One of the earliest Towns in Grayson County , identified
in the 1830's. The other early Towns were Ann Eliza, later called Kentuckytown,
Coffee's Trading Post ( Preston) and Warrens Fort ( near the Virginia Point
Church in Far NE Grayson Co.).
Pilot Grove was named for its easily seen grove of trees on a hill:
at that time most of north Texas was covered with grasslands, these native
grasses were mostly tall varieties and a man on a horse could see over
the tops, the years cycle allowed these to die back in winter and buffalo
, deer and other animals could dig and find the next years crop of grass
forming underneath this winter dieback. Of course the area was subject
to prairie fires as was much of the middle of the current map of the United
The Pilot Grove could be see by wagon trains and used as a landmark
as were other physical landmarks such as the 'pilot knobs' that are in
what is now Denison, Pilot Point in Denton Co. , Lone Oak etc. The whole
area is located in rolling hills, well watered with creeks and wells. Today
it is well forested.
This vital town was very active in early days. Tied with the post
construction period woes, most of its lasting history is of negative events.
Today Pilot Grove is a collection of houses with only one business in the
town lines, a mechanic shop.
There are many ranches and farms in the area and one Christmas tree
March 9, 1966
Pilot Grove Community Due Marker
Denison, Texas (Sp) (Denison Herald)
The Pilot Grove community will soon be marked by an official Texas
Historical plaque commemorating the founding of the town and the Lee-Peacock
feud, according to Grayson County historical chairman J.C.Tallaferro.
The marker has been received from the foundry and a date for its
erection will be announced shortly, said Tallaferro.
The lettering on the marker is: "Pilot Grove - Founded in
early 1850's. On Bonham-McKinney state line. Called Lick Skillet;
renamed, 1858, for J. P. Dumas' Ranch. Site of Lee-Peacock Feud, 1865 -
1871, between ex-Confederate Capt. Bob Lee and Union supporter Lewis Peacock.
Although Lee was killed in 1865, his followers carried on the fight until
Peacock was shot."
The back of the marker will bear the inscription, "Erected by Grayson
County Historical Survey Committee."
This will be the count's 13th such marker. It is made of cast
aluminum with a Swedish steel effect for durability and appearance.
It measures 18 by 22 inches.
Grove Methodist Church ( now located in Old City Park in Dallas)
Pilot Grove Area Families
Becky Clement of Pilot Grove
The Van Alstyne Leader
VILLAGE OF PILOT GROVE TURNS 150 THIS YEAR
The First Lady of Pilot Grove Was Becky Clement
article contributed by Steve Coker
The Village of Pilot Grove, one of the oldest communities in the
area, quietly turns 150 years old this year. Absent will be the parades
and festivals that several Texas cities are celebrating this year.
But for those of us who live here, especially those of us with very deep
roots, the 150 years of good and bad times experienced those who came before
us will never be forgotten. Thanks to our neighbor, fellow researcher,
and Pilot Grove resident Julie Morris for locating the following article.
Van Alstyne Leader
November 2, 1907
Friday afternoon of last week the Leader representative had occasion
to visit for the firs time the historic village of Pilot Grove situated
nine miles east of this city. While there he learned that Aunt Becky
Clement, who with her husband was the first settler of the place, was still
in the land of the living. Having a few minutes to spare, he availed
himself of the opportunity to visit her at her home and listen to the interesting
stories of pioneer days, which she delights in rehearsing.
Aunt Becky has passed the eightieth milepost of life?s journey,
and though her body is rather feeble, she retains a bright mind, whose
grasp of things that transpired in the dim and distant past was a source
of wonder notwithstanding her statement that she had forgotten more than
she retained in her mental store house.
Aunt Becky came to Texas from Washington County, Arkansas in 1843,
settling on Bois D?Arc Creek, about ten miles from Bonham. Bonham
at that time consisted of one general merchandise store, one hotel and
one saloon. During her residence on Bois D?Arc Creek, the Munsey
and Jameson families were killed by Indians, the fiends stripping the flesh
of Mrs. Munsey from the bones and taking it away with them for food.
Two sons of Mr. and Mrs. Muncey were taken by the red men and never heard
of afterward. He brother-in-law, Wesley Clement and a Mr. Rice were
killed on Honey Creek in Collin County by the Indians.
Aunt Becky was married in 1844 to Bluford Clement, who came to Texas
in 1841, at Bois D?Arc (early name of Bonham). They purchased 320
acres of land six miles from McKinney and moved to it, but had a great
deal of sickness there and soon relinquished their home to locate at the
point where Pilot Grove now stands, and erected the first house in town,
a log structure. And Becky helping with its construction, in 1816.
This was the home of her father-in-law, Mannon Clement. The next
house to go up at Pilot Grove was the home of Aunt Becky and her husband.
The lumber, being brought from Clarksville at $45 per 1000 was hauled to
Pilot Grove with teams for building purposes. She still lives in
this house which has been added to from time to time Aunt Becky admitted
that times were rather strenuous then, a cl?.. of men known as ?brush men?
terrorizing the community. ?I ?. Clothing of these men, she said
was glossy from an accumulation of grease and dirt, polished ?.. long wear.
There was a race track just north of the village, where fleet footed Mustang
ponies were pitted against each other on wagers of from $20 to $40, and
whiskey was consumed in no small quantities. The men assembled at
the race track frequently engaging in fist fights, but seldom ?.with pistols.
The people of those times were honest not withstanding the roughness,
and her husband, who conducted a small store, and frequently sold men,
almost strangers to him, goods to the amount of $30 or $40, and taken as
security deer skins, yet on the backs of the deer in the woods and on the
prairies, and it was rare indeed when one failed to meet his obligation.
Travelers going through the country often bought corn, beef, and pork at
Mr. Clement?s store from which he derived considerable profit.
Aunt Becky says in the early days of her residence at Pilot Grove
the Boren family fell out with Dr. Lassiter and the trouble came to a crisis
in her husband?s store, Dr. Lassiter firing at one of the Borens, but missed
his mark. Boren, unarmed, struck at his ?..ssiter with his fist.
The flow missed Dr. Lassiter and knocked a board from the counter.
At this ?.ncture men in the store inter?..and stopped the fight.
She related many instances having to do with the lived of Bill?.enn,
Lewis Peacoc, Bob Lee and others. She said the hardest time was just
after the war, when the terror of these men became so great that U.S. soldiers
were asked ?..by the citizens as a matter of protection. Men who
believed that Bob Lee was being harbored in her home lay in wait night
after night watching for Lee, and she had often seen them beneath a row
of cherry trees near the house. ?..this they were mistaken, however,
for she said Bob Lee never stopped at their house.
The soldiers sent to Pilot Grove in answer to the petition of the
citizens camped for several months within a few rods of the Clement home.
They behaved themselves, Aunt Becky says, tolerably well.
Hez Warden, a good citizen, one day counseled Bill Penn, whose home
was at Kentucky Town, to abandon his course, admonishing him that it was
only a matter of time, if he persisted in it, until he would be killed.
Penn listened to his remarks respectfully, and when he had finished said,
?Yes, I know it. But a dose of powder and lead is all that will stop
me.? Warden?s predictions came true, as Penn was killed soon afterward.
On one occasion, citizens from Preston Bend on the Red River, dressed
as U.S. soldiers, came into the community and captured Lee in an effort
to extort money from him, thinking he had accumulated a great deal of wealth.
They wanted Lee to pay for his liberty, but he had no money and all they
got was his horse. Lee at the time thought they were soldiers, but
learned later that they were not. Lee was afterward killed by soldiers
a short distance from Blue Ridge.
Aunt Becky recalls distinctly the feud, a brief account of which
was published in THE LEADER a few weeks ago. Many of the characters
noted in this sketch were involved in the feud, in which a large number
of people lost their lives. There are now living around Pilot Grove
many citizens whose families were drawn into this deplorable affair, which
in proportions was greater than some of the Kentucky feuds now famous in
history. It did not stop until the principals were all killed off,
Lewis Peacock being the last. He left the county and remained away
until the bitterness had died out. But in this he was mistaken, for
he was assassinated shortly after returning to the community.
Her son, John Wesley Clement, who now lives at Wichita Falls, Alf
Drye, a brother of N.M. Drye of this city, who death occurred at Pilot
Grove in 1892, and another citizen or two were arrested and placed in jail
at Sherman on a charge of liberating a young man named Lane, held by U.S.
soldiers on a charge of murder. But friends demanded that they be
released on bond, which they were ready to give, and they were set at liberty
and never called to answer the charge.
Mrs. Clement has three living children, J.W. Clement of Wichita
Falls, William Clement of Muskogee, Indian Territory, and Mrs. Orr, whose
is in Indian Territory. Her husband died in 1860.
The good pioneer woman told a laughable incident which she had often
heard Henry Home relate. Home, with others, was in a cabin in the
vicinity of Cox Springs, when they saw a company of Indians approaching.
They all climbed hastily into the cabin, built a fire and began cooking
some rare cuts of venison. One of the men in the loft became curious
to know how many Indians were in the company. He endeavored to take
a peek and in the effort got on the end of a loose board. The other
end flew up and he tumbled from the loft in the midst of the horrified
Indians, who evidently thought him some divine being dropped down from
Heaven, as they rushed out of the house and into the woods pell mell, leaving
their venison behind to be devoured by the pale face.
The reporter was in the act of taking his departure when Mrs. Binion,
who chanced to be in the room, suggested that it would not d for her to
fail to tell how long she remained a Christian in that wild country, with
only one Negro woman of the same faith. Aunt Becky said that she
was indeed for a time a ?lamb among wolves,? and that for fifteen years
she and a Negro woman were the only Christians of the Methodist persuasion
in the entire neighborhood, and those of other persuasion were very scarce.
But she held fast the faith and her manner showed that she had never for
a moment regretted it.
Thoughts of how this peaceful village was ever stirred by such internal
strife is now almost past belief. The village is situated on a beautiful
plain bordered by low hills and timber. Its people are a law-abiding,
church going people, an intoxicated man is seldom seen and peace and tranquility
As the reporter took his departure Aunt Becky observed ?The world
is growing better?, and we believe the record amply bears her out, for
the saloon, the race track, and the brushmen have long since been supplanted
by the church, the school, and a citizenship that is the peer of any in
the state. Their cattle graze upon a thousand hills and their abundant
crops grow in as many valleys, then inhabited by the red men, the deer,
and the wolf, disturbed only by the rumble of the stage coach as it wound
its way across prairie and hill on the old Bonham-McKinney Road.
Rebecca Clement was born at Cane Hill, Arkansas in 1826, one of
several daughters of William and Cynthia Davenport. Bluford and Aunt
Becky had six children, all born and raised in Pilot Grove:
1. Elizabeth, married Charles Wm. Batsell
2. John Wesley married (1) Mattie Lively (2) Anna Laura
3. Izora, married Robert Brewer
5. William Manning, married Agnes Dixon Kinghorn
6. Melinda, married Tom Orr
Aunt Becky also raised two sons of Bluford from a previous marriage:
1. Levi, married Nancy Stone
2. Riley, married Sarah Barnett
Bluford Clement was awarded 640 acres of land by the Republic of
Texas in 18432, located where Clement and Honey Creeks intersect the East
Fork of the Trinity River, just south of where Melissa stands today.
By 1846, this land was sold, and the Pilot Grove property was purchased
The Clement home, or Pilot Grove?s first buildings, were most likely
just east of the main street of the present village. The land Kimbrough
Jenkins stated to ?..family research that old Bois D?Arc foundation posts
to Au?.Becky?s house stood on his land until destroyed by a grass fire
a few years ago. The old Clement homesite now belongs to the Maurice
Cate family of Plot Grove. The exact location of the Clement storehouse
is not known but probably was very close to the only remaining store type
building standing today.
In the late Dr. William Holmes? account of Pilot Grove, he described
?the villate that sprang up in front of Bluford Clement?s house.?
He also credits Bluford and Rebecca with the first school, and the first
and ?? post office located within his store. The Clement home served
as a stage stop for the few years that?..served Pilot Grove. Horses
were changed, for it was half-way between Bonham and McKinney. Passengers
and crew dined and lodged with Aunt Becky the hostess.
Bluford Clement?s dre?.. ended in 1860 when he mysteriously drowned
in the Sulphur River, his body never recovered. Aunt Becky, who never
re-married, raised the children alone. She died at home in 1911 at
the remarkable age of 86, and was laid to rest in the Old Pilot Grove cemetery
beside the graves of her in-laws, Mannon and Aley Clement. Not only
does she watch the village from above, her church, the Pilot Grove Methodist,
was moved to Old City Park in Dallas twenty years ago and meticulously
restored. The fiery sermons and emotional funerals of its past have
been replaced with organ music and weddings. I think she would be
Van Alstyne Library Genealogy Files