Robertson County
Texas

 

 

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County Coordinator is Jane Keppler.

County Co-Coordinator is Jean Huot Smoorenburg


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TXGenWeb Robertson County Books & Master's Theses

G H O S T L Y   H A U N T S   C O L L E C T I O N


HAVE YOU --

Heard voices in the shadows speaking foreign languages?
Spotted a German soldier wandering around near Camp Hearne?
Driven through Robertson County's ghost towns & abandoned communities?
Heard a train coming through an area where there are no tracks?
Heard voices of children and adults splashing around in water near Wootan Wells?
Visited nearby Port Sullivan or Nashville-On-The-Brazos?

Are these the sights and sounds of bygone eras, the products of fertile imaginations, or Robertson County's ghosts?  To help website visitors explore Robertson County's ghostly past, this new collection will record information about Robertson County's "Booger", MOJO, immigrant ghosts, ghost camp, ghost spa/resort, ghost railroads & mule train, ghost bridge, ghost road, ghost park, ghost towns & vanished communities, and other unusual historic places of interest.

Robertson County's Booger

Booger County Information on how Robertson County may have acquired this rather unfortunate nickname is at Booger County.

MOJO

MOJO MOJO (not his real name), was a young man from the Bryan, Texas area, who early in the 20th century supposedly fell off a train and was killed at Mud Creek near Calvert.  His family was unable to pay the expenses for having his body embalmed and prepared for burial.  In a bizarre twist of fate, MOJO's body was kept at a succession of Calvert funeral homes for eight decades.  Only recently (on 6.19.2002) was he laid to rest at  Robertson County's Chapel Hill Cemetery.

Immigrant Ghosts

Different Languages Ever think you're hearing Polish spoken when you're in Bremond, German when you're in New Baden, Italian when you're in Mumford, or detect an Irish accent when you're in Benchley?  You may be hearing whispers from the ghosts of settlers past.  Check out Polish Collection, New Baden Collection, Italian Collection, & Irish of Staggers Point.

Ghost Camp

Camp Hearne

Ghosts of German and other soldiers who were interned at Camp Hearne, Robertson County's World War II prisoner of war camp, may be roaming the fields near the Hearne Municipal Airport.  Be on the lookout for one ghost in particular, that of Hugo Krauss - a German inmate who was brutally beaten to death one night by Nazi prisoners.  There's lots more information at Camp Hearne Collection Directions:  Outside of Hearne on the road to Cameron, near the Hearne Fairgrounds & Municipal Airport.

Photos to left & right taken by William Kent Brunette.

Ghost Spa/Resort

Wootan Wells

This ghost spa/resort is featured in Ghost Towns of Robertson County at Wootan Wells.  Wootan Wells' Texas Historic Marker reads:  "Famous early health spa and resort. First well was dug 1878 by landowner Francis Wootan. Water tasted good, but turned dishes yellow and clothes red. Even so, it seemed to possess amazing curative properties. Wootan soon built a hotel and in 1879 a resort town made its debut. He formed a promotion company with T. W. Wade and more hotels, a bottling works, dance pavilion, and school sprang up. Leading socialites came from miles to 'take the waters'. Disaster struck in 1915 when fire swept the town. In 1921 the last buildings also burned."  Lots of other information about this now vanished turn-of-the-century spa/resort is at Wootan Wells Collection Directions:  Intersection of Hwy. 6 & FM 1373, 2.5 miles west of Bremond.  Map To Wootan Wells

Top two photos on right are from History Of Robertson County, pp. 421 & 422.  Bottom photo is from an old postcard.

Ghost Railroads & Mule Train

Calvert Ghost Railroad The Calvert Ghost Railroad was a spur of the Calvert, Waco, & Brazos Valley Railroad that was built by the end of 1900.  After operating for almost 3 1/2 decades, the three-mile route was abandoned in 1934.  This ghost railroad appears on two Calvert fire insurance maps (Fire Map #1 & Fire Map #2).  This route (from the river bottom road up behind the Calvert County Club) is identified as the "old railroad grade" on Calvert Map #1.  It connected in a "Y" at the old CW&BV Railroad tracks. Calvert Map #2 shows this route in greater detail.
Bremond Ghost Railroad The Bremond Ghost Railroad was a route of the Houston & Texas Central Railway that connected Bremond with Marlin and Waco.  After operating for roughly a century, the Bremond to Waco route was abandoned in 1967.  This route is identified as the "old railroad grade" on Bremond Map #1.  The purple hashed line going out of Bremond to the northwest on Bremond Map #2 shows the former location of this line in greater detail.
Sutton Ghost Railroad The Sutton Ghost Railroad was outside of Sutton (between Benchley & Hearne) on the Houston & Texas Central Railway.  It consisted of a "Y" connection at the Houston & Texas Central Railway tracks and extended about a mile into what is now a farmer's pasture.  This route is identified as the "old railroad grade" on Sutton Map #1Sutton Map #2 shows the former location of this line in greater detail.
Wootan Wells
Ghost Mule Train

The Wootan Wells Ghost Mule Train operated between the Wootan Wells spa/resort and Wootan Wells Station (near where highways 6 and 14 branch).  Directions:  Intersection of Hwy. 6 & FM 1373, 2.5 miles west of Bremond.  Map To Wootan Wells

Photos on left & right above are from History Of Robertson County, pp. 420 & 423.

GHOST BRIDGE

Iron Pillars Marking
West End Of Old
Brazos River Bridge

About two miles west of Mumford, there's a Texas Historic Marker that reads:  "An 1895 engineering victory - longest Brazos Bridge in that era - spanning heavy flow below ford of 'Little River' [San Andres] with 'Big Brazos'. This bridge stood where immemorial Indian trails crossed the river. Later these paths became part of the El Camino Real [The King's Highway]. About a mile downstream, in 1830, Fort Tenoxtitlan was established. In 1855, Jesse Mumford [founder of Mumford] operated a ferry at the trail crossing. Authorized by Commissioners Court of Robertson County, this landmark iron bridge served until removed by a flood in 1899."  Directions:  About 2 miles west of Mumford.  Map To Bridge Historic Marker

Photo to left is from History Of Robertson County, p. 319.

 

GHOST ROAD

El Camino Real,
King's Highway,
Old San Antonio Road,
Old San Antonio & Nacogdoches Trail,
or OSR

Texas Historic Marker one mile east of Hwy 6 at Benchley on Old San Antonio Road reads as follows:  "A trail of adventure, opportunity, hardships, and freedom, over which history stalked into Texas. To the Spanish, El Camino Real was a road traveled for the King - to colonize, christianize, seek adventure, and look for riches. This road became the most famous. Its many parts were made, discovered, or known hundreds of years before 1691, when Domingo Teran De Los Rios, first Texas governor, joined and marked the different trails for the King. It was the route from Monclavia [crossing the Rio Grande near Eagle Pass] to the missions of East Texas. Probably its trailblazers were buffalo and Indians, or Aztecs on trading expeditions. It was also possibly traveled, described, and changed in part by French explorer LaSalle; by Alonso de Leon & Father Damien Massanet planting missions in East Texas; and by the French nobleman St. Denis seeking trade along the Rio Grande. As the years wore on, it was traveled in 1820 by Moses Austin, as well as by thousands of settlers who followed him. San Augustine Nacogdoches and San Antonio were its principal cities and inns sprang up along the way. Soldiers and supply trains used it during the Texas Revolution, Mexican War, & Civil War. It is still followed in part by this highway."  The Handbook of Texas Online also has information at Old San Antonio Road.  Directions:  Texas Historic Marker is 1 mile east of Hwy 6 at Benchley on Old San Antonio Road.  Map To El Camino Real Historic Marker

Photo to left is from History Of Robertson County, p. 11.

GHOST PARK

Calvert's
Garten Rhien
Park
According to John Walter Baker on p. 534 of his book History of Robertson County:  "The German families in Calvert had 'The Garten Rhien,' a ten-acre park complete with tennis court, pavilion, horseshoe throwing courts, card tables, and a beer barrel platform on the lawn.  They met every Sunday to eat, drink, and hear the music of their fine band, directed by Mr. Jietsch.  They had maple lanes for playing tenpins that were built by the Lang brothers, and for their amusement they also had their own Negro band."  So, if you hear voices speaking in German in the shadows on a Sunday afternoon in Calvert, these may be coming from the former location of Calvert's Garten Rhien Park.  Directions:  Does anybody know where this park was?  If so, please contact Shirley Cullum.

Photos to right are from History Of Robertson County, p. 535.

GHOST TOWNS & VANISHED COMMUNITIES

Box Quarter Have you ever heard of Box Quarter, Robertson County, Texas?  The Handbook of Texas Online has an article about it at Box Quarter Directions:  Does anybody know where Box Quarter actually was?  If so, please contact Shirley Cullum.
Englewood

This ghost town is featured in Ghost Towns of Robertson County at Englewood.  The Texas Historic Marker at Englewood reads:  "Settled by people of Tennessee under an 1822 contract held by Sterling Clack Robertson [1785 - 1842] who later signed the Texas Declaration of Independence. Colony and county were named for him. County was created December 14, 1837; organized March, 1838. County seats: Old Franklin 1838 - 1850; Wheelock, 1850 - 1855; Owensville, 1855 - 1869; Calvert, 1870 - 1879; Franklin, since 1879. Sent five troop companies into Confederate service in Civil War. Established mill to make flour, cotton, and wool cloth. Furnished cotton, cards, medicines, bacon, and salt to soldiers' families."  According to Post Offices Of Robertson County, a post office existed at Englewood from 6.12.1871 - 4.26.1880.  Directions:  On highway 79 near where the roadside park between Franklin & New Baden currently is.  TopoZone Map

Photo to left is from History Of Robertson County, p. 362.

Fort Tenoxtitlan Have you ever heard of Fort Tenoxtitlan, nearby in Burleson County, Texas?  Fort Tenoxtitan has two Texas Historic Markers.  Marker #1 reads:  "2000 feet south, site of Fort Tenoxtitlan established by the Mexican government in July, 1830, in an attempt to stem Anglo-American settlement. Named in honor of the Aztec capital, now Mexico City. Abandoned by Mexican troops in 1832. In the town which grew up after 1834 many prominent Texans lived. The place passed from the map after 1860"  Marker #2 reads:  "Founded by Mexico as a bulwark against Anglo-American immigration, this fort and its nearby city were twice proposed for the capital of Texas. Alarmed by the influx of Anglo settlers into Texas, Mexico in 1830 sought to erect a line of forts to keep out the intruders. The ancient Aztec name for Mexico City [originally pronounced "Tex-ox-teet-lan"] was given this site; it means "prickly pear place". So hopeful of the fort's success was the military commandant of the region that he envisioned it as the capital of Texas. But Anglo immigration did not cease. Instead it thrived on the friendship of the local soldiers and incoming pioneers. The colonizer Sterling Clack Robertson introduced scores of settlers. In 1832 the soldiers were withdrawn and the fort finally defaulted to the Anglos. Subsequently it was a supply center and mustering point for expeditions against the Indians. During its brief life many Texas patriots lived here, including 5 signers of the Texas Declaration of Independence, a martyr of the Alamo siege, and 7 soldiers of the Battle of San Jacinto. Tenoxtitlan was again suggested for the capital of Texas during the Republic, but Austin won out. In 1841, after many Indian raids, the site was abandoned."  The Handbook of Texas Online has an article at Fort Tenoxtitlan Directions:  From Caldwell, take SH 21 E about 6 miles to FM 1362, go N about 8 miles to CR 338, go E about 1.5 miles to double gate - marker is about 1/2 mile S across creek.  Map To Fort Tenoxtitlan
Hayes Have you ever heard of Hayes, Robertson County, Texas?  The Handbook of Texas Online has an article about it at Boone Prairie/Hayes.  According to Post Offices Of Robertson County, Hayes had its own post office from 5.24.1880 - June 30, 1906.  Map To Hayes
Lake, Lake Station, Kirkpatrickville, or Acorn Have you ever heard of Lake, Lake Station, Kirkpatrickville, or Acorn, Robertson County, Texas?  The Handbook of Texas Online has an article about different names for this same town at Easterly & Lake According to Post Offices Of Robertson County, the following post offices existed:  Lake (3.4.1872 - 12.31.1903), Lake Station (11.23.1876 - 12.16.1878),  Kirkpatrickville (2.5.1879 - 4.1.1879), Acorn (5.17.1881 - 3.24.1890), & Easterly (6.6.1894 - 1.12.1929).
Mount Vernon This ghost town is featured in Ghost Towns of Robertson County at Mount Vernon.  The Mount Vernon Cemetery is about all that is left of this community.  Directions:  6 miles east of Calvert on the Calvert to Owensville highway.  Map To Mount Vernon
Nashville-On-The-Brazos Have you ever heard of Nashville, nearby in Milam County, Texas?  Nashville's Texas Historic Marker reads:  "Surveyed in the fall of 1835 as the capital of Robertson's colony. Named for Nashville, Tennessee where Sterling Clack Robertson and many of his colonists had formerly lived. Seat of justice Milam municipality, 1836; Milam County, 1837. First home in Texas of George C. Childress, chairman of the committee which drafted the Texas Declaration of Independence."  The Handbook of Texas Online also has information at Nashville-On-The-Brazos Directions:  Just across the Brazos River Bridge on US 79 at road side pull-off on the west side of highway.  Map To Nashville-On-The-Brazos
Old Franklin

This ghost town is featured in Ghost Towns of Robertson County at Old Franklin The Handbook of Texas Online also has information at Old Franklin  According to Post Offices Of Robertson County, Old Franklin had its own post office from 5.22.1846 - 10.20.1851.  Even the Old Franklin Cemetery is now gone.  The bodies of ten Robertson County men who lost their lives in a battle with Indians on January 16, 1839 at Morgan's Point (near present-day Marlin, in Falls Co., TX) were brought back to Robertson County and buried in the small Old Franklin Cemetery.  There were other burials at this lost cemetery as well.  Directions:  Old Franklin was on the headwaters of Mud Creek about 1 1/2 miles southwest of the present town of Franklin.  Map To Old Franklin

Photos to left & right are from History Of Robertson County, pp. 82 & 94.

Owensville

This ghost town is featured in Ghost Towns of Robertson County at Owensville.  Owensville's Texas Historic Marker reads:  "Site Of Owensville. Robertson County's third county seat was located here, 1855 - 1869, on land given by D. H. Love [1816 - 1866]. The town was Owensville, named for Harrison Owen [1803 - 1896], who was the first county clerk, 1838 - 1847. Public officials, doctors, lawyers, businesses moved here and town thrived. It was on the Houston-Waco mail, stage, and freighting road. As Civil War county seat [1861 - 1865] this place armed and dispatched soldiers and cared for civilians. After Houston & Texas Central Railway bypassed Owensville in 1868, county records were moved to Calvert. Owensville Cemetery, oldest in the county, marks townsite."  According to Post Offices Of Robertson County, Owensville had its own post office from 9.19.1856 - 2.1.1871 & from 3.20.1895 - 1.9.1897.  Additional information is at Owensville Article & Owensville Cemetery Directions:  North of Franklin, at the junction of FM 979 & FM 46.  Map To Owensville

Sketch to left from Owensville Marker Dedication brochure. Color photo to left taken by Dr. Habib U. & Martha Jean (Baxter) Rahman. Photo to right is from History Of Robertson County, p. 133.

Port Sullivan All that remains of this once bustling trade center just across the Brazos River in Milam County is its historic cemetery.  John Martin Brockman has recorded this ghost town's history at Port Sullivan.  Port Sullivan's  Texas Historic Marker reads:  "Early important trade and educational center. Established by Augustus W. Sullivan in 1835. River navigation extended to this point for many years. The Austin-East Texas and the Houston-Waco roads crossed here. On this spot was located Port Sullivan College. Established in the early fifties. Incorporated December 16, 1863. Destroyed by fire in 1878."  The Handbook of Texas Online also has information at Port Sullivan as well as at Fort Sullivan Directions:  Located off of FM 485 / CR 260, 1 mi. to county road 259 approx. 1.3 mi. on south side of dirt road.  Map To Port Sullivan
Staggers Point This ghost town is featured in Ghost Towns of Robertson County at Staggers Point
The Staggers Point Texas Historic Marker reads:  "Earliest large community in Robertson's colony. Settled by Irishmen who came to America in 1821; lived in South Carolina and then in Alabama; and in 1829 sent west an emissary, Robert Henry, to find a permanent location. In 1833, their ox-wagon train arrived, and log cabins were built. By 1836, kinsmen had joined early arrivals to strengthen settlement. Community name, meaning "Strivers' Point" in dialect, was probably given for rugged zeal of settlers in face of hardships. James Dunn built a fort, to give neighborhood a refuge during Indian raids. In War for Independence, 1835-36, Staggers Point men fought in major actions, including the April 21, 1836, Battle of San Jacinto, which freed Texas from Mexico. In 1830s and 40s, the Irish were compelled to keep up their defenses against the Indians. Women as well as men earned respect for skill with "long guns." In time their village had a church, stores, cotton gin, race track, and taverns, and was invaded by gamblers and ruffians drawn to the races. Until the settlers subdued the lawless, duels and gunplay were common. This remained a progressive community until 1868, when Houston & Texas Central Railway bypassed it, and business waned. Descendants still honor the settlers. Original settlers: William Henry, Mary F. Henry Dixon, James M. Dixon, Ann McMillan, Henry & Sarah Fullerton, Robert & Elizabeth Henry, George H. Fullerton, John R. & Sarah Peyton, Jimnive Henry Rice, William Fullerton, Hugh & Elizabeth Henry, James A. Henry, Bradford & Mary Henry Seale, Columbus & Elizabeth Henry Seale, James & Isabella Dunn"
 The Handbook of Texas Online also has information at Benchley/Staggers PointDirections:  1 mile east of Hwy 6 at Benchley on Old San Antonio Road.  Map To Staggers Point
Sterling

This ghost town is featured in Ghost Towns of Robertson County at Sterling
The Texas Historic Marker at the Sterling Cemetery reads:  "Burial place of some 400 Texas pioneers and descendants. On land granted [1835] to A. J. Webb; bought in 1850 by Judge Robert Calvert, a civic leader in Sterling, a town named for empresario Sterling C. Robertson. Calvert dedicated 11.1-acre cemetery and built adjacent Cumberland Presbyterian Church of his own plantation timber. In 1867, Judge Calvert died and was buried near cemetery gate. The church building was moved by oxen to new town of Calvert [2 mi. E]. In 1868, his wife, Mary Keesee Calvert, and their three daughters deeded cemetery site to the Cumberland Presbyterians." 
The Handbook of Texas Online also has information at Sterling.  Burial information is at Sterling Cemetery Directions:  Two miles west of Calvert on FM 979 to CR 116.  Map To Sterling

Photo to left is from History Of Robertson County, p. 442.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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State Coordinator: Shirley Cullum
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Page Modified: 01 November 2014

Copyright 2014-present by Jane Keppler. This information may be used by individuals for their own personal use, libraries and genealogical societies. Commercial use of this information is strictly prohibited without prior written permission from Jane Keppler. If material is copied, this copyright notice must appear with the information and please email me and let me know. Neither the Site Coordinators nor the volunteers assume any responsibility for the information or material given by the contributors or for errors of fact or judgment in material that is published at this website.