1927 Smithville Times
HISTORY OF THEIR HOME CITY
Compiled jointly by Mrs. Arnold E. Adamcik and Mrs. E. Clay Williams
According to an old tradition fabulous silver mines were worked by the Mexicans in early times in this immediate neighborhood. Traditions say that the Mexicans, fearing an attack by the Indians, buried a large amount of silver not far from the banks of what is now known as Gazley Creek. Many prospectors are said to have searched this neighborhood, and the account they gave of prospective wealth induced Dr. Thomas G. Gageley to visit this section. The resources of the country claimed him and in 1827 he decided to place his headright, which was a patent to a league of land, located on the banks of the Gazeley Creek, named for the first settler, Dr. Gazeley.
Along about this time a man by the name of John P. Jones came to this settlement, but nothing can be recalled about him except at one time he is said to have owned all Smithville.
Time passed and Dr. Gazley brought his family consisting of a wife and four sons, Thomas Jr, William, Frank and Ed., and settled on the banks of Gazely Creek. He brought the first slaves to this locality and one of the most faithful was known as old Jack Gazeley. The slaves helped him build the first house built in this vicinity. It had only one room made by driving cedar posts in the ground and fastening hand hewn clap boards for weather boarding, and hand made cedar shingles for roofing. The hose was located on the exact spot where the seed house now stands. The old slaves filled their days with work, and shirk, pretty much as the present generation.
Several years later a man by the name of William Smith decided to settle in this fertile valley of the Colorado, so he came with his wife and five sons, Preston, Dudley, Anderson, Frank and Henry. He built his home, which was a very crudely constructed affair, on the banks of the river south of what is now the Elbert Thorne home, between the big clump of knarled oak trees midway between Thorne's and Olin Fite's.
Smith owned all the land where the present High School stands and on back to the old line that used to mark the division between between Captain Gazeley's and the Smith property. To give you a vague idea as to where this division point is: the old oak tree in Mr. Mark Young's back yard was one of the markings. The line falls so that it cuts through our present depot, and followed along the Lake Road until it ended near the Lake and cut back in the vicinity of the Smith home. The river was the other boundary.
In it interesting to know that when William Smith divided his property among his sons, he gave Dudley the portion in the northeast part of his territory. Dudley build the original house where Mr. Elbert Thorn is now living. The coming of the Smiths marked the uplift of progress in this little settlement. He owned a store and bartered and traded with the Indians and whites.
Other settlers began to get word about this ideal location and migrated here. The Northeast part of the surrounding land, now known as the Hudgins farm, was owned by a wealthy slave trader by the name of Shipp, his property included the Lake, called Shipp's Lake in honor of the owner. Mr. Shipp built the large two story home at the foot of the lake on the river and it remained standing until a few years ago when it was destroyed by fire. (Mr. Shipp married one of Mrs. Whitworth's sisters.)
Mr. John Fawcett, another settler of note, was born in England. He originally came to Texas for the purpose of selling race horses, but in 1845 he settled here and built the beautiful two story brick dwelling northwest of town 150 feet above the Colorado river valley, and up until it was destroyed by fire a few years ago was one of the most beautiful residences in the state. The slaves constructed the home out of hand pressed brick, and timber from the surrounding pine hills. This place was finished long before the Civil War and was used as a chief lookout for the Indians, due to its ideal location. Some of us have visited the little cumpalo atop of the two story mansion many times.
All was not peaceful in these days. The brave little band of settlers in their struggle for existence lived in constant terror and were uncreasingly on the lookout for the warlike Commanche Indians. General Edward Blakely Burleson, one of the first white male children born in Bastrop County, who lived on the headright across the Colorado river at the mouth of Alum Creek, played quite a prominent part in the days of the Indians. The friendly Tonkowa tribe was a help to the white settlers and Chief Plasado and his thirty warriors assisted him in his many skirmishes with the savages.
In the Battle of Brushy, fought in what is now Williamson County, the whites being commanded by General Edward Burleson, and the Commanches under command of their Warlike Chief. Captain Jake Burleson, a brother of Edward, was in advance of the Texas army, and came upon the Indians while cooking their noonday meal. The Captain ordered his men to dismount and fire, and after hitching their horses in a grove, the twelve men turned a deadly volley of rifle balls of the savages, but the Indians proving too much for the little company of twelve men, Captain Burleson ordered the boys to mount and fall back. One of his boys, only fourteen years of age, in his excitement mounted his horse while yet hitched to the tree. The Captain saw the condition of the boy, dismounted his horse, cut the rope, but as he was again mounting was shot dead. The Indians cut off his right hand and foot; took out his heart thinking all the while that he was General Edward Burleson, their sworn enemy.
It is said the last Indian War dance in this part of the country was held out here at the forks of the road at the end of the lane across the river under the six or eight big oak trees on your left as you turn to Winchester. The Commanches were on their way to attack the settlers and were met on Rock Hill and turned back by the friendly Tonkowas. Oh, it was good to see the Tonkawas on Warpath.
Other people who had ventured this far, and also had suffered attacks from the Indians, and inconveniences of pioneer life were Captain D. O. Hill, father of Mr. Ollie Hill, who came in 1835 and settled near Smithville.
John W. Hill located twelve miles southeast of Bastrop in 1838 - and in 1875 the firm of Yerger Hill and Son came in to existence. It was later moved to New Smithville, in 1888.
Time passed and in about 1860 there were rumors of war between the states, and the brave and adventurous little band of men rallied to their commander and bravely marched away to fight the Yanks. Men who went from the vicinity of Smithville were: Eight boys from Hill family, T. J. Taylor, Wh. Foxel, John Claiborne, Jack Conner, John Burleson, and Aaron Burleson.
Dr. Gazley built the first store, and it was located where Mr. Charles Stitler's home now stands, and he operated it until just before the Civil War at which time his death occurred.
The store became the center of the Town's business life. The year after the war Mr. John Fawcett owned and operated a store, but sold it in 1867 to Dr. Taylor, the first Doctor to arrive here, who later took Murray Burleson, another of the early settlers, and also a brother-in-law of Dr. Taylor, into partnership. Three years later Dr. Taylor sold his interest to Mr. Smith and that left Burleson and Smith handling an extensive trade. The home of Mr. Olin Fite is located on the exact spot where this store stood. This little town of Old Smithville has been named in honor of William Smith, one among the first settlers.
Life was unusually hard in those days. There were very few comforts to be had at any price. The average attire for men was Jeans pants, cotton check shirts, high top boots or brogans and broad brim hats. Many people wore blankets instead of coats in bad weather. Rawhide was much used. It was a common remark that Texas was tied together with rawhide, so many were its uses - used on bedsteads instead of slats, instead of leather for bridles and harness and chair bottoms.
Epidemics of chills and fever were not uncommon. Quinine sold from $5.00 to $7.00 an ounce. The first tragedy was the shooting and killing of William Gazley and his son, Thomas by Aaron Burleson, then about two weeks later Burleson was killed by a man hired to murder him.
But in spite of all these hard timers, and ill feelings the staunch little band managed to enjoy life occasionally in the pastimes of the day. The old Square Dance being among the foremost in entertainment, and who was more popular at this time than the old time fiddler who knew all the popular times such as "Pop Goes the Weasel" etc., and "Diggin' Taters in Sandy Lane" -
Perhaps the story could be told about a certain citizen of high standing that overindulged in a drink of a certain drink of a certain liquid and became pretty much of a nuisiance and was hailed into the honorable court the following day, the same being held under one of the numerous live oak trees that are still standing in our present day community. There is no doubt that much true nobility was found in these open air courts.
The first little school house was a one room edifice located right in the middle of what is now Main Street, at the end of the river bridge.
Ox Wagons trains were used to haul the cotton from Bastrop and this section to Brownsville where it at one time brought 40 cents a pound. A story is told by Mr. Dawson in Bastrop that at one time he was driving an ox wagon to Brownsville with a load of cotton and was returning with a load of salt, and suddenly the oxen having became thirsty turned off to the side and stubbornly stumbled on, tearing down rail-fences, tracking newly planted fields and never stopping until they reached a well where they stayed until they were watered. It is said they went by Upton and Smithville.
In 1846 the last herd of buffalos was seen in this country. They were fastly dying out then. They crossed the river at the mouth of Gazeley Creek at the "old Buffalo" crossing and went up the river bottom to the Fawcett home. Mr Fawcett shot one but finding it very poor, he kept only the hide, throwing away the remains of the last buffalo ever killed in this part of the country. The old trail is still dimly marked but very few know where the place is.
The first gin was built by Mr. Grassmeyer and was run by horse power.
Each of these earliest families had separate graveyards - The Gazley Cemetery was on the Rosanky Road is one of the oldest in the State of Texas. The old Oliver graveyard, which is a part of the Hill Cemetery is to the Northwest of the town. The John Hill Cemetery is Northeast of town just opposite the Oliver Graveyard.
About the most interesting among these is the original Smith Cemetery which is located two and a half miles east of here. There are very few if any who know the exact place of this burying ground. The Burleson Cemetery is about two miles west on the banks of the Colorado River. It is very near the old Hardeman home, better known as the Burleson place.
The Presbyterian Church, founded September 24, 1871, was the first organized church in this immediate vicinity. Mr. J. M. Renick was the first pastor. The first meeting was said to have been held under a large live oak tree on the Hudgins farm. Later, meetings were possibly held under the tree that is in the backyard of the present Buesher home. Later the other churches were duly organized.
It was along in 1881 that another event of interest occurred. Sass and Rosinfield operated a store here where Verge Rabbs house now stands. Dr. J. H. E. Powell had just located here as a yound doctor.
On Saturday evening in November as night began to fall a robbery occurred. The store was one long room with a door in each end. Mr. Sass and his clerk were behind the counter, two or three men were lounging around when two masked men walked in, two remaining at the door and one at the back, and demanded gold. They were told no gold was at the store and they demanded to be taken over to the house to get the gold in the horse-hair trunk. After this order was carried out, they returned to the store, Dr. Powell, having walked in on them while they were going through the trunk was ordered back to the store with them and there they continued in their high handed manner.
Other people located here were the J. M. Renicks, Mr. S. A. Camer, Mr. John Hudgins (1883), Mr. B. J. Gresham, the Saunders, Mr. C. C. Cockrill, and many others along with Z. P. Eagleston, father of the late Ed. Eagleston.
Surveyors came here and made plans for the coming of a railroad that would connect with San Antonio as well as the North. Mr. Murray Burleson donated the original tract of land for the depot. Colonel Giddings from Giddings played an important role in the signing of legal documents and official arrangements of this new deal.
There were seventeen families in this immediate townsite at the time the railroad was built. A townsite Committee was formed consisting of Murray Burleson, Colonel Hopper, H. G. Fleming and John Herrin. They divided the town into lots giving each church the land on which they are now located.
The little settlement that had previously been located on the banks of the Colorado was known as old Smithville, having held that name for many years. But now that the railroad was coming a new name was under consideration, because the town would be moved near the tracks. Murray Burleson had played such a prominent part in the new arrangements that "Burlesonville" was considered, but the older inhabitants wanted the old name - so they flipped a coin to decide - on Smithville or Burlesonville. And so Smithville it stayed!
The new railroad was called the T. B. & H. - Taylor, Bastrop and Houston. It stopped at Boggy Creek near LaGrange where the turn was made for the return trip. Seven years after the first train the division was brought here and prosperity was in evidence on every hand. A great free barbecue had been prepared and on August 27, 1887, the first train blew its way into the little town of Smithville. People came from Winchester, LaGrange, Flatonio, West Point, Alum Creek, Pearidge, and Paige to see this wonderful sight. Children came to see their first train, many of them becoming frightened and running away.
The committee of welcome was on hand and delivered the flowery speech on this momentous occasion.
Mrs. Jane Saunders, Mrs. Jimmie Jones, Dr. Powell and a few others in our town today were present on this great occasion. Mr. Ch. Turney was conductor. Mr. C. M. Still was engineer on this train which came from Taylor and brought passengers from every town along the route, Granger, Elgin, Bastrop, Hills Prairie, where Mr. A. P. Lowry and his brother were persuaded to get on . This first train was a long line of flat cars with planks nailed across for seats creeking along. Much excitement was in the air. The train was due any minute! The crowd grew more excited! Whistles!
The whistles could be heard in the distance! The train was coming! The crowd rushed madly over! Greetings were exchanged. The children screamed in fear! The brakes were applied-
The train had arrived! The band boys proudly stepped from the train and burst forth into a spirited march. The excited crowd joyously fell into step and followed the band to the barbecue grounds on Gazeley Creek where a big barbecue was spread under the great oak trees in celebration of the coming of the first train to the little town of Smithville on August 27, 1887.
In seven years time the M. K. and T. had incorporated that Taylor, Bastrop and Houston road into it's system, and had surveyed and built a branch road to San Antonio. On Sept. 1, 1894 the rail road shops with a working force of 500 men was brought here from Taylor and Alvorado. Over night the population of the village doubled. Every family shared their homes with the new comers, and still men were forced to sleep on porches in box cars and on the railroad platforms. Houses sprung up like mushrooms and in a few years the population had reached 3,000.
In 1894 the first newspaper was established which still serves the community needs.
In 1901 the first bridge was built over the Colorado River at the end of Main street displacing the ferry in use. The flood of 1913 destroyed this bridge. A year later the present bridge was erected, higher and stronger than the first one.
Smithville has always spent a great deal of time and money on good roads. This precinct was one of the first in the state to vote bonds for good roads in 1912. The earliest residents of the town had the streets in front of their property graveled, and in 1924 the first paved streets were laid. Today there are 5 miles of paving in the city limits.
The little Methodist Church erected before the railroad came which, served as a community church has been replaced by the handsome brick edifices of the Methodist, Baptist, Presbyterian and Catholic Churches. The Christian, Lutheran and Assembly of God denominations own comfortable frame buildings.
The public school system has grown from that small school opened on June 4, 1888 under Prof. G. D. Scott to three separate division - The Grammar School, High School and Colored School Systems. The buildings are modern and well equipped, the faculty trained in modern pedagogy and methods. Barry Athletic Field is considered one of the finest in the State.
The City Hall, a Colonial brick structure erected in 1916 has recently been modernized and redecorated. The auditorium seating 300 people has a grand piano on the stage.
The High School Auditorium used for larger audiences boasts a splendidly equipped stage with beautiful scenery and lighting effects. The piano there is a Steinway concert grand.
Both the Grammar and High School P. T. A's are active forces for cultural and civic projects.
The Woman's Club maintains a Public Library as part of their civic work. A recent flower show sponsored by them was said by critics to have been worthy of any city. A nationally known judge added prestige and authority to this exhibit. The Woman's Club in addition to a regular study course brings to the city from time to time out-standing lecturers and artists.
The Lion's Club organized in March 1927 lives up to it's creed by encouraging scholarship in the schools, sponsoring an annual community Christmas tree and for the past two years a series of community programmes during the summer months.
The Chamber of commerce pays a full time secretary to look after its interests. The farmers of this section have been greatly benefited by the meetings arranged for them through the Chamber of Commerce, where soil and fertilizer experts have lectured. The Chamber of Commerce bought a canning outfit for the farmer's use several years since. In 1934 the Chamber of Commerce bought a brick building and equipped it for a modern canning plant which is running over time to take care of the rural and urban canning needs.
Smithville has one of the finest Swimming Pools in the State. Buesher Park will soon be an ideal recreation spot.
Situated on the M. K. & T. Railroad on Highways 71 and 95 Smithville is easy of access. Her wide, tree lined streets, beautiful houses and yards bespeak gracious living.
The Garden Club especially pledges it's members to the further beautification of the yard and gardens.
Tho' those first settlers failed to find the silver legend told about tho bequeathed to their descendants more precious heritage.
Settled in those unsettled days of Texas' struggle for independence Smithville's founders shared in the Titanic effort and glorious victory.
The people of Smithville are proud of that heritage. The indominitable will which guided those pioneers still lives in her citizens and she will continue her progress.
4/26/1929 Bastrop Advertiser
BASTROP SIXTY YEARS AGO by Mrs. B. D. Orgain
The editor has asked me to give, for this issue of the Advertiser some incidents in the history of Bastrop, as I have known it. I have been here a long time, about sixty years, but Bastrop was not a new town when I came here. For years it had been an educational center, known for its moral, intellectual and religious atmosphere. These distinctive features were really responsible for my being here.
Mrs. S. J. Orgain, the capable and well known Principal of Colorado Institute was at that time needing an assistand in the school, and I seemed to be just what she desired. Thus were brought about some unexpected ebets which ? in Bastrop ? my home - the place I have most loved and when I have learned what it means to become, with a beloved companion, a part of the life of a community, to help in making a home in rearing a family and realizing the responsibility that belongs to every man and woman, to promote the peace and prosperity of the town which is to them a home.
Sixty years ago BAstrop was a beautiful little town, with some lovely homes, fine people, substantial business houses.
Main street was its principal thoroughfare. In one corner was the old John Johnson store which now we would call a variety store, not far from it was Mr. A. J. Batt's saddle shop, which was a favorite gathering place for the leading men to discuss the news of the town; further down the street was the law office of Col. G. W. Jones, which many aspiring young attorney received their first lessons; then the old Buchanan Store, the Burch Building with its very staid and dignified proprietor. Across the street was the Claiborne home, the Elzner Bakery, the Shermon Reynolds building, the firm of Gillispie & Morgan, Maj. Garwood's store, and the Postoffice, in charge of Mr. Wertzner. Mr. Sidney Green was the proprietor of the Livery stable and owned the stage line and ferry boat. The Casino was the principal playhouse. The old Methodist Church bell, which is still in use at that time was rung for church, for school, for fires, for weddings, for funerals and all public gatherings. Mr. William J. Cain was editor and publisher of the Bastrop Advertiser, which has always promoted the best interests of the community. Mr. James NIcholson was the genial host of the Nicholson House, where good food good cheer and pleasant associates made their guests linger long on its broad galleries and comfortable rooms. Attached to this hotel was a photograph gallery, something unusual at that time in a small town.
The Colorado Institute was a flourishing school and the Military Academy daily gathered within its historic halls, some of the coming men of our great state, lawyers, doctors, legislators, governor, and politicians as well as military leaders. The pride of the town was not the quantity, but the quality of its citizenship. I remember well some of the old families. Mr. and Mrs. Campbell Taylor, Mrs. Margaret Chambrers, Mr. and Mrs. Sherman Reynolds, Mr. and Mrs. J. C. Higgins, Mr. and Mrs. W. C. Powell, Maj. and Mrs. Garwood, Grandma Morgan, and Capt. Gillespie. Dr. and Mrs. J. C. Duval, Mr. and Mrs. J. C. Buchanan, Mr. and Mrs. Geo. Ortz, Mr. and Mrs. A. J. Batts, Dr. and Mrs. Starcke, Mr. and Mrs. Antone Jung, Mr. and Mrs. Eilers. Mr and Mrs. Joseph Glover, Mrs. Reading, Mr. and Mrs. William Gibson, Rev. and Mrs. William Smith, Mrs. H. V. Thompson, Col. and Mrs. Wash Jones, Mr. and Mrs. C. Maynard, Mr. and Mrs. Sidney Green, Mr. and Mrs. Henry Cocheron, Dr. and Mrs. David Sayers. If Bastrop had a "patron saint" it was that tender kind, untiring faithful physician and friend, Dr. David Sayers, whom everybody loved, who ministered to the sick and suffering so many years - the rich and poor, white and black, until his own strength was gone and he was called to his reward. Bastrop will always revere his memory.
It is a long step from that day to this. No one who wants to see the world grow better and finer, who thinks of the posibilities awaiting the touch of the present tay forces, the ingenuity of the human mind so marvellously used in discoveries and inventions - no one wants to go back to the old life. In comparing the present with the past, we do not disparage the years that are gone. They filled well their places in the development of their day and are an invaluable part of the growth of the present century.
3/2/1929 Bastrop Advertiser
BASTROP 21 YEARS AGO
The Bastrop Truck Growers Association was organized last week with the following officers: Judge J. B. Price; President; George Starcke, Secretary; and Treasury ad O. P. Jones, Sales Manager.
Allen Duval, colored, of Bastrop had on exibition in Bastrop Monday, a beet which weighed twenty five pounds. It was two years old.
Mrs. A. M. HIll entertained a few couples of the young society set last Tuesday evening in compliment to Miss Rubye Carter and Willie Cunningham.
Sheriff Woody Townsend received a phone message the first of that week from Richmond to the effect that Will Aldredge, colored, under indictment in this county for stealing hogs, had been jailed in that county.
Married at Austin last Sunday, May 4, 1908; Mr. L. J. McChesney of Edna, Texas and Miss Bessie Alexander of Cedar Creek.
The Advertiser notes the appointment of Mr. John L. Burke, as Postmaster of Elgin.
Closing Exerciese of the Bastrop High School will be held Friday 5/29/1908.
Prospects for extra fine crops of all kinds were never better throughout this section.
DIED - Near Red Rock, Bastrop County, Monday, Miss Kizzie Cope, aged 66 years.
County Judge Paul D. Page, Hon. J. H. Miley, Sheriff Woody Townsend and District Clerk Thomas H. Parks, of Bastrop; Hon. S. L. Staples of Smithville and Hon. Max Hirsh of Elgin attended as delagates from Bastrop County, the Democratic State Convention at Ft. Worth this week.
8/29/1929 Bastrop Advertiser
It has been some time since the Upton reporter has been on his job, but we are glad to say that he is back again.
Mr. J. W. Young, who has just been replacing his old store with a new fireproof building is planning on moving this week.
Mrs. Bell Clayton is visiting her sister near Houston.
The little infant son of Mr. and Mrs. A. Percival of Smithville was buried at Young's Cemetery Friday.
Mrs. F. W. Bryers has been spending the week in Smithville.
Rev. I. W. Jett of Smithville is conducting a meeting here.
Miss Alberta McAnneny of Smithville is visiting Miss Jewel Rosanky.
Mrs. Jung of Bastrop spent a few days last week with Mr. and Mrs. Fred Stolle.
Mr. Chester Lee of Johnson City spent the weekend with his parents, Mr. and Mrs. R. C. Lee.
Mr. and Mrs. W. A. Hancock are the proud parents of a little son.
The Upton Women's Demonstration Club held their regular meeting Monday at the home of Mrs. S. N. Williams.
Quite a nice number of members and visitors were present. Mrs. G. Vest, H. D. A. of Bastrop was present. After all business was disposed of the meeting was turned over to Mrs. Randle of Cedar Creek, President of the County Federation Clubs and she gave a very interesting and instructive talk on Federated Clubs and Parliamentary Laws. The next meeting is to be at the home of Mrs. J. Breeding.
What little cotton that has been made here is being gathered now. The cotton crop will be very short this year. Feed crops are fairly good though.
Mr. Carry Royston of Beaumont, his children and their amilies from Lubbock, McMahan and other places met at the home of Mr. and Mrs. R. L. Scallorn and then had quite a reunion and spent the day with a picnic on the river. Several old friends of Mr. Royston were invited to spend the day with them. REPORTER.
9/5/1929 Bastrop Advertiser
Rev. I. N. Jett, pastor of the Smithville Christian Church, closed his meeting Thursday night. Several Smithville folks attended.
Mrs. F. W. Young of Smithville spent a few days in the J. W. Young home this week.
While riding through the pasture Saturday morning, Mrs. Louis Tiner fell from his horse and bruised himself very badly. Dr. Bryson was called to his side and found that two ribs were pulled loose from his backbone. He is doing as well as could be expected.
Mr. and Mrs. T. R. Mobley and daughter, Melba Rose, spent the week end with her parents, Mr. and Mrs. R. A. McDonald.
Miss Emma Young has returned from an extended visit to points in Southwest Texas.
Mr. and Mrs. T. F. Scallorn are spending a few days this week with Mrs. J. C. Breeding.
Mrs. Joe Wiest spent Thursday in Smithville, with her uncle and wife, Mr. and Mrs. J. A. Percivall.
Mr. Jim Dabney of Houston was here a few days visiting old friends.
Mr. Elroy Hollaway and children of Groose Creek are visiting R. J. Lee and family.
Master George Hancock is spending a few days with his grandmother in Smithville.
Mrs. Barr and daughter, Inez and Joyce of Smithville spent Sunday with her daughter, Mrs. W. A. Hancock.
Mrs. Lou Carrol and Mrs. Maude Fite and children of San Antonio are visiting Mrs. Hancock and family.
Mr. and Mrs. Kieth and family of Brownwood are visiting relatives here.
Mr. J. W. Machen, Mr. J. J. Hancock, Mr. Guy Lee, and Mrs. R. L. Kirkpatrick attended the meet at Parsons Kansas. REPORTER
9/1929 Bastrop Advertiser
M'DADE NEWS NOTES AND..
MCDADE - September 9, - After peacefully sleeping under the foliage of the trees planted by his own hands 49 years ago, all that remained of Capt. Jesse Billingsley was moved to Austin Monday morning by the Weed Undertakers and Tuesday evening before starting for the State Cemetery, Judge A. M. Felts, of Austin, delivered a brief address paying a high tribute to the memory of Capt. Billingsley ad other Texas heroes from wherein the death of an ever brave and couragious soldier shared his part in the great drama of life, was reintered near the grave of his boyhood "chum", David Crockett, with Dr. Garriek, of the Central Christian Church conducting religious services at the grave, followed by the Daughters of the Republic of Texas, with Mrs. M. Jones, of Austin, delivering a beautiful and impressive memorial address, paying a high tribute to the life of Capt. Billingsley, soldier, patriot and hero.
The subject of this sketch was wounded at the Battle of San Jacinto and nursed a crippled hand from that day till the day of his death, serving the republic in the First and Second Congresses of 1842. He died at the age of 70, and was buried in a grave in the front yard of his home, October 1, 1880, and after resting nearly fifty years in an almost forgotten and desecrated grave, is at last sleeping in the State Cemetery, due to the unceasing perseverance of the Daughters of the Republic and Mr. L. W. Kemp of Houston, to who the decentants of Capt. Billingsley feel justly grateful.
The rain gods are hovering over McDade and if there is any sign i n"rheumatics", the planting of fall gardens is at hand.
Julius Kastner, Sr, shipped a car of mixed cattle to the Ft. Worth market Thursday going with them.
Over a 100 bales of cotton have been ginned here since the opening of the 1929 season. Lookout Elgin.
MONUMENT BEING PLACED IN WILBARGER COUNTY TO HONOR EARLY SETTLERS
A monument is being placed in Vernon, Wilbarger County, Texas, to honor the men for whom the county was named, Col. Joshiah Pugh Wilbarger and his brother Matthias Wilbarger.
Wilbarger county was created February 1, 1858, and was organized October 10, 1881, with Vernon as it's county seat, by these two brothers, who were inhabitants of Austin's Little Colony on the upper Colorado. Wilbarger County has an area of 932 miles, and is a prosperous county.
Col. Wilbarger was born in Bourbon County, Kentucky, September 10, 1801, was named Colonel in Bourbon County during the Indian Wars. He came to Texas in 1827, and settled in Bastrop County. He was the grandfather of our fellow townsman, Mr. J. L. Wilbarger. In the year of 1832, he was scalped by the Indians near Austin, and the following is the story of the scalping told by Miss Fenora Chambers, of Dallas:
He lived eleven years after he was scalped. He was told by several physicians that he would live about that long. Mr. Wilbarger, Mrs. Christian and others were surveying some land for Gen. T. J. Chambers near Austin. They stopped at a place called Pecan Springs at noon to lunch. While eating they were attacked by a band of Indians. Mr. Christian was the only one killed. Mr. Wilbarger's horse becoming frightened, broke his rope and ran away. The others mounted their horses and got away. Mr. Wilbarger seeing he was left alone, kept the Indians at bay as long as he could but finally one slipped up behind him and shot an arrow into his neck which paralyzed him. He fell unconscious to the ground. They took seven scalps from his head and left him for dead. Later regaining consciousness he crawled to the water; fever had set in, causing great thirst.
During his conscious moments he realized his deplorable condition. All alone, away from home and friends, any moment the Indians might return and kill him. His sister appeared to him, so he told his mother. She assured him that help would come. When she left, and he begged her to stay she went in the direction of Mr. Reuben Hornsby's home. The remaining members of the surveying party went to the Hornsby home telling them of the Indian attack and of the deaths of Christian and Wilbarger. That night Mrs. Hornsby had a dream. In her dream she saw Mr. Wilbarger alive and in great need and distress. She awoke her husband and told him he must go to Wilbarger's relief. Mr. Hornsby being so sure that he was dead, told her that it was only a dream, not to let a dream worry her, but having the same dream three times during the knight, she prevailed on her husgand to arouse the men early in the morning and go for him. She sent a gourd of milk and a sheet to wrap him in, also a sheet to cover the dead man. When the party reached the place they saw someone raise his head from the ground; thinking it might be an Indian they started to shoot. Mr. Wilbarger called out, "Don't shoot, it is Wilbarger". They took him on a horse, some one holding him in the saddle, to the homeof Mr. Hornsby, where he was given the best medical and other attention that was possible to have in those early days in Texas. He lived after he was scalped eleven years. He always felt that he was saved by a dream, for had not Mrs. Hornsby been so sure that he was alive, for each time in her dream she saw him alive, his rescuers might have delayed their coming till too late. The remarkable part about the appearance of his sister and her going in the direction of the Hornsby's home when she left him was that she had died that day at her home in Missouri. They received a letter six weeks later telling them that she had died that day.
This monument which is being erected is a memorial of the descentents of this pioneer citizen of Texas. He died in 1845.
11/1/1929 Bastrop Advertiser
Quinton Allen, of Bastrop was here Tuesday visiting his mother, Mrs. Mollie Allen.
Mr. and Mrs. Adolph Werchan, of near Coupland were here Tuesday calling at Walter Kastner's place of business.
Mrs. W. C. Taylor, Sr., Mrs. C. L. Kunkel, Mrs. Maud Bishop and Mrs. Bruno Ernest and little daughter were Austin visitors Monday.
Mr. and Mrs. D. Ernest were business visitors in Elgin Monday.
Dr. Campbell of Elgin, was here Thursday night, professionally to see Mrs. J. B. Hackworth. Glad to report Mrs. Hackworth fully restored to normal.
J. W. Barker and family of Elgin, spent Sunday with "kinfolks" as numerous as Elgin's "society featurings."
The lives of great ment oft remind me that we might have been great, too, had we possessed their mental capacities and opportunities. Now after we have grown old, the saddest are these "it cound have been."
Prof. and Mrs. W. W. Watson spent the weekend at Bastrop and Austin, replenishing the McDade school libaray.
Mrs. Frances Rebecca Haig
Passed away at the home of her daughter, Mrs. T. L. Snowde, Friday evening, at the age of 93 years and 6 months, Mrs. Frances Rebecca Haig, familiarly known as "Grandma" Haig; born in South Carolina, May 1, 1836; came to Texas in 1872; was the mother of two children, Mrs. J. W. Jeans of Austin and Mrs. T. L. Snowden, of McDade; also leaving 11 grandchildren and 8 greatgrand children.
She became a member of the Church of Christ at the age of 30 years. She was a faithful member up until the day of her death. Brother Ben Holland, of Austin, conducted the funeral services Saturday evening at the Church of Christ in the presence of a large and sympathetic audience; from thence her remains were conveyed to the McDade cemetery and there laid to rest awaiting the resurrection morn. The pallbearers were S. T. Hillman, W. T. Stagner, L. D. Hillman, Arlie Sanders, W. H. Joiner, and John Sanders.
Mr. and Mrs. Frank Swartz, of Elgin, were here Sunday, guests of Mr. and Mrs. W. S. Watson.
Mrs. J. F. Metcalfe and children attended religious services at the Elgin Presbyterian Church Sunday.
J. W. Watson, of Batton Rouge, La, is here with Mrs. Watson visiting in the homes of their sons, Judge J. H. and W. S. Watson.
We are compelled to leave out a number of personals unreported, hoping to add them in our next letter.
Mr. and Mrs. A. DeGlandon, Sr, Mr. and Mrs. C. H. Creel, and children were visitors in Austin mSunday.
Al Lindley returned home Sunday after touring the eastern states and Canada.
12/1929 Bastrop Advertiser
McDade December 9 - There is an old familiar proverb that says, "Every thing has its good and bad side." The lack of the knowledge of life is the cause of a continual fear of making mistakes. A man of resolution will never suffer from his complaint - the writer's word for it.
Looking over some old papers today, I found the following note: Drawn January 1, 1836, as follows: "Six months after date, we promise to pay Price Williams, or bearer, one hundred fifty dollars, for the value received" Signed Nelson Delamars. How they paid their taxes in 1864 in Bastrop County; This is a sample of one of the receipts: Received from Bastrop April 4, 1864. Two and six-sixtieth bushels of wheat and two hundred forty pounds bacon on account of his taxes in kind for the year 1863. JAMES H. GILLESPI Of taes in kind, Section 8