Things that drew people to Erath County:
1. It is Cross Timbers Country from gravel & Chalk mountains and caves to
river bottoms to good black and sandy cotton, corn, and grain land and
Post oak, Mesquite, Cedar, Pecan, walnut, Cottonwood.
2. There are patches of sand all over the county, including the large
Birdsong peanut mill at Gorman and the surrounding peanut fields west of
3. The Thurber Coal mines on the TP California bound tracks and the Acme
(Former TP) Brick plant brought in hundreds of short immigrants to mine
4. The Desdemona (Hogtown) and Ranger oil boom and Laney gas wells.
6.Good hunting-deer, turkey, rabbit, Quail, and before 1890, Bear and
alligator in Stephenville City park south and west.
7. Wild fruit, grapes, berries, Polk salad, Walnuts and pecans. Acorns
8. Bees and honey.
9. Logs for cabins.
10. Cedar and oak for post.
11, Fair shallow water supply for hand dug wells (Before Dairies)
12. Rock for building.
13. A Crescent shaped buffer of friendly Caddo and other Indian farmers
north and west of them who acted as a buffer and warning for Anglo and
Black settlers as protection from nomad raiding Comanche and Apache.
German Settlers in Fredricksburg- Burnet Area had a wide open frontier
without the friendly Indians as neighbors. More "Anglo" and German
settlers in Erath County had Eastern Indian roots not obvious or worn as
a chip on the shoulder- in fact it was mentioned only to friends.
John R. Baylor and his Central Texas Rangers (Sometimes a legal posse-
sometime Vigilantes). drove these friendly defenders to Oklahoma- Caddo-
Chickasha area via Fort Phantom Hill, Abilene, then went to Arizona and
14. The Hico Railroad- Texas Central with Walnut Springs roundhouse,
shops, college and hospital and adult baseball. before Katy took over and
moved HQ to Waco then McKinney.It hauled sheetrock from the Albany area
into Waco in the 1960 or 70's. It is now gone except from Dublin to
Birdsong Peanut processing Plant at Gorman.
15. Abundant fresh water springs.
16. It was a collection place for Civil War Veterans and people seeking
new identities.Early 1900's photos show most older men with foot long
white beards which made identification by former enemies hard after 50
17. A wide variety of churches- 2 or 3 kinds of Methodist, & 6 or 8
different types and fellowships of Baptist, depending on point of origin
18. As families outgrew the land the Indian threat was vanishing and
western counties finally became organized and peacefully settled,
providing good dryland for overflow of large families.
19. Erath County once joined Johnson County before Somerville County,
Glen Rose, Rainbow, and Nemo were organized or widely known.
20. An early interest in schools and a good College in Stephenville with
Academies- Jr. Colleges in Huckaby, Lingleville and possibly another.
21. Tarleton State University- former Junior College. Part of Texas A&M
University. It produces more Vocational Agriculture teachers today than
any school in the U.S.
22. It has always had outdoor rodeos and in early days, Bear wrestling
and wolf- bear fights on the Stephenville square. Today it has more Rodeo
cowboy and Equestrian private schools than anycounty in the nation.
23. It had ample rough draws for hiding moonshine stills and Game rooster
fights. Roosters were shipped, trained, to the Philipines and other
states. Panther Cave - Eulogy area and Whiskey Hollow at West, McLennan
County and Somervell County supplied the speakeasy bars in Dallas during
national prohibition. Some of these folk did not allow their children to
consume the merchandise until they were 21.
24. The live and let live attitude- We never locked our doors before i
went to the Army in 1950, My parents and grandparents never locked their
doors. We had some turkeys stolen in 1940's . Dad sometimes missed a fist
size slab of bacon or ham from our unlocked smokehouse. He said someone
was hungry. They never took it all.
This came from their Tennesee - Ga. Heritage of frontier survival and is
common today in Alaska, where many Texans have migrated to.
The tour guide in Dr. J.G.M.Ramsey's home south of Knoxville, Tenn.
showed us a candle window by the fireplace where a candle was burning t
when the family was home and travellers on the frontier regardless of
race could come into the kitchen house, dip some hot soup from the
fireplace pot nd sleep on the floor free, but were gone the next day by
sunup. Their thefts were nill.
Ever hear of the Forty Gallon Baptist Church in West Virginia where some
corn farmers pledged 40 gallons of legal homemade whiskey a year to
support the church- before the Temperance movement. ?
25. and last but not least- the produce houses with local processing and
cheese plant which shipped turkeys and cheese to Fort Worth.
Let's see, why was it I moved to Fort Worth & Denton? Oh, yes, Convair
and 4 year colleges.