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.

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 />



4 FOREWORD<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 />





143 SPONSORS<br />

Contents ✦ 3


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 />


Introduction ✦ 5

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



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 />


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 />


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 />


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 />


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 />


Amicable Building under construction (1910).<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 />


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


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 />


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 />


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 />


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 />


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 />


Chapter 1 ✦ 13

After the tornado in 1953.<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 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 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 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 />


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


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 />


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 />





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 />




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



Jules Bledsoe.<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 />





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 />



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 />


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 />


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 />



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 />




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 />


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 />


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 />



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 />


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 />


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 />


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




M. E. Church, China Springs[sic], Texas 1908.<br />


China Spring, Texas, Main Street, with Dr. Beverly Caldwell’s buggy in front of Mac Crawford’s house, 1909.<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 />




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



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 />


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 />



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 />



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 />





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 />



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 />


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 />


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 />




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 />


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 />



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 />


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 />


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 />


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 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 />


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 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 />


Chapter 14 ✦ 33



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 />


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 />


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 />




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 />


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 />


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 />


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 />


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 />



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 />



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 />



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 />


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 />


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 />


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 />


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



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 />



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 />



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 />




“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 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 />


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 />


LEROY<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 />


LEVI<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 />




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 />


“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 />


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 />



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 />


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 />


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 />



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 />


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 />


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 />


Downtown Mart (date unknown).<br />

MART<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 />


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 />


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 />


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 />



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 />



McGregor Light & Power Plant currently used to house McGregor Waterworks.<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 />


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, 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 />



The Farmer’s Mill.<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 />


The Deyerle-Fall House.<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 />


MOODY<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 />


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 />


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 />


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


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 />


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 />


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 />


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 />


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 />


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 />


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 />


Patton Baptist Church.<br />

PATTON<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



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 />



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 />


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 />


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 />



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 />


RIESEL<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 />


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 />


Chapter 30 ✦ 59

The Robinson Academy building.<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 />


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 />




Reverend John Strauss.<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 />


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 />


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 />


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 />


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 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 />


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 />


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 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 />


ROSS<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 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 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 />


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 />



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 />



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 />


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 />


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 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



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 />


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 />


Kendrick Home in Spring Valley in 2008.<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



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 />


WALDO<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 />


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 />


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 />


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 />


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 />


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 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 />



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 />


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 />


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-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 />


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 />


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


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 />



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 />


“ 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 />



Trains "shaking hands" before backing up.<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 />


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 />


Crush Special Excursion Ticket.<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 />


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 />


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 />


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 />


Jervis Deane placed this ad in a Waco newspaper after recovering from his injuries.<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 />


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 />



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 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 />


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 />



City of Woodway City Hall, 2010.<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 />




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 />




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 />


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


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 />


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 />



<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 />



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

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

Robert W. Cox<br />

Jewelers, Inc.<br />

Sharing the Heritage ✦ 91




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 />


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 />


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



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 />


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



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 />


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 />


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 />



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 />



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 />


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 />


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 />


Sharing the Heritage ✦ 101


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 />