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The Weldon Story


Ava Bush

June, 1964


Incidents were related by old-timers and interested parties of the younger generation. Assistance in gathering material came from many to whom the writer is sincerely grateful.  Especially helpful were the following:  Mr. & Mrs. W.A. Moore, L.E. Newton, Mrs. Tom Kimmey, Mr. & Mrs. Horace Leggett, Ira Carroll, Mr. & Mrs. Wade Buchanan, Mrs. -----Whatley, Ernest Oates, Mr. & Mrs. J.A. Hanner, Mr. & Mrs. G.B. Mangum.


Monument to the Past

Now vacant buildings standing about, but one empty structure of red brick, rising like a lone monument to remind the hurrying generation of another day, a half-century ago, when men and money joined hands to build a miniature empire.  A pulsating, fast-moving civilization emerged like a drama across the years, but like Rome, was destined to crumble and smolder, giving rise to a new age and taking a place of lesser importance.


The Weldon Guaranty State Bank,  once the storehouse for the funds of a thriving community, has its doors and windows barred to keep prowling animals and boys on the outside.  Year by year the mortar cracks run deeper and higher and wider, and the bricks crumble away as any surface exposed to the elements is prone to do.


There is no evidence that a long line of wagons and buggies frequently paraded in front of it, or that buildings stood adjacent to it or across the street from it.  It is the lone survivor that must surely weep for the excitement, the refinement, the prosperity and pathos of another day.


Like an empty tomb, it seems to wait.  Long ago it gave up its gold, its bright silver, and its crisp green bills.  Long ago the heavy vault door closed with finality, like the last beat of a death drum.


“Banking Hours” --- yes, “banking hours” have lengthened into days and weeks; yea, into months and years.  Repeatedly the rose tints have changed to purple tones as the last arc of the summer sun slipped out of sight.  Eons, it seems, have passed since Rex trotted down the dusty road, ahead of Will Page, at his even steady pace, glad as his master that the day was drawing to a close.


Location and Early History

Situated on the edge of Neville’s Prairie, Weldon was likely inhabited by some of the Indian tribes of the Hisani Federation long before White Man came.  This is natural to suppose because of the luxuriant forests, the navigable rivers and fresh-flowing springs of the area; as well as the abundance of animal wild life.


Fossil remains and the rich calcareous soil give evidence of what life must have been like during the Reptilllian Age.  Once a part of the sea, the stiff, limey soil is difficult to cultivate when either too dry or too wet.  Its gummy texture, when damp or its compact hardness when devoid of moisture does not yield readily to hoe or plow and, for that reason, it was not likely to have been cultivated extensively by the Indians.  However, parts of it yield a more sandy – type soil, and the moist-alluvial soil of the rivers’ edge, with its constant overflow of rich, organic matter, made little tending of plants necessary.


Wild berries and tree fruits of great variety matured intermittently so that the main problem of the food supply lay in harvesting and storage.  One can imagine what a paradise this must have provided for the Red Man who inherited its blessings.  Friendly and peace – loving, we assume this particular tribe to have been.  Operating with crude tools and weapons but with great strength and skill, they did not spoil the heritage which is now a part of our twentieth century life – a real wealth of life in its natural habitat that belong to all who are capable of enjoying its existence.


With the exception of one or two events, little is know of the history of this location until quite some time after the Civil War, but it is supposed that Weldon was established, as a community, sometime prior to the War Between the States.  It is believed that, as with many parts of Texas, it was populated by those fleeing the law officials in other states.  At least, there are no records to substantiate any belief unless they are to be uncovered later.


Houston County was established in Jun 1837, and prior to that time had been part of the Nacogdoches District.  Around 1824 or 1825 the area which was later to become the county became part of two famous land grants.  The Old San Antonio Road was the division line which separated David G. Burnet’s on the North from Vehleins on the South.  This, of course, put the Weldon portion in Vehleins’ grant.


The Weldon area can rightfully lay claim to being the portion of Texas first inhabited by white man.  On august 24, 1821, Mexico gained its independence from Spain whose revolutionary struggle had begun in 1810.  Two adventurous Americans, Colonel Samuel Davenport and his partner received a special permit from Mexico (then under Spanish rule.), in 1812, to raise cattle and horses in the river bottom areas of the Trinity on Vehlein’s Grant.  It was following their entrance into the Country that they supplied cattle, as meat, to the Mexican Army, and became known as the first two white men ever to transact business in the expanse which is now Texas.  Colonel Davenport had an illegitimate son who also made quite a record for himself.  He was a land-holder of considerable means, his vast expanse being known as the Joseph Durst Survey.


How Weldon got its name is a subject of controversial opinion.  Some say the town was named in honor of Weldon Morrow, a sawmill owner and worthy citizen.  Others say the name grew out of a situation and a thought – that when the location of the old town was moved to its present site, someone remarked that the job was “well-done.”


About the time of the Fredonian Rebellion, some four hundred or five hundred Mexicans were expelled from Nacogdoches.  They settled near Weldon and remained to form a village for some years.  Their route of travel to other areas was sometimes referred to as the Old San Antonio Road but this was a misnomer and can be misleading to the uninformed.  Nevertheless, it was this route of commerce which likely leads to the establishment of a white community, a little distance to the west of the present site.  This vanished town, founded by the rugged and the adventurous, was known by the unflattering name of “Pothead” and was referred to, also, by some of its uncultured residents as “Lick-Skillet.” It was approximately the year of 1882 when the settlement was known by these ridiculous names.  The center of its social life was the saloon where liquor flowed freely, and sometimes blood.  Every man took the law in his own hands in those days and a quick draw was the only accomplishment about which a man bragged, or lived to boast.


The Handbook of Texas gives 1890 as the year in which Weldon got its name.  It states that the location “became a lumbering village when the Waco, Beaumont, Trinity, and Sabine Railroad, on which it was a terminus, built through the area in the late 1880’s.”  This source gives credit to Weldon Morrow for having given land for the town-site whose population was 128 in 1890, and states that the post village was named for him in the same year.


These dates coincide with the recollections of old-timers.   The oldest building standing in Weldon today is the old Blacksmith Shop, which was run by Mr. Jimon.  It is said to be at least seventy-five years old – which would date its construction at about 1889.  Some divide the history of the pioneer town into three periods.  First, the lonely road, leading toward San Antonio, dotted by three saloons in the “Gay Nineties.”  This evolved into a more progressive second era with the deletion of two saloons, the addition of the B.E. Goodrum Dry Good’s Store, Dr. Hale’s Drug Store, and Ben Rosemond’s Grist Mill.  Ben Goodrum was also the saloon – keeper.  The third Stage was the final one to precede the advent of the new town.


Old Weldon, having received a decent name, kept its saloon run by Ben Goodrum.  Mr. Goodrum, himself, was no drinker, but there were plenty who indulged to support him.  The Carroll’s had the first dry-goods store in Old Weldon and it was later moved to the new town.  Mr. Carroll was the finest business man of his day.  He knew exactly how to stock a store and how to keep the sales promoted.  In the oldest building, mentioned before, was housed the black-smith shop.


Under its same roof were other commodities sold for occasional use.  This portion of the structure was known as “Goodrum’s Coffin House.”  Vine-covered and weather-worn, it is proof that even ghosts make urbanities of themselves, and so move on.  Not one has been encountered recently.


New Weldon

The Trinity River separated Weldon from commercial locations to the west and east.  The present F.M. Road #230 was known as the “Calhoun and Huntsville Road” and lead from Weldon to the Calhoun Ferry which provided passage to Huntsville where most supplies were purchased.  To the West was Hyde’s Ferry, and the road leading to it is still known as the “Hyde’s Ferry Road.”  A trip to Lovelady, by wagon, required a full day, so poor were the roads.


Cotton came from small farms and from the expensive “bottom” farms.  Bruton, Cochran, and Murray farms provided tons of cotton.  This necessitated the building of a gin.  So vast was the production that, even at that early date, Mexican labor came to harvest the fields of white and supplement the regular farm “hands”.  Because of its strategic locations because of its accessibility to the cotton market, then “King” of Southern agricultural products, Weldon prospered.


Stooped figures along side long bulging sacks were familiar scenes as August moved into a hot September.  Dark bolls burst into snowy whiteness even as the nimble fingers reached forth to gather it up.  Low, plaintive melodies filled the still air as the cotton stalks cast long shadows across the middles in the late afternoon.  Dusky faces shining with honest sweat and red bandanaed-heads, bobbing here and there, made for a never-to-be-forgotten scene – Plantation life in the South.  Rows of shanties at the edge of the field, a new moon rising o’er a rough-board roof, honeysuckle sweet on the faintest breeze- these were the tangible rewards at the close of day. 


In it s most thriving days, Weldon looked like a replica of television’s famed “Dodge City”, yet it had more to offer in opportunity and comforts.  War clouds were already gathering but they had not, even, yet, cast any unrest upon the fair village.  They were unseen and unsuspected.


It became known to the residents that the already growing town was to undergo change and expansion.  Excitement ran high.  A brilliant and ambitious young many by the name of W.A. Moore and his petite, lovely wife – Edith were on their way with a mission and with high purpose.


In 1911, Jim West, owner of Onalaska Lumber Mills (that ran from Trinity to Livingston) made a trade for Katy Lines to take over and extend the route to Waco by way of Weldon.  This was to be a ($5,000,00 (?))Enterprise with Mr. Moore receiving a (20%) of the profits, beside a reasonable salary.  Mr. Granberry, secretary to Mr. West, worked overtime to make the necessary arrangements.


The town site, situated on land formerly owned by Bob Goodrum, was purchased in 1911 and became a project of 
The East Texas Developing Company.”  The town was laid out carefully; even to include a courthouse; for Weldon was to be the center of Commerce and Culture in the County, if not all East Texas.  Maps, still in existence, show the efficient work of the surveyor in planning to the last detail, with the numerous lots numbered and the future streets named.  The people had a will to work, and soon roses bloomed in the city park to provide an ideal place for the younger set to while away the leisure hours of a Sunday Afternoon.


The Hotel

Construction was booming! 
The East Texas Developing Company” erected a three-story hotel in the center of town, over-looking its verdant park.  It soon became the center of social life in the community.  Not only did it accommodate its patrons but its friendly lobby became used to overflowing crowds.  Each Saturday night the dancers viewed themselves in the high-gloss of the rich paneling; sometimes during the week as well.  Everyone was admitted as a participant or spectator on these gay evenings.  At one time, every room was filled with a couple-and how many people did this represent?  The answer is debatable.  Some say there were 33 rooms while others think 43 was the number.  Photographs from varying angles could supply the answer as it is said that each dormer window indicated a room.  Beside this undetermined number of guest rooms, there was the lobby mentioned, a spacious dining room, uncrowned kitchen, and large pantry.  The first managers were Mr. & Mrs. Clint Atkinson.  Other inn-keepers included Mrs. Ada Mantzel, Mrs. Nellie Love Swaggerty, and the Mayes family.  Later the Reeds came to add their supervision to this grand old place.


Many were the episodes that filled its walls.  It was here that romance was born, marriage proposed, and murder plotted.  It was here that laughter rang out and sobs were muffled; here that the very heartbeat of the people quickened or slowed to the events of the day.


Let us look inside and see who some of the regular guests were.  Why, there sits Dr. Sam P. Beeson, W.C. Page and Family, Elmer Tomme, L.E. Newton and V. Word. It was getting rather late in the evening and the crowd who had come for an evening of diversion moved on into the dark night to go their separate ways.  One by one, the others inside retired to their appointed rooms.  All except Dr. Sam, Nellie Swaggerty checked the rooms and keys and sat down to rest a moment for it had been a long day.  Dr. Beeson had been eyeing her rather strangely of late.  Could it be that he had intentions of a personal nature? Some of these things were running through the head of the little woman who knew more about ladies’ hats than she every hoped to know about what lay under men’s hats.  Yes, she was, perhaps, experiencing a type of mental telepathy, but she was not quite prepared for what was to follow. “Nellie,” said Dr. Beeson, in his matter-of-fact way, “we are both grown and we ought to know our own minds.  I’ve been thinking about it for quite some time.  If it’s agreeable with you, let’s get married—and if it’s agreeable—we’ll just skip the courting.”


Almost overcome with surprise and excitement, Nellie leaned forward and gave Sam her answer.  The words her lips formed could be readily deciphered but the hushed voice which came from her throat was barely audible.



Yes, Dr. Sam Beeson was the kind of man who got people to do what he wanted and, at the same time, made them like it.  One day his cow broke into Horace Leggett’s garden and played havoc with his nice corn and other vegetables.  Mr. Leggett complained to him about it.


“Why, Horace, you should have known that chicken wire wouldn’t keep a cow out.”


Very shortly, a prosperous farmer of the community who gave Dr. Beeson lots of business came to him, saying, “Your cow got in my corn patch and I just shot her.”


“That was just what she deserved,” said the doctor.  “She wasn’t anything but an old fence-breaker anyway”!


This is a brief insight into his character, but as a physician, he was quite proficient.  He succeeded Dr. Paul Conner who went to South America (but returned a short while before his death.) Dr. Beeson’s office was located in V. Words Drug Store.


At least one man in the county today gives credit to him for having saved his life.  As a baby, Clyde Maples was a frail, unhealthy creature.  It was Dr. Beeson who prescribed chicken broth—and chicken broth was his complete diet for months on end.  The little fellow pulled through, but the price was high.  Even today, he abhors chicken prepared in any form.


While Dr. Beeson made his calls, it became necessary f or the people of the community to receive the services of yet three other medical men.  Dr. Bevins served for a short time.  Also Doctors Nelson, Walter Leggett, and Pat Westmoreland.  Dr. Nelson had no formal training in medical school but considered himself to be a “self-taught” man with valid grounds for practice. 


Dr. Westmoreland was an affable-looking man of stocky build and, he also, had his office in one of the drug stores.  Some few years later, Dr. Dominy established his office at the same place.

Beside the four “town Doctors” available, there were three or four doctors who resided in the surrounding area and also practiced medicine.  These included Dr. Brown, Dr. Dean, and Dr. Hale.  The latter farmed.


It would be fitting, at this point, to locate the drug stores since they were so closely associated with the work of the physicians.  In order to get a feeling of direction it is necessary to keep in mind the one object of familiarity—the bank building. It was located on the West side of Main Street, and those fixtures opposite it and across the street were referred to as being on the East side. To further clarify the situation, it must be pointed out that the present highway through Weldon runs North and South and the old “Main Street” ran parallel to it.


Leggett's Drug - Weldon, TX


Not far from the bank was Leggett’s Drug, operated by Horace Leggett.  It was in fact, separated from the bank by the Hanner building.  It was a two story structure and the citizens referred to it as having a “double-deck” porch.  Mr. Hanner had interest in the store but Mr. Leggett owned the greater portion.  It was in this place that Regan McPhail acquired the title of “Dr. McPhail.”  Because he was a pharmacist and handed over the cures it seemed to be fittingly proper to give him just credit.  He did have a liking for his work and later bought the concern from Leggett.


And across the street stood the V. Word Drug.  It was owned at one time by Mr. Burtis (and, later, was bought by Leggett.) As every man tries to satisfy his curiosity, so V. Word prompted the wondering of many.  It was his custom to sell his prescription medicines at prices like a dollar and ten cents or a dollar and fifteen cents. One day some brave soul called the druggist’s hand concerning his charges.  “Oh,” said Mr. Word in a familiar voice, “you want to know why the extra cents? Well, you see, the odd cents cover the cost of the medicine, and the dollar is my profit.”


If the invoices of either druggist were available for examination, the purchases would run high on calomel, quinine, blue mass and castor oil.  Tonics were popular and their alcoholic content would be shocking today.  A special “chill” tonic was a good line to stock because of the frequency of Malaria.  Turpentine, camphor, alum, sulphur, and Epsom salts filled most of the home-medicine chests for use when a doctor was not needed.


Never to be forgotten was the Ice Cream Parlor at Leggett’s Drug. It was first operated by Homan Speer, frequently visited by the younger generation, and always a good place to meet the opposite sex.


If the doctors met with close calls, so did the druggists.  When it became necessary for Jessie Leggett to give her husband a hand in the store, Mrs. Ramsickle kept the young Leggett children.  Once the good woman missed them for a few minutes and when Mrs. Ramsickle discovered their whereabouts, they were carefully building a fire under the house!


Mr. Leggett paid $225.00 for the lot on which the house was built, the house cost a great deal more, and there was no fire department, of any type, on which to depend, but luckily, it did not happen again.



Buildings and Business


The Carroll family, who contributed much toward the growth of the community, came from Kentucky Bend, -- a section where the states of Kentucky, Tennessee, and Missouri meet.  They had resided at New Madrid, Missouri (the original Madrid Having sunk into the river in 1812); and, at one time, in Carrothers, Missouri.


Because of its changing position, it is difficult for the writer to locate Mr. Carroll’s store. During his business activity in Weldon, he had two wooden stores and a brick store, one of these being in “Old Town.”  This first dry goods store of Weldon was moved to the new town upon its establishment.


To verify the extent to which business boomed in Weldon, Ira Carroll can give a few convincing figures.  One Saturday morning he told his father that if he would reduce his duties for the day to a specialized task, he would show him what could be done by contrasted effort.  He asked his father to let him sell men’s’ and boys’ suits and be relieved of all other responsibilities.  An agreement was reached and Ira stood on proving ground.  Already he had gained the friend-ship of the majority of their customers; especially making friends with the Mexican population by presenting them with small gifts of which they were most appreciative.  The day went hurriedly by, even though it started at an early hour, and at closing time it was apparent that Ira had friends, or else salesmanship ability, for the sales he had made of suits of clothes numbered twenty-seven!


Mr. Ben Goodrum also had dry goods for sale.  Later came the Shipman Store and, still later, the J.A. Hanner Store.


While Joe Robinson and Tullos were operating the gin at full capacity, Wade Buchanan was doing his part to keep it supplied with cotton he grew on a hundred acre plot rented from Oscar Townsend for $300.00 a year.  His was the best cotton in the country- producing the best staple and the best seed for feeding cows.  It was the variety known as “Big-Boll-Rowden.”


Buchanan also had a popular syrup mill at his home known as “Buck’s Sugar Mil”. His brother, Walter Vinson Buchanan ran a Barber Shop in the bank building.


By 1913, a telephone system had been established for Weldon with the switchboard or “Central Office” located on the second floor of the bank building.  The first telephone office was in the Burton Goodrum Store with Ina Goodrum as its “number, please” girl.  This had been installed by Cleve Roberts of Huntsville.


Adjacent to V. Word’s Drug Store, and across the street from the bank was S.R. Kelley’s brick hardware store.  Mr. Kelley had a nice stock of goods but offended some of his customers because he didn’t like for them to handle the merchandise.


They most likely they did, though, because he was always asleep when a customer walked in.  It is supposed that this chronic drowsiness was due to some physical condition rather than willful indolence.


As one walked down the street, facing south, he soon came to the John Thornton Café.  This concern served meals to those who were not hotel residents as well as to those seeking meals away from home.  It was not the “hang-out” for the idle crowd as this was to be found in the Pool Hall, near the Weldon Drug Company a and across the street.  Here was fertile ground for most of the disturbances.  It was here that Goolsby was murdered.  L.E. Newton recalls that he was standing directly behind the killer who shot him.  It was here that other brawls also took place.  Before it was the Pool Hall, it was the W.D. James store, and after the legality of this house of amusement was voted out, the building was bought by Mr. Roger Ross.


Mr. Ross ran the Ice House, at one time, and at the same time delivered freight at five cents a box and up to a wagon load for twenty-five cents.  The Ice House was at another time under the ownership of Charley Hinson, having been bought from Mr. Robbins of Huntsville.  Ice during this time sold for nineteen cents per one hundred pounds.


Horses provided much of the transportation for this bright era.  Holcomb Green, john Brooks, and Well Alfred had a trading post for the exchange and sale of horses.


The town’s Livery Stable was run by Hayes Goree and Jim Daft; the Goodrums operated a delivery hack, and the city owned the horse with the aristocratic name of “Wicker.”  Picture, if you can, life geared to this speed.


Automobiles were far from plentiful.  The only graded road in the area was that connecting Weldon with the Eastham Prison farm.  This is where everyone went to “joy ride.”  If, during the day, an automobile went in either direction, the convicts stopped work and watched until it was out of sight.


Horses, automobiles; and just to keep abreast with the times—an airplane was scheduled to visit the fair city.  The Chamber of Commerce made arrangements for it to be sent by train from Chicago for performance on July 4, 1913. It was the old Wright Brothers type.  A contract was in effect for the sum of $750.00 to pay for the plane to make two flights of five minutes each.  It was announced that an aviator would be there to take charge.  Carl Leediker recalls the event and how, at the time, he didn’t even know what the word aviation, meant! One acre of a nearby field was fenced to enclose the plane, the day arrived, and each person paying twenty-five cents was allowed to enter the gate for a close-up inspection of the flying carriage.  One thousand tickets were sold for the momentous occasion. One thousand tense patrons peered at the whirring propeller and saw the strange vehicle arise from the ground.  Cheers and awe electrified the spectators.  The two minutes that followed were the greatest any had ever witnessed.  The plane circled the crowd, hesitated, and then dived forward.  Before their very eyes it had fallen apart.  They had glimpsed the wonder of the ages – Man’s most daring invention but they had paid to see more.  Disappointment settled upon their faces and they moved away reluctantly.  The goods had been delivered but the people had been short-changed.  Adjustment was in order; so that for keeping a portion o f the bargain a portion of the sum would be a rightful recompense.  Not that he condoned the decision, but that he had not fulfilled his part of the performance, the aviator went away with two hundred and fifty dollars.  This is no legend; this was the first airplane ever to be seen in Weldon.


One can imagine the story that must have appeared in the Weldon Enterprise, the weekly newspaper published by W.P. (Perry) McComb.  How entertaining it would be to read the letters that went away to friends from the “Little Joe Rosemand Post Office e.”  Perhaps, since part of the building consisted of a grocery store, some of the messages were mere cards written while munching on crackers and cheese.  From Weldon’s first Post office traveled “headline news” from the people themselves went out the word that a great occasion had just been witnessed.


Of all the people who came to live in Weldon _____Shipman made the greatest contribution toward the cultural training of its people.  It was she who wielded influence for the finer and nobler aspects of all the occupants of the “Shipman House” – the town’s first two-story wooden structure of some twenty rooms.  Mrs. Shipman was of the prominent Lee, Lea, or Leigh (?) family of Houston.  While living there, one of the daughters had an elaborate and well-attended wedding; properly planned and executed according to every detail and decorous rule.


Mr. Shipman had unusual brilliance, even a match for his wife’s refinement.  He was acclaimed to be the greatest mathematician of his day by all those who knew him.  To prove his speed and accuracy with figures, the following incident was repeated: One day a salesman came to town demonstrating an adding machine.  It was newly on the market and the demonstrator hoped to sell one to Mr. Shipman by convincing him of its value.  With each column of figures dictated by an interested customer, Mr. Shipman came up with the correct answer ahead of the machine. To the dismay and consternation of the man with the “thinking machine,” he quickly gathered up his goods and curtly replied, “Good day, Mr. Shipman, you have no need of an adding machine!”


The intelligence and personality of the Shipman’s seem to have been passed on to their children.  Walker, their son, enjoyed success that would have been coveted by many.  After his graduation from Rice Institute, he was employed by the City National Bank of New York.  For them he made a trip to South America.  Upon his return, he was offered a higher position by the Chase-Manhattan Bank and so accepted.  He now resides in Austin.


One of the exciting episodes in the life of the Shipman’s was the resurrection of Ida Shipman upon drowning in the Trinity River.  She was recovered by Olan Scott.  He was the only one who understood the nature of the situation.  For this meritorious deed he received the Carnegie Gold Medal Award.  Also, the Shipman’s offered to send him to school as a reward and expression of their gratitude.  For many years after reaching adulthood, Ida was organist for the First Methodist Church of Galveston, Texas, giving of her time and energy to benefit others.


While all the usual business concerns flourished or floundered, the childhood and adolescent population was receiving an education in several places.  L.E. Newton conducted classes in a modest one-room building on Eastham Farm.  Among his required assignments was a course in agriculture.  He explained to the people that he could teach what was in the text book but that he would never try to demonstrate farming practices as he had never plowed a foot in his life.  A big strapping boy, named Joe Ivins, volunteered to help his teacher; and between the two they presented both angles and all went well in this particular subject.


It was in this building that Lehman Newton came to realize that this was not his calling.   “Uneasy lie the heads of all who rule; his most of all whose kingdom is a school.”


There was Volga School, Center School, and Weldon High School.  Nat Patton taught in Volga and his brother-in-law, Mr. Grant, was superintendent at Weldon.


Ira Carrol recalls, with sadness, that he sat with Erskin Knox, at school, the day he got sick with diphtheria.  That night Erskin died.


Another dark incident at school was the time the school boys waited with open knives, in the bell tower for the teacher.  It did not turn out as the boys had supposed; the teacher almost beat them to death.



Disaster Comes

Water, water, everywhere; nor any drop to drink” was a quotation  that fit Weldon during these times.  People starved for water because its taste was so unpalatable.  Mr. W.A. Moore had an analysis made and it proved the off-flavor, if it could be so termed, was due to the presence of coal.  The railroad Company put down a well so that the people might sufficiently satisfy their desire for good water.  This public well, like those in Bible Times, must have been a means of bringing people together to swap small talk or share great burdens.  Mr. Moore had a well thirty feet deep which also afforded good water.


Mr. Phillips was the first Depot Agent.  Mr. Tomme was also an agent.


There was need of a calaboose; also a small building behind Durwood McCarley’s Service Station housed the office of the Justice of the Peace.  These two concerns comprised the necessities for l aw and order.  At one time, Henry Thornton was constable.


And, punctuating all this progress, were storms and fires.  In 1912 or 1913, a storm damaged twenty-two buildings in Weldon (but spared the drug store, according to Horace Leggett).  The meat market was constructed of 1 x 12 inch lumber which was rebuilt – free of charge – to the owner.  People bought beef and restocked the refrigerator which had been blown skyward and rested upon the telephone wires.  The Hotel was struck.  Also the tornado caught up the corrugated iron near Shipman’s store and took part of it as far as twelve miles.


On May 18, 1935, another storm came to destroy part of the community, removing feathers from chickens, hair from cattle and human inhabitants and twisting peanuts grown by Jeff Parker from the ground.


Fire destroyed the main part of the town two or three times.  In 1926; then soon afterward. Some say the recurrence was two weeks later; others say three months later.  The next fire was agreed to have been in 1928.


These two natural elements brought destruction that grieved the people.  There was renovation and new building.  They had perseverance and the metal of their faith was forged like steel.  Life went on as a pageant – failure and success was interwoven in the tapestry of the day.


The people – still the people stood out against any material thing.  So many good people.  There was even a Retail Credit Association to prove the fact.


There were no beauties or fair damsels anyplace that could put the Weldonite belles in the shade.  During the gay days to name a few, were Viola Denton, Blance Morrow, the Oates sisters, the Goodrum girls, the Hanner girls, Shoaf girls, and many more.




Archie wrote “Nov 22 went to Crockett to see Stokes concerning my land”.  He had written nothing of his neighbors and himself being sued because of a mistake made by the County Tax Assessor Collector Richard Douglass 15 years before he bought his land.


The records show that Wm. S. Allen bought land from J.S. Blount that made up a large part of Volga Area.  In 1861, Allen faulted on taxes and four thousand one hundred and eight acres of his land sold for $12.92 plus $3.00 selling cost, a total of %15.92 to William Cundiff in 1863. Cundiff sold off to big land dealers.  In April 1880, Allen’s widow, Margaret Allen of Missouri, appointed D.A. Nunn, Texas agent and attorney, to sue for her land.


The Civil Court minutes record as defendants, Archie Adams, S. H. Knox, F.P. Knox, A.J. Knox, James Knox, E.H. Calloway, R.N. Read, Levi Long, G.M. Thompson, Allen Maxey, Charles Robinson and T.V. Goodrum.  Adams, the Knox’s, Goodrum, Maxey, Calloway and Robinson settled by compromise and were granted their deeds.  Archie wrote nothing of the worry and waiting he and his neighbors suffered while the courts decided if they could keep their homes.  In those days they could not have claimed pay for any improvements on the land for there was no equity law then.


Archie wrote an article for the Courier in 1895 on the unfairness to the man wanting to buy farm land in Houston County, which I will include in the 1895 diary writing.


These miscellaneous expenses for 1878-79-80 keeps us abreast of the times, what our ancestors were eating, wearing and using;


50 lbs flour $3.00

10 lbs beef 3 cts lb

sugar $1.00

74 lbs salt pork $4.44

18 lbs coffee $4.05

1 doz apples 20 cts

soda 3 lbs 25 cts

1 gallon syrup 50 cts

1 plug tobacco 21 cts

1 bottle snuff 40 cts

1 coffee pot 41 cts

1 cedar water bucket 65 cts

1 water dipper 45 cts

6 milk pans $1.00

1 churn 75 cts

Bible, Abbots Illustrated Testament $2.00

Home and Farm 50 cts per year

Cotton picking baskets 50 cts each

1 chamber mug 40 cts

a silver watch $10.00

pkg envelopes 85 cts

2 doz pens and a vial of ink 35 cts

paid Wynere, school teacher $10.00

One coarse and 1 fine tooth comb 41 cts

1 broom 21 cts