Coke County, Texas

THE DEVELOPMENT OF ROBERT LEE

By Miss Mary Lou McCutchen

In the year of 1889, the county seat of Coke County was moved from Hayrick to its present location, when the town of Robert Lee was organized. Some old houses are still standing that were moved from Hayrick.

The town was laid off by L. B. Harris and R. E. Cartlege, owners of the land deeded to the townsite, and named by them after General Robert E. Lee.

The first county officials were: H. L. Adams, Judge; W. F. Buchanan, Sheriff; Tom Collier, Clerk; Dave Farley, Tax Assessor; George Williamson, Treasurer; and Mr. Greenleaf, County Attorney. The Commissioners were: R. E. Douglas, Precinct No. 1; J.R. Former, Precinct No. 2; D. S. Gunningham, Precinct No. 3; A. J. Stephent, Prencinct No. 4. Under their term of office, the present Courthouse was built, being completed in 1891.

The first house built was the Commercial Hotel, Mrs. Lewis proprietoress. The next building was the present home of Jeff Davis, at that time a hotel run by Mrs. Johnson.

The first business houses were: a Hardware Store, owned by Mr. Brooks; a Saloon, owned by Bill Lowe and Charlie Roe; a Drug Store, owned by H. H. Pierce. The first Post office was run by H. H. Pierce, who later owned the first Bank. Jim Stewart kept a stock of groceries in a shedroom in his home. J. M. Barnett ran the first Drygoods and Grocery store at Robert Lee.

Oscar Fearell ran the first Barber Shop; John McCabe, the first Meat Market; Mr. Cathy the first Resturant; and John Vestal, the first Blacksmith shop, which he still owns. The first church was the Methodist church built on the site where the present church stands. The pastor was Bro. Averitt (This is marked through but can't read the name written mlb). The first school house was the old Stickney house, which stood where Mrs. Walker's house now stands. There was also a Livery Stable, owned by Charlie Roe.

Dr. Carlcon was the first doctor, who lived in the house where Mr. Jess Buchanon now lives, three rooms of which were moved from Hayrick.

The first birth was a girl born to Mr. and Mrs. Charlie Roe, whom we now know as Mrs. Jim Stroud.

The first murder was the killing of Jim Hutchinson by Edd Good.

The first article purchased a piece of tobacco bought by Jeff Davis from Jim Stewart at his shed-room store. Mr. Stewart could not write, so he made out his bills in picture form.

The streets were named in 1890. Most of them were named after towns and people which whom Mr. Cartledge was intimately acquainted. One was named for Wesley Lucas, who was one of the first settlers. He lived in the old dugout close to the Robert Lee lake.

The names of the streets beginning at the west side of town and naming from west to east are as follows: Childress, Bishop, Hamilton, Washington, Evel, Chadbourne, Austin, Commerce, Houston, Colorado, Alamo, Cleveland, Kess, Coke, Lucas, and Short.

In the year 1929, the town was incorporated by a majority vote of the inhabitants.

City officers at the time of incorporation were: J. S. Craddock, Mayor; Frank Robbins, Secretary and Treasurer; Joe Dodson and Roy Knight, City Commissioners.

Electricity was installed in 1926.

The water works were put in in 1930.

The business houses now are: a Post office, two Grocery stores, two Barber shops, two Cafes, a Tailor shop, two Dry Good stores, two Drug stores, a Bank, two Garages, three Filing stations, two shoe shops, a Hardware Store and a printing office, which was started at Hayrick and moved here with the County seat.

Present officers are: McNeil Wylie, Judge; Frank Perciful, Sheriff; Willis Smith, Clerk; Mrs. Daisy McCutchen, Treasurer, and G. S. Arnald, mayor.

(This article was written by Miss Mary Lou McCutchen, a Junior in the Robert Lee High School.) Coke County Observer, Robert Lee, Coke County, Friday, January, 1936

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