funny how we can read something twice and see references to something we
had not thought of first. The first Hico town was on Honey Creek, not the
bosque. It moved to be on the Texas Central Railroad from Albany to
Dublin to Hico , the Roundhouse and RR shops and hospital in Walnut
Springs, then on to Waco. Texas Central sold out to Katy and moved shops
to Bellmead- East Waco area, then to McKinney.
The city park at Walnut Springs was RR property adjoining the hospital
and the Katy Lake,which was built for water to power the steam engines in
the shops, round house, and locomotives. The 6 man football field is
across Steele Creek from th park,,and the bandstand there had 4 bands-
one each Sunday , playing. Thes were RR, High School, Texas Central (RR)
College, and a 4 th. Francis Ernest Prideaux Brune, a wealthy Englishman
died of drowning while diving from a floating platformduring one of these
concerts. His girl friend saw that his grave there is coverred by a
single carved slab of Grainte- head to toe.
Folk tales say there was a water wheel powered mill on Honey Creek near
a low water crossing above a whirlpool in my Grandad's childhood. . One
man was crossing after a heavy rain and his horses and wagon were swept
into the whirlpool and drowned the horses. When the move to Hico was
completed, the Flour mill in Hico ground American Beauty or 4 roses Flour
and Corn Meal in my lifetime- in the brick building nearest the old
bridge to the City park now I have seen then bagging their products- by
then it was not water power, but one of the mechanics there would adapt
Buick car engines- straight 8 cylinders- to feed mills, elevators
(Grain), and other applications. Until the late 1940's Hico, like
Coleman, had their own City Generators for electricity. Today Government
sponsored housing covers some of the RR right of way.
As teenagers some of us would come to Hico on Saturday night for the
10:30 (Midnight Movie). First we would get a hamburger, where Brushy
Bill Roberts AKA Billy the Kid would be drinking coffee, speaking t
anyone who passed by, , and daydreaming with a smile on his face. Then we
would go see the Diesel powered engines which pulled the Generators for
Hico electricity and speak to the night operator, in the block behind
the Movie. Once they were rebuilding one, and a skinny person could stand
up in the Cylinder with the piston out. Larger engines than the surplus
Battleship or Marine engines used at Selden for the Gin . Hico once had
an auditorium- before my personal experiences there. Once. the Blue
Yodeller Jimmy Rogers rode the RR as a hobo, and got off in Hico with his
guitar on his back A concert was planned for him and admission was 25
cents per person. Last use of the RR was hauling Sheetrock from Albany
plant to Waco switching yards.
The Selden Gin, Church, school, and 4 or 5 houses were powered by a
Delco plant operated and owned by the Stone family- but Church, school,
homes and Gins rarely used electricity at the same time.
Back to Precinct 3- it went to the County line between Iredell and Duffau
and Black Stump Valley, and then between Walnut Springs and Chalk
Mountain- Flag Branch- Odom Chapel area. The Lodge in Chalk Mountain was
upstairs on an old building, but was reset onto a sounder one story
foundation . it is the oldest Continually meeting Masonic Lodge in
Clairette may have once been in Precinct 3. Find an old photo from local
newspapers of the dedication of the "Longest Bridge in Erath County " ,
over the Bosque, between Clairette and Hico and I think Precinct 3
Commissioner and State officials are in the photo. Texas has had
Gerrymanderred Districts and Precincts all of its history- Not sure why,
because back then no one would admit to being anything but a Democrat.
Hope this answer the inquiry about Precinct 3.
Happy hunting for your Precinct 3 Graves.
Charles A. Wyly