Grayson County TXGenWeb


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 States.
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 farm. 

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.

Pilot Grove History ~ Texas Handbook Online

Pilot Grove Creek ~ Texas Handbook Online

Pilot Grove Historical Marker

Pilot Grove Cemeteries

Pilot Grove 1908 Town Plat

Pilot Grove 1908 School District Maps (area Plats)

Pilot Grove School Class Photos - need help figuring out what years they are from!

Pilot Grove Baptist Church

Pilot Grove Methodist Church ( now located in Old City Park in Dallas)

Pilot Grove Area Families
 Becky Clement of Pilot Grove

The Van Alstyne Leader

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 ? 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 home 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 reign.
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.
Writer?s comments:
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 Smith
 3.  Izora, married Robert Brewer
 4.  Delbert
 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 shortly thereafter.
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 ? 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 proud.

Van Alstyne Library Genealogy Files



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