Leonard Kubiak, Texas Author and Historian
BURLESON COUNTY BULLETIN BOARD
Photos from the 2012 German Fest Celebration
Received the following email regarding Burleson County history from Ricky Baggerly (firstname.lastname@example.org):
Love your website. Am sending a picture of my great grandparents, Samuel Walter and Sarah Carolina Grimes Baggerly and their children Isa Ola, Flossie Lorene, and Barney Leonidas. This photo was taken in 1899 in Caldwell, Burleson, Texas.
Samuel Walter and Sarah Carolina Grimes Baggerly with children Isa Ola, Flossie Lorene, and Barney Leonidas. This photo was taken in 1899 in Caldwell, Burleson, Texas. (Photo courtesy Ricky Baggerly).
Received the following email regarding Burleson County history:
Thu, 10 Jul 2008
From: "Jason Bennett"
Subject: history of burleson county texas historical society
I'm looking for a copy of A History Of Burleson County Texas printed by Historical Society in 1980's. There was a picture of my mom Gloria Thomas and her family. I want to get as much information and any pictures of Gabriel Jackson Virginia Craddock Jackson. Her brother John Robert Craddock, Christopher Jackson, Goldsby Childers, Henry Erik Thomas, Walter Jones and any others you may know of, please. I have some history of family, i can send a few pictures later if anyone's interested. Alot of the family members never realized they were related to President Jackson. I went to the hermitage in 1996 and was going through the tour when the tour guide ask me to go ahead a go through the house and take my time. She told me I favor the family. If you get the opportunity to go to Nashville, it's worth the trip. Samuel Jackson was an Uncle of Andrews, were descenents of Samuel. My names Virginia Bennett the people listed above are my distant grandparents. Any information you and your readers might have would be appreciated. Thank you very much.
The E-MAIL address is babyGirl@AOL.com
Send me your Burleson County stories, photos, questions and comments and I'll post them here for our readers.
HISTORY OF BURLESON COUNTY TEXAS
Burleson County, Texas is bounded by the Brazos River to the east and the East Yegua Creek, to the South and West and Milam County to the North.
Caldwell, the largest town and the county seat of Burleson County, is served by two major railways the Southern Pacific and the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe.
Some of the settlements and towns in Burleson County include:
San Antonio Prarie
The First European In Burleson County Region
The first European to set foot within what would become Burleson County was French explorer and trader Louis Juchereau de St. Denis, who traveled through the area in 1713 en route from Natchitoches, Louisiana, to the Rio Grande. The trail that he established between the Trinity River and San Antonio became the Upper Road of one of the caminos reales (Old San Antonio Road). This road became the most important route from San Antonio to the eastern border of Spanish Texas.
In 1718, shortly after founding the Villa de Béxar at the site of present San Antonio, Martín de Alarcón, governor of Texas, traveled the Upper Road through what is now Burleson County to the Spanish missions among the Texas Indians in East Texas. The first American to visit the area of the future Burleson County may have been the explorer Zebulon M. Pike, who travelled down the Old San Antonio Road to Natchitoches upon his release from imprisonment in Chihuahua in 1807. It is likely that Moses Austin journeyed through the territory of present Burleson County as he traveled the Upper Road from Arkansas to San Antonio de Béxar seeking an empresario contract in the fall of 1820.
Burleson County Region Settled in 1820's
Anglo-American settlement within what would become Burleson County began in the early 1820s. By the mid-1830s, only a few dozen settlers had settled the territory south of the San Antonio road and north of Yegua Creek. The Mexican law that went into effect on April 6, 1830, prohibited further Anglo-American settlement in Texas.
Fort Tenoxtitlán Established in Burleson County Region (1830)
In October of 1830, Fort Tenoxtitlán was established by Lt. Col. José Francisco Ruiz on a high bluff on the west bank of the Brazos, about twelve miles above the crossing of the Old San Antonio Road in what is now northeastern Burleson County.
In defiance of Mexican Government instructions, the Texas-born Ruiz permitted a group of more than fifty Tennesseans led by Sterling C. Robertson to take up residence in the vicinity of the fort in November 1830, while Robertson attempted to validate the settlement contract that his Nashville Company had negotiated with the Mexican government some years earlier. Some of these newcomers took up residence in the settlement that had arisen near the fort; by July 1831 Francis Smith had established a general store in the community. Other settlers, however, scattered through the countryside; many migrated into the Austin colony south of the Old San Antonio Road and awaited confirmation of Robertson's contract.
In August 1832 the garrison was withdrawn from Fort Tenoxtitlán, and the site was abandoned to the nearby American and Mexican settlers. Although the village of Tenoxtitlán in its turn disappeared during the Civil War, it remained the only settlement and trading post within the bounds of the future Burleson County until 1840.
Settlement of Nashville Established on Banks of Brazos
In 1834, when Robertson at last made good his right to direct settlement in what was called Robertson's colony, he opened a land office in Tenoxtitlán–which served as the capital of the colony until the founding of Nashville in what is now Milam County–and began issuing patents to land above the Old San Antonio Road. Among the prominent early settlers in what is now Burleson County were William Oldham, Alexander Thomson, Jr., Joseph B. Chance, John Teal, Isaac Addison, and John W. Porter. Most of these early settlers and their families, like those brought to Texas by Robertson's Nashville Company, came from the Old South, particularly Tennessee, Kentucky, and Alabama. Once in Texas, they set about perpetuating Southern culture and institutions–including slavery. Many brought with them considerable investments in slave property. Gabriel Jackson of Kentucky, for example, who arrived in Robertson's colony in December 1833 and soon established a large plantation in the Brazos bottoms of the future Burleson County, was the owner of 100 slaves.
After the fall of the Alamo in 1836, the residents of the area joined the mass flight from the advancing Mexican army known as the Runaway Scrape. As news of the battle of San Jacinto spread, however, the settlers quickly returned to find their homes untouched. Growth of the area accelerated after the establishment of the Republic of Texas. But as white inhabitants became more numerous in the sparsely populated territory, Indian raids became more frequent. The settlers often responded to rumors of impending hostilities by taking refuge at Tenoxtitlán or within the fortifications at the home of William Oldham, in what is now southern Burleson County. But Tenoxtitlán itself became a favorite target of Indian attacks. The last fatal raid within the bounds of the present county occurred in May 1841, the final occasion on which the white population repaired to the forts for defense. With settlement expanding westward and northward, Tenoxtitlán became increasingly inaccessible, and its protection grew less important as the Indian menace diminished rapidly during the 1840s.
Population increase soon produced demands for the organization of local government. In 1830 the territory of present Burleson County south of the Old San Antonio Road was included in the Precinct of Viesca, while the area of the future county north of the road, part of Robertson's colony, was incorporated into Viesca Municipality. In 1835 the region north of the road became part, first, of Milam Municipality, and then of Milam County, after the foundation of the republic in 1836. The territory south of the road and north of Yegua Creek was initially included in Washington Municipality, organized in 1835, and then in Washington County in 1836.
Burleson County Established in 1846
In 1840 the area of the present county south of the Old San Antonio Road was transferred from Washington to Milam County. A small settlement and trading post established by Lewis L. Chiles by 1840 at the place where the Old San Antonio Road crossed Davidson Creek in what is now Burleson County was chosen to become the seat of the newly constituted Milam County. A new townsite, soon known as Caldwell, was platted in 1840 by George B. Erath. Finally, on March 24, 1846, the state's First Legislature established Burleson County, named for Gen. Edward Burleson, and designated Caldwell the county seat. The county acquired its present boundaries in 1874, when its western reaches beyond East Yegua Creek were given to the new Lee County, thus reducing Burleson County by some 31 percent.
Caldwell Becomes Transportation Hub in the 1850's
By 1856 post offices had been established in the communities of Caldwell, Brazos Bottom, Chance's Prairie, Lexington (now in Lee County) and Prospect. Caldwell became a transportation hub and by 1856 had attained a population of 300; until the early 1850s all county roads ran through the town, which was the site of one of the region's finest hotels, the Caldwell House. Census returns at the end of the final antebellum decade describe three county residents as holders of property worth at least $100,000 each; a fourth, Judge A. S. Broaddus, immigrated from Virginia in 1854 with 120 slaves.
Caldwell was designated county seat in 1840 when the Texas Congress annexed all of Washington County north of Yegua Creek to Milam County. The proposed town, surveyed by George B. Erath and named for Mathew Caldwell, was laid out parallel to the Old San Antonio Road. Caldwell served as the county seat of Milam County until Burleson County came into being in 1846.
The town had a population of 300 prior to the Civil War and it's prosperity was reflected in its brick courthouse. During Reconstruction, a company of State Police was stationed in Caldwell. Postwar Caldwell had its own newspaper, bottling works and an ice plant.
The Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe Railway built through in 1880 and in 1905 six passenger trains arrived daily.
The first tax supported public school was built in 1882.
Company E of the Texas National Guard, was headquartered in Caldwell became part of the Thirty-sixth Infantry Division. Many soldiers of this unit were captured at Salerno, Italy, in 1943 and remained POWs until the war's end.
Early-Day Sheriff of Caldwell and Confederate Soldier
One of the early day settlers in Caldwell was John Wyatt. John M. Wyatt, who was born in Kentucky in 1814. He came to Texas in 1839, where he worked as a farmer. In 1845, he married Martha Chance, daughter of Captain Joseph Bell Chance. They had eight known children: Thomas A., James A., William C., John A., Ora B., Anna E., Arthur, and Augustus W.
John, Martha and their children were settled in Burleson County, Caldwell, Texas in 1860, where John was County Sheriff. He was elected on August 2, 1858, and then re-elected August 6, 1860, and served until August 4, 1862. His second term explains his late entrance into the Civil War. John is only shown as serving for the years of 1864 to 1865. He mustered into Company H of Showalter‘s Brigade also known as 4th Regiment Arizona Brigade and Baird‘s Regiment Texas Cavalry. This regiment was formed in New Mexico and Arizona, yet the enlisted men came from Texas. Wyatt enlisted at Camp Hood and was absent for the months of October - December of 1864, when he was detatched to bring in absentees. Wyatt entered and left the service as 1st Lieutenant, yet it is not known why Captain is inscribed on his headstone.
After the war, Wyatt returned to Burleson County, this time working as a farmer. However, he ran for Sheriff of Burleson County once more and was elected on February 15, 1876, then re-elected November 5, 1878, serving until November 2, 1880. Eleven more years passed and it was not until April 24, 1901, that he entered the Confederate Men‘s Home in Austin, Texas. He died there, a little over seven years later on May 6, 1908, and was buried in the State Cemetery the following day.
End of Civil War Brings Caos to Burleson County
Reconstruction in Burleson County was a violent and chaotic. Outlaws and veterans unwilling to resume a peaceful life–took advantage of the confusion, and several bands of cattle rustlers and horse thieves operated freely under the protective cover of the heavy woods in the county, along the Yegua and its tributaries. The notorious Sam Bass and his gang reportedly lived in this area for a time. Some communities resorted to vigilante justice in an effort to curb the lawlessness; the citizens of Yellow Prairie, for example, broke up one gang by capturing and lynching five of its members.
A Ku Klux Klan cell emerged in the county to engage in night-riding and other acts of intimidation aimed at freedmen and their allies. Law-enforcement officials were helpless to bring the perpetrators of such crimes to justice.
By 1867 the Democratic party regained power in Burleson County and remained in control of the government for the next 120 years.
Economic recovery from the Civil War was slow. From the mid-1860s through the end of the 1870s county stock raisers drove their cattle northward along a branch of the Chisholm Trail that passed through the Deanville area in western Burleson County and on to Waco, following the Brazos River.
Cotton culture boomed in Burleson County in the 1880s giving rise to major growth throughout the county.
BIBLIOGRAPHY: S. G. Reed, A History of the Texas Railroads (Houston: St. Clair, 1941; rpt., New York: Arno, 1981).
Malcolm H. Addison, Reminiscences of Burleson County, Texas (Caldwell, Texas, 1886; rpt., Caldwell: Caldwell Printing, 1971). Burleson County Historical Society, Astride the Old San Antonio Road: A History of Burleson County, Texas (Dallas: Taylor, 1980). Alfred Henry Conrad, Land Economic Study of Burleson County, Texas (M.S. thesis, Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas, 1949). Roy Sylvan Dunn, "The KGC in Texas," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 70 (April 1967). Otto Charles Rode, A History of Burleson County in the World War (M.A. thesis, University of Texas, 1929). Thomas Clarence Richardson, East Texas: Its History and Its Makers (4 vols., New York: Lewis Historical Publishing, 1940).
Texas Historical Markers in Burleson County
1. Black Jack Baptist Church - 12 miles NW of Caldwell on SH 21 W, then FM 908 NW. Church is on CR 301 0.1 miles E. of 908.
2. Brazos Bottom Baptist Church Cemetery - NW of Snook on FM 2039, then W. on CR 254
3. Brazos River Levee - SH 21 E of Caldwell for 11 mi.; turn on FM 50, 1.3 mi S of SH 21
4. Broaddus, Andrew S., Judge - NE Corner of SH 21 & FM 1362 Intersection in Cooks Point
5. Burleson County --Courthouse Square Echols & Buck Street, Caldwell
6. Burleson County C.S.A. - Courthouse Square, Fox & Main, Caldwell
7. Burleson County in the Texas War for Independence - Courthouse Square, Fox & Main, Caldwell
8. Caldwell Masonic Cemetery - West end of 12th St. (Marker in Front of Chapel), Caldwell
9. Caldwell National Bank - 129 W. Buck (Corner of Buck & Echols), Caldwell
10. Caldwell Volunteer Fire Department - 206 Hill Street @ Mustang St., Caldwell
11. Caldwell, City of --Courthouse Square @ Buck & Echols St., Caldwell
12. Caldwell, City of - Caldwell--SH 21 @ Gray St. in front of public library
13. Caldwell, City of - Caldwell--Corner of Hill & Buck on City Hall building
14. Camino Real, Site of - SH 21 9.4 mi. W. @ Roadside Park
15. Chisholm Cattle Trail, An Arm of The - SH 21 W. of Caldwell about 8 miles. Marker is on N side of highway.
16. Chriesman - about 6 miles N. of Caldwell on FM 1363
17. Chriesman, Horatio - About 6.2 mi. N. of Caldwell, take CR 328 east ½ mile to cemetery.
18. City Cemetery, Old - Buffalo @ Thomas St., Caldwell
19. Cooks Point - NE Corner of SH 21 & FM 1362 Intersection, Cooks Point
20. Cooks Point United Methodist Church - SH 21E about 5 mi. from Caldwell to church
21. Deanville - Intersection of FM 111 & FM 60
22. Duewall House - 4 mi. E of Caldwell, on SH 21E
23. Elizabeth Chapel Methodist Church - SH 21 5 mi. E. of Caldwell to Roadside Park
24. First Baptist Church - Corner of Thomas & Mustang St., Caldwell
25. First Presbyterian Church of Caldwell - 600 Block of Buck St., Caldwell
26. First United Methodist Church of Caldwell - 306 W. Fox St., Caldwell
27. First United Methodist Church of Somerville - 11th & Ave. D, Somerville
28. Fort Oldham - FM 1362 near intersection with CR 226 about 2.5 mi. SW of Cooks Point
29. Fort Tenoxtitlan - About 5 mi. E of Caldwell--SH 21 (In Roadside Park)
30. Frenstat Cemetery - FM 2774 & CR 406,at church
31. Gary, Thomas J. - 8th & Ave H, Somerville
32. Giesenschlag Cemetery - FM 60, 2 mi. W of Snook, take CR 271 about ½ mile N.
33. Harvey House - SH 36 at Somerville Museum
34. Henslee, Lee W. - Masonic Cemetery, 11th & Hall St., Caldwell, (marker is in block 4)
35. Hood's Texas Brigade, 1906 Reunion - SH 36 at Somerville Museum
36. Kraitchar, Jr., Thomas, House - 200 E Buck St. at Porter St., Caldwell
37. Lake Somerville - At 8th & Thornberry in front of U. S. Army Corps of Engineers office @dam and Lake Somerville, SW edge of Somerville
38. Lone Oak Baptist Church – FM 60E
39. Lyons - SH 36 in front of Community Center, Lyons
40. Lyons Methodist Church - Southern Oaks Drive & Pecan Drive (1 block W of SH 36), Lyons
41. Macedonia Hix Baptist Church - Hwy 21 E of Caldwell, take FM 2000 N. about 13 miles to church
42. Masik, Josef - From Caldwell take SH 21 E about 2.5 miles to CR 208. Go S. about 9/10 mile to bridge over RR tracks. Turn W. on trail just before bridge. Go through gate into private pasture to cemetery in trees in SW corner of pasture.
43. Mitchell, John – Courthouse lawn, Caldwell
44. Moseley's Ferry - Take SH 21 about 10 miles E of Caldwell. Marker is between FM 50 and the Brazos River Bridge on S. side of highway.
45. New Tabor Brethren Church - From Caldwell, take FM 166 about 2.1 miles E to CR 225, go N about 0.8 miles to church.
46. New Tabor Cemetery - From Caldwell, take FM 166 about 3.5 miles NE.
47. Oaklawn Cemetery - On SH 36, Northern edge of Somerville at intersection with CR 422
48. Our Lady of the Holy Rosary Catholic Church - 7 mi. S. of Caldwell, on SH 36 then W on FM 976 to FM 2274 then S. 0.8 miles to church, Frenstat
49. Porter House - 4.5 miles NW of Caldwell on SH 21, then 5.5 miles N on CR 324. Private property.
50. Providence Baptist Church - 7 miles SE of Caldwell on FM 166 then S. ½ mi. on CR 243
51. Providence Cemetery - 7 miles SE of Caldwell on FM 166 then S. ½ mi. on CR 243
52. Reeves-Womack House - 405 W. Fox St., Caldwell (Corner of Fox & Harvey)
53. San Salvador Mission Church - Take SH 21 11 miles E. of Caldwell to FM 50. Go S. about 2 miles to CR 286. Go W. about 0.5 mi. to church.
54. Snook – Intersection of FM 2155 and Spur 2155
55. Snook Cemetery - from SH 60, then south 2 miles on FM 2155
56. Somerville - On SH 36, at Somerville Museum
57. St. John's Lutheran Church - Intersection of FM 111 and FM 60 in Deanville
58. St. Mary’s Catholic Church – 500 W. OSR, Caldwell
59. Thomson, Alexander -Community Center in Chriesman
60. Warren Lodge No. 56, A.F. & A.M. - West Buck Street (Masonic Lodge), Caldwell
61. Waugh Campground - From Caldwell, take SH 21 E about 1.5 miles to FM 2000. Go North about 3.5 miles to marker on E side of road.
62. Woods' (J. L.) Undertaking Company - 511 8th St., Somerville
63. Yegua Creek - On SH 36 just South of Somerville in roadside park on W side of highway.
64. St. Mary’s Catholic Cemetery – 500 OSR, Caldwell
65. Snook Brethren Church – in Snook
1936 Centennial Markers in Burleson County
Gus Brinkman, Another Deanville Businessman in the 30's
Another prominent settler in early-day Deanville was Gus Brinkman, born on June 6, 1893, to Mr. and Mrs. A. F. Brinkman in the Birdsong community of Burleson County. Gus lived and farmed in Birdsong until 1930 when he bought the cotton gin in Deanville. Gus was the oldest of a family of fourteen.
In 1931, he moved his family to Deanville. He acquired the water works and furnished water to the residents of Deanville. As the years went by, he added other businesses such as house moving, grist mill, well drilling, and shipping wood. He employed from four to ten men besides his own sons, depending on the season. Gus became a director of the Deanville First State Bank in later years.
Gus and New Bride. Gus married Emma Fojtik on July 31, 1913 at Galveston, Texas.
Photo of Deanville Blacksmith, John Maresh Jr. (Center) in training under C. Kaltwasser Blacksmith and Wheelwright
Photo of Deanville Blacksmith, John Maresh Jr. in his Deanville Blacksmith Shop
Photo of John (Jay) Cameron Maresh of Deanville hard at work in his grandfather's profession.
As a farrier, John Maresh provides essential hoof care services for the horses under his care including the trimming and balancing each horse's hoof for precise fitting to the shoes. Unlike his grandfather, Jay Cameron's blacksmith shop is the back of his pickup truck.
Deanville Train Depot
Deanville Street Scene in 1916. Blacksmith and Drug Store
1. Burleson County - SH 21 and 36 Intersection, Caldwell
2. Chiles, Lewis L. – Grave Marker at Old City Cemetery, Buffalo Street in Caldwell.
3. Fort Tenoxtitlan – Off FM 1362 and CR 338, no public access available
Scenes and Markers from Caldwell, Burleson County
Burleson County Courthouse in Caldwell, Texas.
Burleson County Historical Marker near Courthouse
Burleson County Historical Marker near Courthouse
Burleson County Historical War Memorial near Courthouse
Burleson County World War II Memorial near Courthouse
Caldwell Masonic Cemetery
Caldwell Water Tower
Early Day Photo of Caldwell Lutheran Church
City of Caldwell Historical Marker
John Mitchell Historical Marker
St. Mary's Catholic Cemetery, Caldwell, Texas.
St. Mary's Catholic Cemetery, Caldwell, Texas.
St. Mary's Catholic Cemetery, Caldwell, Texas.
Yesteryear's Antique Mall, Caldwell, Texas.
Yesteryear's Antique Mall, Caldwell, Texas.
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