He settled at Osceola on the Mc CRACKEN survey, where he acquired a considerable tract of land. He engaged extensively in the stock business and became a large feeder and shipper from that community. His interests needed a railroad, and when it was proposed to construct a line from Cleburne through Hill County, the Osceola community was pitted against the Itasca community for the location of the line. The contest was sharp and simmered down to money against pull. Pull won and Osceola got the road. From start to finish, Mr. STEVENS was active in this struggle, and when the location of the line was finally made, the road passed through his farm and he donated (in 1903) a half interest on fifty acres of land for a town site (north and west of the original location) where Osceola is built---a village on the Trinity and Brazos Valley Road.
The Rock Island outlet to the Gulf made final arrangements and purchases, and by January 26, 1904, trains were running from Cleburne to Mexia, seventy-nine miles. The train passing through Osceola was called the Boll Weevil and because it provided a means of shipping cotton, hay, grains, etc, which grew in its rich soils, the village of Osceola began to prosper.
According to Capt. PADDOCK, an early settler, Robert L. WATSON received his early education in Osceola and afterwards took a course in Trinity University, Tehucana, Texas. He gave his attention to farming until 1895, when he engaged in merchandising in Osceola, and from that date until 1903, carried on business under the firm name of WATSON & HEARNE. Disposing of his interest in that company, he in 1904 engaged in Banking at Osceola as manager of a branch of the First State Bank of Hillsboro. The bank became an independent charted institution in 1910. Its board of directors was composed of Messrs. SIMMONS, W H BURT and R L WATSON, and W. R. CARR AND J. D. COWAN.
According to the late Mrs. ELLA STEVENS WATSON, daughter of JOHN A. STEVENS and wife of Robert L. WATSON, the first drug store in Hill County was located on the southern corner of the land bordering what is now Highway # 171 and the road #934 leading to Itasca.
It was rumored that a Dr. SCHOFIELD was one of the first doctors to patronize the drug store. According to hear-say there was much talk and excitement over one of the first appendectomy operations performed by a young Dr. LAWLESS who used a kitchen table in his patients home as an operating table. Although the patients name cant be recalled, he survived the ordeal, thanks to the skill of Dr. LAWLESS.
One of the earliest permanent doctors of this community was Dr. George McKOWN. His brother, Dr. J S McKOWN, also appeared on the scene about the same time. Both doctors remained in the community practicing medicine until their deaths.
One of the earliest stores was owned and operated by T R GILLISPIE. The store was located directly west of the drug store on the opposite side of the road, with Mr. A R GEEs homestead between the two buildings on the west side of the road.
Soon after Mr. STEVENS donated the new town site, members of different denominations built themselves a church. These churches included: the Baptist Church of Christ which holds services every Sunday; the Presbyterian Church which disbanded in the early twenties because of the lack of members; the Baptist Church which closed its doors in the late fifties; and the Methodist Church. A tornado in 1968 caused much damage to the Methodist building so members built a beautiful brick structure in 1973. One of the pastors declared that the Osceola Methodists decline to decline. All four churches were located in the new addition.
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