenir hunters fighting over<br />

the pieces of hot, razor sharp metal and<br />

splintered wood. Everything that could<br />

be carried off disappeared before the<br />

cleanup crews could get started.<br />

AFTERMATH<br />

It was the largest crowd to gather in<br />

Texas up to that time. William Crush was<br />

fired that night by M-K-T officials, but<br />

was rehired the next day after worldwide<br />

attention focused on the event.<br />

The stunt accomplished almost all that<br />

the M-K-T had hoped for, though not<br />

exactly in the way they had hoped.<br />

William George Crush handled the many<br />

claims against the M-K-T in what was<br />

described as a “fair and quick manner.”<br />

Jervis Deane reportedly received $10,000<br />

and a lifetime railway pass for the loss of<br />

his right eye. In less than 20 years, Crush<br />

was the General Passenger Agent for the<br />

entire Katy system. In 1925 he was<br />

instrumental in bringing a Katy station to<br />

his hometown of Highland Park. He<br />

retired in 1940, but continued to meet<br />

the passenger trains daily until his death.<br />

POSTSCRIPT<br />

Jervis Deane placed this ad in a Waco newspaper after recovering from his injuries.<br />

THE TEXAS COLLECTION, BAYLOR UNIVERSITY, WACO, TEXAS.<br />

A final note on the fatalities shows,<br />

contrary to numerous published accounts,<br />

there was only one fatality at the crash<br />

scene. Earest Darnell, the young man from<br />

Bremond, was killed while standing in a<br />

mesquite tree. Dewitt Clinton Barnes of<br />

Hewitt, mentioned in almost all newspaper<br />

accounts as having been struck and<br />

killed instantly while standing between<br />

his wife and another woman may not even<br />

have been at the event. He was actually<br />

killed almost two years later in Waco.<br />

While sitting in a buggy between his wife<br />

and niece, he was struck in the head by<br />

iron fragments from the firing of an anvil<br />

during a carnival parade.<br />

Chapter 40 ✦ 79


The Willow Grove community bordering<br />

Speegleville, Texas, approximately<br />

10 miles northwest of Waco, was founded<br />

in 1871 by William “Buck” Manning,<br />

son of a plantation owner, and A. W.<br />

Crawford. Manning grew up to become<br />

an overseer on the plantation that his<br />

father owned.<br />

Manning, Crawford and their families<br />

journeyed to Texas as chattel with<br />

their European owners from Shubuta,<br />

Mississippi. Manning married Lucy<br />

Ann, who was a house cook, and they<br />

had nine children. Crawford was a<br />

mulatto born in Mississippi. He married<br />

Manning’s daughter, Harriett Manning.<br />

They also had nine children.<br />

Sometime after their migration to<br />

<strong>McLennan</strong> <strong>County</strong>, Manning and his<br />

family, or at least part of his family,<br />

were in servitude at the Neil<br />

<strong>McLennan</strong> plantation.<br />

Pease Ross, the last male child<br />

survivor of the Pease River Massacre,<br />

was intrigued with a beautiful Negro<br />

woman who was the daughter of an<br />

ex-slave from the <strong>McLennan</strong> farm.<br />

This was Texana Manning, daughter of<br />

Buck Manning.<br />

Pease Ross was a Comanche Indian<br />

that was captured by Sul Ross at the<br />

Pease River during the recapture of<br />

Cynthia Ann Parker on December 17,<br />

1860. Pease was raised on the Sul Ross<br />

farm as part of the Ross family. He<br />

accompanied Sul Ross in the Civil War to<br />

take care of his horses. In 1879 Texana<br />

and Pease celebrated the birth of their<br />

son, Samuel D. Ross.<br />

LAND OWNERSHIP<br />

After the emancipation proclamation<br />

was recognized in Texas June 19, 1865,<br />

the Manning and Crawford families made<br />

Valley Mills, Texas, their home.<br />

WILLOW GROVE<br />

C OMPILED BY D’OR N ELSON<br />

Six years of prosperity and family<br />

growth necessitated a move. They settled<br />

in a place they named Willow Grove. The<br />

area was filled with beautiful weeping<br />

willow trees providing an atmosphere of<br />

peace and solace.<br />

Buck had the means to purchase this<br />

land, but met tremendous opposition.<br />

This opposition was solely based on his<br />

skin color (African heritage) and not mitigated<br />

by who his father was, or his one<br />

time position as overseer.<br />

Blacks and land ownership was not a<br />

congruence suffered any longer after the<br />

Texas Reconstruction era ended two<br />

years earlier. In 1873 the new reforms<br />

put in place by African-American and<br />

white Republicans during reconstruction<br />

were reversed. The old Black Codes were<br />

reinstated—relegating African-American<br />

employment to servant or field hand;<br />

being arrested for verbal opposition<br />

with whites; spending their own money<br />

without permission; and unlawful assembly<br />

(more than two blacks talking to<br />

each other).<br />

It was also known that in some places<br />

there were ordinances that African-<br />

Americans could not be land owners.<br />

These families would not be defeated,<br />

and their determination was demonstrated<br />

by their ability to find ways around<br />

the brutal hatred of the day.<br />

Buck and A. W. agreed that the best<br />

approach was to have A. W. purchase the<br />

land since he had the appearance of a<br />

caucasian. On October 17, 1874, A. W.<br />

stood in for Buck and signed an “X” as his<br />

signature for 320 acres from John A.<br />

Cobb of the Sam M. Hornbeck survey.<br />

On May 1, 1879, A. W. bought 100 of<br />

the original 320 acres. They continued to<br />

subdivide and sell or pass on parts of the<br />

land by bequeathing acreage to other exslaves<br />

and family members. The original<br />

families that settled in the Willow Grove<br />

area were R. G. Chavers, H. F. Eaves, Lee<br />

Hamilton, Green <strong>McLennan</strong> and Hence<br />

Roberson. The community spanned from<br />

Speegleville Road to Crawford Highway<br />

(FM 185) totaling approximately four<br />

miles and over 500 acres of land<br />

owned by people of African descent until<br />

the 1900s.<br />

During this time African-Americans<br />

could not attend white churches nor<br />

be laid to rest in white cemeteries. A. W.<br />

and Buck understood the importance<br />

of community, education, and selfsufficiency<br />

not only for themselves<br />

and family but ex-slaves in general.<br />

In an effort to build community they<br />

donated an acre each stipulating that<br />

it would be for the church and<br />

cemetery. This provided dignity, pride,<br />

and a strong sense of extended family<br />

membership to all ex-slaves in the<br />

surrounding area.<br />

Willow Grove Cemetery.<br />

THE CEMETERY<br />

The 1.91 acre cemetery is in the<br />

Sam Hornbeck survey adjacent to the<br />

Willow Grove community school and<br />

church at 1639 Willow Grove Road. The<br />

community still maintains an additional<br />

one acre for the school and five acres<br />

for the Willow Grove Baptist Church.<br />

There is another acre described in the<br />

G. W. Parr survey as “Willow Grove<br />

80 ✦ HISTORIC MCLENNAN COUNTY


Colored Cemetery.” According to the<br />

collective memory of the community<br />

members this land has not been used for<br />

burials or anything else. Future use of<br />

this acre is unplanned at this time.<br />

There are 1,209 recorded graves in the<br />

Willow Grove Cemetery. It is the resting<br />

place for many veterans of World War I,<br />

World War II, Korean War, and Vietnam<br />

War. Their ranks range from Private to<br />

Sergeant First Class across all branches<br />

of service.<br />

The first burial in the Willow Grove<br />

Cemetery was Dallas Gardner in 1880.<br />

A. W. Buck, and the majority of the<br />

first settlers are buried there as well.<br />

It is also the burial site for Samuel D.<br />

Ross, son of Pease Ross. Three of<br />

Samuel’s daughters are still Willow<br />

Grove residents and church members.<br />

There are a number of unnamed<br />

graves, many due to markers, rocks,<br />

or posts that over time were lost<br />

to weathering.<br />

Willow Grove residents recognized a<br />

need to put something in place to<br />

help organize their burial plots and<br />

to keep the area clean since the<br />

community was increasing in population.<br />

Therefore, on August 23, 1935, E. G.<br />

<strong>McLennan</strong> planned the first meeting<br />

and became the first president of<br />

the group. Other officers were elected<br />

and the mission was defined for the<br />

Willow Grove Homecoming Club—later<br />

renamed the Willow Grove Homecoming.<br />

That mission was to maintain the burial<br />

grounds and define guidelines for<br />

interment of family and community<br />

members. It was also decided that<br />

each year the family members of<br />

the community would assemble and<br />

work in the cemetery to groom the plots.<br />

The first homecoming gathering was<br />

October 5-6, 1935.<br />

The importance the community<br />

placed on the Club further demonstrates<br />

their commitment to Indian and African<br />

heritages. The organization currently has<br />

148 members and receives donations<br />

annually. All proceeds are for the<br />

Willow Grove Community Cemetery <strong>Historic</strong> Marker.<br />

perpetual care of the cemetery and<br />

additional land acquisitions necessary to<br />

accommodate more plots.<br />

What is not known about Willow<br />

Grove descendants is which part of Africa<br />

their forefathers came from, however,<br />

they have shown that education,<br />

independence, and American culture<br />

assimilation were their driving forces<br />

in 1871.<br />

Chapter 41 ✦ 81


Woodway, once known as Woodway<br />

Village, is adjacent to the southwestern<br />

city limits of Waco between U.S.<br />

Highway 84 and State Highway 6, in<br />

west central <strong>McLennan</strong> <strong>County</strong>.<br />

Woodway began as a small community<br />

on U.S. Highway 84 in the late 1940s<br />

and early 1950s. In 1947 the Hewitt and<br />

South Bosque School Districts combined<br />

to form the Midway School District. The<br />

new district began as Class B in the Texas<br />

Interscholastic League, but in a short time<br />

grew to 4A. Midway maintained its small<br />

school atmosphere and was soon considered<br />

one of the premier school districts, thus<br />

promoting the rapid growth of Woodway.<br />

The community grew so rapidly that in<br />

1955 residents voted to incorporate the<br />

communities of White Hall, South Bosque<br />

and Richie Switch as Woodway Village in<br />

order to keep up with the demand for street<br />

building and other public improvements. A<br />

volunteer fire department was organized<br />

the following year. The community became<br />

the city of Woodway in 1973.<br />

WOODWAY<br />

C OMPILED BY J. DOUGLAS G UTHRIE, JR .<br />

City of Woodway City Hall, 2010.<br />

PHOTO BY LAUREN D. MICKENS.<br />

A few businesses were located in<br />

Woodway, but there were no industries;<br />

most of the work force commuted to<br />

nearby Waco. In 1960 the population<br />

was 1,244. It grew to 4,819 in 1970 and<br />

to 5,660 in 1980. In 1990 it was 8,695<br />

and in 2000 it was 8,733.<br />

Carleen Bright Arboretom, 2009.<br />

PHOTO BY ALESSIA BROWN.<br />

82 ✦ HISTORIC MCLENNAN COUNTY


GOVERNORS WITH TIES TO MCLENNAN COUNTY<br />

To date, <strong>McLennan</strong> <strong>County</strong> has dispatched four of its residents<br />

to Austin to serve as governor.<br />

Richard Coke<br />

(March 13, 1829-May 14, 1897)<br />

Fourteenth governor of Texas<br />

Served from January 15, 1874, to December 1, 1876<br />

Born in Williamsburg, Virginia, Coke moved to Waco and<br />

began practicing law in 1850. He married Mary Horne of Waco<br />

in 1852 and she bore him four children. He was a member of<br />

the commission that removed the Brazos Reservation Indians<br />

to the Indian Territory in 1859. Coke served in the Secession<br />

Convention of 1861. He also served in the Confederate Army, rising<br />

from private to captain. In 1866 he was elected Supreme<br />

Court Justice. He was removed, however, in 1867 as an “impediment<br />

to reconstruction,” according to Gen. Philip Sheridan.<br />

Coke won the governor’s chair, but prior to taking office in<br />

January 1874, his opponent in the election, E. J. Davis refused to<br />

surrender his office and turned the capitol into an armed camp.<br />

President Grant did not support Davis’ request for troops, therefore<br />

he conceded and Coke took office.<br />

Coke spent the bulk of his term restoring order after<br />

Reconstruction. The optimism of the Coke era can be seen in his<br />

Inaugural Address, where he said, “Let the hearts of the people<br />

throb with joy, for the old landmarks of constitutional representative<br />

government, so long lost, are this day restored and the<br />

ancient liberties of the people of Texas re-established.”<br />

Lawrence Sullivan Ross<br />

(September 27, 1838-January 3, 1898)<br />

Eighteenth governor of Texas<br />

Served from January 18, 1887, to January 20, 1891<br />

Richard Coke, 14th Governor of Texas.<br />

Ross moved to Waco in 1849 where his father was a U.S.<br />

Indian Agent on the Brazos Reservation. He attended Baylor<br />

University in Independence, Texas, and graduated from<br />

Wesleyan University in Alabama. He and his wife, the former<br />

Lizzie Tinsley, had eight children.<br />

Ross commanded the ranger company that recaptured<br />

Cynthia Ann Parker in 1860.<br />

Ross farmed in the Waco area until he was elected sheriff<br />

of <strong>McLennan</strong> <strong>County</strong> in 1873. Prior to becoming governor,<br />

Ross was a delegate to the<br />

Constitutional Convention in<br />

1875 and a state senator in<br />

1881 to 1882. After the war,<br />

he helped author the document<br />

that governs Texas today,<br />

the Constitution of 1876. He<br />

won the governor’s chair in<br />

1886 and was re-elected for a<br />

second term. His priorities in<br />

office were public education,<br />

efficient handling of public<br />

lands, tax reduction and railroad<br />

regulation. In 1891 he<br />

became the first president of Lawrence Sullivan Ross, 18th Governor<br />

Texas A&M College.<br />

of Texas.<br />

Chapter 43 ✦ 83


Pat Morris Neff<br />

(November 26, 1871-January 19, 1952)<br />

Twenty-seventh governor of Texas<br />

Served from January 18, 1921, to January 20, 1925<br />

Pat Neff was born near McGregor. He worked on his father’s<br />

farm and ranch growing up. He attended McGregor High School<br />

and graduated from Baylor University in 1894. He also received<br />

a degree from the University of Texas Law School in 1897 and<br />

began practicing law in Waco that same year. From 1899 to 1905<br />

he was the <strong>McLennan</strong> <strong>County</strong> representative and speaker of the<br />

house for the 28th Legislature. During his tenure in the Texas<br />

Legislature, he married Wacoan Myrtle Maines and together they<br />

had two children. Neff was the <strong>McLennan</strong> <strong>County</strong> prosecuting<br />

attorney from 1906 to 1912.<br />

Neff continued to practice law in Waco until he won the<br />

governor’s chair and took office in 1921. He was re-elected for a<br />

second term. Highlights of his administration were development<br />

of Texas’ state parks system, abolition of the Board of Pardons,<br />

development of educational institutions and industries, and<br />

planning for the 1936 Texas Centennial.<br />

After leaving the governor’s office, Neff was appointed by the<br />

president to the United States Board of Mediation and served from<br />

1927 to 1929. Gov. Dan Moody asked Neff to be chairman of the<br />

Texas Railroad Commission. He served as chairman from 1929<br />

until 1931. He remained a member of the Railroad Commission<br />

until 1932, when he became president of Baylor University.<br />

He served as president of Baylor University from 1932 to 1947.<br />

Pat Morris Neff, 27th Governor of Texas.<br />

Ann Richards<br />

(September 1, 1933-September 13, 2006)<br />

Forty-fifth governor of Texas<br />

Served from January 15, 1991, to January 17, 1995<br />

Ann Richards (Dorothy<br />

Ann Willis), daughter of Cecil<br />

and Ona Willis was born in<br />

<strong>McLennan</strong> <strong>County</strong> in Lacy-<br />

Lakeview. She entered Waco<br />

High School in 1946 and was<br />

a member of the debate<br />

team and was he state debate<br />

champion as a senior. She<br />

graduated from high school<br />

in 1950 and entered Baylor<br />

University where she received<br />

a B.A. in 1954. In 1953, while Dorothy Ann Willis Richards,<br />

attending Baylor, she married 45th Governor of Texas.<br />

David Richards. She moved to<br />

Austin with her husband where he attended law school and she<br />

taught government at Fulmore Junior High School.<br />

After her husband’s graduation from law school, they spent a<br />

year in Washington, D.C., before moving to Dallas, where her<br />

husband practiced law and she became involved in Democratic<br />

politics. She and David had four children.<br />

In 1969 the family returned to Austin and Ann became<br />

involved in politics again, successfully managing the campaigns<br />

of Sarah Weddington and Wilhelmina Delco. She also served as<br />

Weddington’s administrative assistant in the Texas House of<br />

Representatives. She continued in politics running for Travis<br />

<strong>County</strong> Commissioner and serving for two terms. In 1982 she<br />

ran for and was elected state treasurer, the first woman to serve<br />

in that office. During this time Ann and David divorced.<br />

Ann received national attention when she gave the keynote<br />

speech at the 1988 Democratic National Convention in Atlanta,<br />

when she said of the wealthy, then vice president of the United<br />

States, George H. W. Bush: “Poor George, he can’t help it. He was<br />

born with a silver foot in his mouth.” In 1999 Ann ran for and won<br />

a three-way race for governor, beating out Attorney General Jim<br />

Mattox and former Gov. Mark White.<br />

While governor, she led reform of the Texas prison system,<br />

establishing a substance abuse program for inmates, reducing the<br />

number of violent offenders released, and increasing prison pace<br />

to deal with a growing prison population (from less than 60,000<br />

in 1992 to more than 80,000 in 1994). Richards also instituted<br />

the State Lottery, the North American Free Trade Agreement<br />

(NAFTA), and the Texas Financial Responsibility Law, which<br />

requires, among other things, proof of liability insurance when<br />

inspecting, registering and licensing motor vehicles. Until her<br />

death she served as a consultant and on several corporate boards.<br />

84 ✦ HISTORIC MCLENNAN COUNTY


SMALL TOWNS OF MCLENNAN COUNTY,<br />

PAST AND PRESENT<br />

Acomb<br />

Location: West, 5 miles north of Crawford<br />

Post Office Operations: Aug. 1870–Dec. 1871, July 1879–Feb. 1880<br />

First Postmaster/Postmistress: Victoria Corbett, Robert T. Dennis<br />

Population: 300<br />

Other: Country Store<br />

Amondo or Amanda<br />

Post Office Operations: Sept. 1857–Nov. 1859,<br />

C.S.A. Post Office in Civil War<br />

First Postmaster/Postmistress: William R. Shead<br />

Aquilla<br />

Location: Northeast<br />

Post Office Operations: March 1862, C.S.A.<br />

First Postmaster/Postmistress: C. Terrell<br />

Other: Rural school district, 1867<br />

Artesia<br />

Location: Central, 6 miles southwest of Waco<br />

Post Office Operations: May 1900-March 1901<br />

First Postmaster/Postmistress: James F. Gray<br />

Blue Bluff<br />

Post Office Operations: May 1854–Nov. 1856<br />

First Postmaster/Postmistress: John H. Bowen<br />

Bowling Green<br />

Location: Waco to Meridian route<br />

Post Office Operations: Nov. 1856–May 1857<br />

First Postmaster/Postmistress: B. Smith<br />

Chase<br />

Location: Central, 8 miles northeast of Waco<br />

Post Office Operations: Feb. 1875–Jan. 1880<br />

First Postmaster/Postmistress: Edward P. Rino<br />

John Holley<br />

Commanche Springs, (Coke) June 1874<br />

Location: West, 1 mile west of McGregor<br />

Post Office Operations: May 1872<br />

First Postmaster/Postmistress: John T. Elmore<br />

Population: 50 in 1870s<br />

Other: Sept. 1882, Comanche Springs and Banks formed town<br />

of McGregor<br />

Asa<br />

Location: Junction of FM 2643 and FM 434<br />

Population: 46<br />

Other: Formerly named “Norwood”<br />

Atco<br />

Location: Central, near Woodway<br />

Axtell<br />

Location: East, 8 miles northeast of Bellmead<br />

Post Office Operations: 1882<br />

First Postmaster/Postmistress: Edward P. Rino<br />

Population: 300<br />

Other: Axtell State Bank opened in 1912<br />

Baggatte<br />

Location: West, 4 miles south of McGregor<br />

Post Office Operations: Aug. 1896-Oct. 1896, Sep. 1897-Dec. 1898<br />

First Postmaster/Postmistress: William J. Jenkins<br />

Banana Junction<br />

Location: Intersection of Bosqueville Road and China Spring Road<br />

Other: Called “Banana Junction” because its principle business was a<br />

fruit stand<br />

Banks<br />

Location: Southwest, 6 miles northwest of Moody<br />

Post Office Operations: April 1882<br />

First Postmaster/Postmistress: Thomas H. Baker<br />

Population: Approx. 200<br />

Battle<br />

Location: East, between State Hwy 164 and FM 2957<br />

Post Office Operations: 1886<br />

First Postmaster/Postmistress: James Riggs<br />

Population: 100<br />

Other: Settled in 1880 by Nicholas William Battle<br />

Blackland Village<br />

Location: Blackland Air Field<br />

Post Office Operations: Until 1950s<br />

Other: Barracks converted to Veteran housing<br />

Concord<br />

Location: Northeast of Waco on Old Corsicana Road<br />

Other: 1866, Tehuacana Baptist Church of Christ<br />

1872, church moved to Concord Cemetery<br />

1950, church moved to Bellmead<br />

Cordova<br />

Location: 11 miles northwest of Waco<br />

Post Office Operations: Sept. 1871–Jan. 1874<br />

First Postmaster/Postmistress: David C. Kinnard, James M. Napier<br />

Cottonwood<br />

Location: North, northeast of West<br />

Population: 50<br />

Other: Settled in early 1880s by German immigrants<br />

Downsville<br />

Location: Southeast, 8 miles southeast of Waco<br />

Post Office Operations: April 1890<br />

First Postmaster/Postmistress: William S. Sparks<br />

Williams Woods Downs gave each (slave family) house and land<br />

Elk<br />

Location: East, between U.S. Hwy 84 and FM 2957<br />

Post Office Operations: July 1894-1906<br />

First Postmaster/Postmistress: Martie Emma McKinley<br />

Population: 150<br />

Other: Settled in 1880s by Czech and German immigrants<br />

Farr<br />

Location: West, 6 miles northeast of Crawford<br />

Post Office Operations: July 1892–Dec. 1902<br />

First Postmaster/Postmistress: Sarah J. Walker<br />

Other: Rural School District in 1901<br />

Friedens<br />

Location: East, near Riesel<br />

Other: Rural Community<br />

Friendship<br />

Location: North<br />

Other: Rural Community<br />

Bishop<br />

Location: Southwest, 6 miles northwest of Moody<br />

Post Office Operations: Dec. 1897–Oct. 1902<br />

First Postmaster/Postmistress: Joseph W. Franks<br />

Population: Approx. 200<br />

Small Towns of <strong>McLennan</strong> <strong>County</strong>, Past and Present ✦ 85


Fryar<br />

Location: East<br />

Post Office Operations: October 1891, June 1893–March 1894<br />

First Postmaster/Postmistress: Frank Dunklin, Mary A. Fisher<br />

Other: General Store served as distribution center for area.<br />

Disappeared from maps by 1930s.<br />

Gerald<br />

Location: Northeast<br />

Post Office Operations: March 1888<br />

First Postmaster/Postmistress: Joseph D. Morgan<br />

Other: Church and cemetery mark location of<br />

former town.<br />

Gilbert<br />

Post Office Operations: Jan. 1855–March 1860<br />

First Postmaster/Postmistress: William Jackson<br />

Gilpin<br />

Post Office Operations: Nov. 1856–May 1857<br />

First Postmaster/Postmistress: Warren H. Clark<br />

Hague<br />

Location: Central, 6 miles south of Waco<br />

Post Office Operations: April 1878–Jan 1879<br />

First Postmaster/Postmistress: Leonidas B. Foster<br />

Hallsburg<br />

Location: East, FM 3222<br />

Post Office Operations: May 1902-1905<br />

Population: 518<br />

Other: Incorporated in the 1970s<br />

Hermoson<br />

Location: Central, 3 miles east of Waco<br />

Post Office Operations: April 1894–July 1905<br />

First Postmaster/Postmistress: Charles J. Keesee<br />

Other: March 1903 renamed North Waco<br />

Highland<br />

Location:West, central, 2 miles south of Ocee<br />

Other: 1962<br />

Hoen<br />

Location: Northeast, FM 308<br />

Post Office Operations: April 1912<br />

First Postmaster/Postmistress: William Pate<br />

Other: Railroad misspelled name of founding family—Hoehn<br />

Hurstsland<br />

Location: Northeast, 3 miles north of Axtell<br />

Post Office Operations: Dec. 1896–July 1997<br />

First Postmaster/Postmistress: Anderson Hurst<br />

Jackson<br />

Post Office Operations: July 1858–Nov. 1860<br />

First Postmaster/Postmistress: Peter S. Deckard<br />

Population: 38 in 1860<br />

Jaynes (Janes)<br />

Location: East<br />

Post Office Operations: July 1898–Feb. 1904<br />

First Postmaster/Postmistress: Edward P. Kirkland<br />

Other: Rural school district created March 1901<br />

Jewell<br />

Location: Central<br />

Other: Near present Woodway<br />

Leland<br />

Location: Southwest<br />

Post Office Operations: Dec. 1880 –Jan. 1883<br />

First Postmaster/Postmistress: Lewis W. Haley Lemaine<br />

Location: Southern, on Bullhide Creek<br />

Other: One of 5 neigborhoods surrounding Lorena. One room school<br />

served as community center.<br />

Lime Creek<br />

Location: Central, 12 miles northwest of Bosqueville<br />

Post Office Operations: Aug. 1871–Nov. 1872<br />

First Postmaster/Postmistress: David M. Barrett<br />

Other: Post office served about 70 families<br />

Lone Oak<br />

Location: Southeast<br />

Other: Rural school district created Jan. 1884, later consolidated<br />

with Hallsburg<br />

Lusk<br />

Post Office Operations: May 1891–Jan. 1892<br />

First Postmaster/Postmistress: Tilmon H. Knight<br />

Manhattan<br />

Location: West, north of Crawford<br />

Other: Railroad siding on the Santa Fe Line<br />

Mastersville<br />

Location: Southwest, 17 miles southwest of Waco<br />

Post Office Operations: Feb. 1868–1887<br />

First Postmaster/Postmistress: Mollie Rutherfort<br />

Population: 250 in 1880<br />

Other: Flour and grist mill, 2 cotton gins, a school, general store,<br />

2 groceries. 1882, MKT Railroad bypassed town and residents<br />

moved to Bruceville<br />

Meier Settlement<br />

Location: East<br />

Other: Rural church community and rural school district consolidated<br />

with Riesel in 1921<br />

Middle Bosque<br />

Post Office Operations: June 1858–Aug. 1860<br />

First Postmaster/Postmistress: Adam Bible<br />

Population: 250 in 1860<br />

Montero<br />

Location: Southeast, 3-1/2 miles southeast of Riesel<br />

Post Office Operations: Dec. 1900–Dec. 1903<br />

First Postmaster/Postmistress: William R. Burton<br />

Mount Moriah<br />

Location: East<br />

Other: Rural community 1n 1960s<br />

Mount Olivet<br />

Location: West central, 12 miles west of Waco<br />

Post Office Operations: May 1872–May 1888<br />

First Postmaster/Postmistress: Joseph H. Scales<br />

Other: First relay station out of Waco on Waco/Gatesville stage route.<br />

Now community of Windsor<br />

Mount Pleasant<br />

Location: Southeast, northwest of Downsville<br />

Other: Rural church and cemetery in 1962<br />

Nalley<br />

Location: Central, 2 miles west of Waco<br />

Post Office Operations: Nov. 1898–June 1904<br />

First Postmaster/Postmistress: Joseph R. Nalley<br />

Population: 400 in 1898<br />

Other: Independent school district until 1901<br />

Neale<br />

Location: Southeast, 7 miles southeast of Waco, west of FR 1860<br />

Other: Station on SP RR, Farm commuity named for W. D. Neale<br />

on land of the James E. Harrison homestead<br />

Nicholsville<br />

Location: Northeast, 5 miles west of West<br />

Post Office Operations: Feb. 1889, March 1880<br />

First Postmaster/Postmistress: J. W. Bradley, William V. Hurlock<br />

86 ✦ HISTORIC MCLENNAN COUNTY


Northcrest<br />

Location: North, on Interstate Hwy 35<br />

Population: 1,725 in 1990<br />

Other: Incorporated in 1958. Schools part of Connally ISD.<br />

Oak Lake<br />

Location: East, FM 2491<br />

Population: 60<br />

Ocaw<br />

Location: Central, northeast of Bellmead<br />

Other: Rural Community<br />

Olive Branch<br />

Location: Northeast, south of Leroy<br />

Other: Community and rural school district. 1901, school district<br />

divided, June, 1934, district consolidated with Axtell<br />

Patrick<br />

Location: North, 11 miles northwest of downtown Waco<br />

Post Office Operations: Aug. 1858-1866, July 1882-1909<br />

First Postmaster/Postmistress: Issac H. Roberts, Patrick Gallagher<br />

Other: Population declined rapidly after 1890s.<br />

Pavelka<br />

Location: East<br />

Other: Cemetary donated by Joseph Pavelka to Slovonic Benevolent<br />

Order of the State of Texas Lodge at Elk<br />

Pleasant Grove<br />

Location: Northeast<br />

Other: Rural commnity with general store<br />

Prospect<br />

Location: East<br />

Post Office Operations: March 1890<br />

First Postmaster/Postmistress: Eugene Kauffman<br />

Other: Renamed Riesel<br />

Perry<br />

Location: Southwest, 2 miles north of Moody<br />

Post Office Operations: 1855–1881<br />

First Postmaster/Postmistress: Edwin McClair<br />

Other: Settled early 1850s by settlers from Illinois<br />

and Missouri. Horsepowered gin, several stores and community<br />

buildings for church and school. Bypassed by Gulf, Colorado and<br />

Santa Fe Railroad early 1880s. Most residents moved to new town<br />

of Moody.<br />

Ryan<br />

Location: West, on Hog Creek, 14 miles west of Waco<br />

Post Office Operations: May 1890–Nov. 1902<br />

First Postmaster/Postmistress: Harley O. Mason<br />

Population: 21 in mid-1890s<br />

Other: By mid-1890s Baptist and Methodist churches, general store, 2<br />

flour mills and a cotton gin<br />

Santa Cruz<br />

Location: East<br />

Other: Rural community and cotton gin<br />

Searsville<br />

Location: West<br />

Post Office Operations: July 1859–Nov. 1866<br />

First Postmaster/Postmistress: Josiah L. Sears<br />

Population: 117 in 1860<br />

Shield<br />

Post Office Operations: July 1891, Oct. 1891–June 1893<br />

First Postmaster/Postmistress: Arzvo Modrall, Manson H. Shead<br />

Shiloh<br />

Location: West central, northwest of Ocee<br />

Other: Rural church community. Church celebrated centennial in 1960<br />

Springhill<br />

Location: East<br />

Other: Rural community with churches and cemetery<br />

Stringtown<br />

Location: Southwest, near McGregor<br />

Other: Rural community. Took its name from long row of tenant houses<br />

Teka<br />

Location: 15 miles northeast of Waco on the Cotton Belt Railroad<br />

Other: Named for cattle brand of Tom Kinkaid. Early 1900s, general<br />

store, post office, cotton gin, school and church. Switch on Cotton<br />

Belt RR. Nothing left but cemetery<br />

Tokio<br />

Location: North, FM 1858 and FM 3149<br />

Other: During WWII community name changed to Wiggins.<br />

Valley View<br />

Location: Southwest, northeast of Moody<br />

Other: Rural community<br />

Vernal<br />

Location: East<br />

Post Office Operations: Dec. 1895–March 1904<br />

First Postmaster/Postmistress: Andrew M. Lawson<br />

Other: Rural school district consolidated with Mart in 1927<br />

Wardlaw<br />

Location: East, State Hwy 6<br />

Wayside<br />

Location: East, 3.5 miles east of Elk<br />

Post Office Operations: July 1895–Oct. 1895<br />

First Postmaster/Postmistress: James B. Cates<br />

Wesley<br />

Location: Northern, north of Gholson<br />

Other: Rural community<br />

White Hall<br />

Location: Central, between Waco and South Bosque<br />

Other: First Grange in county. Organized Oct. 1873. Rural<br />

school district<br />

White Rock<br />

Location: Northeast<br />

Other: Rural school district. Created in Jan. 1884. Now only<br />

a cemetery.<br />

Windsor<br />

Location: West Central, 1 mile north of the Middle Bosque River<br />

Population: 10 in 1930, 30 in 1940, none by 1970<br />

Small Towns of <strong>McLennan</strong> <strong>County</strong>, Past and Present ✦ 87


BIBLIOGRAPHY<br />

The United States Census Bureau was used for most of the<br />

population information.<br />

*Kelly, D. (Ed.). The Handbook of Waco and <strong>McLennan</strong> <strong>County</strong>,<br />

Texas. Waco, Texas: Texian Press, 1972. The following towns<br />

used this publication as a source: Bellmead, China Spring,<br />

Golinda, Lacy-Lakeview, Leroy, Levi, Robinson, Ross, South<br />

Bosque, Spring Valley.<br />

**Poage, W. R. <strong>McLennan</strong> <strong>County</strong>, before 1980. Waco, Texas:<br />

Texian Press, 1981. The following towns used this publication<br />

as a source: Bellmead, China Spring, Eddy, Golinda, Hillside,<br />

Lacy-Lakeview, Leroy, Levi, Riesel, Robinson, South Bosque,<br />

Spring Valley, West, Woodway.<br />

Axtell<br />

Handbook of Texas Online, Austin, Texas: Texas State <strong>Historic</strong>al<br />

Association.<br />

Beverly Hills * **<br />

Handbook of Texas Online, Austin, Texas: Texas State <strong>Historic</strong>al<br />

Association.<br />

Jules Bledsoe<br />

Geary, Lynnette G. The Original “Ol’ Man River.” The Black<br />

Perspective in Music, Vol. 17, No. 1/2, pp. 27-54, 1989.<br />

www.jstor.org/stable/1214742.<br />

Mendoza, Patrick M. “Extraordinary People in Extraordinary Times:<br />

Heroes, Sheroes, and Villains.” Englewood, Colorado. Libraries<br />

Unlimited, pps. 44-45, 1999. www.netlibrary.com/Reader/.<br />

China Spring * **<br />

Conger, Roger. “Immigration of the N. H. Conger Family from<br />

Oneida, Illinois, to Waco, Texas, in 1870,” reprinted from The<br />

Southwestern History Quarterly, Vol. LXIV, # 1, July, 1960.<br />

Holder, Karen. A Social History of China Spring & Environs. The<br />

Texas Collection, Baylor University, the China Spring vertical<br />

file, 1980.<br />

Allen, Aaron. Research on China Spring, 2001.<br />

Ragsdale, David. Papers, November 30, 1972.<br />

Duvall, Nancy. Papers, December 2, 1974.<br />

Interview with Roger N. Conger, Texas Sesquicentenial 1836-1986,<br />

China Spring, Texas. Karen Holder chair.<br />

West, Tom. “Old Soldier Spanned Three Centuries.” Waco Tribune<br />

Herald, January 9, 1971.<br />

Crash at Crush<br />

Connally, E. L. C. The Crash at Crush: Famous Duel of the Iron<br />

Monsters, Waco, Texas, U.S.A. Waco, Texas, September 15, 1986:<br />

Waco, Texas: Texian Press. 1960.<br />

Jones, L. W. Humor Along the Katy Lines. Dallas: Southwest<br />

Railroad <strong>Historic</strong>al Society, 1970.<br />

Masterson, V. V. The Katy Railroad and the Last Frontier. Norman,<br />

Oklahoma: University of Oklahoma Press, 1952.<br />

Missouri, Kansas and Texas Railway Company, The Opening of the<br />

Great Southwest; a Brief History of the Origin and Development of<br />

the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad, better known as the Katy,<br />

1870-1970. St. Louis, Missouri: Missouri, Kansas and Texas<br />

Railway Company, 1970.<br />

Schmidt, F. A. Train Wrecks for Fun and Profit. Ontario, Canada:<br />

The Boston Mills Press, 1982.<br />

Wood, S. R. Locomotives of the Katy: Missouri-Kansas-Texas Lines.<br />

Boston: The Railway & Locomotive <strong>Historic</strong>al Society, Inc., 1944.<br />

Eddy * **<br />

Hinkle, C. L. A History and Analysis of Rural Banking in <strong>McLennan</strong><br />

<strong>County</strong>. Baylor University, Waco, Texas, 1959.<br />

Nabors, E. “A Short Written History of Eddy.” Unpublished<br />

vertical file, Texas Collection, Baylor University, 1925.<br />

Webb, W. P., Branda, E. S., Carroll, H. B., Friend, L., Carroll, M.<br />

J., Nolen, L., et al. The Handbook of Texas. Austin, Texas: Texas<br />

State <strong>Historic</strong>al Association, 1952.<br />

Elm Mott<br />

Handbook of Texas Online. Austin, Texas: Texas State <strong>Historic</strong>al<br />

Association.<br />

Connally Independent School District.<br />

Golinda * **<br />

1932 and 2008 maps of <strong>McLennan</strong> <strong>County</strong><br />

The Memoirs of Major George B. Erath 1803-1891. The Heritage<br />

Society of Waco, 1956.<br />

Interviews: Julius Oswald Purczinsky, Jr., and Furn Purczinsky Smith.<br />

Hewitt<br />

Abstract of property next to Hewitt Square, owned by Shirlene Lands.<br />

Chapman, Faye. “History of Hewitt Methodist Church.”<br />

“Earle-Graves Family Papers.” The Texas Collection, Baylor University.<br />

<strong>Historic</strong>al Marker Stanford Chapel Cemetery.<br />

Janes, Jessie L. (Ed.). “A Woman for All Ages.”<br />

McCartney McSwain, Beth A. (Ed.). “The Bench and Bar of Waco<br />

& <strong>McLennan</strong> <strong>County</strong>, 1849-1976.” 1986.<br />

88 ✦ HISTORIC MCLENNAN COUNTY


McKethan McBride, Ala (Ed.). “Our Land and Our People,<br />

History of Woodway, Texas.”<br />

<strong>McLennan</strong> <strong>County</strong> Property Records.<br />

Brower, John H. “Mystic Seaport Papers”. www.mysticseaport.org/<br />

library/manuscript/coll/coll(041/coll).<br />

Poage, W. R. “How We Lived.” Baylor University, 1983.<br />

Rhea Family Papers.<br />

Standford, Thomas. Sermons and Other Writings of Various<br />

Subjects. Publishing House of the M. E. Church South,<br />

Nashville, Tennessee, 1892.<br />

Swope, Bob. “Kellogg Family Papers.”<br />

Warren, Homer. “How We Lived 1905-1920 on a <strong>McLennan</strong><br />

<strong>County</strong> Farm.”<br />

Interviews: Ila Ree Attaway; Edith Barcus; Billy Blanton; Barker<br />

Chapman; Dr. John Chapman; Shirlene Lands; Agnes Ree<br />

Parish McKenzie; Richardson Family; Clayton Thompson;<br />

Warren Family.<br />

Hillside **<br />

Conger, Roger. “Immigration of the N. H. Conger Family from<br />

Oneida, Illinois, to Waco, Texas, in 1870.” Baylor University,<br />

The Texas Collection, vertical file on stagecoaches. Reprinted<br />

from The Southwestern History Quarterly, Vol. LXIV, #1, July 1960.<br />

Interviews: Furn Purczinsky Smith and Julius O. Purczinsky, Jr.,<br />

Bill Wuebker, Martha Kettler, Rhea Family.<br />

Leroy * **<br />

Janes, W. H. “A Personal History of Leroy.” 1986.<br />

Loh, Jules. “111-Year-Old Woman Knew All ‘Healing’ Weeds Dies<br />

in Birome,” Waco Tribune Herald.<br />

<strong>Historic</strong>al Markers of <strong>McLennan</strong> <strong>County</strong>, The Texas Collection,<br />

Baylor University, Waco, Texas.<br />

Levi * **<br />

Interviews: Furn Purczinsky Smith and Julius O. Purczinsky, Jr.<br />

Lorena<br />

Bowman, Thomas. Looking Back, Memories from My Growing Up<br />

Years, 1998.<br />

A History of the Lorena, Texas Area 1854-1981, Lorena <strong>Historic</strong>al<br />

Committee, Texian Press.<br />

Wolfe Janes, Jessie Lee. Writings.<br />

Interviews: Agnes Warren Barnes; Mr. and Mrs. Bruce Bowman;<br />

Dorthea Jones; Kimberly Martin; and the Homer Warren Family.<br />

Moody<br />

Rice, Estelle. The Moody Area.<br />

Hatter, McGinnes, Jeannette, & Alexander Potter, Hazel. They Found<br />

the Blacklands.<br />

Riesel **<br />

The New Handbook of Texas, 1996.<br />

Wikipedia, 2008.<br />

Robinson<br />

City of Robinson, Texas, www.robinsontexas.org.<br />

Handbook of Texas Online, Austin, Texas: Texas State <strong>Historic</strong>al<br />

Association.<br />

Kettler, Martha. “A Nutshell Sketch of Robinson.”<br />

“Waco Recalls a 90-Year-Old ‘Horror.’” All Things Considered,<br />

NPR Website, May 13, 2006.<br />

St. John United Church of Christ, www.stjohnrobinson.org.<br />

Randolph, Steve. “Robinson Schools.”<br />

Robinson Academy Catalog for 1926-1927.<br />

Robinson Chamber of Commerce 1987 City Directory.<br />

Texas <strong>Historic</strong>al Markers: St. John United Church of Christ,<br />

Fletcher Cemetery, Youngblood Memorial Presbyterian Church.<br />

Turner, Jerry. “A Nasty Skeleton in Waco’s Closet.” The Mexia Daily<br />

News, February 28, 2005.<br />

Strauss, John. History of erstwhile Robinson Academy. Located in the<br />

village of Robinson about seven miles south of Waco, Texas.<br />

“Vapor Trails.” Robinson High School, December 19, 1980.<br />

Interviews: Bill Johnson; P. J. Kay; Martha Kettler; Jim Smith;<br />

Susan Smith; and Bill Wuebker.<br />

Ross **<br />

The Handbook of Waco and <strong>McLennan</strong> <strong>County</strong>, Texas.<br />

<strong>Historic</strong>al Marker Albany, Texas.<br />

The New Handbook of Texas.<br />

Sandtown<br />

Ryan, Terri Jo. “Are You from Sandtown? Rediscovering a Vanished<br />

Piece of the City.” Waco Tribune Herald, January 20, 2004.<br />

Ryan, Terri Jo. “Digging for Oral Histories.” Waco Tribune-Herald,<br />

March 5, 2006.<br />

South Bosque * **<br />

The New Handbook of Texas, 1996.<br />

Vertical files, South Bosque, Texas Collection, Baylor University.<br />

Monroe, Renee Term Paper. Texas Collection, Baylor University,<br />

1977.<br />

Hometown News. Jones Media Enterprises, Inc., Waco, Texas,<br />

May 27, 2004.<br />

Interviews: Roger Jones, Publisher: Hometown News, Waco; Watson<br />

Caufield Arnold, Fort Worth; Dorothy Tims O’Malley, Waco;<br />

Gertrude Dunn Oliver, Waco; Helen McKey Ping, Waco; Deedie<br />

Caufield Herring, Waco; Kathryn Hoy, McGregor; Oneta Buice<br />

Leutwyler, Waco.<br />

Bibliography ✦ 89


Spring Valley * **<br />

A History of the Lorena, Texas Area 1854-1981, Lorena <strong>Historic</strong>al<br />

Committee, Texian Press.<br />

Interviews: Mr. and Mrs. (Margaret Warren Vaughn) Billy Blanton<br />

and Russell Judd.<br />

West<br />

Apperson, Henry M. A History of West, 1836-1920. Waco, Texas:<br />

Texian Press, 1969.<br />

Edwards, Betty. “The Community of West.” Unpublished manuscript,<br />

Texas Collection, Baylor University, 1949.<br />

Karlik, Joseph A. “A History of the West Community.”<br />

Unpublished M.A. thesis, Sam Houston State University, 1972.<br />

Knapek, Larry J. “City of West.” Unpublished Manuscript, West<br />

Public Library, 1993.<br />

Pogue, W. R. After the Pioneers. Waco, Texas: Texian Press, 1969.<br />

With assistance from: Suzy Price, Larry J. Knapek, Gustavo Chavez,<br />

Mr. and Mrs. Jake Tucker, Commissioner Joe Masek, Urbanovsky<br />

Studio and the West Main Street Committee.<br />

Waco * **<br />

“Spreading influenza.” Texas Medical Journal, XXXIV(12), 1919.<br />

“Wings over America” [Blackland Army Air Field, Waco, Texas,<br />

Army Air Forces Training Command]. Baton Rouge, Louisiana:<br />

Army and Navy Publishing Company of Louisiana, 1943.<br />

<strong>McLennan</strong> <strong>County</strong> Deed Records, Vol. 1078, 1970.<br />

Conger, R. N., & Neff-Wilcox Collection. “Highlights of Waco<br />

History.” Waco, Texas: Hill Printing & Stationery Company, 1945.<br />

Erath, G. B., & Erath, L. A. “The memoirs of Major George B. Erath,<br />

1813-1891.” Waco, Texas: The Heritage Society of Waco, 1956.<br />

Gildersleeve Project Advisory “Committee. Commemorative<br />

Collections: Fred Gildersleeve...through his lens.” Waco,<br />

Texas: Neighborhood Housing Services of Waco, Inc., 2003.<br />

Headquarters 3rd Battalion, 143rd Infantry, 36th Division, Texas<br />

National Guard. Waco disaster operation, Texas National Guard,<br />

May 11-20, 1953.<br />

Johnson, F. W., & French, B. History of <strong>McLennan</strong> <strong>County</strong>, Texas.<br />

<strong>Historic</strong>al sketch of Kaufman <strong>County</strong>. Fifty-one year’s reminiscences<br />

of Texas. S.l.: s.n.<br />

Kibler, K. W., & Ringstaff, C. W. “Archaeological Survey of 71<br />

Acres of the John Tucker Survey,” <strong>McLennan</strong> <strong>County</strong>, Texas.<br />

Austin, Texas, 2002.<br />

Menchu, C. “162 Years of Waco, 1824-1986: Focus upon<br />

Downtown Waco, Texas.” Texas Tech University, Lubbock,<br />

Texas, 1986.<br />

Menn, A. E. “Waco through the Years.” Waco, Texas. The Texas<br />

Collection, Baylor University, 1988.<br />

Moore, W. B., & Leming, J. “Governors of Texas.” Dallas Morning<br />

News, 1963.<br />

Pope, S. H. “Geyser City Record.” A Texas journal devoted to agriculture,<br />

mechanical and realty development, Waco, Texas: Press<br />

of the News Printing Company, May 25, 1890.<br />

Public Relations Office and Photo Section, Waco Army Air Field,<br />

1943. The Bee-tee cadet class of Waco Army Air Field basic<br />

flying training. Waco, Texas: Waco Army Air Field.<br />

Taylor, Senator Bob, & Moore, J. T. Waco, Texas. Taylor-Trotwood<br />

Magazine, 339-343, June 1907.<br />

Tyler, R. C., Barnett, D. E., Barkley, R. R., & Texas State <strong>Historic</strong>al<br />

Association. The New Handbook of Texas. Austin, Texas: Texas<br />

State <strong>Historic</strong>al Association, 1996.<br />

University of Texas at Austin. General Libraries, & Texas<br />

State <strong>Historic</strong>al Association. The Handbook of Texas, 1997.<br />

www.tsha.utexas.edu/handbook/online/.<br />

Waco, Texas. “Municipal Handbook of the City of Waco.” Mayor’s<br />

message and reports on all departments of the city. Waco,<br />

Texas: City of Waco, 1912-1914.<br />

War Department World War II honor list of dead and missing:<br />

State of Texas: War Department,1946.<br />

Watt, F. H. Tilte. In & Central Texas Archaeologist: no. 9: Vol. 9.<br />

Central Texas Archeologist (pp. 196–244). Waco: Reprinted<br />

for Texana for the Central Texas Archeological Society, 1969.<br />

Weems, J. E. “The Tornado.” (Reprint ed.). Garden City, New<br />

York: Doubleday, 1991.<br />

Woodway **<br />

The New Handbook of Texas, 1996.<br />

Wikipedia 2008.<br />

Woodway Hometown News, April 30, 1997.<br />

Woodway Today, City of Woodway, September-October 2007.<br />

90 ✦ HISTORIC MCLENNAN COUNTY


SHARING THE HERITAGE<br />

<strong>Historic</strong> profiles of businesses, organizations,<br />

and families that have contributed to the development<br />

and economic base of <strong>McLennan</strong> <strong>County</strong><br />

Providence Healthcare Network........................................................92<br />

American-Amicable Group...............................................................96<br />

Central Texas Iron Works................................................................98<br />

Baylor University ........................................................................100<br />

Wilkirson-Hatch-Bailey Funeral Home ............................................102<br />

Trautschold Millwork Ltd. .............................................................104<br />

Hillcrest Health System ................................................................106<br />

Extraco Banks .............................................................................108<br />

Harvey-Daco, Inc.........................................................................110<br />

Texas State Technical College Waco ................................................112<br />

Family Health Center ...................................................................114<br />

Johnson Roofing ...........................................................................116<br />

Walker Partners ..........................................................................118<br />

Capstone Mechanical ....................................................................119<br />

American Income Life Insurance Company .......................................120<br />

Dunnam & Dunnam, L.L.P., Attorneys at Law...................................121<br />

Midway Independent School District ...............................................122<br />

Reed’s Flowers.............................................................................123<br />

Imperial Woodworks, Inc...............................................................124<br />

Super 8 Motel Waco Mall ..............................................................125<br />

Naman, Howell, Smith & Lee .........................................................126<br />

Texas Life Insurance Company .......................................................127<br />

Comfort Suites ® ...........................................................................128<br />

Spenco Medical Corporation ..........................................................129<br />

Planned Parenthood of Central Texas, Inc. .......................................130<br />

West Auction, Inc.........................................................................131<br />

CWA Construction, Inc. ................................................................132<br />

Kirkpatrick and Witt Furniture ......................................................133<br />

Davis Iron Works, Ltd. .................................................................134<br />

First Baptist Church.....................................................................135<br />

Ridgecrest Retirement and Health Care............................................136<br />

Country Inn & Suites by Carlson-Waco ...........................................137<br />

The Village Bakery.......................................................................138<br />

Tom Padgitt Company...................................................................139<br />

Sheehy, Lovelace & Mayfield, P.C. ..................................................140<br />

Watson Feed Store........................................................................141<br />

Brazos Higher Education Authority, Inc. ..........................................141<br />

Tejas Logistics System ..................................................................142<br />

SPECIAL<br />

THANKS TO<br />

<strong>McLennan</strong> <strong>County</strong><br />

<strong>Historic</strong>al Commission<br />

Robert W. Cox<br />

Jewelers, Inc.<br />

Sharing the Heritage ✦ 91


PROVIDENCE<br />

HEALTHCARE<br />

NETWORK<br />

Above: The Waco Business Men's<br />

Club, forerunner of today's Greater<br />

Waco Chamber of Commerce, gather<br />

before the official dedication of<br />

Providence Sanitarium on January<br />

11, 1905, to lay planks of wood from<br />

the trolley line to the doors<br />

of Providence.<br />

Below: By the time this picture was<br />

taken, the landscape was finally in<br />

place for the original building. It was<br />

in this building that the Daughters of<br />

Charity joined with the medical<br />

community of Central Texas to begin<br />

a strong ministry of healing with a<br />

true heart for the marginalized.<br />

Founded in 1905 at the request of local<br />

businessmen who saw the need for a hospital<br />

in Waco, Providence Healthcare Network,<br />

consisting of Providence Health Center,<br />

Providence Home Care, De Paul Center,<br />

Providence Park, Providence Clinics, Providence<br />

Foundation, and Providence Health Alliance,<br />

provides a full range of care that includes<br />

outpatient care, inpatient care, emergency<br />

services, long-term care, mental healthcare,<br />

chemical dependency treatment, senior adult<br />

care services and more.<br />

Providence is a member of (and sponsored<br />

by) Ascension Health, a national system<br />

cosponsored by the Daughters of Charity of<br />

St. Vincent de Paul, the Sisters of St. Joseph of<br />

Nazareth, Michigan, and the Sisters of St. Joseph<br />

of Carondolet.<br />

The Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de<br />

Paul, who originally founded Providence, have<br />

a long and praiseworthy history of service to<br />

society. St. Vincent and St. Louise de Marillac<br />

founded the order of religious women in<br />

Paris, France, in the year 1633. The American<br />

Community of Daughters was founded in 1809<br />

by St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, and was united with<br />

St. Vincent’s community in 1850.<br />

At the turn of the twentieth century,<br />

<strong>McLennan</strong> <strong>County</strong> and the city of Waco were<br />

booming with growth. Few of the people living<br />

in the area had ever been inside a hospital, and<br />

it was a relatively common conviction that<br />

seeking hospital care was unmanly and only<br />

reasonable for the poor. Up until this time, the<br />

only care for the sick could be found inside<br />

institutions called “pest houses” and only the<br />

city’s poorest went to the city’s hospital for<br />

medical care. Even doctors were not interested<br />

in such institutions, because few had any<br />

experience with them.<br />

In 1901, Dr. James Wyatte Hale, one of the<br />

most widely respected doctors in Central Texas,<br />

had a patient who needed more expert care<br />

than was obtainable in this area. Dr. Hale took<br />

his patient all the way to the Touro Infirmary<br />

in New Orleans, accompanied by Charles L.<br />

Johnson, a civic-minded citizen. Both men<br />

were impressed with the benefits of the Touro<br />

Infirmary and became determined that a<br />

hospital should be established in Waco.<br />

Johnson took the first step by convincing the<br />

Business Men’s Club, the forerunner of today’s<br />

Greater Waco Chamber of Commerce, of the<br />

need for this project. The Club rallied behind<br />

him after he explained the significant benefits<br />

that could be derived from the advanced<br />

medical care that only a hospital could offer.<br />

The next question that arose was one of<br />

money and management. Some years before,<br />

another order of Sisters told Dr. Hale that if the<br />

town would donate a suitable place of ground<br />

and arrange for a contract to care for the City<br />

patients, the Order would finance a hospital<br />

building and supply their own trained personnel<br />

to operate it. A committee went to Galveston to<br />

discuss the possibility with officials of the Order,<br />

but found that unforeseen circumstances made<br />

the offer no longer a valid option.<br />

This setback led Dr. Hale, Mr. H. B. Mistrot<br />

and Mrs. G. H. Luedde to Dallas where the three<br />

asked members of the Daughters of Charity<br />

of St. Vincent de Paul to consider the task. At<br />

the close of their initial meeting, the Mother<br />

Superior told the Waco delegation, that when<br />

92 ✦ HISTORIC MCLENNAN COUNTY


considering the request, the Order of the<br />

Daughters of Charity would simply have to<br />

“trust in providence.”<br />

The Business Men’s Club formed committees<br />

to raise money for the proposed building site,<br />

now located at 1725 Colcord Avenue. Within<br />

weeks, the club had raised the money and<br />

purchased the original land from Judge M.<br />

Surratt for $2,500. In April of 1903, a local<br />

Priest, Father P. J. Clancy, received<br />

the original blueprints for the<br />

Providence Sanitarium. While the<br />

citizens of Waco donated the<br />

land for the site, the Daughters<br />

of Charity furnished funds for<br />

the construction on the original<br />

building. On April 30, 1903,<br />

groundbreaking ceremonies were<br />

held and, on Sunday, October 11,<br />

1903, the Cornerstone Mass<br />

was celebrated.<br />

The original facility was<br />

designed by R. M. Mulligan of St.<br />

Louis with Wacoan T. B. Pearson as<br />

supervising architect. Constructed<br />

of Denton brick, the building<br />

included copper metal work and a<br />

tile roof. The building had four<br />

stories and a basement, where the<br />

dormitories for nurses and other employees were<br />

located, as well as classrooms for lectures and<br />

experiments, four bathrooms and the elevator<br />

machine room.<br />

On December 19, 1904, the Waco Daughters<br />

of Charity answered their first call for help.<br />

A local boy, suffering from malnutrition,<br />

was admitted for their care. The first mass was<br />

held on Christmas Day 1904 and the formal<br />

Left: Dr. James Wyatte Hale, one of<br />

the most widely respected doctors in<br />

Central Texas, had the first vision of a<br />

hospital in Waco. Dr. Hale worked<br />

diligently with businessman Charles<br />

L. Johnson to convince the Daughters<br />

of Charity to make their dream come<br />

true in Waco, Texas.<br />

Below: First graduating class of the<br />

Providence School of Nursing:<br />

Madeleine Sullivan, Ellen Ashley,<br />

Nellie Chumley, Theresa Fuchs, and<br />

Rose Morris.<br />

Sharing the Heritage ✦ 93


Right: History was made in Waco,<br />

Texas, when Dr. M. Wayne Falcone<br />

joined Dr. Charles A. Shoultz, Jr., to<br />

perform the very first heart<br />

catheterization on March 3, 1973.<br />

Three days later, on March 6, 1973,<br />

history was made again at Providence<br />

when Dr. Robert T. Angel and Dr. R.<br />

W. Chrosthwait performed the first<br />

open-heart surgery in Waco. In this<br />

picture, the patient, Kathryn Louise<br />

File-Smith, celebrates the twenty-fifth<br />

anniversary of her surgery with long<br />

time friend and Cardiovascular<br />

surgeon, Dr. Angel.<br />

Below: In 2008, Providence stands<br />

poised as Waco’s first hospital…with<br />

a mission of compassion and a vision<br />

of excellence. This photo of Providence<br />

Health Center includes the newest<br />

addition, our 5-story F. M. & Gloria<br />

Young Tower, home to Cardiology and<br />

Intensive Care.<br />

dedication was held on<br />

January 11, 1905.<br />

The original contract<br />

agreed upon by the<br />

Daughters of Charity<br />

and the city of Waco<br />

called for the care of<br />

the indigent sick at a<br />

cost of seventy-five<br />

cents per day. This<br />

low reimbursement for<br />

care created a financial<br />

challenge for the new<br />

hospital that could<br />

have been offset by<br />

public use, but in<br />

the early 1900s, most<br />

people continued to<br />

rely on physician care<br />

in the privacy of their<br />

own homes. Still, the<br />

Waco Medical Association continued to call for<br />

public support of Providence Sanitarium and<br />

reported that, in its first year of operation, the<br />

staff and physicians of Providence treated 231<br />

patients and performed 102 surgical procedures.<br />

In 1906 the School of Nursing opened and in<br />

1908, the first Providence nurse graduated from<br />

the school, which eventually closed in 1960.<br />

Throughout the 1920s and 1930s, the hospital<br />

continued to expand its facility and offer a wide<br />

range of medical care to the community with the<br />

addition of x-ray and laboratory departments,<br />

an Obstetrics Unit and a Pediatric Unit.<br />

By 1938 the name of Waco’s first hospital had<br />

been officially changed to Providence Hospital and<br />

its faculty and staff continued to grow. The hospital<br />

became the first in Waco to specialize in the<br />

field of Cardiology and debuted the Waco Heart<br />

Clinic at Providence in 1950, while a Psychiatric<br />

Division (Miriam Hall) opened in 1952.<br />

Though its School of Nursing was closed in<br />

1960 after fifty-four years of instruction and<br />

743 graduates, Providence continued to expand<br />

its services and facilities across the community.<br />

The City-<strong>County</strong> Out-Patient Clinic opened in<br />

1965 and a Coronary Clinic was added in 1970.<br />

At the same time, the Family Practice Residency<br />

Program and the <strong>McLennan</strong> <strong>County</strong> Medical<br />

Society were established in a progressive step<br />

toward the future of the hospital.<br />

In 1989, Providence Health Center relocated<br />

to a new medical campus in West Waco.<br />

Providence has grown since that time to include<br />

a 214-bed acute care hospital; a 51-bed<br />

emergency department; a surgery department<br />

featuring 14 surgical suites plus a fifteenth<br />

suite dedicated to cystoscopy; an MRI Center;<br />

a Comprehensive Bariatric Center; and, a<br />

professional office building for physicians. The<br />

five-story F. M. & Gloria Young Tower is the most<br />

recent addition—completed in 2007—featuring<br />

a 30-bed intensive care unit, a 30-bed cardiology<br />

unit; the R. W. Crosthwait, Sr., Cardio-Pulmonary<br />

94 ✦ HISTORIC MCLENNAN COUNTY


Left: In September 2008, Providence<br />

Health Center was accredited by the<br />

Joint Commission as the first Primary<br />

Stroke Center in Central Texas.<br />

Pictured above is Inverventional<br />

Neuro-radiologist, Dr. Adam<br />

Borowski. The Interventional Lab is<br />

one of many commitments Providence<br />

has made to become the leader in<br />

stroke care.<br />

Rehab Center; the M. Brian Aynesworth, Jr.,<br />

Research Center; and, the Cardiology Department<br />

of Providence Health Center.<br />

Today, Providence Health Care Network<br />

continues over a century of valued care and<br />

leadership in its historic effort to care for the sick<br />

and offer hope to people across Central Texas.<br />

The DePaul Center is a psychiatric and<br />

substance abuse treatment division that includes<br />

sixty-four beds and is located at 301<br />

Londonderry Drive, adjacent to the Providence<br />

medical campus. Providence Home Care is a<br />

full-service home care provider licensed by the<br />

state of Texas and Medicare certified. The<br />

agency services a sixty mile radius of Waco and<br />

includes a full staff of therapists to provide<br />

rehab and a follow-up ET nurse. Providence<br />

Park is Waco’s premier community for<br />

independent living, assisted living, and long<br />

term care. This state-of-the-art facility offers a<br />

continuum of care based on a resident’s level of<br />

need. The Village at Providence Park features<br />

61 apartments for independent living, while<br />

St. Elizabeth Place offers 40 apartments for<br />

assisted living. St. Catherine Center serves as a<br />

nursing and rehabilitation center, including 60<br />

sub acute care beds, and 180 long term skilled<br />

nursing care beds.<br />

Providence Health Center is located near the<br />

intersection of Highway 84 and Highway 6 in<br />

Waco at 6901 Medical Parkway. For more<br />

information about Providence Health Center,<br />

call (254) 751-4000 or visit them online at<br />

www.providence.net.<br />

Below: Providence Healthcare<br />

Network is grateful for the many<br />

donors who provide funding for the<br />

healthcare ministry in Waco. F. M. &<br />

Gloria Young stepped forward with<br />

seed money to invest in an expansion<br />

project that was long over-due…and<br />

together with others, helped provide<br />

this new building named in<br />

their honor.<br />

Sharing the Heritage ✦ 95


AMERICAN-<br />

AMICABLE<br />

GROUP<br />

Amicable Life Insurance was<br />

organized by Artemas R. Roberts on<br />

February 2, 1909. The following year,<br />

July 21, 1910, the building committee<br />

of Amicable Life Insurance Company<br />

awarded the contract for the<br />

construction of the twenty-two story<br />

Amicable Building to Westlake<br />

Construction Company of St. Louis,<br />

Missouri, for $530,000. Property on<br />

which the building was constructed<br />

was purchased for $72,000 from the<br />

First National Bank on April 30, 1910.<br />

In an era when office buildings of<br />

more than three stories were the<br />

exception rather than the rule, this<br />

tallest building west of the Mississippi<br />

merited recognition from Robert L.<br />

Ripley in his famous Believe It or<br />

Not syndication.<br />

The building contract called for<br />

construction to be completed in<br />

twelve months. Excavation for the<br />

building uncovered a natural spring which<br />

poured 750,000 gallons of water every twentyfour<br />

hours into the streets of Waco for three<br />

months while construction men fought to<br />

control it.<br />

When completed in the summer of 1911, the<br />

building was owned, free of all debt, by<br />

Amicable Life Insurance Company. The natural<br />

spring beneath the building provided water, and<br />

the company-owned oil wells located in the<br />

South Bosque Field, provided oil. The oil was<br />

hauled by tank wagons and burned in the crude<br />

state. The Amicable Building was the only selfsufficient,<br />

twenty-two story office building in<br />

the world at that time.<br />

Even before the building was complete, the<br />

new company began to grow. At the age of seven<br />

months, Amicable Life had a million dollars<br />

in assets and 4,000 stockholders, which was<br />

more than any other five Texas life insurance<br />

companies combined. On March 22, 1911, the<br />

company made life insurance history by paying<br />

a death claim within twelve hours.<br />

The Amicable Building withstood the<br />

devastating tornado that struck downtown Waco<br />

in 1953. When the disaster was over the Amicable<br />

Building still stood and all inside were safe.<br />

In 1955, Amicable Life adopted as its official<br />

trademark the picture of a faithful shepherd dog<br />

watching over a sleeping, helpless child. This<br />

picture, painted in oils and done exclusively for<br />

Amicable Life by Fritz Gunther, a widely known<br />

artist, exemplified the “Faithful Protection”<br />

rendered by Amicable Life to its many satisfied<br />

policyholders and their beneficiaries.<br />

After fifty-five years of continuous operation<br />

and steady growth Amicable Life Insurance<br />

Company merged with American Life Insurance<br />

96 ✦ HISTORIC MCLENNAN COUNTY


Company in March 1965 and became American-<br />

Amicable Life Insurance Company. The building<br />

became known as the ALICO Center. The<br />

company was owned by Great America<br />

Corporation headquartered in Dallas, Texas.<br />

In May 1968, Gulf United Corporation, a<br />

holding company headquartered in Jacksonville,<br />

Florida, and with executive offices in Dallas,<br />

Texas, acquired ownership of American-Amicable.<br />

American General Corporation (AGC) located in<br />

Houston, Texas, became the owner of American-<br />

Amicable and all other Gulf United Corporation<br />

insurance companies in January of 1984.<br />

In 1985, AGC adopted a plan merger of its<br />

four ordinary life insurance units (including the<br />

original American-Amicable) into Houston and<br />

decided to spin off the military and government<br />

employee organization and leave it in Waco to<br />

operate as a freestanding specialty group. The<br />

legal aspects of this spin off were completed<br />

with the bulk reinsurance of the military and<br />

government employee life and OBA group<br />

association blocks going from the original<br />

American-Amicable Life into American-Amicable<br />

Life Insurance Company of Texas (AATX) as<br />

of December 31, 1986. AATX was originally<br />

incorporated as U. S. Life Insurance Company<br />

in 1981 and later its name was changed to<br />

Brazos Life in 1985.<br />

The name American-Amicable of Texas was<br />

adopted in 1986 to form the cornerstone of the<br />

Waco based companies. Thus AATX traces its<br />

heritage back to the original Amicable Life<br />

founded in 1909 in Waco and has been operating<br />

in the same home office complex since its<br />

founding. The companies were bought by Thoma<br />

Cressey Equity Partners in February of 2000.<br />

Located on the Internet at www.aatx.com,<br />

you will find valuable information regarding the<br />

services available to you.<br />

Sharing the Heritage ✦ 97


CENTRAL TEXAS<br />

IRON WORKS<br />

Among the finest structural steel fabricators<br />

in the nation stands Central Texas Iron Works<br />

(CTIW), a prime supplier of structural steel for<br />

process plants, pulp and paper mills, power<br />

plants, and other industrial projects, such as the<br />

refining of the oil soaked sands in Canada, has<br />

been in business in <strong>McLennan</strong> <strong>County</strong> for<br />

almost a century.<br />

First established as Stubbs Foundry along<br />

Webster Street in Waco in 1910, the small<br />

company soon found itself nearly broke.<br />

When local bank officials urged fellow First<br />

National Bank director F. A. Winchell to help<br />

the suffering business, Winchell agreed and<br />

established himself as a partner in the company<br />

around 1912.<br />

As the foundry prospered, Winchell<br />

purchased Stubbs’ share in the business and<br />

changed the name to Central Texas Iron Works.<br />

By the mid-1920s, Winchell’s son, Oliver, had<br />

been working with his father for several years<br />

and was supervising the day-to-day operations<br />

as the company grew into a thriving structural<br />

and miscellaneous steel plant.<br />

In an early biographical sketch of Oliver<br />

Winchell and the Winchell family, author Joe<br />

Hnatek writes, “It is often true that there is<br />

something extraordinary in those who are<br />

seemingly the most ordinary of men. One such<br />

extraordinary man was Oliver Winchell.”<br />

Born and raised in Waco, where he attended<br />

Franklin Avenue and Sanger Elementary<br />

Schools and graduated from Waco High School<br />

in 1914, Oliver began working at the foundry in<br />

1917. After his military service in World War I,<br />

he returned to Waco in 1919 and would later<br />

lead CTIW as its president until his retirement<br />

in 1966. A man of honor and integrity, his<br />

goodwill and outstanding business acumen<br />

remains legendary even today.<br />

Throughout the mid to late twentieth<br />

century, CTIW opened four steel fabricating<br />

sites and was involved in numerous endeavors<br />

including steel fabrication such as structural<br />

steel, steel joist, rebar fabrication, grandstands,<br />

street sweepers, slurry seal machines, cotton<br />

strippers, farm shredders, playground equipment,<br />

barbeque pits, grill guards for pickups, and<br />

warehouse steel sales.<br />

In December of 1982, CTIW directors<br />

announced the sale of the business to a familyowned<br />

company, S. G. Herrick Corporation<br />

of California. CTIW continued to prosper until<br />

the economy and market conditions for steel<br />

began to decrease and it was forced to close<br />

operations in Abilene and Midland, Texas. In<br />

the fall of 1986, market conditions were at an<br />

all-time low and it was announced that CTIW<br />

would close one of its two remaining plants the<br />

following year.<br />

1987 marked the start of an entirely new<br />

beginning for CTIW. Key management staff and<br />

approximately seventy shop personnel were<br />

hand-selected from a workforce of over two<br />

98 ✦ HISTORIC MCLENNAN COUNTY


hundred. Starting over with low overhead and<br />

a fabrication crew unmatched in the business<br />

gave CTIW an opportunity to be very<br />

competitive for the small amount of work<br />

available. With outstanding efforts from its team<br />

members, CTIW was again a recognized force in<br />

structural steel fabrication and its workforce<br />

began to increase again by 1988.<br />

By 1989 market conditions had improved<br />

and CTIW had a national reputation among the<br />

best of structural fabricators. With a strong<br />

vision for the future, the west Waco facility was<br />

taken off the market and an exciting era of<br />

expansion began.<br />

By April of 1990, CTIW had completed its<br />

move from the old Webster Street location to<br />

the newly remodeled and expanded west<br />

Waco location at 1100 Winchell Drive. This<br />

move was no small step in CTIW’s history, but<br />

was accomplished without a hitch. Realizing<br />

that success is dependent on more than<br />

just continuing to provide<br />

product, CTIW continues to<br />

look for methods to better<br />

serve its customers with<br />

new and fresh ideas and<br />

is a leader in utilizing<br />

modern technology to<br />

fabricate quality structural<br />

steel providing customers<br />

with the finest service in<br />

the business.<br />

Today the company<br />

consists of more than 225 employees and<br />

207,000 square feet of shop space and has<br />

the capability of producing up to 4,000 tons<br />

per month. Its customer list reads like a<br />

“Who’s Who” in construction, with most of the<br />

top EPC companies in the world listing CTIW as<br />

a prime supplier of structural steel for process<br />

plants, pulp and paper mills, power plants<br />

and other industrial projects. The Herrick<br />

Corporation maintains ownership of CTIW<br />

and continues to offer financial and corporate<br />

management commitment.<br />

In such a competitive market, Central<br />

Texas Iron Works’ greatest asset remains<br />

its outstanding employees. Oliver Winchell<br />

believed this was the legacy of a great company<br />

and once wrote, “It [CTIW] must be a place<br />

that gives you opportunity…the Central Texas<br />

Iron Works can never go any further or succeed<br />

any better than do the people who make up<br />

our company.”<br />

Sharing the Heritage ✦ 99


BAYLOR<br />

UNIVERSITY<br />

Right: The Act of the Republic of<br />

Texas Congress that chartered Baylor<br />

University was signed on February 1,<br />

1845. Depicted in this painting by<br />

artist Erwin Hearne are Judge Baylor<br />

standing at the far end of the table,<br />

with Huckins seated to his left and<br />

Tryon writing in the name of the<br />

school. Anson Jones, president of the<br />

Republic of Texas, is in the<br />

foreground, with Kenneth Anderson,<br />

president of the Texas Senate, waiting<br />

to sign the charter, and John M.<br />

Lewis, speaker of the Texas House.<br />

PHOTO FROM THE TEXAS COLLECTION AT<br />

BAYLOR UNIVERSITY.<br />

Below: Carroll Science Hall (upper<br />

left); Main Building (left with towers);<br />

Burleson Hall (right with towers); and<br />

Carroll Chapel and Library Building<br />

(right) as the Baylor campus appeared<br />

in winter 1917.<br />

PHOTO FROM THE TEXAS COLLECTION AT<br />

BAYLOR UNIVERSITY.<br />

Baylor University, a private<br />

Christian university and a nationally<br />

ranked liberal arts institution,<br />

offers 150 baccalaureate, 76 master,<br />

and 26 doctoral and juris doctor<br />

degree programs.<br />

Chartered by the Republic of<br />

Texas in 1845 through the efforts of<br />

Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest<br />

continuously operating university<br />

in Texas. William M. Tryon, R. E. B.<br />

Baylor and James Huckins are credited<br />

as the university’s founders.<br />

Tryon, a missionary appointee of<br />

the American Baptist Home Mission<br />

Society, came to Texas in 1841.<br />

Baylor, who became a Christian in<br />

1839 at age forty-six, received his<br />

license to preach and emigrated to<br />

Texas, was judge of the third<br />

judicial district and a member of<br />

the Texas Supreme Court. Huckins,<br />

the first missionary to Texas<br />

from the American Baptist Home<br />

Mission Society, was considered the<br />

mastermind of the Texas Baptist<br />

Education Society.<br />

In December 1844, Tryon and Baylor<br />

prepared the petition for charter of a Baptist<br />

university. Several names were proposed, but<br />

eventually Baylor agreed to allow his name to be<br />

used. Soon thereafter, it was approved by the<br />

Texas Legislature, and the charter was signed<br />

February 1, 1845, by Anson Jones, president of<br />

the Republic.<br />

Classes began in May 1846 in a small<br />

wooden building on a hillside at Independence,<br />

Washington <strong>County</strong>. The first president, the<br />

Reverend Henry Lee Graves, was succeeded in<br />

1851 by the Reverend Rufus C. Burleson.<br />

During Burleson’s ten-year tenure, the university<br />

operated male and female departments housed<br />

on separate campuses a mile or so apart.<br />

Burleson resigned in 1861 to become president<br />

of the fledgling Waco Classical School, later<br />

Waco University. In 1866, Baylor University’s<br />

female department received a separate charter to<br />

become the Baylor Female College, now known<br />

as Mary Hardin-Baylor University in Belton.<br />

As Texas’ Baptist denomination spread, other<br />

Baptist colleges and academies were established,<br />

competing with Baylor for students and<br />

financial support. Population shifts, economic<br />

and sociological changes made Baylor’s<br />

100 ✦ HISTORIC MCLENNAN COUNTY


Left: Known today as Burleson<br />

Quadrangle, the historic heart of<br />

campus serves as home to Carroll<br />

Library (home of The Texas<br />

Collection), Burleson Hall, Old Main,<br />

and Carroll Science Hall. A statue of<br />

Rufus C. Burleson, who was president<br />

of Baylor at Independence and Waco,<br />

stands in the Sesquicentennial<br />

Walkway between these buildings.<br />

PHOTO FROM BAYLOR UNIVERSITY PHOTOGRAPHY.<br />

operation at Independence increasingly difficult.<br />

Efforts to unite competing Baptist organizations<br />

and establish one central university succeeded<br />

in 1866, when the Baptist General Association<br />

and the Baptist State Convention consolidated,<br />

forming the Baptist General Convention of<br />

Texas. Baylor and Waco Universities unified to<br />

become Baylor University at Waco. Within a<br />

few years the campus expanded to form a<br />

quadrangle bounded by the F. L. Carroll Chapel<br />

and Library Building, Georgia Burleson Hall,<br />

Main Building, and the George W. Carroll<br />

Science Hall.<br />

In 1948 a massive building program began,<br />

adding many classroom and dormitory facilities,<br />

and in the 1980s more than $150 million in<br />

facilities were added. Endowment grew from<br />

approximately $80 million to over $325 million,<br />

and net assets surpassed $600 million.<br />

Baylor has continued to grow and thrive,<br />

pursuing initiatives such as lower student-faculty<br />

ratio, offering smaller class sizes, increasing<br />

research opportunities for undergraduates, and<br />

offering the best facilities for learning and living,<br />

to fulfill the founders’ vision of a university to<br />

meet the needs of all the ages to come. Faculty<br />

development, new academic programs, and<br />

exceptional extracurricular opportunities have<br />

been created for the approximately 14,000<br />

students, who come from all fifty states and<br />

ninety countries around the world.<br />

Baylor’s present academic system includes<br />

the College of Arts and Sciences, Hankamer<br />

School of Business, School of Education, School<br />

of Engineering and Computer Science, Graduate<br />

School, Honors College, Law School, School of<br />

Music, Louise Herrington School of Nursing,<br />

George W. Truett Theological Seminary, and<br />

School of Social Work. The university also<br />

conducts graduate programs with the U.S. Army<br />

Academy of Health Sciences in San Antonio and<br />

West Point.<br />

Below: A twelve-foot bronze statue of<br />

Judge R. E. B Baylor, the pioneer<br />

statesman, judge and preacher for<br />

whom the University is named, sits at<br />

the east end of Founders Mall. At the<br />

opposite end of the mall is another<br />

recognized campus symbol: Pat Neff<br />

Hall, named for a Baylor graduate<br />

who was the 28th governor of<br />

Texas and the eighth president of<br />

Baylor University.<br />

PHOTO FROM BAYLOR UNIVERSITY PHOTOGRAPHY.<br />

Sharing the Heritage ✦ 101


WILKIRSON-HATCH-BAILEY FUNERAL HOME<br />

President and Director in Charge<br />

Hatch Bailey.<br />

In 1925, Dillard J. Wilkirson, a businessman<br />

from Eddy, together with his son, Jim, and sonin-law,<br />

Roy Hatch, established Wilkirson and<br />

Hatch Funeral Home in Waco at the corner of<br />

Washington Avenue and Twelfth Street. And<br />

now for over eighty-four years, the Wilkirson-<br />

Hatch-Bailey family has served families, helping<br />

them remember lives well lived and providing<br />

various services that are just right for each<br />

family’s circumstances.<br />

From the beginning until his retirement in<br />

January of 1972, Roy Hatch served as president<br />

of the company. In 1972 his son in law, A. W.<br />

(Bill) Bailey, Jr., became president and continues<br />

as chairman today. For an extended time during<br />

the 1960s and 1970s, Dillard W. Harwell, a<br />

nephew of Mrs. Roy Hatch, served as vicepresident<br />

and manager. From 1972 to 1983,<br />

ownership was shared between the Baileys and<br />

the Bowens (Marie Hatch Bowen and husband,<br />

A. E. Bowen). For a number of years during that<br />