Robertson County TX
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"Ghost Towns Of Robertson County" is a collection of interesting facts concerning the earliest settlements in Robertson County. Although all traces of these early towns no longer exist, their memory is honored and preserved with Texas Historical Markers. This booklet is published as a special edition for the 1975 Robertson County Springtime Pilgrimage and in celebration of the bicentennial year.
-- Mrs. Katherine Galloway
02 11 N / -96 28 00 W
In the late 1850s, a number of residents of Wheelock and the prairie near the Old San Antonio Road purchased land several miles northeast of the county seat. At first, the area was unfenced cattle range but later in the late 1860s farm families began planting cotton and corn in the area.
In 1872, the International & Great Northern Railroad extended its lines from Old Morgan eastward and Englewood came into existence as a town. Railway officials deeded land and dedicated the town and for eight years a community grew near the depot.
The postmaster at Englewood was Eli Reynolds who built a small house in the community in 1872. In the same year, E. A. Decherd opened a general store and Dr. G. M. D. Patterson established an office for the practice of medicine. Ultimately, the community became a trade center for farmers and ranchers residing along the railroad which stretched through the countryside.
Decherd's store was a large two-story building that was well stocked with the needs of farm families. The Patterson and Moore store was modern in every detail and sold fine wines and whiskey. The town had a depot, a small hotel, a blacksmith shop, a grist mill, and a livery stable. William J. Kirby lived there and his neighbors were Hugh Smith, Jasper Scott, Captain Kendrick, C. P. Shurman, and Sycamore Smith.
William Wheelock, the son of E. L. R. Wheelock who came to Robertson County in 1834, had a fine two-story home near the road. Wheelock had served in ranger forces, as a member of the state legislature, and at one time was sheriff of the county. He was recognized as one of the most successful cattle ranchers in central Texas.
Mrs. C. C. Nettles spent her childhood at Englewood and has written extensively of life in the 1880s as she experienced it. She wrote:
"When we wanted to go to Franklin, we would get on the railroad with a train coming through, flag it down, and ride the one and one-half miles for five cents. In the evening, we would board the train, give the conductor five cents, and the train would stop in front of our home."
Mrs. Nettles also recalls how the sixteen year old girls dressed:
"We wore black cotton stockings, high top shoes, and our dresses were ten yards of material, very full skirts, tight waisted, high neck, long sleeves, and we wore three petticoats with large ruffles starched quite stiff. Bustles and hoop skirts were also popular."
For almost a decade, Englewood was a thriving town with good homes, churches, stores, and successful people. It was the only town east of Hearne of any size and an effort was made to make it the county seat in 1874. Several important political meetings were held there in the early years of Reconstruction and the place developed as a center of opposition to Calvert as the Robertson County seat of local government. When Franklin became the county seat in 1880, most of the residents of Englewood moved there, and for twenty years the population of the one popular town declined. In 1900, all of the old stores were closed and the homes in the village were deserted. The famous Wheelock home burned, and the post office was moved to Franklin. The depot closed and the membership in the church was reduced to seven.
When State Highway 79 was widened in the 1920s, workmen discovered a number of old cisterns and stone chimneys still at the site of old Englewood. But, in time, these too disappeared and there are few memories of the little "ghost town" that once aspired to be the county seat of Robertson County and failed by the vote of 1161 against 1266. For a time, there were some who said "the Negroes and scalawags who voted in Hearne and Calvert stole the election," but there was no appeal.
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Page Modified: 19 April 2012