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JANUARY 1, 2008
Great Grandad George Milton Moxley and Mary Ann Fleming Moxley, of
Missouri and Indian Creek, Erath County, named one son John Bolton
Moxley, for an ancestor, I think. Great Grandad lived until I was around 7 years old,  These Moxleys and Flemings and Ogans and others came on a wagon train from Missouri to Stephenville.  Some say they were getting away from the Contract Carpetbaggers from Kansas--or Kansas Jayhawkers, who were hired by the Union leaders to enforce the law and apparently punish Confederate soldiers. Great Grandad had lived in Kentucky and North Carolina before Missouri. They dressed and lived like early Quakers with some Mennonite ideas. Great Aunt Susie recorded Quaker sayings in her diary when she attended then private John Tarleton College, 1917. The home she lived in was where her dad settled and built the house and set up a Rug Loom in one room, and they had a spinning wheel and such to make and sell woven rag scraps--carpet, similar to some coming here from Indonesia today. Aunt Susie taught school in Huckaby, Lingleville, Pony Creek ( Near Box -Pony Creek Cemetery), and Bloomington and A&M Consolidated with a degree from Mary Hardin Baylor Belton College.  She came to church in a horse & buggy until her last horse died.  She was Grandmother Wyly's sister. One of their brothers, JOHN BOLTON MOXLEY, married Etta Robinson or Roberson. Their records are in History of  William Roberson, Early Frontier Circuit Rider researched by Dr. D. D. Tidwell of Iredell when he was teaching at Howard Payne College in Brownwood, which was combined with Presbyterian Daniel Baker College there.

One of Uncle John's daughters married the blind Marvin Shannon of Fort Worth. He had finished law school and he and a brother ran Shannon
Funeral Homes in Fort Worth, Texas. Another of Uncle John's grandsons was Ken Garrett, retired art teacher in Waco High and Reicher Catholic
High School in Waco. Great Great Uncle Ed Fleming taught at Crockett School, between Pony Creek, Evergreen School, south of Hurley-Wakefield land.

Another Bolton  family was our neighbor in Brandon, Texas, over 30 years ago when I taught at Hill College between Brandon and Hillsboro. We bought our 2 story home from Jess Bolton of this family. It was built by a Doctor before 1900. I was also a Boy Scout leader, and Jess came to get me when his sister died, and his wife too, best I remember. Jess was semi-retired and a great Flea Market and used merchandise operator.

Great Grandmother said we had ancestors on the Mayflower, but I can make no connections to passenger lists to Plymouth Colony.

There was an Indian scout who came with the wagon train from Missouri who lived among this group and he would scout for possible Indian Raiders who were raiding on the Paluxy River and Pony Creek. He is buried under a flat rock, by one gate to Indian Creek Cemetery. Mowers can drive over it, and it is not marked. Someone should put a Historic Marker on his grave.

JANUARY 5, 2008
TP Coal and Oil recruited people
to work in the Thurber mines.   Some Wylys worked there in mines or Thurber Brick, now Acme Brick near Weatherford, Texas. This was a company owned town, maintained by the TP Coal and Oil.  In 1938, my dad and Uncle Lewis Wyly were buying the cleaned bricks from old First Baptist Church in Thurber for a foundation for farm buildings. They took me out of school to go see the ghost town and haul a few bricks back to Selden.  Some mine shafts were open to 1950.  One of our friends was playing on one of the slag piles which still do not grow trees, and dropped his SHS Class ring and watched it bounce off the pile into the open vertical shaft of one of the mines. These shafts were large enough to drop mules into the mine to pull coal cars back to the elevator.

The Bosque County Mingus family had some [individuals] settled in present Mingus, Texas, across Erath County line from Thurber. Wonder if  they had any connections with the striking miners and  the directions they moved to when Desdemona Oil made coal unnecessary to fire the steam locomotives California bound , and John L. Lewis lost his first strike as a Union leader, demanding a dollar a day raise.

C.T. or C.E Carr ran a service station and Ace Cafe 1946-1950's.  Herbert
Webb also ran the station by City park-Hwy 67 Bridge.  Carr, Carey,  and  others  slowly moved towards Hico and several settled in Selden Community. Hudspeth, Latham,Carey, Kay, Hatchett, Bailey, Wood, and others are in photos mom kept.  Great Uncle George Carey 's families and Luther Carr and Herbert Webb were closely connected.  Rex Carey might help.  I have photos of Selden youth on Sunday picnics--Wyly, Carey, Carr, Webb, & others listed above.  Mom and her Carey siblings and cousins took the pictures. 

David Carey
now owns part of Dr. W. P. Hatchett's land south of the 2 story plantation style house in Selden.  First Tom Hatchett's store was near a spring between Grandad Henry Carey's house and his brother's house, which still stands near David Carey's present brick home. The store was
moved to Selden, across the road from the Selden Cotton gin.  John Kay built the new store and post office for Selden, and John Kay hired his brother in law Tom Payne to be Selden Postmaster and run the store.  John Kay also had the first telephone party lines in Erath County. Last switchboard operator was a Garner. Phones rang by long and short ring combinations and everyone on the line could hear you, if they did not recognize the combination of long and short rings.  Johnny Dunn's mom Annabelle Allison also lived next to John Kay's prairie farm, towards Evergreen School and is in some of the photos.

Tom's tall monument is in Selden or Hatchett Cemetery near Duffau Creek, on paved county road from Hwy 67 to Duffau. Luther Carr brought his stake body truck for a table for holiday picnics and swimming in the cold spring channel, and rock and gravel, swimming. We drank water from a
well maintained spring below the channel when fishing or camping or picnicking.

We used to joke about not dating anyone near our homes or Selden or Johnsville schools because they might be kin folk.

This [the last hanging in Erath County] is described in Historic Calendars published by Stephenville Bank
and Trust and/or historic calendars of the Century Club. Both have detailed references to newspapers and such for their information.  Public hangings were illegal in Texas, but the gallows was usually near the jail. The last legal Stephenville hanging drew a crowd who saw the convicted person walk to the gallows, then a door for a shield hid him from public view while he was bound and hanged, and, when he was dead, the shield was removed for public viewing of the deceased.

JANUARY 12, 2008
I got my information [about the last hanging in Erath County] from historic Calendars put out for several years by Town and Country Bank. It was researched by Dan Young, who taught at Hico later.  He has outstanding bibliography in the back and a happening for each day, such as the slow rumble, 1893. reported in Stephenville, Mineral Wells and towards Austin papers of that day. Stage drivers and passengers heard it, like distant thunder. It took a few days by telegraph to piece it together that it may have been Krakotoa Volcano and Tusamni and earthquake in Indonesia.  There were also other less spectacular daily records such as when the longest stage coach run from Fort Worth to Yuma, Arizona, and Rocky Martin of Erath County had a run a day or so long, then took another stage home. If my memory is right, Dan Young was once married to one of my former students and neighbor in Walnut Springs, Bosque County--Dr. Natrelle Hedrick Young of Tarleton, and a graduate of Walnut Springs High School. She was a niece of Ms. Urcy Cook, English teacher in Walnut Springs High.  Also, the Century Club published a similar historic calendar, mostly
connected to Stephenville.  These Calendars would be an excellent reference, full of sources, bound into a book. Each year the calender had different events for  the same date a year later.  My parents had collected them for over 10 years.
Some [calendar pictures were] of early Stephenville and Dublin and a passenger train taking on water at Bluff Dale Station. Also some of Thurber and Chalk Mountain main street. These photos may be posted on the Tarleton State University site: archives of Erath and Brown Counties, online sources of daily historic news on each date. Tarleton has a few hundred photos, such as Great Great [Grandfather] Robert Augustine Wyly of Selden, his brother William Sevier Wyly of Selden and John Wylie of Northeastern Erath County, in photos of Erath County Grand juries. 12 or 13 Wylys, siblings, came from Georgia to Erath County, Texas. Some of their land titles are in the archives of McLennan County in the Waco courthouse annex in the old Bell Telephone offices. When Bosque County was split off, archives of the same land were filed in Meridian, and a short time later, Erath County was cut off Bosque County. Records there included parts of Somerville and  Hood County across the Paluxy which were removed  from Erath County, so you may find records connected to Erath County in Cameron, in the Texas State Library in Austin, in Waco, Meridian, Stephenville, Glen Rose or Grandbury. There were once Erath County post offices across the river  from Paluxy Town towards Comanche Peak and Tolar.

Most of this land in the Republic of Texas was in Milam County. Cameron is the county seat of  what's left of Milam County. The strip of land in Milam went from south of Waco at an angle towards Red River east of Wichita Falls. 

JANUARY 20, 2008
Another group from Missouri and Illinois came to Texas, a few years before the German migration of Prince Solm's-Braunfels of New Braunfels
area--they were tired from abortive revolution in Germany--not of the earlier German Yowell and Hipps of Pennsylvania and Dutch Fork Hipps of
North Carolina. Grandmother Elizabeth (Bessie) Hipp's parents were from Clinton, South Carolina and are buried in Hurricane Baptist Church
between Clinton and Duncan Creek Presbyterian Church, where some of the Copeland ancestors were first settlers and dressed in Deerskin or sack
dresses and homemade Indian Style shoes and coonskin caps and took a rifle to Duncan Creek Church. They had cousins buried in Clinton Hurricane
Cemetery named Dillard, Nabors/Neighbors (same family), Hipp, Copeland, Vaughn/Vaughan (same family--apparently from names on headstones. They also differed in spelling when they went to school. (My first grade teacher at Johnsville tried to make me re-spell Wyly).

Grandmother Carey grew up in Arlansas and when she married John Henry Carey their first daughter was Ada Carey Hatchett, and Mom had not yet
arrived when Grandad Carey came on the trail from Hope, AR to Huckaby, TX to stay with his Stone cousins.  Grandmother brought Mom as a baby and her older sister on the railroad to Huckaby. Now where did they get off for Huckaby? Bluff Dale or Thurber?  Or did the Jake Hammond Railroad come near Huckaby???

When we worked a fire days and took time off in Arkansas, we visited Hope, Eureka Springs and Mena, and I remembered that Grandad used to
tell us he came on the Pig Trail.  Most thought he meant log or corduroy based roads through swamps. He had Harrison cousins near Nashville and
Mena. Some in Mena would point across the State Line to the Federal Park and the prehistoric Indian Pig Trail, with its south end on Ouachita Mountain Ridge. No trucks allowed on this road. From Mena the road goes 45 miles west and south around Broken Bow--a steep and narrow road when it drops nearer to Red River. There are old roads from Broken Bow to a Red River low water crossing near Paris, Texas, where John Chisholm was County Clerk before he and a Wylie of Desdemona area drove their cattle to Concho River to fatten them and let Goodnight and Loving drive them on the trail south to the Pecos, then north up the river to Colorado and Wyoming markets which supplied Indian villages and pioneers. . .

Also, the Shawnee Trail was a "Two Way trail" where the John Chisum of Broken Bow drove some [cattle from] Texas and Oklahoma to the Illinois market.  Another trail came from Eureka Springs to ancient Blackburn Mill on War Eagle.  Also there was a wire Road up the White River for telegraph-line, mostly. Grandmother and Grandad were buried in Huckaby Cemetery, but most of their family grew up in Selden, Texas.

JANUARY 21, 2008
Had an E mail yesterday from Cousin Glenda Moring Niederhoffer with some photos of the UFO and interviews. Last night 2 TV stations in Waco  had the report on TV and earlier 2 in Fort Worth ... also carried interviews. Also, it seems there were some military planes in the area which do not normally fly there--Stephenville past Selden towards Hico. The Stephenville Empire Tribune had reports on it. They are on-line. Then I  phoned a Carey cousin in Erath County, and he had met several people who had seen it. He said he was busy working with his head down.

One report was that cattle had been nervous the last 2 days--like they do when a storm is on the way and the barometer is changing. Cattle breeding had nothing to do with this behavior. We used to see this on our Johnsville farm when cattle would walk the fence, bawling and not eating much, and that night a storm--wind and/or rain from the west. One such storm blew our chicken house away, which puzzled the chickens, some with less feathers. They tried to get back on the roost with no house left. A window blew out of the Johnsville home, and moved the front porch. The next day the cattle were very calm. Buck Little and wife and Herbert and Richard (who were very small) stopped at our cellar. The car blew into a ditch. Which would you prefer--the wind or the chicken snakes which were sometimes in log ceiling of dirt cellars?

One such day preceded the tornado which tore down houses in Riverside Edition before it had streets and present houses.

I have seen FBI reports by Percy Wyly of Tahlequah, Oklahoma birth, agent under J. Edgar Hoover, of his findings in the Roswell incident. When the
courts ordered it released by the regional office in Fort Worth, some words or sentences were black lined. Now, I cannot find that report which was
on the Internet. Percy retired as head of security of Albuquerque Sandia Corp. and Albequerque City schools. His son was an attorney there, when
Don Wyly Slaughter, of Roswell, Levelland, and Albuquerque was also an attorney.  His nephew Eddie Lee Whittenburg was raised in a concrete dugout with small windows turned into bedrooms after the newer house was built.  Eddie ran for Governor of Texas once.  (By the way, the dugout with bunks was the first West Texas/New Mexico homestead home, besides tents.  Most of Uncle Oliver Wyly's girls were born in New Mexico and lived in a dugout.)

Ab McCarty, also of Pettit, married a sister in law of Ruthie Riley Burnett. Ab was killed when his car fell on him in the loose sand. He was from Walnut Springs area where his siblings lived. "Mac"McCarty was one of my students and has coached at Lubbock Monterey High in Lunblock if he is still teaching.
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Evergreen school and church were on the dirt road off old Dirt Highway 67--across the creek and new Highway past Roy Garrett's service station and
Parham's wrecking yard. Old Dirt Hwy 67 followed many sharp corners where fence lines were surveyed.

Old Hwy 67 left the Hico Highway just below the Stephenville Sewer Plant, in the Valley Grove area. Evergreen School was still open when I was
small. They had an outdoor stage where adults would perform plays to raise money for improvement of the school. We attended a play there. In
other words, the Evergreen School was between Valley Grove and Crockett School, or between Selden and Cedar Point via Hurley land. Great Aunt
Susie Moxley's Uncle Ed Fleming taught there. Aunt Susie taught at Huckaby Academy, Lingleville, Box School a few yards from Pony Creek
Church. About 1900, Ben Franklin Wyly from Atlanta had traded sheep for Trammel and Crow of San Angelo and Stephenville property. He was a
Methodist Elder. Methodists and Primitive Baptists and others met in the school room. The water well was on the side of the branch by the Pony Creek Missionary-Southern Baptist church, which is used today by descendants of Primitive Baptist Hurleys and McCartys. Ben was also a member of the lodge above the school room. Johnsville had a similar building 2 or 3 miles from present Three Way School. The lodge hall was upstairs, just like [the one at] Chalk Mountain, the oldest in the state still active. Downstairs at Johnsville was used as a Blacksmith shop. It was empty when I started to school, and we kids would play washer toss games or marbles in the shade.

Aunt Susie also taught at Bloomington, Texas and Pea Ridge and A&M Consolidated School. The Bloomington School Board offered her a
Principal's position, but she refused it. As one with some Missouri Quaker roots, she did not believe a woman should have positions of authority
over men.  Her brother John Moxley married Etta Robinson and one daughter married Marvin Shannon of Shannon Funeral homes and ambulances
in Fort Worth.  The Pea Ridge photo I have is of Aunt Susie and students sitting on the big woodpile used for heat. If you see a photo of a male teacher at Crockett, with a patch over his eye, that is Uncle Ed Fleming, who lived next to Pleasant Hill (Chigger Hill) Methodist Church when Aunt Susie taught at Indian Creek, near the church and cemetery. The Indian Creek School was moved to Selden with mules and rollers, and was just behind the present Selden Church. (Wonder if they ever saw Flying Saucers like you are seeing there now?)

She had a degree from private Tarleton College the year the State took it into the Texas A&M system. Her dairy  tells about girls being released  from classes to care for women dying during the Flu Epidemic, before 1920. She also finished her degree at Mary Hardin Baylor Belton. School back then was 6 or 7 months long. She also tells about going by train with a Dove girl to Bluff Dale for some holidays to visit the Dove family. A sudden norther changed a warm day into freezing weather, and when the locomotive stopped at Bluff Dale, the water had frozen and damaged the water tank, and it was snowing.  Mr. Dove got his buggy out and some blankets for the buggy and took them back to Tarleton. To attend College, she and her family wove place rugs or long strips for carpet, and she sold some of them in Belton.

FEBRUARY 2, 2008
Mr. Wight (Not Wright) led a Mormon splinter group from Yazoo City through Missouri to Texas, 1844 appx. They built grist mills in several
locations before Prince Solms Braunfels led  his German supporters into texas from Germany, and the road out of Austin, Texas today is called THE MORMON ROAD.  Mr. Wight had followed teachings of the Campbell preachers, and started a Commune across the river from Missouri. He
converted to the Mormon religion. The Lampasas Mormon Colony was Communal and used to associate with Anglos or Germans when they developed an epidemic of a flu-like sickness and starvation. Three lived and started for Salt Lake City, and Church leaders sent a party to remove all buried from the Lampasas Stake. Gov. Augustus King was a judge in the Mormon polygamy trials in Missouri, and his family came to Stephenville, Texas, where some King families still live. He, like the Wylys, were on the Gen. and Gov. John Sevier family Tree in Knoxville, Tennessee.  John Sevier (Xavier) spoke 7 languages and was a member of the first session and other terms in U.S. Congress. Seviers today in Texas trace to Itasca, Milford, Waco and others. Severl generations of Sevier, Wyly, and King families spoke and read Latin Vulgate Bibles. Great Grandad and Uncle Bill (William Sevier Wyly) would sit on the front porch in Selden and read Latin Vulgate Bibles. Back in Tennessee, many hired Baptist, Presbyterian and other Ministers to home school their children during the week.

My wife's step grandad was from from Cleburne, Texas was a member of the Independence, Mo. nranch of the LDS Church. This branch was not
polygamous, and Stakes, or Churches, were/are apparently not following the ideas of those who left for Utah.

Mr. Wight went back to Missouri to rejoin a son or grandson of Joseph Smith, then to Utah.  Three of his sons refused to follow him back and
stayed in Texas.

Indian Creek, between Selden and the Bosque River was the destination of a wagon train from Missouri, with an Indian for a scout on the trail and after they settled south of Stephenville. This included my Great Grandparents--Murphy, Moxley, and kin--Ogan--Fleming, and others. Their first school/church was where the dam is across the road from the roadside park, 6 or 8 miles out of town. A Mrs. Briley is buried next to Great Grandmother Mary Ann Fleming and her Murphy mom. Brileys had lived in Maratheal's Gap--Marble school or "Greasy" now part of Three Way. Joe Briley moved from Fort Worth to Hewitt, and is a Deacon in Hewitt First Baptist. Marble school was inactive when Johnsville, Chalk Mountain,
and Pony Creek consolidated their schools Into Three Way Schools with High School now bussed to Hico High.

When the Old Spanish Trace, or El Camino Real was first used, Missouri or states below them to Louisiana ND Texas were Spanish--not Mexican--

By the way, the word "Bosque" traces back through Spain to Navarre, Aragon and Pamplona, where Xavier records are kept today in the Pamplona
Library. The Court Clerk of Navarre signed his name as whatever, then underwrote Grecian Del Bosque or Bosque Del Rondo, indicating his office in the Basque Kingdoms. About 1/2 of Colombus's sailors and many explorers were of Basque origin.

FEBRUARY 10, 2008
I attended Selden school and church with a W.A. Wood who should be age 81 or two, if still living. His  brother Garvin Wood married Dorothy Scrimscher- -second marriage for him and third for her. They are both survivors. They live  near the Historic Scale house and Texas marker for the Selden Cotton gin location, on Simms Creek near Baptizing hole and cable swing over the water. Garvin  ran Open Spaces Dairy before his first wife, Olive Wyly Wood, passed away.  He is past 90 now.  His twin sons took over the Open Spaces Dairy--Kevin and Sherwin, and their sister Nova Schouten works in the Purchasing Office of Tarleton State Univerty and lives on a Schouten Dairy Farm. They are related to the Bailey who married a Gristy from Aransas Pass or Rockport, who had triplet girls in Stephenville Hospital. Her  grandparents were Ned and Ida Head Gristy of Selden-Johnsville area on Hwy 67. Dad used to lease their farm land. One of  the triplets, now married and living in Brownwood,  did her student teaching in Lake Air School in Waco, where I was  a regular Substitute. She was ready to go back to Brownwood the day school was out. One of the twins has lived in a home built before 1900 in Selden--it has had the old covered cistern and walk and Carbon filter for fainwater. Its roof was all removed and has been modernized. Great Grandad Robert Augustine Wyly's brothers- William Sevier Wyly, or Uncle Bill to most who knew him (Great Grandad  and Uncle Bill married Hatchett sisters. Grandad's farm joined Uncle Bill's ) and Rev. Hurley would sit and rock and discuss the Bible when Mr. Hurley went to Selden Gin.  Uncle Bill studied the Latin Vulgate Bible. He and Great Grandad Robert used to sit on the front porch, and rock and amuse kids with jokes and tall tales, also meant as jokes. The kids would laugh while the elder storytellers rocked  with a straight face.  There was also a connection of Baileys and Carey families.

I copied a Graves family history from the Computer a few years ago and Garvin was listed as a Graves family descendant. Older members of this Bailey family were in the  photo of old Oak Dale School with mom's Carey siblings and cousins from the Huckaby-Oak Dale area. This Graves family is now doing DNA tests on all Male Graves  descendants. They have a
regular family newsletter  by a Graves descendant, and had a reunion last year in Waco, then the next month one in New Mexico. A Graves family trip to England to research Graves- Graves family history and locations, is being organized by the  leader of these Reunions.  I am also a Graves family descendant from Col. Ben Cleveland of Rev. War of U.S.  Now, if I
got the wrong spelling of Wood or Woods,  please let  me know.  I don't think the Woods Family Furniture Store in Stephenville was connected to the other Wood families, according to what I was told.

Mom said there was a well near the Bosque, hand dug, between them and Stephenville not far from Oak Dale School and Church where some used to draw water, until  someone found dead dogs thrown into it. Last time I was that way, I think the rock around the well is still visible.

FEBRUARY 14, 2008
Some Stricklands lived in Selden Community and school District. Mom used to talk about them, and I think one or more are in the Selden Church records, possibly the Centenial list of  former members. Seems like she was Mary Jane Strickland. I have a photo somewhere which includes a Strickland or two, and my parents and Robert Latham. Mom had also lived
in Valley Grove and Huckaby. Grandmother Carey brought Mom  (Emma Irene Carey) and older sister Ada Carey Hatchett by train from Arkansas. Grandad had preceded them by covered wagon from Hope, Arkansas to his James Stone kin in Huckaby. He said he came by the Pig Trail. I found out a few years ago while mixing a short work trip with vacation that the
common wagon route was from Hope to Harrison to Mena, where Grandad had kin. At Mena the Pig Trail is marked with Arkansas and Oklahoma park road signs--no heavy trucks or  large mobile homes allowed.  The trail, now a park road, is on the southern ridge of the Ouachita Mountains, and after leaving Mena city limits one is in Oklahoma for 45 miles of the Ridge Road which curves to west of Broken Bow, and highways follow the trail in Oklahoma to a low water Red River crossing above Paris, Texas, then to Huckaby, Texas. Question is: when Grandma came by train, did they come by railroad through Stephenville, the California bound RR through Thurber, or did the Jake Hammond RR run near Huckaby?? The Pig Trail was used by a prehistoric band of Indians who drove hogs towards Great Lakes tribes to swap for  fish or whatever. It dodged the swamps south of Red River.

When we lived in Walnut Springs retired Col. Honzie Rodgers had a ranch on the Iredell road. He married an Anita or Nita Fair, sister to the Walnut Springs Postmaster, who had a ranch  adjoining  the Rodgers Ranch. He was an officer on the School Board there. He had a bayonet scar on one jaw.  Anita or Nita had attended Tarleton Nurse training when my Aunt, Capt. Mary E. Wyly of Selden and in South Pacific combat zones, was beginning her  nurse training. When Ira Hurley, Erath County born and Walnut barber, drowned from a large tree falling on him while he was fishing in the Bosque, the next day at sunup, Col. Rodgers was in the Hurley home cooking breakfast, washing dishes, cleaning house and meeting  friends who were bringing in food for the family. Sam Rose was the other barber and was Ira's brother in law. Ira's wife was Lela Hurley, born in the Three Way School area. Dad's Aunt Etta Robinson  Moxley  was Lela's cousin and visited them and us in Walnut Springs ( Peaceful Valley). One Sunday we took Lela and Aunt Etta for a ride to see the homes of their pioneer connections. I think Tom Fair Jr. finished Texas A&M and was either an Ag Teacher or  a County Agent, last I heard. I was in the Volunter Fire Dept there with Tom and others when we were in Flat Top Ranch in both counties fighting a Cedar Fire around Flat Top Mountain. Stephenville, Glen Rose, Meridian, Iredell, and another or two were also there. We surrounded the fire and it went up the mountain. Stephenville truck radio could not call Stephenville, but had a skip to Comanche who could  keep Stephenville Fire Dept in touch. We had one Walnut truck run mostly by Senior Boys and one or two trained volunteers.

FEBRUARY 22, 2008
Rabbit Center was once called Welcome Valley. Evergreen School and Church [were in] the next  community past Rabbit Center on old dirt Hwy 67, which ran in front of our house in Johnsville, then on sharp corners past Johnsville Post Office to Skipper's Gap.  The convenience store there is on a hill between the creeks. There is a cowboy church on the west side of the village, and a creek on the other side.  I think it was between one branch of Indian Creek.  Dad called the other creek "Pole Holler" or Pole Hollow.  This is a patch of sandy land surrounded by black land. Water there is very shallow, and there used to be lots of fruit and berry patches where you could pick your own for a small price, or pick it on the halves. Lots of houses were scattered on small acreage with orchards and vineyards and gardens, and it was close to Stephenville if one worked there.

In the 1940's several of us youngsters had motorcycles and we all agreed that we found out something about Rabbit Center that one would not learn in cars. In the summer nights, the air was cool on our faces, and past the Roy Garrett Service Station (Now a Parham's Wrecking yard) the air would be hot. In the winter, reverse it. The shallow water and sand seemed to
radiate heat on our faces at night, but  once past the community in the black and limestone land, the air would be chilling cold. That is one reason bikers wore leather zipper coats, to turn off cold air or unzip and be comfortable as the temperature  changed.

I remember McCoys, Greens and knew several others in the area.

[Miles Glen Thornton's] son Glen Thornton was in a Senior Class which we took to Bar K Dude Ranch near San Antonio, and one day in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico. I would not advise that trip today, especiallyalone or in a school bus. Some border bandits, once part of the Mexican Army, now rule much of the area at night.   If you went there, you are under Napoleonic Code- where if you are stopped for a ticket or other charges, and you may be jailed as guilty until you can prove yourself innocent.  Some Texas School buses were confiscated. One was returned  several years later.

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[There was an] incident where a black man was working
for a Comanche County farmer.  He had a room, like some farms and ranches of that day had, like the bunkhouse of Anderson 640 Ranch, in the corner of their barn. Photographs and comments of the Anderson Bunkhouse and of the wild times after the wife of the farmer was found dead  in her kitchen, their black man was plowing and the husband was gone. These calendars with photos and bibliography were published by Stephenville Town and Country Bank in the 1990's or earlier.

It seems there were several Mexican drifters and a few Indians drifting through Erath and Comanche Counties. Some were Indians returning to Oklahoma after Civil War. When the woman's body was found, a Lynch crew on horseback rode into Comanche and ran all Mexicans and Negroes out of town and burned some of their homes. Then the mob grew and started
towards Dublin to run all blacks and Hispanics out of Dublin. Dublin blacks and whites barricaded the Dublin to Comanche road at the Dublin City Limits. They piled outhouses and  anything loose around the overturned wagons and loaded rifles and shotguns and sent a message that no one was going to lynch anyone or burn minority houses;  and anyone trying would be sent home dead.  The lynch crew vanished somewhere towards Comamche.

Rather strange: the first house in present Stephenville was built by a free black man  a year or two before Mr. Stephen returned to the land and built a home nearby the first one. The top floor of the Majestic Movie theatre in Stephenville was mostly blacks in 1930-40's, but sometimes Stephenville area white boys would sit upstairs for a better view .

One Dublin area settler came from Alabama, but before leaving the family went to visit a black lady and her son , Lee Rice.  She was dying. and the man and his wife had two sons his age, and he adopted Lee and brought him to a Dublin farm. The three boys grew up together. Any old timer in Three Way School District knew Lee Rice, of Chalk Mountain, who ran the Dr.
Cragwall or Malloy's Ranch in Chalk Mountain. Lee would gin his cotton at Johnsville Gin, and when a housewife brought cotton to be ginned, Lee, out of respect for his Dublin foster mother, would pull his wagon to the back of the line and insist the woman gin ahead of him. Lee also filled the silo on his place, which could be seen for miles down Hwy 67.  He came to all activities  held at Johnsville School, such as Thanksgiving and End of School.  One of the Meadors--Grady I think--was on the school board when I was in school there, and he and Lee would kill a calf and start to bar-b-Q it the night before; then, after the meal and program, all went to the basketball court, or to play baseball. Lee played baseball with mixed teams of men and older boys.

When Lee was about 12, his foster dad gave him some money-- $20.00 or so--and told him he could spend it as he wanted to. His foster dad told him that the man running one store would sell to him , but if he did, there were some from Comanche County watching him from across the street and they would cease trading with the merchant.  He stood and cried, and would not go in the store. This was the time that the sign on the Comanche County line  bluntly expressed which ethnic groups were not welcome after sundown. That was in my lifetime.

Lee would stop at Johnsville store, and if some of us came by from school, he would give us candy.  He also was a fair veterinarian, and if he heard someone like the Hales had a sick horse or cow, he would be there helping.

When he came to Stephenville for church or shopping, he wore a hat, tie, vest, dress coat, and sometimes spats.

Today, I will give you odds that there are Mexicans and mixed breeds working on Comanche County dairies and in dairy feed industries. Black men from Stephenville slaughterred our calves and packaged them for the Stephenville locker plant, before we had electricity. 

As Jimmy Rogers used to sing, 'Time Changes Everything"

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Also, some action blamed on lynch mobs was done by the Central Texas Rangers under John R. Baylor, and others by George Baylor of West Texas.  Dr. McNeil  of Stephenville rode with George chasing Geronimo into Waco with the help of the Mexican Army, then back into Arizona where they lost him.  My mom and Daisy McNeil Stone were cousins through the Carey-Stone connections and shared a rest home room in the Stephenville Nursing Home.  Cloye Stone Stuart was across the hall from them. Daisy used to run a used book stock in front of the McNeil Barber shop, and she was the cashier for barbers and  bath house rooms for country folk or travellers to clean up when coming from work to town shopping.

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Ben Franklin Wyly and his Uncle Augustin Clayton Wyly ran a 4 story whole Mercantile business in Atlanta, Ga. before the Civil War.  Ben is buried near Comanche, Texas, across the line from Hamilton county, Ireland or Mitchell Cemetery, where some Mitchell and Wyly kin are buried. After the Civil War, Ben came to Stephenville, around 1890. His Uncle Augustin was in England during the Civil War on a business trip  to Liverpool, where some Confederate ships were built.  His two little daughters died there of Diphtheria and are buried on a Confederate  connected Trail of over 50 graves.

One of Ben's sons came to San Angelo with several hundred English sheep, and they were traded to Trammel and Crow for Erath County property, incuding a Pony Creek Ranch, and Stephenville homes and a business on the west side of Stephenville Square. Before he was buried near Comanche with 6 of his kin, he had run a lumber yard  in Stephenville and Fort
Worth and was a Methodist Elder and Lodge Member in the old Box-Pony Creek Methodist church with lodge hall upstairs, a Community Center used for school and churches--Methodist and possibly primitive Baptist and others. The present Church building at Box-Pony Creek was started by Great Great Great Grandad Dr. William Pinckney Hatchett and Rev. Bill
Robinson of Dublin and Stephenville and was in Paluxy Southern Baptist Church.  Some of Ben's family were working in Thurber Coal and Brick yards, including Moring, Tackett,  and others.  He and his sons had a cotton yard in Minnieola, and Lost Spindletop Oil Well too. Dad Joiner and some of the family ran Galveston Cotton export  press and warehouse on
Galveston Island. Ben #3 was a Navy sea diver and ran a Bacliff Marine Supply until recent years. He sold the inactive Wyly Oil Company to Sam and Charles J. Wyly of Dallas. They may have been connected in Ireland, but some claim they were connected in the U.S. I  have not found proof of that.

Was Trammel Crow descended  from the Stephenville Trammel and Crow lines?  Ben had 12 siblings who came to Erath County before 1870.   Any input welcome, especially where Ben and kin are buried in Comanche county.

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Some of Ben F. Wyly's family still live in Graham. I have a hunch they may have worked in the Newcastle mine outside Graham, run by Thurber TP Coal and Oil, or the Johnson Ranch.  My aunt Mary Ella Wyly  of Selden, Erath County, attended Tarleton and St. Joseph Nursing school in Fort Worth with her cousin Dadidella Wyly of Graham . I drove the Kemp Bus line--
Stephenville to Mineral Wells to Graham--one summer. I always had some oil field supplies and passengers. The Senior Mr. Kemp ran the Stephenville Bus Station.  One son ran the Mineral Wells Depot and other businesses, and another ran the Graham Station. The Fort Worth route was no longer running for Kemp by then.  Mingus founders were from Bosque
County, but  books have been written about Mingus being wet  for liquor when Erath County was dry, and miners were welcome there in Palo Pinto County. That is another book or two, especially for Tarleton Students who had cars and roads to get there.  Cage and Crow Bank in Stephenville had an Italian Opera hall upstairs on Stephenville Square. Many Thurber  workers had Italian connections, brought there by TP Coal and Oil.

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Contents c2006-2009 Charles Wyly
Format c2006-2009 Tim Seawolf and Barbara Peck

This page last updated on June 6, 2008