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Stories From Our Past...

If you have original stories from or about your Burnet County ancestor you'd like to share with others, send them to

JoAnn Myers -
Diary entries, letters, oral history transcripts, family stories, biographies, Bible records, and similar items are welcome.




What the story is about...

ALEXANDER, John Ross and Mary Lamb

Grandaughter Thelma Alexander Hughes wrote a descriptive story of what she remembers of her grandparents.

BAKER, Ora Clyde (Williams) [Journal pages]

Written by Ora Clyde (Williams) Baker, great grandmother of transcriber, Shelley Everett Musgrove. The journal pages chronical the Baker and Williams families' history, plus many local Burnet County names are mentioned as they interact with the families. April 2004

BAKER, Mrs. Maria Louisia (widow of Charles G. Baker)
From Marble Falls Messenger, 20 Oct 1921, "Early History Stories" about early residents of Burnet County:  the Bakers, Jonathan Ragle, and others; she also recalls Indian depredations.


Biography written by J. Allen, Conroe Texas

BERRY, David

Letter to his son and daughter-in-law, John H. Berry and Eliza Catherine Dennis Berry, in Burnet County, Texas, Oct 1873. Contributed by Marchetta Jones, April 2004

BERRY, Robert

Letter to his brother, John H. Berry who lived in Burnet County, written sometime after 1873 informing of their father's death.


Copy of Handwritten letter from James S. Bourland, 1st elected Burnet Co. Judge, to his wife Naomi (McGill) Bourland, which was written 8 days before he was injured by the Indians in the North Concho area. Donated to the Herman Brown Free Library by Wilford Stephenson, Burnet Texas.

BOYCE, Alfred G.


BURNHAM, Jesse B. and and Sarah J. FOWLER

Bible Record, listing marriages, births and deaths of the Burnham family.

BURNHAM, Capt. Jesse

90th Birthday recounted in the Burnet Bulletin, 1882

BURNHAM, Robert T.
Article from 1899 Burnet Bulletin:  Sketch of a Texas Pioneer Who Grew Up With the State.


A memoir of W. L. Burnham tells what life was like on the ranch, in town, going for supplies to Austin and more.


A short biography of the two families.

COTTLE Family Record

A list of births, marriages, and deaths of the Cottle family, probably from a Bible record.

COX, Edmiston

A biographical account of Edmiston Cox written by his daughter, Mary Cox. She describes in vivid detail the trials of life in early Texas that her parents had to deal with.

CUMMINGS, Charles Chittendon

Biography with picture links. Contributed by JoAnn Hopper, <JHopper494 @>, Jan 2001

DAVIS Family Story

134 years of the Davis Family History--written from memory by James W. Davis, in about 1961. From the Vertical Files of Herman Brown Free Library. JM May 2002

DAVIS, John and Clarissa
History of the John and Clarissa (Farnsworth) Davis family, compiled by Louise Barton Sanders.  jm Nov 2007



During his life, Erwin experienced Indian raids, cattlemen's wars, and rustler fights. He watched a gun fight between a gang of rultlers in the streets of Llano. His brother was killed, as he was entering the Court House, to testify in a murder trial. The killing was done by friends of the defendant. From the WPA collection at the Library of Congress. JM March 2000

EVERETT, Georgia Gladys Hahn [Journal]

a transcription by Shelley Everett Musgrove of a short journal of memories that her great grandmother, Georgia Gladys Hahn Everett, known to the grandchildren as "Nanny," wrote for her sons, Alton Gilbert and Allan Alexander.  It contains some family history as well as some cute stories. April 2004

FAITH Family

A short biography written by Mrs. Viola Faith Hartley, of Marble Falls, and Mr. R. L. Faith of Granite Shoals. JM May 2002

FERGUSON, Thomas From the Burnet High School Website created in honor of Judge Ferguson:

"Judge Thomas C. Ferguson, a leading citizen and statesman of Burnet County, held many honorable positions in legal and civic areas in Burnet as well as in the State of Texas.  He moved to Burnet as a young boy and graduated from Burnet High School in 1921.  Ferguson went on to obtain his license to practice law.  He became one of the most successful and influential citizens in the community.  He unselfishly dedicated his life to the betterment of society."

FORD, Lafayette and Mary BOWMER Bible Records

List of births and marriages

FOWLER, Hiram Chatman
The son of pioneer Josiah Fowler tells of the family's trip from Tennessee to Burnet County in 1853.  He describes Mormon Mills and the colony there.

FOX, Oscar J.

FOX, Willie

Short bio with picture from "The Trail Drivers of Texas", 1925. JM Oct 2002

A short biography written by her sister, from the files of the Herman Brown Free Library. JM May 2002

Burnet resident Jo Foulds remembers her childhood growing up around the square.  Mentions names of businesses and friends and neighbors.  Added 2008
Oral History, from 1970s.  Mentions family names of neighbors.

GREER, James and Amanda STEWART

Biography from the files of the Herman Brown Free Library. JM July 2000.

Grandma Harkins, Letter Group


Thanks to Jo Autrey for the following three letters from her family's "Grandma Harkins". She would like to find out more about the names and places mentioned in the letters. Please e-mail Jo if you have information to share.

Grandma Harkins (Mamie Lee Beasley Harkins) was born in 1888, the daughter of Malone Beasley and Charles Elizabeth Tarants. The letters were transcribed by Jo Autrey exactly as written.The family moved to Burnet County in 1884.She lived to be 91 years old.

Griffin, W. S. Family
Correspondence to Earnest Langford from a daughter of W. S. Griffin about her family, dated 1959.  JM, 2007
 Gum Springs Families
Correspondence in reply to a query about the Hall family in Briggs dated 1959 and from Mary Moore.

Harkins Letter 1

In a letter to her daughter, Mrs. Harkins recalls her early childhood; from about 1885. Mentions neighbors named Daniels and Davis and Standifer.

Harkins Letter 2

The saga of frontier life continues with accounts of daily routines and baptism in the Colorado River at Bluffton. Mentions going to school at Naruna, schoolteachers Mr. Harkins, his daughter Pearl, neighbors Ivey, Claud, Babey, and Burton.

Harkins Letter 3

Mrs. Harkins gives details about individuals in her family, beginning with her great grandfather Beasley.

HARWELL, James Seaborn

Peek into the lives of pioneers James Seaborn Harwell and his family as they endure Indians and mountain lions and live to see schools and churches become established in early Burnet County. Submitted by JoAnn Hopper, <JHopper494 @>, Dec 1999.

A photo of James Seaborn Harwell was added May 2000.

"A History of Mormon Mill"

by Nannie Moore Kinser, written in 1935, gives a rich mixture of history, family, and life in early Burnet. Names mentioned in the text include: Abernathy, Anderson, Cates, Clark, Conlee, Coon, Cotton, Crownover, Drury, Eubanks, Groesbeck, Holland, Hubbard, Johnson, Kirk, Knight, Lacy, Lewis, Magill, McCartney, Moore, Pinchback, Posey, Proctor, Rohrer, Shuford, Smithwick, Struve, Swinney, Thomas, Wight, Winters, and Wyaat. My thanks to Mary Nell Hodnett <TNWaltz @> who transcribed this information to share with researchers. July 2000


Biography of pioneer Samuel Holland.

HOWARD, Samuel and Harriet (Kelley)

Biography of family by Mrs. Frank Miller, on file in Herman Brown Free Library. Transcribed by volunteer Mary Nell Hodnett. Aug 2000

HOOVER, Isaac and Anna

Biography and ancestors of Burnet's Isaac Hoover, written by JoAnn Hopper, <JHopper494 @> a 3rd great granddaughter. July 2000


"Our Illustrious Ancestors: Johnson, Rankin, Eastland, Brazeale, and Speed" by Mary Johnson Posey. Transcribed from a handwritten copy donated to the Herman Brown Free Library in April 2004 by JM.

KING, Elizabeth (Barton) Letter

A jewel of a letter from Elizabeth (Barton) King written to her brother-in-law in 1851, was transcribed exactly as written by Linda McCormick. In it, Elizabeth tells of illnesses and deaths, prices of goods, and a little of what it was like to be living in Texas at the time. She mentions William McFarland, Chamberlain and Sarah, and Harriet and John Tate. (To aid in reading, I added punctuation at the ends of sentences and divided the text into paragraphs. No other editing in spelling, capitalization or sentence structure was done, in order to preserve the original essence of the letter. Added Sep 1999.

KING, John L. Letter

A letter from John L. King in 1850 to friends, tells about Indian fights and price of flour and beef. It also mentions his friends, Chamberlain and McFarland. Added Aug 1999.

MATHER, Andrew
Transcription by Mary Nell Hodnutt from Austin American Statesman article from 1926.  Great-great grandson, Doug Duncan, sent in copy of article and his transcription, which fills in some illegible spots in the original, Sept 2007.  Also see photos of Andrew Mather here.

MATHIS, James W.

WPA transcription of James W. Mathis recalls travelling by train from Austin to Burnet in seven hours. At 12 years of age, he was old enough to go to work on his grandfather's ranch (John Shirley) when they arrived in Burnet. He remembers ranchlife and what life was like in the 1880s on the range. From the WPA collection at the Library of Congress. JM March 2000

McAnally Family
Bible records; transcribed Birth, Death, and Marriage entries from Bible pages.  JM, Dec 2007
Newspaper story about Martha Nettie (McFarlin) Gray, who was born 11 Dec 1858, with photo.  She married Loderick R. Gray.


Biography found in Vertical File of Herman Brown Free Library. JM, Aug 2000.

MAGILL, William H

Biography of pioneer and Veteran of San Jacinto. From "Heroes of San Jacinto", transcribed by volunteer Mary Nell Hodnett. Aug 2000


History of the McGuire Family who lived in Burnet County in the 1800s, written by Rose McGuire Kinser. From Vertical File. JM Aug 2000

MOORE, E. Jane

Letter to a veterans group in Waco, 1892, telling about hardships and life during the Civil War. Transcribed by volunteer Mary Nell Hodnett. Aug 2000


A description of what a real trail drive was like.

NEELEY Letters

Letters from Albert and H.B. Neeley to parents and brothers and sisters in 1908 about a tornado at Zehphr. A third letter is from Albert in 1927. JM Aug 2000

Nichols, Sarah Ann Taylor
Biography of Sarah Ann (Taylor) Nichols, b. 1861.  Her father, Stephen Taylor operated a cotton gin known as "Taylor's Gin" in what is now the town of Briggs.
O'Hair, Clarissa
Photo of Clarissa O'Hair and husband Thomas Wolf, along with a biography of Clarissa.

OLIVER, A.G. Diary

A transcript of a dairy kept during an overland trip from California to Texas, accompanied by Altemus McGuire and Charlie Palen.

Proctor, Katie Carolina Johnson An obituary that tells a detailed account of Indian raid and death of relatives and neighbors.

RABB, Mary Crownover

"Reminiscences of Mary Crownover Rabb", dated January 1875; "Travels and adventurs in 1823 of the erly settling of Texas". A transcript from the Texas Archives, of her own words, telling her children and grandchildren the trials and troubles the early pioneers to Texas faced with daily living. See a Picture of Mary Crownover Rabb.

A family history written by A. M. Ramsey of the Mahomet Community.

Ray, Richard "Dick" P.
Biography of a Confederate soldier who served with Company A, 10th Kentucky Cavalry from age 13 in 1863 to the end of the war.  Moving to Burnet in 1876, he became a rancher, Justice of the Peace, and County Commissioner.  Photo of R. P. Ray.

RICKETSON, Abner & Lureney

A biography of Abner and Lureney Ricketson and their children. Submitted by JoAnn Hopper, <JHopper494 @>, Jan 2000.
A photo of Abner and Lureney Ricketson was added May 2000.

RICKETSON, Sarah Ann Harwell

A delightful remembrance of Sarah Ann Harwell Ricketson, told by her granddaughter, Rhesa Gunn McNair. The story begins with the description of her grandmother's trunk, whose contents elicited stories for the children every time it was opened. Submitted by Jo Ann Hopper, <JHopper494 @>, 9 Nov 1999
A photo of Sarah Ann Harwell Ricketson and a photo of her husband, Aaron Ricketson were added May 2000.

ROPER Family Notes
A compilation of articles and announcements regarding the life and death of W. D. Roper,  who was the ggg-grandfather of contributor Gayle Clemons Newkirk.  October 2005


A letter written to his wife, Clarissa, while he was in the Army during the Civil War, dated 29 April 1856. For more info about this family, see photo of A.A. Ross and Clarissa and their Descendant Chart. JM Aug 2000


A story told by P.D. Self about his early years of trail driving and horse raising. From the WPA collection at the Library of Congress. JM March 2000

SPITLER, William M.
Biography of a Burnet pioneer who owned property on the square, with links to family photos.  Photo links included in the biography.
Biography of Burnet pioneer, deputy sheriff, constable, deputy assessor and deputy collector, town marshall and worked in the early days with the Texas Rangers.  Added Oct 2008.

TAYLOR, John Josiah

This story about their ancestor, John Josiah Lewis Wiley Taylor, was contributed by Bobbie Joe and Jimmie Taylor. In the narrative they shared, an explanation is given for the unusual name, and a second story describes a shooting John Taylor was involved in. A poem he wrote while in jail completes the story. Added 29 Jul 1999.

A photo of the John Josiah Lewis Wiley Taylor family was added April 2000.

Biography from "Indian Wars and Pioneers of Texas", by John Henry Brown, Published by L.E. Daniell, year unknown

Tournament Tale 1878 - a story published in the Burnet Bulletin, date unknown, about a group of people getting together from Sandy Mountain, Walnut and Pecan communities for a tournament.  Names of families and children attending, plus a description of the event.
TUCKER, Geo. Wash.

Biography of a Confederate Soldier, born in 1838; died in 1920 and buried at Fairland Cemetery.  Read at grave marking ceremony April 2007.

VEST, Sinia Cates

Memoirs of a woman who lived in Burnet before the County was organized. She was born in 1850, travelled with her parents to Ft Croghan in 1852. Transcribed from a newspaper article. JM Feb 2001

WEBSTER, Martha Virginia

The first-person story of Martha Virginia Webster Strickland Simmons as she witnessed the Indian battle that became known as The Webster Massacre. Her father and many others were killed and she along with her mother and brother were taken captive.

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