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Friday, July 9, 2010

Very early HAYS COUNTY TEXAS history

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From Hunter's FRONTIER TIMES MAGAZINE, Feb., 1941

We are compelled for the sake of space to restrict ourselves to the hills of Hays County and not to trespass on the lowlands. The International and Great Northern Railroad approaches the foothills very closely and we shall not cross the track in our observations.

Ninety per cent of the county is in the hills, but the heavy voting strength lies in the black land section. The first white settlers came to the county in 1846, the same year the town of Fredericksburg was founded. Others came in 1847 in large numbers. General Edward Burleson was representing the district in the State Senate and he introduced the bill to make the district a county. The bill was passed on March 1, 1848, creating Hays County.

On August 7, 1848, the first election was held and the following officers elected: John Kirby, sheriff. E. Erherd, county clerk. W. E. Owens, district clerk. Henry Cheatem, chief justice. N. F. Owens, tax assessor. At the same election Sheppard Colbath, C. R. Johns, A. E. McDonald, and U. A. Young were elected county commissioners.

General Ed Burleson moved to the new county and built his home on the hills overlooking the valley of the San Marcos River. This house was a double log cabin on the highway between Austin and San Antonio. It was, for a long time, the stopping place of travelers. General Burleson had served his country nobly and the county of Burleson was created and named in his honor. He was born in 1798 and died in 1851. During his life he was a Senator in the Third Congress of the Republic of Texas, prominent leader throughout Texas, Vice President 1841-44 of Texas Republic, fought in the Battle of San Jacinto, and was State Senator when he died. He also led the Texans in the famous Plum Creek fight against an over-whelming number of Indians. He should be known as the father of Hays County because it was largely through his influence that the county was created. His life is a fascinating story of pioneer grit, of exalted courage, and of lofty character. He left a heritage to Texas far richer than its natural resources—its gold, silver, or oil—that of a good name. The writer is almost forced to quote the advice of old Polonius to Laertes :

"Good name in man or woman, dear my lord, is the immediate jewel of their soul... but he that robs my good name fetches from me something that not enriches him but makes me poor indeed."

In writing an article on the history of the heroines of the hills in Hays County, one would like to take up the women of the Burleson clan, limiting the whole article to their acts. In fact, a large part of any history of Hays County would have to deal with the Burlesons.

I must again remind the readers that this is a sketch primarily of the heroines of the hill part of Hays County, and incidentally, I am forced to drag in some men, because they married these women. Emma Kyle was born in Hinds County, Mississippi, April 8, 1832, and died in Hays county Texas, February 5, 1877, at the age of forty-five years. She was married to Major Edward Burleson on February 15, 1854, in Hays County, in the foothills of the hill country. I should add here that Major Edward Burleson was the son of General Edward Burleson, the man who fought with Sam Houston, thus making a clear distinction between General Ed and Major Ed. Major Edward B. Burleson was horn in Tipton, Tennessee, November 30, 1826, and died in Austin, Texas, on May 12, 1877. He died 96 days after his wife's death. The marriage of Emma Kyle and Major Edward Burleson was one of the most romantic and peculiar that has happened in Texas. At that time, however, lie was not a major, because he won this title during the Civil War. He was only Ed Burleson, a son of General Burleson. Major Ed was 28 years old, and his wife was 22, when they married. They were married late in the afternoon and rode to Bastrop the next day.

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Edward Burleson was rather independent in his youth, and had been in love with Emma Kyle for seven long years. But Emma kept putting him off. Finally Ed made up his mind to end the matter one way or the other. One day he rode up to the Kyle home, near the present town of Kyle, and told the lovely Emma: "Now, you can either marry me or I am gone for good. " She knew he had the Burleson determination in his eyes. He told her he would come back the next morning and bring the marriage license from San Marcos. Next day he came to the Kyle home with the license and the Methodist preacher. Emma then went and told her mother that she intended to marry Edward Burleson. The father was away from home, and the mother put her foot down on the marriage and issued her final decree: "Emma, you can't marry at this house without your father's consent." Edward spoke up: "Let 's go over to my mother 's house and be married there. " Colonel Kyle had given his daughter Emma a splendid horse, which was her favorite riding horse, and the young couple rode to the Burleson home. Mother Burleson, who was a spitfire, inquired: "Why didn't you marry at Colonel Kyle's?" Emma answered: "Father wasn't at home." Edward said: "We just came here to be married." Grandmother Burleson issued her final decree: "If Mrs. Kyle didn't approve of it, because your father’s not here, I am not going to approve of it either." Edward said to Emma: " Come on. " It should have been said that when they left the Kyle home, Emma said to her little brothers: "Come on, boys, sister is going to be married."

Then they all mounted their ponies, and the whole cavalcade rode to the Burleson home. Here, told by Grandma. Burleson that they couldn't marry there either, the ardent young couple, thus turned away from the Kyle home, were not permitted to marry in the Kyle home or in the Burleson home. There happened to be living between these two families an old lady by the mane of Aunt Sooky Holt. She was kind to everybody, and was worshiped by young and old. She lived in a log cabin with a dirt floor. When the bridal party rode up and announced their mission, Aunt Sooky said: "Get out and come in. I want to see you married before you leave here." Thus Edward Burleson, whose father had fought at San Jacinto, and Emma Kyle, the mother of a future member of a President's cabinet, were married in a mountain cabin in the hill country on a dirt floor. They walked out of the cabin man and wife, but when they came to the horse block, Edward said to Emma: " Don't get on that horse. " Emma replied: "Edward, this is my horse. "Edward replied: "I don't want any-thing of Colonel Kyle's but you, and I've already got you." He fixed the bridle reins on the horse, turned it loose and gave it a cut across the hips with his quirt, and started it back to the Kyle ranch. Emma's four little brothers overtook the horse and led it back to the Kyle home. Emma got up behind Ed on his horse, and they spent the night at some neighbor's house near there. The next day Ed gave Emma another horse, and they fled away on their honeymoon horseback, across, the country to Bastrop. Here they spent one or two years, and their first baby, Edward Claiborne, was born on August 25, 1855. Edward looked at his offspring and issued his decree: "Don't take. my baby to the Kyle ranch." However, time and common sense will heal all wounds. Somehow, Emma’s father or mother saw the grandchild, and it was love at first sight. That grandchild united the two families, and reconciled both sides of grandparents to the marriage.

Before the second child was born, little Edward Claiborne Burleson enjoyed what amounted to adoration from both the Kyle and Burleson families, and peace was restored completely and fully, after which some-one in the Kyle family gave little Edward a small Bible.

Major Edward Burleson had bought a tract of land at the head of the San Marcos River, about two miles above visible flowing water. Here, in 1856, Ed and Emma settled in a rock house at Sink Springs. The tourists can easily find this famous old home by traveling about 2½ miles from San Marcos on the San Marcos-Kyle road, and turning to the left on what was formerly called the Sink Springs road and is now called the Limekiln road. A more beautiful site could not have been selected. It is a natural cove, or valley, that opens up towards the southwest. It is really a prolongation of the San Marcos river, but here at the Burleson farm the river sank beneath the surface and was not visible, crossings its way through homeycomb limestone rock. The site for the Burleson home was on a natural flintrock foundation. Here Major Ed and his wife Emma built their stone house with no architect's plans, and nothing but their own. It was built by unskilled laborers who were devoted to Marse Ed and Miss Emma. When the Civil War came on, Ed Burleson and five of the Kyle boys all joined the Southern Confederacy. Grandmother Kyle, who did not permit the couple to be married without the father's consent, was intensely religious. She went into a cave on the Blanco river each day and prayed for her five boys, who were fighting for the Southern cause. Then the war was over, and the soldier boys came back. The Yankees came in and advised the young negroes to leave, and the only negroes left were the old and decrepit and those who would not desert parse Ed and Miss Emma for any freedom or emancipation that could be conferred upon them.

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Here at this home Emma Kyle brought into the world ten children, as follows : Edward Claiborne, born August 26, 1855, died January 24, 1863; John William, born August 29, 1857, died July 1, 1927; James Glenn, born August 1, 1859, died September 10, 1915 ; Ford McCulliver, born June 19, 1861, died May 21, 1887; Albert Sydney, born June 7, 1863, died November 24, 1937; Kyle, born August 8, 1865, died November 5, 1866; Edward, born July 17, 1867, died September 1, 1873 ; Emma Kyle, born August 2, 1869 ; Lily Kyle, born August 2, 1871; Mary Kyle, born December 14, 1873, died April 3, 1923. At the Burleson home the couple lived in complete happiness, and here the wayfarer found plenty to eat and a bed to sleep on. Nuns and priests of the Catholic Church, old Texans, tramps, and any white traveler found a place to stay all night at the Burleson home. One peddler by the name of old Melaski dealt in pots and pans and bought hides. He was a great friend of Colonel Burleson, and stayed the night whenever he was in that section of the country. He amassed a fortune in buying hides that were cured and handling them. Naturally, the smell was not always conducive to good society. When they would see old Melaski coming in his wagon, someone would call out to Ed's old body servant by the name of Pappy : "Pappy, if you and Big Bob let Mother smell old Melaski tonight, I'll shut you up in the cotton-seed house." The darkies were very skillful. When the wind changed so that it would convey the smell to the house, the big negroes would move the wagon around to the other side of the house. There were few newspapers, and old Melaski gathered all the news and gossip in the country, and the family would gather around after supper and make him talk until late at night, telling the gossip and news of the day, and the happenings in the other neighborhoods.

Major Ed Burleson kept a book of accounts and a list of those to whom he had loaned money. An iron chest served as a bank, and one entry reads as follows: "B. Melaski—not a scratch of pen between us. $10,000. gold. Paid. “By another name appeared these words : "Too much white in his eyes. " After another name : "White wheat eyes too close together. " Others were called by such names as "Bad Egg, " "Bad Injun," etc., showing that Ed Burleson was a good judge of human nature.

When they lived at the old home, Mrs. Ed Burleson would often go into San Marcos to do her trading and shopping, and would take some of her children with her. When she would take Emma, the negro servants always took along an extra outfit of clothes. Emma's personal body servant was named Hester, and she was supposed to look after the child while her mother was making purchases. But Hester got into a conversation with some negroes from other plantations on the streets of San Marcos, and forgot about little Emma. She was about six years old, and all dolled up within an inch of her life. She heard a negro man ask the store-keeper : "What shall I do with that sugar in the bottom of my barrel of molasses? " Emma went out, saw a scoop in the barrel of dry pans, took the scoop and passed out "molasses candy.” Emma's mother inquired of her whereabouts of Hester and Mr. Johnson, the storekeeper, who replied that they did not know. When they fond little Emma, she was covered in molasses from head to foot. They rolled her up in some unbleached domestic, like a mummy, until they got her home. Mrs. Burleson had a new buggy, and didn't want to get it sticky with molasses. Big Bob, who kept the hides wagon of old man Melaski out of smelling distance of the house, was the driver of her hack. Major Burleson never let his wife drive horses, but he furnished her with two spans of carriage mules.

Then came that fateful day when Emma Kyle Burleson sickened and died on February 5, 1877. She had replenished the earth with ten children. Little Emma was only eight years old when her mother died. Major Ed Burleson took no interest in anything— business, farm, stock—but said to his friends that he didn't want to live any longer. And in 96 days after Emma's body was buried in flays county soil, her husband went into the great beyond. The youngest child was only four years old. It will be noted that the first seven children were boys, and then came three girls, two years apart.

Tom Sneed, a brilliant lawyer, had married a daughter of old General Ed and was therefore a brother-in-law of Ed Burleson. He immediately took charge of the estate and became guardian of the children. He placed Emma in the St. Mary's school at Austin, where she stayed for thirteen years, until she was twenty-one years old. She is living today, hale and hearty, and takes great interest in public affairs. When the route of the International and Great Southern railroad was discussed, Major Burleson bought a large tract of land, and tried to induce the railroad to come through this land; but failed.

To illustrate the devotion of Major Ed Burleson to his wife, Emma, it is related that on one of his visits to town he bought three pieces of silk for the three women in the household, and told his wife she could have her choice. The three women got into a disagreement about the pieces of silk, and when Major Burleson came home, the story was told to him. He called to his brother-in-law: "Get your horse and Lou's horse and go. Mother is cock of this walk. She bosses me and everybody that crosses this threshold. Get your horse and never enter this door again."

At the end of the Civil War came a few luxuries. Lincoln coffee came in. The Burleson family was the first in Hays county to have a bath tub. The bath tub was hauled from old Indianola, and that bath tub is now in existence, used for a horse trough, It was placed in the front yard, and a form of bath house was erected around it. The dairy was under the same roof, with a partition between them. The major raised many hogs and cattle, and when the hog-killing time came after the war, the kids had a vacation and everyone wanted to help.

The stage from Austin to San Antonio passed right by the Burleson home, and nearly always there was somebody stopping and staying all night. There was a company bedroom, and the furniture of that bedroom is still in existence. The father died in May, 1877, and different kin came to the house, and naturally relics disappeared. The three youngest children were girls. Silver and jewels were in the great safe, and Tom Sneed took charge. Until the girls were 21, they didn't have a dime ready cash, but could charge anything at the stores. When they divided the trinkets of the old Burleson household, Emma drew the silver.

When Emma was a student at St. Mary's Academy, the best girls had the place of honor in the front line, and the naughty girls were in the rear, followed by the nuns. Emma relates that she was always by the nuns. She would never wear a hat. At the Burleson home, she had always had a negro servant to dress her and comb her hair, and when she got to the academy, she had to dress herself and comb her own hair, and even make her own bed. In a few days after entering the school, Emma got tired of the job 'of combing her hair. She got hold of some scissors, cut off the braids, and threw them away. The nuns were horrified, and 'they sent for Uncle Tom Sneed. He came in, took one look at Emma, and inquired in a judicial tone: "Did you cut off that hair?" Emma very tartly replied : "Yes, sir." Judge Sneed replied: "Go down to Bob's and have him cut your hair.” Bob was a famous negro barber, and he had quite a reputation for cutting hair. In addition to combing her hair, Emma had to lace her own shoes, and she solved that problem by throwing away her shoelaces. A Mrs. Brown saw Emma, without a hat, marching in the rear of the line of children, and concluded that she was a charity ward of the school. Mrs. Brown was telling another lady about this poor little girl—that she had to walk in the rear of the line without any hat. The friend said: "Is it that little cotton-headed girl? She is a niece of Tom Sneed, and a granddaughter of General Ed Burleson, the hero of San Jacinto."

About the time that Emma Burleson became twenty-one years old, and after she had been in St. Mary's Academy for thirteen years, she was walking through the streets one day and met her friend, Miss Maud Moore of Austin. After the greeting, Emma asked Maud where she was going to spend the winter. She promptly replied that she was going to attend Mary Baldwin seminary in Stanton, Virginia, a dyed-in-the-wool Presbyterian school. For thirteen years Emma had been in a Catholic school, but she suddenly made up her mind that she was going to Mary Baldwin, and go she went. She went to the house of her guardian, Tom Sneed, who was very sick at the time. She walked in and told her Uncle Tom that she was going to Mary Baldwin, and he signed the papers and gave her permission. Miss Emma Burleson has been a factor in public affairs of Texas for over fifty years.

Mountain City was a small town or community a few miles northwest of Kyle. Some relics of the town can be seen to this day on a country road leading out of Kyle, but the modern highways have passed it by and it remains a memory. Near this little town lived a remarkable character by the name of Aunt Sookey Breedlove. She was relatively poor in this world's goods. She had a husband that carried the rural mail and two or three daughters, all living in a little log cabin, happy, cheerful, and contented. It is with "Aunt Sookey" that we shall spend a few moments. She was that rare combination of the Good Samaritan and of Dorcas. She was full of good works and good deeds and many a lonely heart did she make glad and many a. broken heart was healed by the kind words and acts of Aunt Sookey Breedlove. She not only let Emma Kyle and young Edward Burleson be married in her cabin on a dirt floor, but she was daily doing some good. On the day that "Aunt Sookey " Dorcas let Emma Kyle and young Ed Burleson cement their holy vows, she did a• deed that (lid not bear fruit for nearly fifty years later. The offspring of that marriage sat in the cabinet of Woodrow Wilson as Post Master General of the whole United States.

It is related that the elder Dorcas sickened and died near the coast in the holy land near Joppa., and Peter came and knowing of her good deeds commanded her to rise and she sat up. Aunt Sookey died years ago in Hays county, and went to her reward, followed by hundreds of weeping eyes and aching hearts. No Peter came and raised her from the dead. But in the hearts of pioneer men and frontier women, Aunt Sookey still lives and many men and many women in Hays county are better men and better women to good ninety years after she witnessed the marriage of Emma Kyle and young Ed Burleson, on account of some recollections of Aunt Sookey, the Dorcas of Hays county.

Dorcas was also known as "Tabitha." The writer for several months has been peering into the valleys and hills of Hays County, along the Blanco, Onion Creek, and along Stringtown, and at Driftwood. Everywhere he met with some old settlers who, when relaxed, will tell you tales of God-fearing and God-obeying women like Aunt Sookey that lived and wrought in Hays county iii the hills. The writer has been bitten by the history bug and it has given him an incurable malady and he will never die satisfied till he pays just tribute to these women of the hills of old Hays fro m Stringtown to the Pedernales. There was not only the good Samaritan women of Stringtown, but over in the northern part of the county Emma Johnson, wife to Thomas Johnson of Hays, Blanco, and Travis and other counties. There was Mother Kyle, the mother of Emma Kyle, who sent five sons to the Southern armies. Every clay from the time they left until they returned, she went to a certain tree near the Kyle home and there she knelt on her knees on Texas soil and prayed to the God of Battles that the Lord would let her sons return home safe and sound. Five Kyle sons and one son-in-law, Ed Burleson, were in that war and the sun never set on the hills of old Hays county that did not witness this God-like woman on her knees praying for the return of her boys from the battle fields. Her prayers were answered and all of her sons became leading citizens of the State of Texas. And there came the time when Mrs. Roundsavill came to Coronal Institute and wielded an influence that has marked the civilization of Hays County for over sixty years and the writer wished that he had space to pay a just tribute to her memory and services. Her life still lives in the lives of the grand children of her former pupils.

On October 18, 1940, the venerable Sam R. Kone, whose people came to Hays when it was Bastrop, gave a small dinner to a few old timers of Texas. There sat down at his table 429 years of age of experience in Texas. divided as follows : R. M. Alexander, who had his 91st birthday on October 19, 1940; Samuel Reid Kone, 8 5 years; C. W. Moore, 87 years; T. U. Taylor, 83 on January 2, 1941; and Pete Woods 83— a, total of 429. All five had spent nearly their whole lives in the counties around the capitol. For three hours the conversation was free and unrestrained, with no formality, no program. We went from Sam Houston to Jesse James, from Ferg Kyle to Johnson Institute. The whole history of the county be-fore Hays was created, before the Civil War, the return of the soldiers, the birth of the cattle drivers, the birth of different schools, the growth and de-cline of towns and neighborhoods— all these came up in passing remarks. It soon developed that a town was known in the early days long before San Marcos and Kyle were anything but spots on the landscape, and that this town was a factor in the growth of Hays county. This town was five miles long and a furlong wide and known from Austin to San Antonio as STRINGTOWN. It extended from a point two miles west of the court house in San Marcos to the town of Hunter, or from the present western city limits along the highway. The houses were dotted along this highway that skirted the foothills for five miles. It was a settlement of pioneers, many of them kinfolks, all of them neighbors. All had had their rifles in the wood forks above the door; all had their six shooters ready. There were no cook stoves. Every house cooked on the old fire place with its back log, and old Dutch oven called by us a "baker. "Every family had its ash hopper, piggin, churn, and many had their looms —linsey-woolsey was a household term and the men wore “homespun." Shoes were made by a member of the family or by some neighbor. The leather came from the hides of the cattle raised on the ranch and it was tanned at some neighbor's by the old bark process. Every pioneer soon learned the trees in the neighborhood that gave the best available tan bark for the conversion of the raw hide into leather pliable and strong. It is strange that modern science with' al l its electric tanned leather cannot make a product to compare with the old time barked tanned leather. The people of Stringtown not only produced their own clothes and shoes, but raised nearly everything they ate. Stringtown had one street and it was one side of the town. It had no mayor, no marshal, for the simple reason that none was needed. It was one big family from one end of town to the other over a stretch of five miles. They helped each other in time of trouble, and many of the good wives were good doctors for the frontier ailments. In time of death the men dug the grave for their neighbor's dead and acted as pallbearers. There were no undertakers, no hearses, but there was one thing that civilization had not ruined. The minister preached a funeral sermon that referred to the late departed friend. He did not read from a printed book something that would apply to a man in South Africa. as well as to the one in Hays county. It was an individual tribute and he did not refer to the Amelikites.
The people were all honest, traded and bartered, rarely gave a note. In fact, a note was not asked. The asking of a note was to mark a. man as newcomer and not one of the soil. The wayfarer from Austin to San Antonio could always find a place to stay all night. No traveler was turned away or refused food for himself and horse. The horse was part of the man's family. He was at once a luxury and a necessity. The old family horse lived on and became a bread-winner and a means of transportation to the church, the mill, and the market.
Along the one street of Stringtown passed some of the notable men of the west. Sam Houston, General Edward Burleson, Ben Thompson—the noted gun-man, O. M. Roberts, George W. Brackenridge, Jesse James, Frank James and Big Foot Wallace traveled it. At one house in Stringtown they would spend the night, partake of the good home cooking of a pioneer wife and mother, sleep in a feather bed, and the only charge for providing for horse and man was the command: "All we charge is to come again when you are passing this way." The present venerable Sam R. Kone tells of a unique experience. Two young men on the way to Mexico appeared at his father's gate late one evening and asked politely for shelter for the night. They were gladly welcomed. The strangers took supper; stayed all night; ate break-fast : and when leaving offered payment for their entertainment. They were met with the command: "Stop again when you are passing this way." The travelers left on their very fine horses. Young Sam Kone had the honor of taking care of the horses and feeding them. After a few months the travelers returned from their trip to Mexico, but it was noticed that they were riding small mules instead of fine horses. They were entertained as before and later it was found that the Kone family had had the honor of entertaining Frank and Jesse James. The venerable Sam R. Kone has the credit of currying the horse of Jesse James.
The people of Stringtown were Godfearing people, worshiped God, paid their debts, never turned a traveler away, always came to the aid ofa neighbor in distress, and let each worship his Creator according to his own conscience. In the neighborhood were some hardshell Baptists, honest, brave, and true men and women. On one occasion in pioneer days, this denomination had a foot-washing in the little creek that courses its way by the town of Hunter, and the whole town of Stringtown attended. Here in the hole of water in sight of the modern highway from San Marcos to San Antonio each member solemnly washed the feet of his neighbor or brother in the church as a token of humility and devotion. It was a very solemn occasion and made a profound impression on the spectators.

During the summer of 1940 the writer visited the reunion of the old Confeds and pioneers at Camp Ben McCulloch near Driftwood. Here he found a large shed well constructed many camps, many campers, and a well organized community almost on a military basis. A glance at the pro-gram showed him that he was there on the day when the Jennie Burleson unit was in charge of the program. His mind went back to the frail little woman that he had met some quarter of a century before as Jennie Burleson, and he soon realized that it was this little woman of Hays County that was a patron spirit of the pioneer and old Confeds at Camp Ben McCulloch. He was thereby inspired to trace the history of Jennie Burleson. She was the grand-daughter of Gen. Edward Burleson a who was one of Sam Houston's men at San Jacinto and was the leader of the pioneers in the battle of Plum Creek during the clays of the Republic. Her father was David Crockett Burleson, son of Genera] Ed Burleson. IIe served with the old Confeds during the Civil War; had married Louisa Ware and settled near the town of Buda in Hays County. Here they raised a family of several children. While Jennie was in her teens, the wife sickened and died and little Jennie became the mother, the manager, and the head of the household. In the course of events the family fortune had not fared well, and the father and his children were left with a few acres of land that came from the Ware estate. There was no house and no shelter. The father was not strong, and they had no money to hire carpenters or buy lumber for a house. But somehow Jennie secured the lumber, and she told her father that they would build their own house. The father thought the job was impossible, but here little Jennie showed the Burleson grit. She ordered her father to hold one end of the weather boarding in place, while she marked off its proper length, and marked the line to guide the saw. She sawed off the outer to fit the joint and then with her own hands she drove the nails through the weather-boarding into the studding and from this on to the roof, the flooring, the doors, the windows, and soon it was ready for the Burleson family. Neighbors passed by and saw the brave little woman acting as carpenter, joiner, builder; while her father, Crock Burleson, acted as assistant in holding one end of the plank while his daughter Jennie did the carpenter work.

There is a beautiful story about the house "That Jack Built” but in the town of Buda, on its northern border, is a small frame house that is known by old timers in the neighborhood as " the house that Jennie built."
The building of the house was not all. Into the house moved the Crock Burleson family and to provide bread and meat Jennie took a job as clerk in the Birdwell store. Here she learned the arts and technique of a sales-woman. Old timers say that she took to it like a duck to water. She was mother to a small brood, and she did not neglect the amenities of life. A musical club was organized in Buda that suet once a week. Each one was supposed to play something, aid Sister Mary took to the piano and Jennie got hold of an old fiddle and she went at it with all the fire and determination of her grandfather. She made that old fiddle bow fly across thee string and its companions till she could wield the fiddle bow that would make Cotton-Eyed-Joe proud of himself. She took the family, including her father, to the Old Settlers Reunion and the old Confeds at Camp Ben McCulloch. Her father always wore his Confederate grey on these occasions. Not to be outdone or outshone, Jennie got hold of some Confederate grey and made her a complete military outfit of Confederate grey. In this she became the darling of the old Confeds at the camp. This, with her fiddle, completed the conquest. It was this suit of Confederate grey and her fiddle and her skill that made the old Confeds adopt her as a mascot or sponsor. After this she went everywhere with the old Confeds and to all their meetings. After the girls grew up, Mary and Jennie moved to Austin and lived near the Suton Infirmary. Jennie secured a position as saleswoman with Scarborough and Hicks, and her former experience with her natural ability soon made her one of the most effective saleswomen of the staff. Here she worked as she had a way of doing, only asking a chalice to earn her bread by the sweat of her brow.

Many years ago she was made superintendent of the State school in Waco for unfortunate children and here she worked and labored for the unfortunate. It is well here to glance backwards During the month of October, 1940, the writer had a curiosity to see the "house that Jennie built." He made a. trip to Buda and old settlers pointed out to him that neat little cottage on the brow of a email gently sloping hill. Here he gazed at the very identical weatherboarding that was nailed in place by this frail person of indomitable grit and perseverance. He was informed that after Jennie took her family to Austin, the house stood vacant for awhile and a very wise old Queen Bee was mothering a hive on a nearby hill. She saw the vacant house and promptly moved her family in the " house that Jennie built," and went to work to store honey for the winter. She succeeded beyond imagination and had all the sweetness of the flowers of the surrounding hills concentrated in the bee-hive in ' the former abode of the grand-daughter of a hero of San Jacinto. Then came the day when the house was sold and a family of human beings was to move in. Here they found a peculiar situation. The warm weather of the next summer had melted some of the honey and it had flowed over the floor. Nothing but a sharp scraper could dislodge it, and the family to this day remembers the floor that was varnished with honey.

The writer cannot forbear to call attention that the only thing that could have entered the "house that Jennie built" with any degree of appropriateness was a bee. There is a striking similarity between little Jennie and a queen bee. She had everybody at work; she generated sweetness; she built her own house; she was independent; asked no favors; worshiped her God and the old Confeds. A Texas frontier native recently stood by the, "house that Jennie built " and he thought these lines :

Sing to me your sonnets And let your phrases lilt ;
But hold your sweetest notes For the house that Jennie 'built.
Come with me to Buda,
And if thou wilt, I'll show you the modest cottage
The house that Jennie built.
It is no cathedral,
Nor covered with gaudy gilt,
It was once a happy home
The house that Jennie built.
It is upright and modest With silver, gold and gilt,
It has no leaning tilt But none are as sweet to me,
It was home, sweet and happy, As the house that Jennie built.
The house that Jennie built.
Jennie Burleson died in Waco, Texas. Their father fought for Texas, with knife to the hilt, died December 12, 1938, and was buried in the Live Oak cemetery north of the body of this heroic little woman.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Some rare and very early GILLESPIE CO. genealogy

From January, 1941 Hunter's FRONTIER TIMES MAGAZINE article "Heroines of the Hills."


Gillespie county has a unique history in comparison with the other counties of the state. All the other counties were settled from older states —Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, and others. They brought the pioneer customs of the South into the frontier state of Texas. They spoke the same language wherever they went . They came by the same conveyances—'oxteams, horses, or mule teams . They brought the same utensils, rifles, an d many brought the old fiddle . A few brought fire all the way from East Tennessee and kept it going for the thirty days on the trip . But into Gillespie county came a new people , speaking a new language ; and when they met the people in Blanco and Llano counties they found, to them, a strange language. The customs were also different, as were the cooking and the costumes.

An old freighter relates that in the eighties he drove two freight wagon s from Austin to Fredericksburg through the hills by way of Cedar Valley, Dripping Springs and Blanco . When he arrived at Fredericksburg there was only one person there, the sheriff, who could act as interpreter because he could speak German and broken English. Since that date, over fifty years ago, the mixing with other counties and travel have brought the English language into universal use in Fredericksburg, but for thirty years German was practically the only language spoken. A traveler from th e fatherland would have felt at home i n the homes in Gillespie county. The German settler was a homeloving body, and his wife was moreso . They had their festivities and reunions but of the German kind of entertainment. A tourist visiting the museum in Fredericksburg will be struck when he views the implements, utensils, and household effects used by the ancestors of the present inhabitants . Practically all the inhabitants speak English and German fluently, but occasionally some old Grandma has to have her children translate English for her . This article is entirely too short to do justice to this yoeman people. Practically the whole population can be described in one sentence. They were all frugal, honest, industrious; there were no loafers among these people ; they were good neighbors in sickness and health and in times o f trouble; the German-Americans of Gillespie county have been an asset to th e commonwealth of Texas .


In the spring of 1940 the writer at- tended the 94th year Jubilee at Fredericksburg held in the high school building. Here came people from Kerrville, San Antonio, Austin, Mason, and Llano, to witness a portrayal by ing actors the scenes in the history of Gillespie county . We sat entranced at the dramatic skill of old and young. Grey-headed men and women threw their souls into their parts. The writer felt that he was paying a visit on a Sunday afternoon to the "Hermit of the Hills," who was a unique character if there ever was one. Here he saw four couples of elderly people come out on the stage and with pure delight and gusto re-dance the old dances that their grandfathers enjoyed nearly a century ago . They did not call the same dances that you will see and hear at the breakdowns in Bandera, but there was only a slight difference. They swung their "corners," "promenaded," and " balanced all" like the old time settlers along the Brazos, Trinity, and in the piney woods of East Texas . What amazed the writer was the agility these housewives displayed in tripping an d swinging as easy as girls of sixteen, and they seemed to revel in the dance . The men looked solemn, but the old girls handled their feet with the skill of professionals.

To cap a show that was already replete with good acts, several couple s of young boys and girls still in their teens walked out on the stage an d without a single " call " or "prompt" went through the "lancers, " while a young lady behind the screen played the music without a flaw. The dancers threw bodies in the mad whirl o f this old-time dance that had nearly disappeared from festivities . The writer thought, as he watched this Jubilee, that from this town an d county came Louis Jordan, a German- American, who was the first ex-student of the University of Texas t o give his life in France for his native country of the good old U. S . A.


In the early days of the Fredericksburg settlement, the leader of the Germans was very active in developing friendship with the Indians. They expected the white brother and the white sister to feed them when they were hungry and give them horses to ride. It was a common sight in the early days to see a long string of Indians coming into town . The inhabitants soon learned that these Indians all expected the white brother to cook them a hot dinner, and often they unhesitatingly walked right into the kitchen and proceeded to help them- selves to anything in sight. Their desires were not restricted to food and horses, but on one occasion Grandma Klingelhoefer got up early one morning about daylight in the west room of the double-log cabin and started out into the hallway between the two rooms. To her consternation, she saw sleeping quietly on a cot in the hall a big buck Indian, snoring peacefully away, undisturbed and happy. He had applied the peaceful efforts of the German colonists literally, and he had concluded that the white brother really loved the red brother and that the latter was conferring a favor on the Klingelhoefer household by honoring them by sleeping on the cot in the hall. Even to this day, the last klingelhoefer can point out the spot where the big Indian slept and dreamed of the happy hunting grounds . It was not long after this to the time when both ends of that hall between the two big rooms were boarded up and doors secured at night . That same hall exists today, but it has doors and has had for many generations. The spot where the Indian buck took a long quiet sleep can be seen. The efforts of the leader in behalf of peace was too drastic and the red man became too peaceful. In fact, to such an extent that he felt that he had a right to stalk into a white settler's kitchen and take a loaf of hot bread right out of the baker and sit down and eat it as a token of peace .
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The Klingelhoefers were among the first German settlers who came t o Texas and settled at New Braunfels . Shortly afterwards other immigrants came and new locations were sought . The Klingelhoefers came with the second crowd of immigrants . They left Germany and spent several months on the ocean in a sailing vessel, and some of them reported that the ship bucked like a Texas bronco . But the German women and the German men had set their hearts on a new land and a new liberty . They arrived on the Texas coast, and by ox-wagon wended their way to New Braunfels and on up through the hills to the magic valley surrounding what was later to be called Fredericksburg . Into this valley came John O. Meusebach, the advance agent and a trail-blazer. He found a valley of oval shape, some twenty-five miles long east and west, and some twenty miles north and south, wellwatered, and of good soil . Here he led his band of followers, to build a home in the wilderness against the objections of the red warrior .
The Klingelhoefers came with the caravan and settled in what is now the western limits of Fredericksburg. Here they built a double log house , with a hall some seven feet wide be- tween the two rooms . In the early days the end of this hall was open, Here the father and mother settled and raised their family. On the northeast corner of the left side of the road to Harper, on the main street, the traveler will notice a low-setting house wit h a huge grapevine twining along the eaves of the front porch . This is the spot where the Klingelhoefers located ninety-four years ago, and here their children and grandchildren were born . Some of the Klingelhoefer descendants are still occupying the house. The rooms, about sixteen feet square, were built of logs, accurately notched to the corner and fitted into the log below. The roof ran parallel to the road , covering both rooms and the hall. The front porch was built parallel to the road, and the rafters and all the braces were cut out of native timber with the broadaxe, and were fitted to the joints and to the plates by the sturdy work - men. This house will rival any in the state for housing one family for ninety- four years.
The wayfarer will notice some quaint furniture . In the east room a hugh wardrobe is about double the size of the ordinary 1940 wardrobe . It was constructed by hand, and not a machine of any kind touched a piece of the lumber. It has a history like the Klingelhoefer family. Other pieces of furniture will demand the attention of the visitor. Near one corner of the front porch many years ago was planted a grapevine. It climbed to the eaves, twined itself along the rafters and plates, and covered the whole length of the porch. It ordinarily bears a very heavy crop of grapes. The vine was planted by Klingelhoefers, had been cultivated by Klingelhoefer, and Klingelhoefer now plucks the clusters of grapes when they are ripe. Then they extract the juice and convert it into a delightful concoction, that, when poured into a glass, looks like the ripe sun and tastes like the elixir of life, and sends a glow through the human frame that makes a person conclude that Texas is a fine old state.
All around the house is evidence of thrift. The kitchen is on the southeast side, and there are cans and cans of preserves, canned fruit, canned vegetables, dried sausage, bottles of grape elixir, dried pumpkin cut into strips, and many other things. You walk out of the back door through a gate into a large garden that grows prolific vegetables. Even the chickens in the yard seemed to be proud of their ancestry, because they were started generations ago—from hen to egg to chick, and then another generation of chickens. These hens were lazily resting under some fruit trees, wearing an expression that said they were proud of the Klingelhoefers.
Many years ago the house showed decay, and they were forced to plaster the outside and inside walls. The visitor can see no trace of the old logs that formed the bodywork of the ancient structure. But on the front porch , one can look up and see the trace of the axe that nearly one hundred years ago felled the trees that were fashioned into an abode for Klingelhoefers. Recently the writer visited this place for the third time and took with him Dave Dillingham, who at the age of twelve years hauled a load of freight to Fredericksburg in the dead of winter when the road ran by Dripping Springs and Blanco . Here the two old pioneers, the writer and Dave Dillingham, sat in the east room that was ninety-four years old and gazed at the ancient relics and that huge wardrobe. Mrs. Robert Lewis, nee Klingelhoefer, the present houseowner and housewife, brought out the delicious kucen and a bottle of that grape elixir, and the mother, now verging on to three score and ten years, also came in. Fortunately the visitors had with them the old Ben Thompson banjo . The writer ascertained the old settler tunes as played in Fredericksburg seventy years ago, and after finding out what tunes they had heard, Dave Dillingham made the old Ben Thompson banjo wail its story of the derelictions of Cotton-eyed Joe and the beauty of the Buffalo Gals . They were told that the banjo, which had once been owned by President Diaz of the Republic of Mexico, was paying tribute to the Klan of the Klingelhoefers. The visitors left, promising to return later and partake of a square meal, bred in a square house by some women who had always acted on the square, because the blood of the Klingelhoefers flows in their veins .

Mrs: Clara Resseman Feller was one of the original pioneers of Gillespie county, and went through untold hardships, sacrifices, Indian raids, witnessing the murder of her husband . She was born in Germany, December 12, 1832 ; and arrived at old Indianola in 1845, where they remained some 18 months. Her family reached Fredericksburg in the latter part of 1846, the year of the great epidemic . Their first home was in the western part of Fredericksburg, and they found many huts, shacks, tents, and shelters had been erected . The father, John Peter Resseman, became a freighter and hauled goods with two mule teams to Bastrop and went to Indianola and other points. After they had been in Fredericksburg about a year, in the latter part of 1847, the father started to Bastrop after a load of corn, and died on the road.
About this time, 1848, due to the Meusebach treaty, the Indians became very friendly, and would come into town by the droves and hundreds, and expected to walk into any house and be fed. They felt free to take anything. Clara Resseman was a first class cook and bread maker. Flour was very scarce, and once Clara had baked some extraordinary loaves of bread when a big buck Indian walked in, saw the hot bread, and walked off with' it.
Clara was married to William Feller in 1850 when she was 18 years old, and they bought a farm of 200 acres 15 miles west of Fredericksburg . They moved on the place, cleared their 200 acres, paid for it, and had lived on it about 13 years . In 1863 the war was having a distinct effect on Gillespie county. Mr. Pellet' was a bitter opponent of slavery and expressed his views openly. One night a mob appeared at his house, took him an d others by force, shot Peter Burg through the back, and William Feller and Mr. Kirchner and Mr. Blank were hanged not far from their home. It was nothing but mob vengeance. Not long after this it was ascertained that William Feller had bought his land from a rascal who did not own it, and had no title to it, with the result that the Feller family and others lost their land for which they had already paid . After losing the land Mrs. Feller returned to Fredericksburg with a family of children, the oldest only 13 years old . All she possessed was a few household goods and an overdue note due her husband . The note was bought by a friend who paid par value for it, more than it was worth. With this hundred dollars she bought the little place where she lived until she was over 90 years old . This little pioneer home at first had a dirt floor, and it brings to the mind of the writer the dirt floor on which he was born in Parker county.

In 1845 Martin Dittmar, Sr., left his ancient home in the fatherland and with his wife and four children took sail for the United States . After many days and weeks on the ocean, they finally arrived at old Indianola . Mr. Dittmar was taken sick, but he was very anxious to leave Indianola and make the trip to New Braunfels. In a few days several of the teams were started for New Braunfels in the country and Mr . Dittmar made arrangements for his family of six t o make the trip from Indianola to New Braunfels. The laborious and slow trip finally ended, but it was the year of the great epidemic of cholera, and it raged throughout the hill country and other parts of Texas, and Martin Dittmar, Sr ., soon succumbed to the plague, and the widow Dittmar was left with four children, the oldest child, Martin Dittmar, being seven years old. The children were Martin, Annie Elizabeth, John George, and baby Elizabeth. Mrs. Dittmar made arrangements after the burial of her husband to take her family to Fredericksburg. After her arrival, she was assigned the usual allotment of ten acres of land arranged for the German emigrants . Here, the brave woman in 1846 faced frontier conditions where Indian raids were likely to occur. Fortunately, just before, Meusebach, the manager of the colony, had arranged a peace treaty with the Indians, and each side agreed to be very friendly with the other side. They had hardly settled in the new home when the youngest child, Elisabeth, contracted the plague and soon joined her father, and the widow Dittmar was left with a boy nearly eight years old and two daughters . She faced conditions with a brave heart, grit, and determination to make he r home, in the new land. They moved into the suburbs of Fredericksburg. It was a weekly habit for several hundred Comanche Indians to visit the town, and they construed the agreement of friendliness in a very drastic way. They considered that they were welcome to stalk into any woman's kitchen, take her bread and meat, and walk out majestically with all the food in the larder . They had a habit of smelling the bread cooking about noon time and they often timed their visits to fit the taking of the bread from the oven. On many occasions they appropriated the bread while it was hot or warm, and out they walked with the air that they were conferring a favor on the pioneer housewife by deigning to eat her bread . In some cases it was about all the housewife had to eat. The widow Dittmar met these friendly advances of the Comanches with grit and self-denial. Young Martin Dittmar had a chance to go to school b y joining the family of Reverend Rode , a minister of the Methodist church . It was a great opportunity for young Martin, and the widow made every sacrifice to let her son remain in the home of the pious and well educated minister. The widow Dittmar lived her life of usefulness and became a true pioneer of the west .
While in Mason county young Martin met a beautiful young lady by the name of Eckert and within a short while married her, and the young ocuple turned to it with a will . Martin at one time moved to Beaver Creek in Mason county, and here he started his home . He took his cattle from Gillespie county to their new range, but - the cattle proved very patriotic and did not stay in Mason county, but would beat it back to the old home. Young Martin decided that he would let the cattle have their way and they moved back with the cattle, and he made the remark : "The cattle just wouldn't stay on Beaver Creek, so I decided we had better move back with them ." The young couple bought 110 acres of land, started to grubbing and clearing the land. First, they erected a small one-room cabin and this expanded into other rooms, and by the time the widow Dittmar passed away, she saw that her son was well fixed an d well established as one of the pioneer citizens of the Hill Country .

Mary,. Ollie Lock was born and raised in Bexar county, and in the early seventies Billy Peril, known as William A. Peril, succeeded in persuading her that the Hill Country between Kerrville and Harper was an ideal place for a home and he assured her mother that he would build his house "by the side of the spring. " They were finally married, and the y made their 110 mile honeymoon trip on horseback up the Guadalupe river to the new home where she lives today, over ninety years old, robust in mind and body and resourcefulness. When they settled in their home eleven miles north of the present town of Kerrville, there was not a single house or town between there and the Rio Grande. They could travel in a bee line from their house to the Rio Grande and never strike a house. The house was built at the head of a branch that drains into the Guadalupe and the chimney was built on a solid rock that proved to be honey comb. After they erected the chimney, it was discovered that friendly rattle snakes made their home in the caverns under the chimney, and on warm days the snakes would come out and bask in the sunlight. One day two of them sunned themselves on the front porch which had a southern exposure, and when noticed, they were peacefully stretched out on the floor taking a sun bath.
Here Aunt Ollie milked fourteen cows, slopped 39 hogs, and sometime s carried her drinking water 3434 feet from the spring to the house that Billy Peril built " by the side of the spring ." Billy Peril soon acquired the reputation of having the best cured meat in the western part of Gillespie county . The Billy Peril meat was a standard of excellence in the Hill Country, and he had orders long in advance of hog killing-time. Few of the families who bought the Peril meat realized that the hogs were raised, slopped, cared for , and fattened by the hands of Aunt Ollie, wife of William A. Peril . Recently the writer with Dave Dillingham, an old pioneer freighter , 'visited the Peril home and went to the Peril spring, about two-thirds of a mile from the house . Aunt Ollie to this day relates the stories of hog killing time—how they erected the scaffold in the branch below the spring and here wood was collected and the hogshead was placed in an inclined position. On a bitterly cold day the hogs were killed at the ranch house, hauled two-thirds of a mile in a wagon , jerked out and dumped into the hogs - head full of hot water, pulled out onto a table where the hair was scraped off . Strong arms lifted the porker to the scaffold which raised it off the ground . A stick was inserted between the fetlocks and there the carcass swung with the nose several inches off the ground. The hands of skilled pioneer s soon divested with sharp knives the porker from all internal machinery and he was left overnight for the animal heat to be frozen out. All night long guards sat by a roaring fire end guarded the 39 hogs from the coyotes After a few days the carcass was carved into hams, shoulders, jowls, side meat, lard, and all the trimmings were saved for the sausage mill . The writer has participated in several hog killings and one day h e had to shoot 64 hogs and see them carted away half a mile to be strung up. There was no stop for dinner an d every Texas pioneer boy will recall that each claimed the " melt" of certain hogs . Around the big fire this "melt" was roasted to a finish, sometimes salted and sometimes not, but everyone enjoyed hog killing-time . The weather was bitterly cold but a roaring fire would thaw out the thumbs of all hands except the shooter who was over half a mile away and he had to thaw out his hands in his pockets.
Aunt Ollie Peril was often left alone and one night the Indians came, determined to find the fine blooded mar e that was out in the pasture . They chased her over the pasture, and finally hemmed her in the corner by the house in which Mrs. Peril stood alone with her baby. From the darkened house she saw the favorite mare shot with an arrow that ripped her side and caused her death . At one time she drew a bead on the Indian with a shot gun ; but finally concluded that if she killed the chief, the whole tribe would be down on her, burn the house , kill her and her baby . Here she displayed pioneer headwork when she traded a dead horse for a live Indian.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Some rare and very early LLANO CO. genealogy

From J. Marvin Hunter's FRONTIER TIMES MAGAZINE, Jan., 1930.

THE MINUTES AND records of the old Macedonia Baptist church in Llano county, Texas, are found in an old church book which was brought from Missouri about the year 1833 by Rev. John Gibson and Rev. Reuben Gilmore Stone . The book is now in the possession of the writer, who was at one time a member of the Macedonia church.

The names first appearing on the church membership list are John Gibson, James Gibson, Ambrose Y. Stone, Reuben Gilmore Stone, John P. Robertson, James L. Robertson, Mary M. Gibson, Margaret Gibson, Sidney E. Stone, Celia Stone , Mary Davidson, Olivia Catherine Robertson and Abigail Robertson . The Constitution of the Friendship Baptist Church reads : "We, the above named members of the Cannon Church of the united Baptist order and faith, met at Brother John Stone's on the llth day of October, in the year of our Lord, 1845, in Pulaski county, on the waters of the Bag Maries, in the State of Missouri, having previously given ourselves to God and given ourselves to each other to live together in a church capacity to keep up a Godly discipline according to the rules of the Gospel, then proceeded to call on Brother John Chaudon with the help of the two brother Gibsons, all being present, to bring u s into a constitution, we the undersigned presbytery, after the nomination o f the above named members on the day and (late above named, read the articles of faith which was adopted b y the members present, and after prayer , pronounced them Church in the name of the Holy Trinity." John M. Chaudon, an ordained preacher, and the two brother Gibsons, James and John, both ordained deacons.

The articles of faith': "We believe in one true and ever living God, Father, Son and Holy Ghost, and these three are one . "We believe the scriptures of the old and new Testament are the Word of God and the only true rule of faith and practice. We believe in election according t o the foreknowledge of God the Father , through sanctification of the spirit . We believe in the doctrine of original sin. "We believe that man is unable t o recover himself from that fallen stat e he is in and that sinners are justifie d in the sight of God by the impute d righteousness of Jesus Christ being imputed unto them . "We believe that if saints will per - severe in grace that none of these will perish . "We believe that baptism and the Lord 's Supper are ordinances of Jesus Christ and that true believers are the only subjects of them, and the true mode of baptism is immersion . "We believe in the resurrection o f the dead and a general judgment . "We believe that the punishment o f the wicked and the joys of the righteous will be eternal. "We believe . that no minister has the right to the administration of the ordinances but such as are ordained an d in order . “Rules of decorum : Each meeting to be opened by prayer and praise . Time moderator chosen at each meeting if necessary. "Visiting brethren invited to sit with us and have all the privileges o f the church but voting . The fellowship of the church inquired for . "References called for and attended to. "Doors of the church opened for the reception of members. "Voting on the reception of members. "Unfinished business , "Other business"

The old church book does not tell where Rev. John Gibson was born, but he was moderator of the church about 1864, and I believe he was an ordained minister then. His wife was Mary Mallie Lane, and I think they were married in Missouri. The first of the book seems to have been destroyed , but there are minutes of the meetings in Missouri from 1844, one of which reads thus : "The church met the first Saturday in July, 1852, and after worship proceeded to business . Brother John Gibson, Brother Edward Moss, Brother Alexander Powers, Brother Ambrose I. Stone, Brother John H. Powers, Brother Ruben G . Stone were chosen as delegates to bear their church letter to their next Baptist association, and that Brother John Gib - son write the letter and that we contribute two dollars for minutes printed . Then in August, 1853 . "the church sat itt conference, found to be in peace, opened her doors for reception of members and received Sister Mary Gibson by experience and baptism ; then appointed Edward Moss, ,James Gibson , Ambrose Stone and John Powers t o hear their letter to the association, an d Brother Wnt. Canslcr to prepare the letter. " The book states this was the last meeting that Brother John Gibson ever held in Missouri, and I drink h e carne to Texas that fall . Brother .Jint Causlcr was born January 20, 1810, in Pendleton District South Carolina, and as soon as he came to Missouri he and his beloved wife . Eliza, united with the Friendship Clement of' Pulaski county, Missouri, when they met the first Saturday in January, 1850, by letter and Brother r l'ansler was chosen church clerk at that time.

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Rev . John Gibson preached in Missouri trout 18486 until August, 1853, then he and his wife, Mary, and their children came to Texas and Settled on Pecan Creek in the southern part of what is now Llano county, but at tha t time, according to the church book, it was Burnet county. His home was about three miles west of the Colorad o river. Rev. R. G. Stone and family came t o Texas from Missouri with Rev. John Gibson and settled on Walnut Creek in Blanco county, about six miles from Rev. Gibson 's. At the time these sturdy pioneers came to Texas ther e was not a church and that region wa s so sparsely settled it was almost impossible to have a church, but they contented themselves until 1854, when a church was organized, and the first minutes entered in the old church boo k after they brought it from Missour i are as follows : "Burnet county, Texas, August , 1855. We the undersigned met in accordance with previous appointment a t Little Hope on the first Sabbath in August, A. D. 1855, and after an appropriate discourse by Elder Eldridge from Matt. 16-18, 'Thou art Peter, an d upon this rock I will build my churc h and the gates of hell shall not prevai l against it, ' we entered into a solemn covenant which is appended below, an d was organized into the church' by Elder Eldridge and John Gibson, according to the Baptist faith, with members as follows, : John Gibson and wife , Mary M. Gibson ; Joseph Bird and wife, Eliza Bird ; Ruben G . Stone and wife, Celia Stone ; Greenberry Lackey and wife., Polly ; Mary Gibson ."

The church being authorized, proceeded to business by appointing Elder Eldridge moderator and Rev . Bird clerk for the time being, and held a n election for moderator and clerk, an d elected Brother John Gibson moderator and Rev . Joseph Bird clerk . R . G . Stone was chosen deacon . This church must have been located on the east sid e of Walnut Creek in Blanco county, o n the Round Mountain and Fredericksburg road, near where the old Methodist church now stands . Ruben Gilmore Stone settled the place (wher e Charlie Haynes lived and reared hi s family on West Walnut) and Lane Gibson settled about a half mile up West Walnut creek from Rube n Stone ' s. Mr. Hickman Dunman lived down the creek a short distance . In August, 1856, a committee was appointed to see about a meeting house . Esquire Dunman said he would donate five acres of land on Walnut Creek for a church house. It seems the building was not erected for some time, as one of the minutes says in July, 1858, the committee reported that friend James Green, Jr ., agreed to let them have three acres of lan d on the place he bought from James Gibson, Jr., including the spring o n the hill, and that "we agree to build a house 18 feet wide by 24 feet long." The committee was Rev. John Gibson, Wm. Jolly and Wm. Cansler. This land was located on the property Lewi s Green afterward owned, but the Eblig brothers own it now. It is in the northwest corner of Blanco county. A minute written in January, 1859 , reads : "Saturday before the firs t Lord 's Day, January, 1859, church me t at Little Hope and decided to change the name of the church to Pecan Creek, Church." In February they met at Pecan Creek church and called Rev. John Gibson as pastor, so they must have moved from Walnut Creek to Pecan Creek, a distance of four miles. Rev. John Gibson preached all through that section. Their association extended from Austin to Sulphur Springs, now Lampasas, and he has a regular appointment at Oatmeal, in Burnet county, somewhere near Bertram . He walked almost everywhere he went.

The nearest post office was Oatmeal, a distance of 45 miles. My grandfather, James Gibson, lived near his brother, John Gibson, and my mother, Sarah Jane Gibson, then a young lady, corresponded with my father, G. W. A. Latham, who lived at Vienna, Missouri. My uncle would mail her letters at Oatmeal and bring her mail. While we only have an ac - count of his life from 1845 to 1859, h e must have endured great hardships, as he had a large wen on his back. He was a true pioneer minister and scattered seeds of loving deeds along the fertile fields where grain has grow n what he has sown and fruitful harvest yielded. He swam swollen streams , climbed rocky hills, walked through cedar brakes to meet his appointments. Blessed are those servants whom the Lord finds watching. We have not the exact date of Rev . John Gibson's death, but it must have been in July, 1859. The church book states that the Baptist Church of Christ met at Pecan Creek Saturday before the first Lord 's Day in September, 1859 ; and after divine service s there was offered by the moderator fo r the consideration of the church a pre - amble and resolutions, towit : "Whereas, the great Head of the Church has called our much beloved brother and pastor, John Gibson, from his station on the walls of Zion to his reward in heaven ; and whereas, one so devoted to the cause of Christ as a brother an d pastor we feel that we have sustained a great loss ; therefore, resolved, that in our bereavement we feel that our loss is irreparable, being deprived of one we so much loved for his deep piety and earnest zeal, but our loss is his gain ; resolved that notwithstanding our loss is so great, yet we bow in humble submission to the will of God , who in His wisdom has thus bereaved us. Resolved, that we tender to the family of our deceased brother our sincere sympathy and trust that the surviving members of the family may strive to imitate his pious example . Resolved that the foregoing preamble and resolutions be recorded in our church book and a copy be sent to the Texas Baptist with a request that it be published in the same. Read, received and adopted by the church . William Jolly, Moderator . Lewis L. Green, C. C. " Rev. John Gibson married Miss Mary Mallie Lane in Missouri, but I do not know what year. His wife , "Aunt Polly," as she was lovingly called, was a very devout christian and a great reader of her bible . They reared seven children . Aunt Polly was more than 90 years old when she was called to her reward . She helped to rear a number of her grandchildren .

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Lewis L. Green joined the Little Hope Baptist church by letter in October, 1858, and was elected clerk o f the church in July, 1859 ; was ordaine d a deacon in 1867 . He was married to Miss Mary Ann Gibson about 1860 . She was a daughter of Rev. John Gibson. Brother Green was a Confederate soldier and an old pioneer of Blanc o county. He was in a fight with Indian s at Spring Valley near the Perdenale s in Blanco county when George Hardeman .was killed. After he married he settled on Pecan Creek and one day while working in his field he saw some one riding into his field. He thought it was some of his neighbors coming to where he was ; he went to investigate and found a horse he had in the field was missing. Then he discovered that it was an Indian he had seen, and that Indian got his horse. In August, 1861, Miss Madeline Green, a sister to Lewis Green, joined the Pecan Creek church and was baptised by Rev . Joseph Bird . She married Samuel Richards, and both o f them were brave pioneers . Mrs. Richards lived about two miles north from her brother Lewis, and the Indian who stole Lewis' horse came riding near her house on the stolen animal and Mrs. Richards saw him ride into the brush. In August, 1865, the Pecan Creek church held a meeting on Cypress Creek and James Green, Sr ., and his wife, Nancy, were received into the church. Mrs. Nancy Green came t o Texas with Austin 's Colony about 1831. They were the parents of Lewis L. Green and Mrs . Richards. L. L. Green is now more than eighty year s old and lives at Phoenix, Arizona. Mrs. Richards lives at Mineral Wells, Tex .

In October, 1856, Mrs. Jemima Dunman, wife of Hickman Dunman, joined the Little Hope church on recommendation. In September, 1857, Lane L Gibson and wife, Betsy Ann Lambeth , united with the Little Hope Baptist church by experience and were baptised into the full fellowship of the church'. In October, 1857, William Gibson united with the church by letter . These were sons of Rev. John Gibson . In June, 1868, Mrs. William Gibson , who was Sarah Ann Haynes, joined the church . In September, 1857, James Gibson, Jr., and wife, Mary, were dismissed by letter and moved to Cook e county, Texas. James Gibson was killed by Indians in Cooke county. He, too, was a son of Rev . John Gibson .

At a protracted meeting at Little Hope in November, 1858, Joseph Hardin and Miss Irene Jolly presented themselves to the church for membership and were received and baptised . At a camp meeting on Cypress in 3859, four members, were received and baptised, Mary Ann Gibson, Jacob Finley, August Sockleman and Margaret Casner.

In September, 1860, Mary the colored servant of Hickman Dunman was received into the church by letter . This servant was bequeathed to ' Hickman Dunman by the will of Morning Majors, as was also another negro, Terrell . Mr. Dunman kept Mary as long as she lived . Terrell was killed by Indians in Llano county while he was out with an ox team . The oxen were not molested and they came on wit h the wagon and when near Mr. Dunman 's house they walked between two trees and the hubs of the wagon wheel s caught and held them fast. They were found the next day and unyoked from the wagon, but the wagon was never moved from the trees. Mary died at a ripe old age, and was buried beside Terrell at the Dunman and Hayne s cemetery on Walnut Creek, Llano county, Texas.

Mr. and Mrs. Hickman Dunman were early settlers in Llano county and good citizens . Their daughters married some of the pioneers of tha t county. Josephine married John B . Duncan ; Sarah Jane married C. P. Haynes ; Elizabeth married Dick Burr ; Belle married Levi Wight. William Dunman was an old time Texas Ranger a brave and fearless man. In October, 1855, William Jolly an d wife joined the church and in May , 1859, he was ordained to the ministry . Rev. John ,Gibson, Rev . Jacob C . Talley, Rev. Joseph Bird, George Morris and Rev. Isaacs composed the presbytery. Then in August, 1859, Rev . Jolly was called as pastor of the church, serving until May, 1860, when he resigned, and Rev . Joseph Bird was called as pastor, and he served until January , 1862. Sometime (luring the year o f 1861 the church must have given up the meeting place on Pecan Creek, in Blanco county, and moved over to the Cedar Creek school house in Llano county, near the old Slator place. Both places are now owned by Ebling brothers. At that time it was the Privett place.

We have no record of what the church did from January, 1862, until August, 1865 . That was during the gloomy Civil War period. In August, 1865, the Pecan Creek church held a protracted meeting on Cypress Cree k and received five members, James Green and wife, Nancy, Mr. Click and wife, and Louisa Casner, into the fellowship of the Pecan Creek Church . There is no record of the church between 1865 to May, 1867 . The second Sunday in May, 1867, the church cal - led Rev. Rucker as pastor and they had preaching by a Rev . Randolph. The second Sunday in June, 1867, letters of dismission were granted to Rev . R. G. Stone and wife, and they went further west to preach the gospel o f peace . In July, 1867, Lewis Green was ordained as a deacon . In those days there were Rev. Quillian, Rev . Randolph and Rev. Brown, and also Rev. Dolahite of Dripping Springs, who would preach for them some times, but Rev. George Rucker was pastor from May, 1867, t o December, 1869.

There were no minutes from December, 1869, to October , 1871, but in that month a protracte d meeting was held at the old Cedar Creek school house, which was then called Pecan Creek church, and a number of people attended and camped on the ground, among them being Uncle Sanford Backues and Uncle Wiley Fowler of Love Creek, Rev. Bird of Round Mountain, Lewis Green, Dir . Richards, Uncle John Backues and my mother and her children . I believe m y father was in Kansas at that time. Some of the Sirugarts from Roun d Mountain were there, and the Phillipses also attended the meeting. Rev. Bird, Rev. Bell, and perhaps Revs . Tally and Rucker helped in the preaching, as well as Rev. John Gibson's widow. There were four additions to the church', John Keeney Backues, G. Wash Gibson, Sarah J . Latham, and Elizabeth Dunham were accepted and baptised by Rev. Joseph Bird in Pecan Creek . The minutes said they had quite a refreshing shower from the Lord. Rev. Joseph Bird In December, 1871, J. K. Backues was elected clerk and in February, 1872, Rev. Joseph Bird was called as pastor.

I am sure that during all these years when there were no records made of the meetings Rev. Bird was preaching occasionally for them . He was like a faithful horse, if he could not work on one side of the harness he would work on the other. He was 188 FRONTIER TIMES always ready to do whatever he could . The fourth Sabbath in February , 1872, Rev . Montgomery Bell preached, and R. G. Stone was ordained to the ministry, and C. Lane Gibson was ordained as a deacon . Rev. Gilmore Stone and wife, Celia, Brother Lan e Gibson and wife, Sarah Ann, called for their letters so they could organize a church over on Squaw Creek in Gillespie county . Rev. R. G. Stone was pastor and Lane Gibson was a deacon o f the new Squaw Creek church. The records show that the church met at Pecan Creek in April, 1872 . Sister Elizabeth Gibson joined the church . She was Grandpa Gibson' s third wife, and her name before Grandpa married her was Mrs . Elizabeth Rix. John Backues was church clerk from December 1871 to May , 1873. Rev. Bird and Rev . Bell preached some for them and they would often meet and have prayer meeting a t their homes Lewis Green often conducted these services, and sang wit h that great wonderful voice of his . One of the songs which he enjoyed singing was "The Old Ship of Zion . John Backues was my mothers ' step-brother . His first wife was Miss Sally Gibson, daughter of Rev. John Gibson. She died in 1867 and left him with four little children . He afterward married Miss Eliza Stone, daughter o f Rev. R . G. Stone.

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Some of the members of the church were among the earliest pioneers of the country, but their names are o n the list of members, among them being Greenberry Lackey and wife, Polly Shugart, Sarah Privett, Louisa Casner, Maria L. Holdman, and Marie E. Holdman. Sometime during the year 1867 John Green and his mother united with the church and sometime after that William Green and wife joined . In October, 1869, John Green, William Green and wife, and James Green wer e dismissed by letter. Mr. Cady was baptised and granted a letter , the same day. John Green's wife 's maiden name was Miss Belle Harrington . John K. Backues was a brave and fearless man . He killed an Indian in the noted fight on the head of Cypress in Blanco county, Texas . He died in February, 1874 . Ilis brother, Sanfor d Backues, shown in the accompanying picture, was also an Indian fighter an d a good citizen. Sanford Backues died in February, 1875, just one year after his brother died . Sanford Backues and John Backues We had church services at intervals at the old Pecan Creek Church and Cedar Creek School House until as lat e as 1877, but there were no minutes kept of the proceedings. Rev James M. Moore, a Presbyterian minister, who taught our school, would often preach. Rev. Moore married Miss Bettie Moss in Llano county, and afterwards became County Judge. We had no services in a church house for about six years, but as far as we know these are the names of the members of the church when it was discontinued : Jemima Dunman and daughter, Elizabeth ; James Gibson, Sr ., and wife , Elizabeth Gibson ; Lewis Green an d wife, Mary Ann Green ; Mrs. Madeleue Richards ; G. Wash . Gibson and wife, Sarah J. Gibson ; Mrs. Sarah J. Latham.

About 1877 others had died or received letters or were excluded . In the autumn of 1880 the citizens of Pecan Creek community built a good school house . Those who took part in this good work were Samuel Richards , M. R. Sheppard, Mrs . Sanford Backues Wash Gibson, Ben Gibson, Uncle Jimmie Gibson, G. W. A. Latham, J . V. Latham, Dr. V . C. Latham, V . G. Latham, Jr., William Latham, Benjamin Phillips, H . T. Duncan, Hick L . Tate, J . H . Cherry, F. Yeast, Ralph Haynes and George Haynes. Others who did not live in the community but who helped in the work were J . P. Smith and C. P. Haynes of Walnut, Samuel Tate and sons of the Sandy Mountain community, and the Hardins, and Crownovers , Code Phillips, William Strickland and Frank Waldrope . Then on the 10th day of April, 1881 , the following persons met at the Pecan Creek School House and covenanted together to live in a church capacity, : James Gibson, Marion Crownover and wife, Emma J. Crownover ; Mrs . G. W . A. Latham, G . Wash. Gibson and W. G. Ridge, and were then acknowledged by the following presbytery : Elder Dan E. Moore of Willow City, Elde r Joseph Bird, Wm . Cansler, Deacon Willie Grisham of Round Mountain . They adopted the covenant and articles of faith of the Perdenales Baptist Association. Then the church met in conference, when George W. A. Latham was received by experience .

By motion of Brother John Gibson the church was named "Macedonia. " Later Rev. James Bell was called a s pastor. He did not respond, and Rev . Bird supplied . In every time of nee d he was always willing to help . On the fourth Saturday in September, 1881, David Strickland was received by letter and Mrs. David Strickland and Annie Latham Cherry were approved for baptism. On the next day, Sunday, Rev. R. J. McNeil preached and in the afternoon Sisters Strickland and Cherry were baptised in Pc - can Creek by Rev. Joseph Bird . On the fourth Lord 's Day in October, 1881, Rev. R. J. McNeil was chosen pastor of the Macedonia Baptist church. At a camp meeting at Flat Rock Springs, Burnet country, September 19, 1881, Butler Hardin was receive d by experience and baptised by Bro . Isaac Sellars. Butler Hardin came from Tennessee when a young man and married Miss Rufina Crownover. They were pioneers of Blanco and Mason counties, reared eleven honorable children and stood for the best and the things that were worth most in this life . A number of the Macedonia Church people attended the Baptist association at Round Mountain in August, 1882, and enjoyed the fellowship of a number of churches. Rev. McNeil served the church abou t one year, and then Rev. Hillyer was called as pastor.

They had meetin g most every month and were a faithful few until the Lord came with refreshing showers from above. At a camp meeting at Flat Rock Springs, Burnett county, August 1 , 1883, Dr. V. G. Latham and wife, Nancy, Latham (parents of G. W. A . Latham), were received into the fellowship of the Macedonia Baptis t church and were baptized by Rev . Win. Jordan. At the same meeting Miss Rosa Tate was received into the Macedonia church and baptized by Rev. Jordan. Church met at Macedonia secon d Lord 's Day in October, 1883, Preaching by Bro. Bird. G. G. Hardin unite d with the church on recommendation and his daughter, Mrs . A. Hasseltim e Crownover, united by letter . James C. Hardin and wife, Melissie Phillips Hardin, Miss Cynthia Hardin (Butler Hardin 's daughter) James Buie and wife, Vina Crownover Buie, and Thomps M . Gibson were received into the church by experience and was baptized the same day in Pecan Creek by Rev . Joseph Bird into the full fellowship o f the church . Richard Pope and his wife, Josephine, united with Macedonia Baptist church on this same day . Richard Pope afterwards became a Baptist preacher and his wife Josephine was a great help to him as they have traveled as missionaries in Texas, New Mexico , Arizona . They are now located i n California .

On the second Lord 's Day May 1884, G. W. A. Latham was elected to the office of Deacon and ordained the same day, Rev. Beall and Rev. Joseph Bird the presbytery . In July, 1884, Rev. Wm. Harman, a young Baptist minister, preached a t Macedonia. Among others who united with the Macedonia Baptist church during the year 1884 nearly all were children o f the old pioneers, the Hardins, Richards, Haynes, Gibsons, Ropers, Dun - mans, Latham, Yoast, Cherry, and Colliers . Others who came in later were Mrs . R. L. Tate, daughter of G : W. A . Latham ; Mrs. Fannie Tate Lee, Lev i Wight and his wife, who was Miss Bell Dunman ; John T. Hallford and wife , Millie Phillips Hallford ; John L . Barnes, Alonzo Killgore and wife an d daughters ; Theodore Alexander an d wife ; the Ilattons,°the Pattersons an d Mr. C. P. Tuberville. Mrs. Annie S. Hardin united with the Macedonia Baptist church September, 1886. She was the wife of G. Wash . Hardin and daughter of Rev . Arter Crownover and a sister to Mrs . Butler Hardin. Rev. Crownover moved with his family from Fayette county to Wight ' s Creek in Blanco county in an earl y day. He brought some negroes with him. One night the dogs got after something and it ran up a tree . The negroes went to see what the dog s were barking at and they discovered that it was a large panther .

Camp meetings were held in August , 1884, at Flat Rock Springs in Burnet County, at Moore 's Chapel in Llano county, and at Wolf's Crossing in Burnet county. A number of profession s were made at these meetings and several converts united with the Macedonia Baptist church . Among them were Robert W. Hardin, Ben M . Gibson, Ralph W . Haynes and John Roper , who were old pioneers and Indians fighters. Ralph Haynei and Ben Gibson were in the fight with the Indians , on Cypress Creek in Blanco county . Robert W. Hardin, Ben Gibson and John Roper were with the company of people who were going to California from Blanco county, Texas, in 1869 . And were attacked by the Indians on the Pecos river, when Silas Gibson was killed by the Indians . Robert Hardin's wife, who was Mrs. Deborah Gibson Phillips, was with the emigrants when her brother, Silas Gibson, was killed . She united with the church when her husband did and also their daughter , Effie Hardin, who was one of the emigrants. They returned to Texas, from California in 1874 . These meetings were held by Rev. Jacob Talley, Rev . Hallford and Johnson at Wolf's Crossing . At Flat Rock, by Rev. Isaac Sellars, John A . Arbuckle, Rev . McFlory and Rev . Joseph Bird, and the ever faithful layman , Wm. Cansler was present. Rev. Barton and Cal Malloy Methodist ministers, conducted the Moore's Chapel meeting where my uncle Hiram T. Duncan and wife, Harriet Gibson, were converted.

Hiram T. Duncan was reared around old Packsaddle Mountain, where the last Indian fight was fought in Llano county, and the men who were wounded in the fight were brought to his uncle, John Duncan 's, residence on Honey Creek in Llano county, Hiram T. Duncan was one of the men, I think , who rode to Llano town that night after a doctor, for the wounded . Church met at Macedonia, Sept . 1885, on the 4th Lord's Day . Preaching by Rev. E. K. Branch. Brethren R. W. Hardin and Dr . V. G. Latham were ordained as deacons of the church. Eld. Branch and Deacon G . W. A. Latham composed the presbytery . In October, 1891, G . W. A. Latham was ordained to the ministry and Be n Major Gibson was ordained as Deacon . Rev. C. M. Hornburg, Joseph Bird an d Rev. Henry Allsup composed the presbytery. Rev. G. W. A. Latham was pastor for the Macedonia Baptist church for about two years, and if the regular pastor was absent he would always tr y to fill the pastor 's place. He preached at Honey Creek in Llano county and at Comanchie Creek in Blanco county . He moved to New Mexico in 1898 and settled in the Sacramento Mountains where he preached for some time . On October 7, 1908, he and his beloved wife, Sarah Jane Latham, with their many friends and neighbors, celebrated their golden wedding at Mountain Park Baptist church. This is the photograph of them made at their golden wedding. The vest that my father has on is the one he married in and as h e was much larger at his golden wedding than he was when he married he said that he had to have side boards put into his vest so he could wear it to his golden wedding . The waist and cape that my mother has on, she was married in them. My father and mothe r were married sixty-eight years whe n my mother passed away, May 23, 1917. G. W. A. Latham and Wife In 1910, he moved with his family, t o Alamogordo N . M., and while he was not physically able to preach, he attended church regularly until hi s death February 17, 1924.


For more early Llano County Texas History see:
How Llano Came Into its Own
Indian Days of Llano County
Masonic Lodge Uncovers History of Llano

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