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Did you know?

 Pictured below is the Grandview home of merchant and physician G. W. Hayden and his family around 1891. The home was destroyed by the fire in 1920 which claimed 45 businesses and homes.

Hayden home

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Did you know?

 There were seven graduates from Rio Vista High School in 1917. They were Lee Jones, Florence Harvey, Etta Ewing, Ralph Newsome, Bryan Harron, Rosa Belle Hall and Hart Cooper.

grads

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Did you know?

 Wilma Reed, who just turned 90 years old in August, is the very heart of Cleburne. If you need to know anything about the history of Cleburne or Johnson County you can count on Wilma to know. She is a member of the Johnson County Historical Commission, Save Old Cleburne, and many other organizations. The picture below was taken when She was in an elementary school play. Wilma is the third from right.

Wilma

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Did you know?

 In 1943 Orvil Joe Stephens and Douglas Brown worked at the Wofford & Son Grocery on Main Street in Cleburne. The picture below was taken as part of a promotion of the store and other businesses for small independent businesses in Cleburne during World War II. Orvil is standing in the front and Douglas is behind the bread counter.

Woffard

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Did you know?

 In 1909 B. F. Williams ran a grocery store located at 918 E. Henderson Street in Cleburne. In the picture below Mr. Williams is standing by the horse.

Williams Grocery

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Did you know?

 Beginning in the late 1940s the Gospel Aires performed traditional gospel songs all over North Texas. On Sunday mornings, they performed live on KCLE radio in Cleburne. The group of friends performed for more than 20 years. The singers are, from left to right: Alfred Johns, Frank Overton, Jerome McNeil Sr., Clarence Casmer and Moses Jackson. They were members of the Booker T. Washington School class of 1936.

Gospel Aires

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Did you know?

 The Johnson County Pioneers’ and Old Settlers’ Association was organized in 1893. The group of Civil War veterans seen in the photo below met in Alvarado in 1907. Initially held in different areas of the county, the reunion’s permanent location became Alvarado in 1899. A fiddlers’ contest, parade, and baby contest are still part of the annual festivities. . (The photograph and information below are  courtesy of Mollie Mims, author, Images of America Johnson County)

Reunion

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Did you know?

 From 1872-1885 the Friendship School (five miles south of Cleburne) shared a one room log cabin with the local church. In 1907 a new school building was built about a mile north of the original building. Charles Pitts, Sr. taught at the school. His salary was $225.00 per year. The picture below is of the 1899 class.  (The photograph and information below are  courtesy of Mollie Mims, author, Images of America Johnson County)

Friendship school

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Did you know?

 The 1904 Cleburne City Directory listed four boot and shoe makers: A.M. Kirkham Boot and Shoe Maker on East Chambers; J.P. Doyle Boot and Shoe Maker; on West Henderson; W.E. Dean Boot and Shoe Maker on East Henderson and Same Moody Boot Maker on East Henderson.

Shoe maker

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Did you know?

 Established in 1887 by the Goodwin and Sims families and named for Bishop Moses Salter, the first Salter Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church was built on East Chambers Street in Cleburne. In 1918 a new sanctuary was built on Brazos Street where the annual conference pictured below was held.

AME Church

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Did you know?

 In 1879 James and Elizabeth Renfro built their two-story plantation style home in Lillian. They farmed the land and ran four hundred head of horses. The Renfro brand was “68”, signifying the year they first settled on their home site.

Lillian

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Did you know?

 In 1913 the City of Godley passed several new ordinances: no hitching to awning post; no obstructing sidewalk by horses or any other animal; no riding horseback on or along or across streets faster than a common gallop; no driving any automobile faster than 8 miles per hour; curfew law for persons under the age of 18 years to be off the streets, alley or public places in the town of Godley after the hour of 9:00 PM unless accompanied by a guardian or parent. These ordinances were adopted September 1, 1913. The picture below is of the Terry family of Godley in 1876.

Godley

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Did you know?

 The Johnson County Review reported the following news from Cuba, Texas on March 5, 1901: Miss Cathie Goldman who has been quite sick, is convalescing; Albert Wilson is able to be up after being confined to his room for some time; Mrs. John Smith, who has been quite sick for some time, is better; Harrison Seate and Miss Maggie Ballew of Cleburne attended church here Sunday; We had quite an interesting singing at Watts Chapel Sunday evening; Considerable acreage has been seeded to oats in this section; Urban Smith was in the capital Monday; Miss McBride of Cleburne is visiting her son, Henry McBride; The infant of Mr. and Mrs. George Smith is very sick. Cuba was located southeast of Cleburne. (Painting by Mikhail Vasilevich Nesterov)

Cuba sick woman

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Did you know?

 In the early days of telephones a switchboard was operated in Venus by Madison Morton (center) and Ethel Morton. The gentleman to the left is unidentified. Rates were $2 a month for a business line and $1 for a residential line. (This photograph and information courtesy of Mollie Mims, author, Images of America Johnson County).

Venus Phones

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Johnson County Military Heroes of WWII

Thank you for your service

Lt. Col. Fred D. Beans: Son of Mr. and Mrs. Fred D. Beans of Cleburne and husband of Elizabeth Stahle graduated from the US Naval Academy and Marine Base School in Philadelphia, PA. Lt. Col. Beans entered the Marines and served on Makinl Guadalcanal, Tulagi, New Georgia, Guam, Bougainville, Okinawa and Yokosuka. He was awarded the Navy Cross, Bronze Star and Silver Star.

1 FRED BEANS

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Cleburne Morning Review Newspaper

Sunday June 17, 19187

 A SMALL BABY

SAVED ON THE ENGINE PILOT (Cow Catcher)

 C. C. Hayden of Grandview tells of thrilling auto accident at his town

 THE AUTO IS DEMOLISHED

C. C. Hayden of Grandview came here on business Saturday and stated that a thrilling accident occurred in his town during the day in which John Holland and his two-year-old daughter figured.  They were in Mr. Holland's Overland car and were struck by a Katy train. The car was demolished and Mr. Holland was thrown violently to the ground.  The little girl was caught on the engine pilot and was carried for about 150 yards.

As soon as the train had been brought to a standstill the little one was rescued and while stunned and badly frightened by her fearful experience, she did not seem seriously injured.  Mr. Holland was considerably bruised as well as stunned, but it is believed that he will soon recover.  The friends of Mr. Holland throughout the county will be pleased to learn that both he and his little girl escaped death by what might be termed a miracle.  The little girl, when she grows up* will be able to tell of her trying experience on June 16, 1917, when she was picked up on the pilot of a ponderous engine and carried away in the twinkling of an eye, to be rescued a few moments later and restored to the arms of her father.

Mr. Hayden could not tell why Mr. Holland failed to see the onrushing train.  He only told of the accident and the results.

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Follow-up:       Angie Nell Holland was born July 12, 1914. She did grow up and married Charles Daniel (C.D.) Dickerson.  Both are buried in Section "F" at Grandview (TX) Cemetery.

 

 

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Did you know?

 The Grandview Collegiate Institute was re-chartered as Grandview High school and Grammar School in 1908. The girl’s dormitory (pictured below courtesy of Saralu Cronkite) was a two-story dwelling on McFarland Street.

Grandview GCI

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Did you know?

 Mr. and Mrs. Don Wilcox of Dallas took home the trophy for the best Budgie in a show held in May 1955 at the Liberty Hotel. The show was sponsored by the Johnson County Bird Breeders Society. Pat Arnold, (far right) was the show superintendent. (Courtesy of Cleburne Times Review)

Bird

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Did you know?

 In August of 1887 two gentlemen, R.F. Bangs and Dick Blackwood, from Grandview had an altercation in which Mr. Blackwood bit off Mr. Bangs’ ear!

 

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Did you know?

 On July 21, 1887 the Rucker and Lee company began laying railway tracks between Cleburne and Weatherford.

RR tracks

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Did you know?

 In May of 1881 Mrs. E.P. Harris and Miss Maggie Shepherd opened a millinery and notions store two doors west of the Cleburne Post Office. They had five and ten cent counters and a full line of baby furnishing goods.

Millinery

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Did you know?

 In 1915 Alvarado had an upscale barber shop. Pictured in the photo below are: standing from front to back are Curtis Navgher, Oscar Hairston, Lee Mahanay, Joe Morrison, and Tom Brown. Shown have a shave and haircut are, front to back Bob Whitten, John Gregory, Charles (C.E.) Mahanay. The identity of the man seated in the back chair is not known. (photo courtesy of “A Pictorial History of Cleburne and Johnson County)

Barber shop 2

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Did you know?

 The 1904 Cleburne City Directory listed five lumber yards: A.C. Ford Lumber Co. on South Main; Burton-Lingo Co. on West Chambers; Conway-Leeper Co. on East Chambers; Leon Cleveland on West Chambers and A.C. Barber and Co. near the Santa Fe Shops.

Lumber

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Did you know?

 Around 1890 a young lady from Alvarado wrote the poem below which was published in the local newspaper. Her name wasn’t published.

 “Alvarado, fair to-night,

Bathed in streams of silver light!

Stars and moon from out the sky

Guard her with a loving eye.”

 “Queen of cities in the West –

Not the largest, but the best –

In my heart, in clouds of gold,

I your memory will infold.”

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Did you know?

 The town of Burleson was founded in 1881 on the newly completed Missouri, Kansas and Texas railroad. It is said to be named for Edward Burleson, the Texas military commander and for Rufus C. Burleson, president of Baylor University.

Burleson railroad

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Did you know?

 R.B. Godley donated 80 acres for the town site which became Godley, Texas in 1886. At the start of 1895 Godley had no schools or churches. That changed in the fall of 1895 when a one room school house was moved there. In 1897 the Bethany Baptist Church was moved to Godley and used by all denominations. In 1899, a large frame school was built. It was named “Godley College”.

Godley college

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Did you know?

 Keene got its name in 1895 when the government called it “Keene” in order to establish a post office.

Keene PO 2

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Did you know?

 The Alvarado Banking Company, with J. B. Campbell as it’s president, operated from the Cotter Dry Good store on the south side of the square until it was reorganized in 1925 and became the Citizens State Bank with Brooks Thompson as president. (This photograph and information courtesy of Mollie Mims, author, Images of America Johnson County).  

Alvarado bank

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Did you know?

 Johnson County Building and Loan Association issued its first loan for the purchase of the house pictured below on July 14, 1913. It was located in the 600 block of Olive Street. The loan of $450 was made to G. W. Lowery. The savings and loan was established October 2, 1912. 

JC Building and Loan

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Did you know?

 It’s widely known that Floyd H. “Slats” Rodgers and a couple of his friends built the first airplane in Texas right here in Johnson County back in 1912. But what’s not so widely is how Slats got the money to build the plane.  It’s noted in the book “Slats Rodgers and the Love Field Lunatics by Jim Gatewood that Slats earned the money to build “Old Soggy” by hauling bootleg whiskey in the cab of his locomotive! (Pictured below are Slats and his Dad in downtown Cleburne)

Slats

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Did you know?

 The ferry at Kimball Crossing (south of Rio Vista) crossed the river by the swift current and a cable. The cost was high: $.50 for a wagon and team, $.25 for a buggy or someone on horseback; $.10 for a person on foot. Operating the ferry in the picture below are J. C. Jiles, John Bochoper, Walter Cleveland and T. E. Luck. (Photo from Bob Kimbro)

Ferry

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Did you know?

 One of the pioneer families of Johnson County was Charles (Charlie) and Louella Campbell. In 1906 the family lived four miles west of Cleburne and raised Jersey Dairy Cows. Mr. Campbell also served for sixteen years as one of Johnson County’s Commissioners. Mr. Campbell passed away in 1942.

Campbell

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Did you know?

After a part of Johnson County was cut off from Hood County, an election was held to move the county seat closer to the center of the county. By an election on March 23, 1867 voters decided to move the seat from Buchanan to Camp Henderson, a military staging area. The site was later renamed for the confederate war hero, Major General Patrick R. Cleburne. (painting by Louis Guillaume)

General Pat

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Did you know?

 In 1882 Deputy Sheriff, Tom Colter, arrested and jailed two men caught in the act of stealing onions from a garden near Cleburne. The Deputy said “To steal anything is bad enough, but the man who would steal onions ought never to be pardoned.

Onions

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Did you know?

 Johnson County was created by an act of the Fifth Texas Legislature on February 13, 1854. Johnson County was originally created out of Navarro and McLennan Counties and at first included Hood and part of Somervell Counties and later small portions of Ellis and Hill Counties.

JC logo

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Did you know?

 When the city of Alvarado was incorporated in 1878 Squire William Balch often held court under a huge oak tree as citizens sought law and order.

Tree

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Did you know?

 Pictured below are the Santa Fe School teachers in the early 1920s. They are: L. Dowse, L. Howse, M. Spell, L. Rankin, M. Carpenter, W. J. Stilwell, J. Hassell, B. Ashley, D. Hartin, L. Crank and J. Dunn.

Santa Fe Teachers

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Did you know?             

 In the 1950s it was standard practice on Saturday nights for young couples to attend a show at the drive in theater on North Main then cruise the square. One Saturday evening a young man was circling the Courthouse square with his right arm around his girl friend’s shoulders when a Cleburne Police Officer called to him telling him to use both hands. He replied: “I can’t officer, I need one hand to drive with.” The Officer laughed.

Couple

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Did you know?              

 As with many communities in Johnson County the railroad was a key factor in driving growth in the late 1800s. The picture below is the Santa Fe Depot in Alvarado as it appeared in 1939.

RR Alvarado

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Did you know?

 Willow Springs Baptist Church located at 10501 FM 1807 in Alvarado is over 130 years old! The church was established in 1888. The original building is long past, but the church has been in its current location since 1893.

Willow Springs

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Did you know?

Charlie Reece of Alvarado was killed in action at Anzio, Italy during WWII. He was buried at the Senterwood Cemetery. Thank you for your service, Charlie. RIP

Charlie

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Did you know?

 In 1904 W. J. Layland opened a plumbing business at 114 N. Caddo Street in Cleburne. The business is noted as the oldest business in Cleburne to run under the same family ownership.

Layland

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Did you know?

 In 1882 Burleson received a post office which was located in a saloon, with John L. Dickey as the first postmaster. Soon after it opened, several stores and churches were formed. Burleson was a mile south of an earlier community, Brushy Mound, which was bypassed by the railroad. The first school in the area had been founded at Brushy Mound in 1879. In 1885 a new building was constructed and called Alta Vista College and later became Red Oak Academy.

Red Oak

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Did you know?

 Charlie Breech was mayor of Cleburne from 1910 until his death in 1916 at the age of 51. It was said that he had to die to be removed from office because his opponents couldn’t defeat him in an election. Mayor Breech was also the “largest” mayor to serve at the time, weighing better than 300 pounds! He is buried in Cleburne Memorial Cemetery.

Breech

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Did you know?

 For decades there has been a legend in Johnson County about the bridge on Old Foamy Road, located just south of Cleburne on Buffalo Creek. Everything from alligators to a half-man, half-goat creature have been reported. One legend says if you park on the Old Foamy Road Bridge, turn off the car engine and honk three times, the goat man will appear and throw things at you. (BTW: the photo below was NOT taken in Johnson County! Thank goodness!)

 goat man

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Did you know?

 In July of 2016 WWII Army veteran, Fred O’Neal of Godley celebrated his 100th birthday! During his enlistment he earned two Purple Heart medals. He worked for the Santa Fe Railroad in Cleburne as an electrician for 30 years.  In the picture below he is holding his youngest son.

Fred

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Did you know?

 The old Cleburne High School (now Guinn Justice Center) opened in 1919 and operated under the “house system” which was somewhat like the setup at Harry Potter’s fictional Hogwarts school. Instead of homerooms, students had “houses”. There were three for boys and three for girls. Each house had a Housemaster and a teacher. The school closed in 1976 and is now the Guinn Justice Center.

CHS

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Did you know?

 Henry Fugitt was the last man hung in Johnson County. He repented and on February 11, 1904 and requested to be baptized. Mr. Fugitt was baptized in Buffalo Creek in the 700 block of North Buffalo Street. He was hung the next day. (Mr. Fugitt was hung for murdering his wife.)

Henry Fugett

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Did you know?

The First State Bank in Rio Vista was originally called Guaranty State Bank in the 1920’s. The Directors purchased a grocery store building for $3400 for the bank – right in the middle of Rio Vista. Later the bank moved to a “cow pasture” and had landing strip for small planes!

Plane

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Did you know?

Venus was originally named "Gossip" until its development in the late 1880s. A man by the name of J.C. Smythe purchased 80 acres (32 ha) of abandoned cornfields in the northeastern corner of Johnson County and began to plan a town site. He named his new town "Venus" after the daughter of a local doctor. By 1888 the new town had a post office and a population of around 10 residents. 

Venus

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Did you know?

The present Johnson County Courthouse is the fifth building to serve as our County Seat. Construction began in the fall of 1912 and was completed 13 months later. The brick came from Elgin, the granite from Burnet County, the marble from Georgia and the white stone used for cornices and decorations came from Indiana. The Courthouse was designed by architects Otto Lang and Frank Witchell.

Courthouse rotunda

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Did you know?

Cleburne wasn’t named Cleburne until 1867. Before then the town was Camp Henderson. General Cleburne had no slaves and as far as we know and never set foot in the State of Texas, but was very highly thought of by the Johnson County men who fought under him during the Civil War. During the 4th of July celebration in 1867 State Representative, Samuel Graham suggested that the town be renamed Cleburne to honor the legendary leader. And Cleburne, Texas was born. Major General Cleburne was killed on November 30, 1864 during the battle at Franklin, Tennessee. You can see General Cleburne’s pistol and saddle at the Layland Museum in Cleburne! (Picture of General Pat’s pistol courtesy of the Layland Museum and Mike Mahaffey)

General PatGen. Pat gun

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Did you know?

 Venus was named for the daughter of a local doctor. The town founder, J. C. Smyth chose the name shortly after laying out the town site on what had been a cornfield. Venus received a post office in 1888 and according to the 1888 census the population was 10 people.

cornfield

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Did you know?

 Johnson County was once called “The Jersey Isle of Texas”. The county had more registered Jersey cattle than any of the other 253 counties in the state. The cattle were named for the English Channel Island of Jersey, where they were first bred. (Painting by Anthony Frost)

Jersey cow

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Did you know?

 Battery B, 132nd Field Artillery (located in Cleburne), was Federally recognized on October 11, 1922. The unit was organized by Captain Jesse B. Crum. Pictured below are - FIRST ROW: H. C. Bishop, A. J. Allen, J. M. DeGarmo, L. L. Nickell, H. C. Chasteen, C. L. Junell, A. L. Johnson, J. D. Veal and J. Jones; SECOND ROW: J. V. Starnes, J. Q. Walker, C. L. Livingston, R. E. Walters, J. O. Painter, J. C. McManus, J. C. Allen, L. M. Coble, R. J. Hamilton and C. L. Gould. THIRD ROW: B. L. Trantham, E. M. Wallace, h. m. Cox, I. P. Matthews, R. Tidwell, T. A. Ellis, R. H. Wicker, W. B. Cleveland, C. P. Hollingsworth and L. Walker.

132nd

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Did you know?

 Before she was married, Miss Edna Brown baby sit her 9 month old niece, Gracie III Brown while Gracie’s parents worked. The picture was taken in the 1940’s. Lovely lady. Does anyone remember wearing those bonnets? 

Edna

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Did you know?

 The Interurban Express Motor #330 is the oldest rail car of its kind in North Texas. The Burleson Heritage Foundation stated that it was actually once painted Pullman Green, but repainted bright orange after several accidents involving rail cars. The 330 ran on the electrified rails of North Texas from 1902-1934 on the Fort Worth-Dallas and Fort Worth-Cleburne interurban lines. The 330 carried everything from ice cream to coffins. It can be seen today at the Burleson Visitors Center at 124 W. Ellison in Burleson. The Center is open Wednesday – Saturday, 10 AM – 4 PM.

Interurban Motor #330

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Did you know?

 The Cleburne post office was located at 206 E. Henderson St. in this 1909 photograph. Heritage Home — Vintage Inspired Living is in that location in 2018. Front row, from left, are Cecil O. Gayton, city carrier; A.E. Cook, city carrier; William A. Adams, night clerk; J.H. Gwyn, distribution clerk; and George A. Mangum, J.M. Doyle, John B. Richardson, Durgin Jones, rural carriers. Back row, from left, are Will Parman, Earl H. Baird and Jesse M. Flatt, city carriers; Charles I. Russell, utility clerk; Ben P. Dance, assistant postmaster; Carl A. Dickson, postmaster; Margaret Lister, general delivery clerk; A.H. Meredith, mail order clerk; George L. Murphy, mailing clerk; Sam D. Stalrett, Albert A. Shipley, rural carriers; and Silas W. Lovelady (not an employee). (Courtesy photo/Charles Seay) From article by Mollie Mimms

post office 1909

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BOARD MEETING AGENDA
Johnson County Heritage Foundation
Tuesday, July 9, 2019 Nolan River School, 10 AM

Open Prayer
Recognize Guest 
Diane introduce Carrie Reynolds
Previous Minutes Diane Gilbert acting Secretary
Financial Status DM

Items to Consider:
Big Bear Update 
Nextlink Update for Big Bear --Matt Lee

On Site Director
Need for CS Supervisors
David will bring up to date with request to City 
Jack Wylie moving

Buttermilk Junction Concert Report

Terry Project
• Status
• Fund Raising
• Meadows Grant 
• Next Step

Repair to Courthouse
Completed

Pioneer Days 
• Review 2018 Robert
• Preview 2019 Robert
Entertainment versus timing of cannon firing. Diane
Nancy Holland Coordinate Live Entertainment: Buttermilk Junction,
Vesperam Noriega, Hannah Yarboro, Roger Stanley, Jesse White

Other Business

Adjourn

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Did you know?

The first school in Goatneck (on the Brazos River in the far southwestern corner of Johnson County) was completed in 1873. H. B. Watters was the first teacher. The first school board consisted of T. B. Miller, Judge R. Caruth and B. F. West. (painting courtesy of McNaughton Fine Art)

Goatneck

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Did you know?

 In 1899 M. M. Williams, a prominent farmer from Egan, was shot and killed at the south door of the 1883 courthouse. John W. Renfro surrendered to officials at the scene. The murder grew out of a case in the county court. Renfro had been charged with slandering Williams’ daughter (she had broken off their relationship and he didn’t take it well). Both parties were on their way to attend the slander trial when the shooting occurred. After being sentenced to hang, Renfro’s attorney submitted a plea for stay of execution from the governor of Texas which was granted. When it expired, a second stay was requested, but denied. The attorney then entered a plea of insanity – Mr. Renfro was finally hung. (The photo below is the telegram sent by the governor.)

Telegram

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Did you know?

 The Church of the Holy Comforter building was completed in 1874. Prior to that time services were held in the 1869 Courthouse on the Square in Cleburne. The current church building was completed in 1893 and is now the oldest church building in Cleburne. Pictured below is Rev. Robert Spelman Nash who served as minister from 1871 – 1877.

 Rev. Nash

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Did you know?

 In 1897 Col. A.A. Powell of Grandview decided to leave the Sells Brothers Circus and open a merchandise store in Grandview. Col. Powell was the tallest man in the US at the time measuring 7 feet and 6 inches in height. He was a Colonel in the Militia of Texas Governor Jim Hogg. Col. Powell related that working as a circus freak was not pleasant and, since you couldn’t show yourself outside of the circus tents, it was very confining. (The picture below is believed to be of Col. Powell)

A.A. Powell

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Did you know?

 In the early 1900’s Keene not only had the SWAU, it had a post office and general store. Pictured below are: Harry Reynolds, Claude Gage, E. S. Graves and George Findley. The building on the left later became W. O. Belz grocery store. (Picture from Vol. 1 Johnson County, A Pictorial History)

Keene PO 2

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Did you know?

 The November 8, 1895 Alvarado Bulletin reported that G. Taylor, an unmarried older gentleman had been found murdered in his home below Barnesville, on Chambers Creek. An investigation and evidence found by Sheriff W.A. Stewart discerned that a known horse thief named John Wilkins was the culprit. Following his trial for theft and murder, Mr. Wilkins was found guilty and hanged.

John Wilkins 2      John Wilkins    

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Did you know?

 In 1890 J.I. Rogers was elected Sheriff of Johnson County. Sheriff Rogers was born on July 16, 1855 and came to Johnson County in 1873 where he had a farm in the area and was a member of the Farmers’ Alliance in Johnson County. He married Miss Julia Roberts in 1880. Mrs. Rogers passed away in 1889. Sheriff Rogers married later to Miss Ida Cavender of Johnson County.  Sheriff Rogers served as Johnson County Sheriff until November 3, 1908.

JC logo

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Did you know?

 The first car manufactured in Texas was built in the summer of 1910 in Cleburne by the pastor of the First Christian Church, The Reverend Harry E. Luck not only built the car, but he also founded and became president of the Cleburne Motor Car Manufacturing Company.

Luck

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Did you know?

 Joshua, 1902: Rural mail was carried by horse-drawn hack. On the porch of West Grocery and Post Office is C. C. West, post master; rural carrier Tom West (at far left); Dan Rice and Noble West.

Joshua PO

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Did you know?

 Col. Barzialli Jefferson Chambers came to Texas in 1837 as a member of the Texas Patriots to help fight for Texas independence from Mexico. Following Texas winning independence, Col. Chambers became chief surveyor of the Robertson Land District, an area that encompassed all land between the Brazos and Trinity rivers where Johnson County and Cleburne would later be located. He donated 100 acres of land for a town site as well as land for schools and churches. He was later known as “the Father of Cleburne”.

Chambers

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Did you know?

 In an effort to encourage more young Johnson County residents to attend school the 1859 Johnson County Court ordered $678.97 be distributed for school participation by students.

school kids

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Did you know?

 In the 1930s there was a Texaco filling station on the southwest corner of Caddo and Wardville Streets. Pictured below are Henry Gaarz and Will Burton standing in front of the station. You can see the W.O.W. building in the background.

Texaco

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Did you know?

 In 1911 Alvarado Letter Carriers delivered mail on motorized bikes. Pictured below are Shorty Phillips, Charlie Walker, W. A. King, Unidentified gentleman, Malcom Senter and Joe Walls. (photo courtesy of Jeanette Gibbs)

Letter Carriers

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Did you know?

In 1874 V. Gray and W. F. Blair were contracted to build a new jail at 116 South Mill Street in Cleburne. The red brick jail was completed in 1875 at a cost of $26,000 and operated for fifty-three years.

Jail

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Did you know?

The March 17, 1899 edition of the Grandview Graphic Newspaper reported that a skeleton was unearth on T. P. Allen’s farm near the Antioch Community. It was determined that the skeleton was of a large, older man. The grave was only about four feet long and the man’s head and knees were above the body.

skeleton

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Did you know?

 Barnesville (between Alvarado and Grandview) was first settled by four brothers in 1853. The oldest brother, Moses Barnes, built a 14’ cabin with a chimney on the north fork of Chambers Creek. He went on to serve on Johnson County’s first Grand Jury in 1854 and served as Justice of the Peace for four years. He passed away September 23, 1901 and is buried in the cemetery at Barnesville.

Moses Barnes

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Did you know?

 In May 31, 1867 two strangers rode into Grandview on what appeared to be thoroughbred horses and the young woman wearing a expensive velvet riding habit. The next morning, June 1, 1867, the young woman was found in a field just outside of town with a bullet through her head. Both horses and her companion were gone. The kind folks in Grandview stepped up: “Uncle Matt Hale” built a pine coffin for the girl and Mrs. Josephine Boyd made a dress for her to be buried in so the girl wouldn’t have to be buried in her “death clothes”.

Grandview mystery grave

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Did you know?

 In 1898 horses and wagons in downtown Cleburne were a real problem and street sanitation was – not good. Johnson County Commissioners met in March of that year to officially purchase Block 24 on the west side of South Main Street to be maintained by the city of Cleburne and used expressly for a market place. The Market Square was used daily as a place to trade cattle and produce. It was especially busy on First Mondays. (In the picture below you can see the 1883 court house in the background)

Market sq.

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Did you know?

The manufacture of illegal whiskey in Johnson County was a big problem for law enforcement in the 1930’s. A raid in June of 1933 resulted in charges being filed against a pair of men when a 250 gallon still was discovered by officers. The still was located 20 miles west of Cleburne on Wilson Creek.

still

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Did you know?

 In 1912 the Rio Vista High School had a girls basketball team!

basketball

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Did you know?

 On August 23, 1896 the First Baptist Church of Venus was organized following a revival given by L. S. Knight.

Venus Church

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Did you know?

 Burleson was established as a town in 1881 and was officially incorporated on May 21, 1912. The first record of a Town Council meeting was November 7, 1912 and was presided over by Mayor G. W. Bransom. (Photo below is R. H. Burns’ Blacksmith Shop in Burleson around 1900)

R. H. Burns Blacksmith Shop Burleson

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Did you know?

 In 1886 there was a railroad workers strike in Johnson County. When the adjutant general of Texas tried to come to Alvarado to stop the workers from joining the striking Knights of Labor organization from Ft. Worth, the workers from Ft. Worth piled railroad ties on the tracks to prevent the train from leaving. The Alvarado Guard was requested by the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office to control the situation in Alvarado but there was no violence and within three weeks the men were back at work.

RR Strike

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Did you know?

 On February 15, 1882 Charlie Ross, a noted horse and cattle thief was recognized by a large tattoo of a horse on his chest. Cleburne authorities located and arrested him the same day. Johnson County ranchers breathed a collective sigh of relief.

Cattle-Rustlers-Sign

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Did you know?

 In 1915 an advertisement in the Cleburne Daily Enterprise for a hair dye stated “Be Pretty! Turn gray hair dark again” The hair dye was made of sage tea and Sulphur and was available at a Cleburne drug store.

Hair

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Did you know?

 In the late 1800’s Buell (south of Keene) had three churches. One of these church buildings also housed a “singing class” and was known as Lee’s Academy. Students were taught 20-day courses in music and singing. The music was confined to sacred songs. Today only the Buell cemetery remains. (painting by Everrett)

singing class

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Did you know?

 On August 16, 1855 an election was held in the State capital to determine the first county seat in Johnson County. Wardville was elected. It was situated on the west bank of the Nolan River. It was named for Thomas William Ward, a Texas Revolution hero. A post office opened that year but it closed within two years after the county seat was moved to Buchanan. (It was determined that Wardville was too far from the actual center of the county) Most of the original site of Wardville is now under Lake Pat Cleburne.

 Citizens of Wardville at the time included: W.L. Suggs, J.W. O’Neal, W.R. Shannan, Robert Lewis, W. Boatright, Joseph Pearce, Warren Douglas, Wm. Gibson, William O’Neal, A.J. Trussell, A.D. Kennard, G.M. O’Neal, S. Boatright, J. McMillan, Joseph Robinson, Charles O’Neal, J.L. Blythe, K. Williams, Wm. H.S. Versitlle, T.D. Lorance, James Kirkpatrick, P. McBee, A. Robinson, C.C. Alexander, J.W. Randall, A. Lott, J.M. McElliotte, C. Wren, and K. Williams.

Wardville 2

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Did you know?

 The picture below is of the Santa Fe Boiler Shops in 1900. Locomotives were re-tubed and overhauled here. The shops handled approximately 250 cars a year!

Shops 2

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Did you know?

 Adams Elementary School was erected in 1892 as a wooden structure and was then called South Ward. The school was named for Judge F. E. Adams who was known to take an interest in the school and teachers. The school was a two-story

structure with three rooms on each floor. At first, they didn’t have desks, but used chairs and put their books under them. The 6th graders had gardens. The boys’ garden was on the west side and the girls’ on the east. They raised vegetables and sold them to neighbors. The money was used to buy pictures for the room. The school had a fence around it with no gate. (Johnson County Texas, A Pictorial History Vol. 1)

Adams School

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Did you know?

 The Rio Vista United Methodist Church is over 100 years old and the bell still rings at 11 AM on Sunday mornings to call folks to worship. The bell was manufactured in 1896 in Hillsboro by the C.S. Bell & Co. It was restored by Bob Weathington.

Bell 2

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Did you know

During WWII Vernon E. Schwartz of Alvarado was a Tech. Sgt. in the US Airforce. He served as a radioman and gunner with the 8th Air Force’s 303rd Bombardment Group and was stationed at Molesworth Air Base north of London. His group was known as Hell’s Angels. Sgt. Schwartz served under Capt. Griffin aboard the bomber, Lady Luck. The Lady Luck and crew are pictured below. From left, back row: Staff Sgt. Edwards, Left waist gunner; Lt. Swanson, co-pilot; Capt. Griffin, pilot; Lt. Effinger, navigator; and Lt. Taylor, bombardier. Front row, from left: Tech. Sgt. Eason, upper turrent gunner; staff Sgt. Henderson, right waist gunner; Tech. Sgt. Schwartz, radioman-gunner; Staff Sgt. Wiegand, tail gunner; and Staff Sgt. Plummer, bottom turret gunner.

Lady Luck

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Did you know?

 The Santa Fe Machine Shops were erected in Cleburne in 1909. There were 45 machines, 75 foot ceilings and 23 stalls in a building 515 feet long. The crane had a 15 ton capacity.

Shops

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Did you know?

 C. H. Park Hardware was the oldest hardware store in Alvarado and it was in operation for 81 years! Charles Henry Park established the business in 1900 assisted by his three sons: Horace, Herbert and George. His grandson, Roy Park continued to manage the business until 1981.

Hardware

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Did you know?              

 In 1953 Rio Vista, Texas Lions Club bought a 1950 Ford fire truck from Johnson County for $1.00 and gave it to the town of Rio Vista. At this time the Rio Vista Volunteer Fire Department was started. (Courtesy of G. Alan Galleries)

Fire Truck

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Did you know?

 In 1877 Peyton Irving established the Irving Select School for Young Ladies. The school prospered and enrollment grew. Mr. Irving moved the school to 1100 N. Anglin Street in Cleburne. He constructed a large two-story frame building with classrooms on the lower floor and dormitories on the second floor. Girls from the rural areas boarded there.

Irving School

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Did you know?

 This past September was the 125th anniversary of the Southwestern Adventist University, Keene. Pictured below is the Industrial Academy Class of 1901.

SWAU 1901

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Did you know?

 By 1910 Venus had a furniture store, movie house, confectionery, pool hall, grocery store, a hardware store and a doctor’s office.

Venus Sq.

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Did you know?

 Buchanan was the county seat of Johnson County for 10 years. The first term of county court was held February 16, 1857. Chief Justice was Henry Trimble. Commissioners were C. Billingsley, J. R. McKinsey and James Plemmons. C. Coulson was Sheriff. The first county jail was erected in Buchanan in 1858 at a cost of $795. Buchanan lacked a sustainable water supply and when the State of Texas redistricted the counties it was too far from the center of the county. All that remains of Buchanan today is a small cemetery.

Buchanan

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Did you know?

 In June of 1933 Mrs. Lee Gage pleaded self-defense when she was tried for the murder of her husband who she shot six times! Mrs. Gaga was given a five year suspended sentence.

Hair

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Did you know?

In January of 1934 H. L. “Chili” Cobb was sentenced to 99 years in the Penitentiary for murdering Thomas Gullett, a young man from Hill County. The young man’s body was found in a barn near Burleson.

Jail 2

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Did you know?

On September 11, 1860 notorious horse thief Robert Tucker was hung at Poluxy Springs in Johnson County in the presence of and with the approval of three hundred delegates from Comanche, Ellis, Erath, Johnson, Tarrant, Hill and Bosque Counties. Mr. Tucker confessed and implicated several citizens of “fair reputation” as associates prior to being hung by order of a Vigilance Committee. He is buried at the Odom Cemetery. (Note discrepancies of newspaper account date and grave stone date) There is another gravestone under the same tree that says:  Name Unknown, Alleged Horse Thief, Hung by Vigilantes in 1863.

 

Tucker

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Did you know?

When the Texas legislature created Johnson County, it was named for Col. Middleton T. Johnson. When the Mexican War broke out in 1846 he raised a company of volunteers and served under Zachary Taylor. He was very popular among people who knew him. He served a few years on the frontier, and when the Civil war broke out and Texas succeeded, although he was not in favor of secession himself, he offered his services to the Confederates. After the war, Col. Johnson served in the Texas legislature. Col. Johnson passed away in 1866.

Johnson

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Did you know?

The first Probate Court was held in Alvarado on August 28, 1854 at John Waddell’s counting-room (there being no courthouse). Present were Honorable David Mitchell, Chief Justice; J. Easterwood, Clerk of the Court and A.H. Onstott, Sheriff.

Sheriff 1

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Did you know?

 Planters Oil Mill Company was a thriving business in Alvarado between 1900 and late 1920’s. Employees included manager, John Hallman; Clerk, Leslie Hardee and Superintendent, Ollie Walker. The structure burned in the spring of 1934.

Mill

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Did you know?

 Johnson County Sheriff, Oran Floyd Smith was elected on November 8, 1932; re-elected numerous times. Sheriff Smith served until January 1, 1947 – 14 years which put him in a tie with Sheriff Earl H. King who served from 1950 thru 1965. These gentlemen served the longest time of service in Johnson County history to date. (Apologies for the quality of the picture of Sheriff Smith)

Oran

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Did you know?

 In 1903 Mrs. C.W. Mertz and Mrs. C.B. Stratton lead a drive to raise funds to have North Anglin sprinkled with water daily to settle the dust. The ladies canvassed the homes on North Anglin to raise the needed funds. (picture below coutesy of Theatre Arts Collection, UT Austin)

Dust

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Did you know?

 The July 29, 1887 Alvarado Bulletin reported the marriage of Mr. J.D. Clayton and Miss Lomie (Salome) Patton on July 26, 1887. The Rev. Mr. Simms officiated. Later that day newlyweds were whisked off to the Missouri Pacific depot to begin their honeymoon tour to New York and other northern cities.

Wedding Bells

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Did you know?

 On July 24, 1884 Mr. J.C. Brown of Johnson County shipped a buggy from Cleburne to Fort Worth on the Gulf Colorado land Santa Fe railroad. The buggy weighed 640 pounds and Mr. Brown was charged $16.02.

Bill of lading

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Did you know?

 In 1930 Rio Vista High School graduated six students: Emery Hagler, Charlie Adair, Quanta Prestridge, Ruby Hall, Woodrow Peyton and A.J. Noble. Grandview High School graduated 24 students: In 1930 Rio Vista High School graduated six students: Emery Hagler, Charlie Adair, Quanta Prestridge, Ruby Hall, Woodrow Peyton and A.J. Noble. Grandview High School graduated 23 students: Lenora Hardison, Raymond Hibitt, J.T. Poe, Ruth Brockett, Bobbie Sue Whitten, Ruth Hopper, Mary Louise Briscoe, William Pipes, Marlon McDuff, Aaron Bule, Dick Morris, Mary Kathryn Nelson, Mabel Jewel Livingston, Mary Lee Steed, Lloyd McCall, Derrill Dick Pitts, John Norton, Odeyne Blackwell, J.R. Blackwell, Thomas Sturgess, Mary Tom Donoho, Sue Zola Reynolds and Rheba Boober.

Grads 1930

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Lillian is on Farm Road 2738 fifteen miles northeast of Cleburne. In 1902 G. J. Renfro purchased land from J. W. Cunningham to establish a town that would be near the line of the International-Great Northern Railroad, which had just built into the area. Both men's wives were named Lillian, hence the name of the town. By the next year Lillian had two churches and a school. In 1904 a post office began serving the community. Lillian's population and businesses grew rapidly, and a bank opened there in 1905. By 1914 Lillian had a population of 300 and for the next twenty years served as a retail center for area farmers and ranchers. In 1917 the community overcame a fire that destroyed most of the buildings on the south side. By the mid-1920s its population had reached 350.

Fire 3

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Did you know?

 In 1876 there was a stage coach stop in Station Branch (southwest of Godley). The building also served as a troop station on the Military Road through Johnson County.

Stage Coach stop

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Did you know?

 The first Johnson County jail was built in Buchanan in 1858 at a cost of $795. A District Clerk’s office was also built at the time. It was called a “bird box” because it was a one room 16’ x 16’ square building. When the county seat was moved to Cleburne in 1867 the court building and jail were also moved. In 1869 the first courthouse on the square was built and the Buchanan court building became “the Cheap Cash Store”.

Cheap

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Did you know?

By 1870 Cleburne had seven mercantile houses, two saloons, two hotels, one drug store, three blacksmith shops, two wood shops, one steam mill, a cotton gin and a high school! Pictured below is Timms Grocers. 

Timms Grocery

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Did you know?

Elbert Monroe Heath was appointed by the fifth legislature of the State of Texas as the commissioner to organize Johnson County. In 1861 he volunteered in the Twentieth Cavalry, commanded by Colonel Bass. In 1866 Major Heath was elected sheriff of Johnson County but was forced to resign during Reconstruction because he had served in the Confederate army.

Bruce and Heath

Bruce and Heath

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Did you know?

 The first house built in Cleburne was said to be located at the intersection of North Main and Henderson Streets north west of the courthouse. The house was built by Mrs. Josephine Wren and was used as a hotel or tavern as well as Mrs. Wren’s home.

Wren house

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Did you know?

 A college once stood on the grounds of the Cooke Elementary School in Cleburne. Clebarro College originated in February 1909 when the Church of Christ in Cleburne invited Allen Booker Barret and Charles H. Roberson, formerly of Southland University, to establish a private school. Several members of the Southland University faculty joined Clebarro College. Barret and Roberson became the owners of the school, which derived its name from Cleburne, Barret, and Roberson. The Cleburne Land Company donated twenty acres between Glen Rose and Granbury for a campus. Funds were sufficient to construct a three-story administration building and, three years later, a women's dormitory. For a decade Clebarro College had an average enrollment of forty. By the end of World War I, however, the school found it was unable to sustain itself; it closed in the spring of 1919.

Clebarro college

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Did you know?

 Lt. Com. Walter Owen Henry of Cleburne graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, Class of 1913. He retired as a U.S. Navy Lieutenant Commander. He was in charge of the U.S.S. Fannan which sank the first German submarine, U-58, in WWI.

Walter

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Did you know?

 George and Nancy Hallmark, pictured here with their son Edgar around 1895 donated the land for the Prairie Grove School.

George

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Did you know?

 William Ramsey of Cleburne was a noted barrister and the only man in Texas to occupy the bench on both the Court of Criminal Appeals and the State Supreme Court.

Ramsey

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Did you know?

 Mr. M. T. Boulware was contracted for the third year as Cleburne’s “Street Sprinkler”. The February 19, 1892 edition of the Cleburne Chronicle reported that “Mr. Boulware has done his whole duty no matter how crowded the streets or what difficulties confronted him. He is always on hand with his sprinkler.”  (Street sprinklers were invented in the 1850s as a means to suppress airborne dust on unpaved roads. Street sprinkling was necessary because the accumulation of manure and horse urine, as well as other foul and vile contributions from overflowing cesspools and the like, and was considered a health hazard by physicians.)

Sprinkler

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Did you know?

 Myrtle Corbin was born in Cleburne in 1868. In 1881 at age 13, Myrtle joined the sideshow circuit under the moniker “The Four-Legged Girl From Texas.” After showing her to curious neighbors and charging them a dime each, her father realized her potential for publicity and for cash. He had promotional pamphlets made up and began placing ads in newspapers for people to come see her. She soon attracted the attention of P.T. Barnum and worked in his sideshow for five years before retiring from show business. Myrtle married and had four heathy children.

Myrtle

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Did you know?

 The picture below shows the construction of the M.M. Pittman home in 1900. The home was located at 723 North Main Street in Cleburne. Mr. Pittman owned and operated the Pittman Mill where he made flour, meal, bran and chops. Brand names were “Queen of Cleburne Flour” and “Big A Patent”. The home was torn down in 1959 to make way for the new Cleburne Shopping Center.  (Johnson County, Texas. A Pictorial History, Volume 1)

Pittman

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Did you know?

 The first Brown’s Opera House was built in 1877on the corner of East Chambers and South Anglin. It was constructed with bricks from Easterwood brick yards on Buffalo Creek and included cast iron arched lentils. Tickets cost ten, twenty, and thirty cents at the time. Touring acts presented traveling minstrels, lectures and plays.

Brown's opera house

 

Note: The building pictured above was titled Brown's Opera House, however I can't see that name on the building. Looks like the bottom floor sold/repaired carriages and buggies.  

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Did you know?

The Johnson County was organized in August, 1854 and the first county officers elected were: David Mitchell, Presiding Justice; C. Billingsley, W.O. Neal, A.D. Kennard, County Commissioners; J. Easterwood, County Clerk; and A.H. Onstott, Sheriff. To this list later in the year were added F.L. Kirtley, Assessor; J.H. Waddle, District Clerk; E.M. Heath, Justice of the Peace for Precinct No. 1; F.L. Kirtley for Precinct No. 2; and W.O. Menefee for Precinct No. 3. The first court was held in Alvarado at John Waddle's store.

Waddles store

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Did you know?

 On March 29, 1886 masked men, thought to be strikers, invaded the Alvarado railroad yards. They locked up guards and broke into the roundhouse where they disabled the engines.

RR pic

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Did you know?

 In April of 1884 Cleburne established its first Public School System. There was no School Board election that year but the City Council appointed W.F. Ramsey, C.H. Mertz, E.T. Lewis, R.A. Poole, V. Gray and W.C. Smith as a school board to serve with Mayer, W.N. Hodge to direct the school system. Frank M. Johnson was the first superintendent of schools.

Public schol

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Did you know?

 Pictured below are members of the Cleburne Volunteer Fire Company taken about 1895. The first Cleburne fire unit was formed in 1891. The horse pictured is “Old Tom” and was remembered fondly in Cleburne before the advent of the motor driven fire equipment in 1913. “Old Tom” pulled the Johnson County road grader, but when the fire alarm sounded, he would snort and paw until released. He would then run to the fire station and back into a stall to receive the harness to pull the fire fighting machinery.

Old Tom

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Did you know?

 In the late 1800’s Chapel Hill (east of Cleburne) had a singing school. Maybe you can recognize one of the students in the picture below. The students were: Back row – L.R. Seth Cummings, Marion Head, D. Tarlton, Joe Edwards, Oscar Kirkham, Roy Vines, Vernon Brown, W.I. Sherman and Esther Head. Second row - ? Brown, Eula Kirkham, Grace Kirkham, Gracie Fines, Nellie Briden, Lillian Carrington, ? Carrington, Nellie Jenkins, Hassie Cummings, Ciddie Head and Third row – Jessie Taylor, Ella Smith, Otta Cummings, Alec Duncan, ?, Byron Kirkham, Joe Smith, Alec Cummings and Ernest Cummings.

Chapel Hill

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Did you know?              

 On April 17, 1908 Santa Fe Passenger Train No. 68 derailed near HWY 67 at Lockett Branch. The train was pulled by engine No. 248 with Alma C. Long, engineer and Ed Alsup, fireman. As the train left Keene at 9 PM a huge thunder storm rolled over Johnson County and the track gave way. The engine went into the creek killing Long and Alsup.

Train 68

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Did you know?

 A lot of prominent Americans once called Johnson County their home. Below are only a few:

  •  Harley D. Woods who taught school at Cleburne High went on to be mayor of Lubbock
  • J. Luther Cleveland was vice-president of one of the largest banks In New York City
  • W.B. Head of Grandview was head of T.P. and L. Co. which was one of the biggest power and light companies in the Southwest
  • Jesse Mary Hull from Alvarado was a noted writer for the American Jersey Cattle Club of New York
  • Stephan Hogg was governor of Texas from 1881 – 1885
  • S.W.T. Lanham was governor of Texas from 1902-1908
  • William Ramsey of Cleburne was a noted barrister and the only man in Texas to occupy the bench on both the Court of Criminal Appeals and the State Supreme Court.

JC Flag 

 

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Did you know?

 The 1883 Johnson County Courthouse was built on the square at a cost of $44,685. Wesley Clark Dodson was the architect and Lee Slaughter of Waco the contractor. The courthouse was completed in October of 1883 and dedicated in November of that year. The courthouse burned down on April 15, 1912, the same day the Titanic sank. Most of the county records were saved by the brave men of Cleburne. City Marshal M.A. Bledsoe lost his life in saving these important records.

1883                                                           M.A. Bledsoe

 

               1883 Courthouse                                                                               Cleburne City Marshal M.A. Bledsoe

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Did you know?

 The April 27, 1895 edition of the Cleburne Chronicle contained the following article “Price of Lands”

 

  • Because lands are so rich and the seasons so certain in this part of Texas compared with the far west, the impression has gone abroad that lands here are enormously high. We want to correct that impression. Some improved lands are high priced and worth every cent asked for them. But raw lands of fine quality can be purchased in Johnson County at $5 to $15 per acre. Lands here are at convenient distances from churches, schools and markets. Land in Johnson County can also be purchased on long terms with easy payments.

Lands

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Did you know?

 The Cleburne Chronicle reported that on November 19, 1871 the Mustang Mills, 8 miles SE of Cleburne was destroyed by fire. The cotton gin, press and a considerable quantity of seed cotton and grain were also destroyed in the fire.

fire

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Did you know?

In 1875 two banks, T.D. Lorance Bank and Chambers and Brown Bank were both victims of attempted robbery. The robbers might have managed it if not for Benjamin Hatsough who was a cashier at the Chambers and Brown Bank. When one of the robbers pointed a gun at him, Mr. Hatsough pulled his own gun and began firing. He was shot in the face, but continued to fight off the robbers. All of both banks assets were safe thanks to this brave Cleburne man.

Ben

 Benjamin Hatsough

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Did you know?

 On April 3, 1867 the first term of the Johnson County Police Court (now the Commissioners Court) was held with James Hiner as Judge.

gavel

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Did you know?

 In May of 1881 a fire started around 2 AM in the rear of Anderson’s saloon and Ransone & Co’s. dry goods store on Chambers Street in Cleburne. The fire destroyed three frame and one two-story brick buildings. Anderson’s saloon reported the loss of stock sat $1000 - $1200. They were insured for $1000.

fire 2

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Did you know?

 Cleburne Chronicle, August 9, 1873: What is a Grange?, A grange is an organization of farmers and ranchers formed to educate and unite all those interested in agriculture and animal husbandry in a community. The organization informed members of the best time to sell and how to price for their products. Grange officers wore costumes and ceremonial regalia. They also offered help for widowed women. (Partially from “Johnson County, Texas, a Pictorial History, Volume 1)

Grange

 

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Did you know?

 In August of 1855 the Bethesda Baptist Church (6 miles south of Burleson) organized in a small log cabin on the plantation of Pleasant Inman. (painting below by Ron Bowles)

cabin

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Did you know?

 John H. Boyd and his wife moved to Johnson County in 1869 where they settled near Grandview where he farmed the land. In 1876 Mr. Boyd was elected Justice of the Peace for that precinct. In 1882 He was elected Sheriff of Johnson County and moved to Cleburne. Sheriff Boyd was elected four times and served until 1890 when he retired to his farm in the southern part of the county.

sheriff

 

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Did you know?

 Following the Civil War William Love Clifton destroyed a sheepskin Texas Land Grant he inherited from his father and his step-mother because he had not worked and improved the land as required by his traditional Irish beliefs. The land grant was for thirteen acres of downtown Cleburne!

Clifton

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Did you know?

After trains arrived in Johnson County, cattle ranching changed. R.E. “Bob” Gatewood would round up a train load of cattle for shipment to Chicago. The days of the Chisholm were numbered. The Gatewood home still stands two miles south of Cleburne.

Gatewood

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Did you know?

 In 1872 the Cleburne Chronicle was located at 115 E. Wardville Street and operated by Major Jack Davis. Major Davis transported the printing equipment by oxcart and set up a “George Washington” hand press. There were several owners, but A.C. Scurlock bought the Chronicle in 1878 and ran it for twenty-five years.

Chronicle

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Did you know?

 During the late 1800’s a man in Johnson County could brand himself as a “foreigner” “dude” or “objectionable” in three ways:

  • Wearing a silk hat
  • Use of the broad “a” and say eyether or nyether
  • Parting your hair in the middle

 Dude

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Did you know?

 In 1879 the Palace Saloon thrived on the north side of the square in Cleburne. When T.U. Taylor was just a boy he remembered going into the saloon The proprietor held a highly colored decanter to his lips, took a copious draught, wet it back on the shelf in front of the huge mirror, wiped his lips and said “Buddy, never let a drop of that cursed stuff go down your throat!” The bartender below is unidentified.

(I don't think the saloon here had gambling, but I may be wrong!) 

saloon

 

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Did you know?

 Caddo Peak, two miles northwest of Joshua is the highest point in Johnson County at an elevation of 1,065 feet above sea level. The Caddo Indians used the peak for signaling, which could be seen from Comanche Peak, 24 miles to the west and beyond to Chalk Mountain. (painting by Charles Marion Russell)

Smoke signal

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Did you know?

 William J. and Mellie Powell Flenniken in the picture below lived in Cleburne in 1899. William was a Santa Fe Railroad conductor. His reports were criticized for being too lengthy and detailed. He developed a shorter report for his supervisors, writing “Off again, on again, gone again – Flenniken” His reports became synonymous of the Santa Fe for short, efficient reports.

William

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Did you know?

 In 1861 the Johnson County Court ordered that an election be held to determine whether the citizens of Johnson County would submit to a tax levy for the purpose of providing arms for the common defense. The tax levy passed and the following cavalries were organized:

 

•           Johnson County Cavalry W.J Neal Captain

•           Rock Creek Guards formed W.R. Shannon Captain

•           Alvarado Cavalry J.H. Dunn Captain

•           Stockton Cavalry John A. Formwalt Captain

•           Grandview Cavalry J.S. Morrow Captain

Cava

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Did you know?

 The August, 1872 edition of the Cleburne Chronicle reported that a Johnson County man lost his life when he put his horse’s line around his neck while leading it to water. The horse took fright and dragged the man to his death.

horse

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Did you know?

 Johnson County was once referred to as “The Dairy Isle of Texas”. Erath, Hopkins, Comanche and Johnson Counties together produced nearly 44% of the milk in Texas. The average annual milk production per cow in 1990 was 14,645 pounds – that’s a lot of milk!

Dairy cows

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Did you know?

 Riders of the Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe Railroad out of Johnson County purchased tickets like the one below. The Conductor would “punch” the ticket with a distinctive shaped hole, such as a heart or cloverleaf. Other Conductors up and down the railroad line knew by the shape who had punched the ticket and could audit the passengers’ use of the ticket (number/location of stops).

Ticket

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Did you know?

 Rev. F.L. Kirtley, settled on Chambers Creek at the site of what is now Grandview in 1849. On May 16, 1855 he received a grant of land and built a log cabin where he began to trade with both Indian and Angelo settlers. (painting by Lucy McGuffey)

Store by

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Did you know?              

 Two Texas governors’ came from Cleburne: 

  • S.W.T. Lanham - 1902  to 1908
  • Stephen Hogg - 1881 to 1895
  • Lanham

 

Hogg

 

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Did you know?

 Samuel Billingsley and his wife, Temperance (pictured below) came to Alvarado in 1852. Eight other Billingsley families moved to the community swelling the population by fifty people which doubled the population of Johnson County. The Billingsley helped establish the first school at Alvarado and built a horse-powered mill.

Billingsley

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Did you know?

 In the late 19th and early 20th centuries the west side of the square in Cleburne was nothing but brothels and saloons. A proper lady did not walk on that side of the square, even with an escort. In 1915 any male person over fourteen years of age who knowingly rode in a vehicle or walked on the street with a woman who had a bad reputation could be considered guilty of a misdemeanor and fined $5 to $100.

Tattooed lady

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Did you know?

 In 1863 a herd of cattle was purchased in Johnson County. The bill of sale or “Road Papers” as they were called indicated that the herd had been legally purchased. This herd was driven out on the Chisholm trail and may have been on their way to feed southern troops during the Civil War.

Road Papers

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Did you know?

 In 1879 Marystown, four miles east of Joshua had two churches, a school, two stores and a drug store with a population of about 100 people. The earliest settler near Marystown was Rev. J.S. Wilshire who began farming in the community in 1853. He had a family of seven children. It wasn’t until 1869 that a town was established. The name was originally Marysville, named for the reverend’s wife, Mary, but Texas already had a town named Marysville so it was changed to Marystown.

Marystown cemetery

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Did you know?              

 In 1861 the First Company of Confederate soldiers was organized in Johnson County by General W.H.Parsons. W.J. Neal was elected captain; W.R. Shannon was elected captain of the Second Company; A. Frizzel, the Third Company; J.A. Foomwalt, the Fourth Company; H.C. Bruce, the Fifth Company; H.C. Childress, the Sixth Company; Sam Caruthers, The Seventh Company; W. Cathey, the Eighth Company and H.A. Hart, the Ninth Company. Bruce’s Company became Company H, Twentieth Texas Cavalry, Bass Regiment. Captain Bruce was captured at the battle of Honey Springs in 1863 and spent the rest of the war in Federal prison camps in the north.

Bruce and Heath

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Did you know?

 The Johnson County Court House was completed on November 28, 1913 at a cost of $184,000. The brick was from Elgin, Texas; granite from Burnet County; marble from Georgia; and white stone from Indiana.

courthouse 1913

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Did you know?

Samuel Bonaparte Kirkham was born in Kentucky in 1829. He was one of the first settlers in Johnson County. Mr. Kirkham was a farmer, blacksmith and scout. He assisted Col. Middleton Tate Johnson in selecting the site for a new fort. That fort became Fort Worth, Texas. His descendants still live in Johnson County.

Kirkham

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The first Johnson County courthouse was a 16’ x 16’ log cabin located in Wardville (now under lake Pat Cleburne). The cabin was also used as the community’s church. But, as liquor was accepted as payment of fines, Johnson County’s bar of justice may have served as a bar of another kind. (You can still see the original Wardville courthouse at the Chisholm Trail Outdoor Museum at 2929 West Henderson)

Wardville

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Did you know?

 In the 1800’s T.I. “Longhaired Jim” Courtright was noted as one of the fasted guns in the west. He was an army scout and then a showman billed along with Annie Oakley. In 1882 he was involved in a gunfight in Cleburne. Then in 1886 he was hired as a Johnson County sheriff’s deputy.

Courtright

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Did you know?

 In sections of the Texas frontier, including Johnsons County, where courts and jails had not been fully established or where officials and juries could not be depended upon, committees of vigilance were often formed to stamp out lawlessness and rid communities of desperadoes. (In 1869 the citizens of Alvarado united to rid the county of B. Bickerstaff and J. Thompson. These two individuals were guilty of murder, theft and rustling cattle and horses in the Alvarado area. The citizens shot the two to death on the town square.) Sometimes these secret bodies degenerated into mob rule or were used for private vengeance, but usually they were made up of law-abiding, responsible citizens who wanted only to maintain order and to protect lives and property. They operated against murderers, horse thieves, cattle rustlers, and those who held up stagecoaches and trains. Sometimes they acted without warning, but often they gave notice for offenders to leave. Those who failed to do so might be caught and hanged. (from an article by Wayne Gard)

 Vig

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Did you know?

 Fielding L. Kirtley establish a post office in Grandview on April 4, 1856. He was also the first to hold Baptist Church services in the county. Mr. Kirtley donated 2.5 acres of land for the Baptist Church and cemetery in Grandview.

Grandview P.O.

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Did you know?

 One of the most spectacular interior spaces in the Johnson County courthouse is the six-story central atrium.  Rising from the basement level, the atrium has Georgia creole marble facing the corner walls and balconies on the first, second, and third floors.  Rich Sullivanesque detailing is found along the cornice, architraves, and along the chamfered corners.  An octagonal art glass skylight crowns the atrium.

DSC_0724_1 FX CE 8.5x11 Johnson County Courthouse

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Did you know?

 The Caddo Grove Seminary opened in February of 1868. Caddo Grove is located about two miles from Joshua on the old Chisholm Trail. The Seminary was soon recognized as the most prestigious school on the northern frontier of Texas. The two story frame building could accommodate about 65 students. Teachers included E.M. Heath and Jerry Medows who used the “blab” method of teaching which used only a blackboard and chalk.

chalk board

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Did you know?

Richard "Dick" Smith Sewell, his wife Polona and their family came to Texas to educate freed slaves who lived in Nathan. Dick was the richest man of color in Johnson County at the time. He lived to be 96 years old and liked to tell stories about his youth when he took part in cattle drives from Bosque County to Wichita, Kansas.

Dick

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Did you know?

 On May 6, 1882 the Alvarado Democrat Newspaper reported: Capt. Jack Wright drove 1,100 cattle from Comanche County to Johnson County, delivering them to Bill Henderson. “It was as fine a lot of young cattle as has been received this season in Johnson County. (painting by Jason Rich)

Cattle Drive

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Did you know?

 In March of 1914 the Austin American Statesman reported that the State of Texas had exhausted its medical oxygen supply in an attempt to save the life of Ed Hutchins who was a prominent merchant in Grandview and jointly owned around 600 acres in the Grandview area. Mr. Hutchins passed away in spite of all efforts to save him.

Hutchins

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Did you know?

 In September of 2018 the Southwest Adventist University in Keene, established in 1893 celebrated its 125 year anniversary. The university was built in Keene before roads were paved and trees were cleared for residential homes. The picture below shows the original 1893 school house and students. The university now has over 800 students from 36 states, 35 countries and 10 denominations.

SWAU

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I little break from the usually entries, but too funny not to post.  John Percifield sent this yesterday. 

Back in the day the Burma Shave Company placed signes along the road side. They were small red signs with white letters. There were generally five signs spaced about 100 feet apart with the fifth sign advertising Burma Shave which was a popular shaving cream. Here are a few:

Don't stick your elbow out so far
it may go home in another car
Burma Shave

She kissed the hairbrush
by mistake
she thought it was her husband Jake
Burma Shave

Don't lose your head
to gain a minute
you need your head
your brains are in it
Burma Shave

Around the curve
lickety-split
beautiful car
wasn't it?
Burma Shave

Passing school zone
take it slow
let our little
shavers grow
Burma Shave

He saw the train
and tried to duck it
he kicked the gas
and then the bucket!!
Burma Shave

 

BurmaShave

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Did you know?

 The Johnson County Commissioners in 1907 were: (top row) R.P. Drennean, and John I. Rogers; (bottom row) G.W. Humphries, Judge F.E. Adams (Adams School was named after the judge) and John W. Shropshire. (Courtesy of Cleburne Times Review)

Commissioners

 

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Did you know?

 The 1924 the Cleburne City Directory listed two asylums: Cleburne Sanitarium on Featherstone and Meadowlawn Sanitarium in the Clebarro Addition. Two asylums in Cleburne?! Yikes!

Sanitarium

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Did you know?              

 In 1934 Charley Harvey was riding his horse to the store in Sand Flat when he saw a car parked under a tree and stopped to see if they needed help. Well when Charley got off his horse he was met by a woman with a gun. She told him to get back on his horse, go home and keep your mouth shut. The woman was Bonnie Parker. The man in the driver’s seat was Clyde Barrow!

Bonnie

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Did you know?

Burleson High School class of 1918 consisted of 10 students. Front row: Jessie Myrtle Bullock, Sylvia May Brister, Johnnie Bernice Harris, Drusic Hayden Shannon and Irene Virginia Overton. Second Row: Verner G. Griffing, Roy N. Faries, Clyde H. Griffing and Edwin H. Lace. Back Row: Supertendent J.A. Tibbets and John S. Fisher.

BHS 1918

 

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Did you know?

 Oct. 21, 1895,  Grince Taylor was murdered at his home, eight miles northeast of Grandview.  On June 29, 1896 John Wilkins was hung for the murder of Mr. Taylor. A crowd of approximately 15,000 people came to Cleburne to watch the hanging.

John Wilkins

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Did you know?

 On July 23, 1914 the town of Rio Vista suffered a devastating fire thought to have started in Z.T. Higgebotham’s barber shop. The only buildings to survive the fire were the Rio Vista Bank, Sam Cooper’s grocery, Chapman Brothers Livery stable and W.H. Nanny’s blacksmith shop. The loss was estimated at $90,000. Wow, $90,000 in 1914!!

fire Rio Vista

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Did you know?

 Class Room #11 at the Santa Fe School is pictured below in 1917. S.O. Rosser (first row far right) was a teacher at the school. He later became principal of the Santa Fe School, then principal at J.N. Long and Joshua schools. Later he was Johnson County’s Tax Collector/Assessor. (Courtesy of Cleburne Times Review)

1917 Santa Fe

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Did you know?

 On January 20, 1869 Sheriff E.M. Heath and Maj. Cathy set out from Cleburne heading for Austin with $3,800. A few miles beyond Hillsboro they were overtaken by four masked riders who held them up at gun point and stole the money! (drawing courtesy of David Lozeau)

Courtesy of

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Did you know?

 In July of 1870 Joe Cashion, who drove the Concord Stage between Cleburne and Weatherford, always sounded a bugle to announce the stage’s arrival when he crossed just west of Buffalo Creek.

stage

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Did you know?

 March 31, 1899: A skeleton was unearthed in a field near Antioch when Mr. Calloway (who cultivates the field) had his plow break. When he attempted to dig up the obstruction, he discovered a skeleton. The skeleton was very tall and considering the wearing of the teeth was believed to be that of an older individual. Due to various flint and arrowheads found in the vicinity, it was determined to be that of a Native American male.

chief

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Did you know?

 On August 1, 1897 the Cleburne Daily Review reported that two children, Jennie Adkins, aged 9 and Bessie Foote, aged 10 were playing with a 38 caliber revolver when it accidentally discharged resulting in little Jennie being shot through the shoulder. Dr. W.P. Alexander stated Jennie would be fine and as of last evening she was resting easily at her home in west Cleburne.

six shooter 2

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Did you know?

 In May of 1953 a tornado wiped out more than $50 million in downtown Waco. Johnson County citizens sent donations of food and supplies to the storm tossed Waco residents. In the picture below Jimmy Hollingsworth hands another box f supplies to Charles D. Kirkham, Jr. as another truck is loaded to aid the residents of Waco. (Courtesy of Cleburne Times Review)

Waco

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Did you know?

 Barnesville, about 12 miles east of Cleburne, was founded by Moses, Ben and Andrew Barnes along with Jaud and John Dee in 1853. In 1885 Barnesville had two grist mills, a cotton gin, two churches, a school and a population of 150. The town started to fail when the railroads bypassed it in the late 1880’s. Today all that is left of Barnesville is a small cemetery.

Barnesville

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Did you know?

 In November of 1855 Barnesville was established on Chambers Creek in eastern Johnson County by Moses, Ben, John, and Andrew Barnes. In 1868 Moses Barnes built a cotton gin and in 1876 a town site was laid off and a post office was built. A school was built in 1879. Railroads did not pass near the town causing it to disappear by 1900.

cotton gin

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Did you know?

 Park Hardware of Alvarado was the second oldest business institution in Johnson County. I apologize for the quality of the photo below, but here are the names as best I can discern: (Left to Right) Horace Park, Herbert Park and C.H. Park.

Park hardware

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Did you know?

 The first LVN class at Johnson County Memorial Hospital graduated in 1951. The graduating LVNs were Elsie Brownes, Winnie Brown, Mrs. Patton, Emily Love, Alice Rodman, Bessie Ward, Beulah Mundon, Mildred Pierce, Winnie Barnesdale, Beulah Bales, Mrs. Pritchard, Edna Miles, Etta Mash, Mamie Thetford, Bessie Kopfer, Mrs. Rankin, Frances Smith, Joyce Curlee, Mrs. Baker, Mrs. White, Mrs. Andrews, Mrs. Gibbs, Mrs. Wright, Mrs. Parks and Elizabeth Stepp. (Courtesy of Cleburne Times Review)

LVN

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Did you know?

 In 1899 Cleburne had a Concert Band: J.C. Arratt, Conductor and B Flat cornet; DeLos Anderson, Snare drum; W.A. Bennett, B Base; E.E. Clack, First Tenor; T.R. Hunter, Second Cornet; E.D. McKenzie, Solo Cornet; D.R. Murray, Bariton; W.F. Shaw, First Alto; H.H. Allen, “Mascot”; Geo. V. Brown, Bass Drum; Elmer Collins, Solo Cornet; J.F. Lemmon, Tuba; W.B. McPhearson, Second Alto; A.D. Shaw, B Flat Tenor; A.H. Vernon, Tuba.

Band Conductor

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Did you know?              

 In 1899 Charles C. Taylor, Sr. entered into the general merchandise business with Mr. Bob Norwood which in 1908 became the “Big Four” located at 112 South Main in Burleson. The store bought eggs, vegetables, butter and fire wood from the farmers or traded for goods. They also bought cotton, corn and peanuts and sold them in the store. The store extended credit to the farmers for seed, food and clothing until their crops were harvested.

Big 4

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Did you know?

 The 1904 Cleburne City Directory listed five dentists: Dr. J.W. Semones, over Graham’s Dry Goods Store; Dr. E.S. Scheble, over Dee’s Jewelry Store; Dr. W. Streetman, upstairs on the east side of the square; Dr. H.G. Clements, over Favorite Dry Goods Co.; Dr. W.H. Meyers, over Pitman’s Jewelry Store.

Dentist s

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Did you know?

 In 1868 Vincent Gray opened a hardware store and undertaking business at the intersection of Chambers and Anglin streets. The building later became the Garza Building. Mr. Gray could build your coffin and bury you too! A stage on the second floor (which is still there) was originally used for funeral viewings. Later Soiled Doves (women of ill repute and scant clothing) danced across the same stage. 

Garza

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Did you know?

 On August 5, 1876 the Cleburne Chronicle reported that Wesley Smith of Alvarado was killed when a large navy six shooter was taken from the house to be placed with baggage in a wagon. While handling the weapon it dropped from the scabbard on the wheel and went off killing young Mr. Smith.

six shooter 2

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Did you know?

 In 1887 the Goodwin and Sims families of Cleburne organized Salter Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church. The church was named in honor of Bishop M.B. Salter, and for a short time services were held in the homes of the Goodwin and Sims families on Front Street. The first sanctuary was built on East Chambers Street near Buffalo Creek. It was relocated in 1918 to South Brazos Avenue with Rev. George Ballard as Pastor. In 1931 the church was moved to106 Olive Street on land donated by the Charles Alexander family. The Rev. Beasley took over the pastorship. Otto McLeroy Moving Company of Alvarado is shown in the picture below while moving the church to the Olive Street location.

Salter

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Did you know?

 The 1911 Cleburne City Directory listed four theaters in Cleburne: Best Theatre on East Henderson, Propr Ann Clements; Brown’s Airdome Theatre on North Caddo, Manager Hoyt Kirkpatrick; Dixie Theatre on North Caddo (Vaudeville and moving pictures), Proprs Wood and Whiteneck; Yale Theatre, on Henderson (Moving pictures), Proprs Wood and Roper.

Theater

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Did you know?

 Joseph Noe, his wife Ella and their four children came to Johnson County in 1926 and settled on a farm located on the old Alvarado Highway. Their children attended grades 1-9 at the school in Bethesda which was about three miles away. In order to continue through high school, transportation was needed. Through the combined efforts of the parents, the Bethesda School and Johnson County officials, a bus was provided. The body was built by a furniture manufacturing company in Keene and mounted on a 1925 Model T Chassis. The bus was affectionately called “The Greyhound Pup” by the students. Reportedly this was the first school bus in Johnson County. It carried 8-10 students to Alvarado High School for a little over 2 years. In 1934 Ken W. Noe constructed the first school bus to serve the Burleson School District. This bus seated between 20-25 students. Joe Noe furnished the bus with gas and drove it for about 4 years. His salary was $30 per month. (courtesy of the Burleson Historical Committee)

School bus

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Did you know?

 In June of 1881 little Arthur Billingsly was found floating face down in Buffalo Creek about a half mile south of the Cleburne square. A jury of inquest was empaneled by Phil T. Allen, Justice of the Peace, John County Precinct 1 to examine the cause of death which was determined to be a blow to the head and drowning in the creek. Several young boys who were previously seen with the deceased were questioned but no evidence regarding the death was found. Later a woman who was washing clothes on the creek said she saw young Arthur go by and shortly after, a boy about 14 or 15 years of age passed going the same way. The young man was identified as “Gilbert”, but he could not be located. The case is still unsolved.

Who Killed Little Arthur?

 

 ? ? ?

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Did you know?

 In 1924 Cleburne city government consisted of a Mayor, W.H. Goldsmith; a Mayor Pro Tem, M.W. Weakley; a Marshall, J.J. Rogers; a City Attorney, Heber Henry; a Judge of Corporation Court, W.H. Goldsmith; a Treasurer, Mrs. Jerrine Hughes; Assessor and Collector, J.B. Post; City Engineer, C.H. Teesdale; City Auditor, J.S. Hoffman; Chief of Police, J.J. Rogers; Chief of Fire Department, Joseph Cashion; City Physician, J.D. Osborn; and a Street Commissioner, Andy Holt.

Goldsmith

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Did you know?

 The 1916-1917 Cleburne High School year book stated that the school organized an athletic association under the chairmanship of principal J.D. Dunlap. Other faculty members on the governing council were W.S. Ownsby, C.A Cushman and Miss Edna Graham. 1916-1917 boys basketball team included: (top row left – right) C.A. Cushman, Coach; Earl Dowdy, guard; Bryan Robinson, center; Vernon Gregory, guard; Harold Kirkman, forward; W.T. Andrews, manager. (Bottom row Left – right) Joe Flood, forward; Everett McQuillen (captain), forward; William Jones, guard. The 1916-1917 girls basketball team included: (top row left – right) Sue Mildred Lee, forward; Almarine Harris, center; C.A. Cushman, coach; Mildred Herscher, guard; Vera Davis, guard. (bottom row left – right): Susie Sumners, guard; Nina Mae Sanderlin, center and Hazel Payne, forward.

CHS basketball boys              CHS basketball girls

 

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Did you know?

The 1904 City Directory listed Cleburne having four bakeries: French Bakery on East Chambers; Bachiel and Star Bakery on South Main; C. Dempwolf Bakery and Grocery on South Main and Home Bakery and Groceries on East Henderson.

Bakery

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Did you know?

 In 1909-1910 the East Ward elementary school girls basketball team played the CHS girls basketball team. Their team yell was: “Five pennies make a nickle, two nickles make a dime – East Ward, East Ward, Wins every time.” The CHS team yell was: “Hand car, push car, engine full of steam; we are the champion basketball team.”

East Ward basketball

Note: Sorry, I couldn't find the names of these players.

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Did you know?

 In September of 1880 Berry Boydston and Sons of the Cross Timbers opened their new cotton Gin. They told the Cleburne Bulletin newspaper the Gin was in order and they had plenty of able bodied men on their crew.

Cotton gin 2

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Did you know?

 On July 20, 1892 the Cleburne Enterprise newspaper reported that a fishing party on the Nolan River caught over 100 pounds of fish!

fish

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Did you know?

 In 1899 Cleburne boosted eight churches: First Baptist Church on North Caddo Street, Rev. Geo. W. Baines pastor; St. Joseph’s Catholic Church on North Anglin, J. Hagarty pastor; First Christian Church on West Wardville Street, Rev. W.B. Carnes, pastor; Trinity Congregational Church on North Anglin Street, A.A. Hale Superintendent; Church of the Holy Comforter on North Anglin, Rev. G.S. Gibbs, Rector; First Methodist Church on South Main Street, Rev. J.S. Wyatt, Pastor; Cumberland Presbyterian Church, North Anglin Street, Rev. P.M. Riley, Pastor; Methodist Church on Chambers, Rev. R.F. Halbert Pastor; Baptist Church, Rev. Jones, Pastor; C.M.E. Church, Rev. Branch, Pastor.

Church

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Did you know?

 On August 9, 1873, three miles east of Cleburne, vigilantes shot a boy for horse stealing then dropped his body down a well. The Cleburne Chronicle stated “The good name of Johnson County is likely to suffer from the acts of bad characters within its borders”.

well

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Did you know?

 The Caddo Grove Seminary, near Caddo Mound, two miles west of Joshua opened with 65 pupils. The two story building was built by Professor McKensey and would accommodate 200 students.

Caddo Grove

 

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Did you know?

 Did you know that in 1899 Cleburne had four colleges? Mahan’s Business College on East Henderson Street which was established in 1878, Prof. J.W. Mahan, President, Mrs. J.W. Mahan, Principle of Ladies Department; St. Joseph’s Academy on North Anglin Street, conducted by the Sisters of Divine Providence, Sister Mary Ignatius, Directress; Cleburne Academy also on North Anglin Street, R.A. Berry, Principle; and The George Institute on North Anglin Street under the direction of Mrs. George.

Clebarro college

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Did you know?

 The 1911 Cleburne City Directory listed four newspapers in Cleburne: Cleburne morning Review published by the Review Publishing Co.; Cleburne Semi-Weekly Chronicle published by  J.P. Chambless; The Enterprise published by Enterprise Publishing Co.; Johnson County Review published by The Review Publishing Co.

From the Enterprise newspaper 1911

Adv Livery

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Did you know?

 On August 30, 1912 an electric interurban express line between Fort Worth and Cleburne began operation. It operated until 1931.

Interurban

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Did you know?

 William Combs was one of the founders of Alvarado and was one of the 200 Texans who signed the petition to create Johnson County. He served in Parson’s Brigade, 12th Texas Cavalry during the Civil War and was a land owner and constable in Johnson County.

Combs

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Did you know?

 On October 3, 1878 the Cleburne-to-Fort Worth stage was robbed by two men wearing calico bags over their heads. Finding no money in the mail they searched some of the passengers, taking only 30 cents, which they returned. (painting by Everett)

stage robbery

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Did you know?

 Alvarado was established on an old Indian trail. B.J. Chambers and Thomas Smith surveyed the area in 1841. They reported meeting friendly Native Americans there.

1841 Alvarado

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Did you know?

 In 1893 the site where Venus stands today was a cornfield owned by Jabe Smyth. The town was laid out in 1894 and in August of 1895 the Santa Fe opened a depot in Venus.

Venus

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Did you know?

 In 1922 Miriam Brown (Keeler), daughter of Emmett Brown (Superintendent of Cleburne Schools from 1913-1946) earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Texas in 1922. Ms. Brown was also known as the last word in Texas fashion. In the photo below she was wearing a ruffled organdie dress, had hair puffs over the ears and spit curls.

Brown

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Did you know?

 Wardville, the first county seat of Johnson County, was named for Thomas William Ward, a hero of the Texas Revolution, commissioner of the General Land Office and American Consul to Panama. He went on to be mayor of Austin in 1865. He was called “Peg Leg” Ward due to losing his leg in the siege of Bexar during the Texas Revolution.

ward-thomas-william

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Did you know?

 On August 29, 1887 Johnson County was flooded with 16.25 inches of rain! Seven people were drowned in Cleburne and dozens of others were rescued from tree tops. Crops were damaged all over the county. (painting by Marhanim)

flood 2

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Did you know?

 Lucinda Briden (1828-1875) was the first white woman settler and first woman landowner in Johnson County. She passed away in 1875 and is buried in a small cemetery located at the mouth of Haley Branch near the banks of the Nolan River where her home stood.

Briden

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Did you know?

 In 1885 the Red Oak Academy was built on the mound in Burleson but closed in 1900 after a typhoid outbreak killed several students.

Red Oak

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Did you know?

 On October 20, 1873 the Cleburne Chronicle reported that Johnson County celebrated its first County Fair. “More than expectations, or even the hopes of our citizens were realized in the success of our first experiment in holding an annual agricultural exhibition.”

Fair 2

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Did you know?

 In October of 1867 the Cleburne Chronicle reported: “Sometime this fall, Josiah Thompson drifted into Alvarado and opened a saloon. When the citizens of Alvarado advised him that it was against the law to sell whiskey there, he swore he would sell whiskey, law or no law. (painting by Carl Hantman)

saloon 2

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Did you know?

 There are “pictures” in the marble of the Johnson County Courthouse! The pictures weren’t created intentionally (the courthouse was opened in 1913 and there were no Transformers back then!). The Johnson County Courthouse Museum has a “Find pictures in the marble” challenge for kiddos to find pictures which are listed.

Marble 1

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Did you know?

 The Santa Fe Railroad came to Johnson County in 1881. Later two more railroads came: the Katy and the T & BV. The Santa Fe Shops were built and the rest is history. During these years the population of Cleburne jumped from 3,442 in 1881 to approximately 10,000 by 1906.

train

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Did you know?

 On October 2, 1881 the Jim Griffin was appointed deputy sheriff of Johnson County. He stepped into May’s Saloon in Cleburne a few hours later and was attacked by “a small army” of bad men, all of which Griffin dispatched to the floor without the use of his pistol.

fight

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Did you know?

 On April 10, 1869 citizens of Alvarado organized for the purpose of putting down lawlessness. Robbery, cattle rustling and even murder had reached a point that something had to be done.

sheriff

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Did you know?

 The Reece Prairie Community was established northwest of present day Joshua in 1853. The community was named for John Reece. There is little known about him except that the community used his name. One of the older families who grew up in the Reece Prairie Community and still live at Joshua are the Hildebrands. J. B. Hildebrand came to the area in 1882.

 

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Did you know?

 On January 9, 1869 an article in the Cleburne Chronicle urged people to clean out and wall up the springs on Buffalo Creek.

Buffalo Creek

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Did you know?

 On January 17, 1895 a local option election brought prohibition to Johnson County.

Prohibition

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Did you know?

 The Old Cleburne Hotel on the corner of North Main and West Henderson is where Governor Stephen Hogg stayed during his May, 1892 visit to Cleburne. It burned down in the 1930’s and hundreds of folks came to watch.

Hotel

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Did you know?

Alvarado was incorporated in June of 1885. The area was first settled by William Balch in 1850. He built a trading post and layed out a townsite. A.H. Onslott was the first sheriff and named the town Alvarado after an admired friend he fought with during the Mexican War.

Alvarado Sheriff

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Did you know?

 Buchanan, five miles northwest of Cleburne, was established in 1856 and selected as the second county seat in a special election held on October 4 of that year, after the discovery that the original county seat, Wardville, was more than six miles from the county's geographic center. Following the completion of a log courthouse, the first term of the county court met at Buchanan on February 16, 1857. The county court continued to meet in Buchanan for just over ten years. A post office opened there in 1857, and during the following year a jail was completed. An inadequate water supply, however, severely hampered growth. In 1866 the state legislature designated a portion of western Johnson County for inclusion in the newly established Hood County. This shift of territory reduced Johnson County's size and relocated its geographic center so that Buchanan was no longer within six miles of it. In a special election on March 23, 1867, county voters chose a new county seat, Camp Henderson, which became Cleburne. Buchanan lost its post office in 1868 and was abandoned by 1892. (Courtesy of Texas State Historical Association)

Buchanan

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Did you know?

 On March 10, 1884 fire destroyed many buildings on the south side of the square in Cleburne.

Fire wagon

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Did you know?

 During October of 1869 millions of grasshoppers flew all over Johnson County causing damage to fall crops!

Grasshoppers

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Did you know?

 On April 15, 1912 the Johnson County courthouse burned down. City Marshall Bledsoe was the only fatality. Ironically, the Titanic sank the same day.

1883

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Did you know?

 In the 1940’s Cleburne had a Coca Cola plant located on South Robinson Street owned by W. T. George. Pictured below are Mr. George in the suit, and his crew: Milford Eastus, Lloyd Ledbetter, Abe Miles, Everett “Happy” Dameron, Glen Clark, Johnny Booth and Frank Knopp.

Coca Cola Plant

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Did you know?

 Henry Briden and his wife were the first settlers in Johnson County. He came to the United States as a stowaway with only his clothes and a Bible. He served in the Texas Rangers for two years before meeting Lucinda Sevier while working as a surveyor for her father. They married in 1849 and arrived to this area by ox-driven wagon, making their home in a one-room log cabin near the banks of Noland’s River on land given them by her uncle. They were the first settlers in Johnson County.

 The cabin, 16 foot square with a fireplace has been restored and is now located on Highway 174 in Rio Vista. Pictured at their third home in 1900 (located about two miles northwest of Rio Vista are Lucinda Briden, Henry Briden, Mr. and Mrs. Henry Taack, Mr. and Mrs. Tom Sloan and Lola Sloan.

Briden

 

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Did you know?

 On November 25, 1892 there were two incidents of runaway horses in Cleburne. One was pulling a coal wagon and the other was pulling a delivery wagon.

runaway

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Did you know?

During the first week of September in 1850 a stalk of corn was displayed in Cleburne that measured 14 feet 7 inches tall!

Corn stalk

 

Note: This is longer than the usual post, but very interesting.

The Hidden Treasure of Island Grove

Is there hidden treasure near Grandview in the small area now known as Island Grove? A story told by an old Comanche says there is. The story goes that in the early part of the 18th century a group of outlaws robbed a convent in Monterey, Mexico of a large amount of gold. They retreated north, fleeing from the Mexican Army. The Army finally turned back after crossing the Rio Grande. The outlaws, led by a man named Mendosa, fled further north intending to enter the US and spend their loot.  

They were camped near Island Grove when they were surrounded by a Comanche war party. They buried the gold and Mendosa made a primitive map of its location on a buffalo hide and hid it under his saddle. Their firepower allowed them to escape the Comanche, intending to return later for the gold.

The bandits broke up into groups of two and three and went in different directions. As they fled, Mendosa and the outlaws with his group were followed by the Comanche warriors. After a few miles, Mendosa’s horse stepped into a hole and broke its leg. The men surrendered but were immediately killed by the Comanche warriors. Afterwards, the warriors found the map and kept it as a souvenir. Its whereabouts are now unknown.

People have searched for the treasure ever since. But all that has been found, so far, are a couple of old Mexican horse bits. Even today treasure hunters continue to search for the treasure of Island Grove.

Painting by Frank McCarthy

Frank McCarthy

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Did you know?

 On December 15, 1893 the first telephones in Alvarado were installed.

telephone

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Did you know?

 On October 12, 1869 Caddo Grove (located about 8 miles northeast of Cleburne) was founded and opened a post office.  J.R. McKinsey, an area pioneer, operated a small school from his home in the area that was founded in 1854. After the Civil War, McKinsey expanded the town with additional businesses and a private school called Caddo Grove Academy. By 1847, fifty-three students enrolled in the school. In February, 1868, the school became public and was called Caddo Grove Seminary. It became recognized as the most prestigious school on the northern frontier of Texas. The railroad was established in 1881 in the nearby town of Joshua, causing the town of Caddo Grove to become abandoned. Below is a photo of Caddo Grove School in 1917.

 (Courtesy of Joshua ISD)

CaddoGrove1917

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Did you know?

 On May 4, 1890 a tornado struck near Robinson Branch and Bono destroying homes and killing several people.

Tornado

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Did you know?

 On July 29, 1878 there was a total eclipse. In Buchanan, a man who had not known of the coming astronomical show thought the end of the world had come when it started getting dark. He killed his child and himself.  Neighbors said: "He had always been regarded as a fanatic on the subject of religion, but was  industrious and sober.

Eclipe

 

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Did you know?

 On August 15, 1912 the Interurban began operation between Cleburne and Fort Worth.

 Interurban

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Did you know?

 A. J. Wright bought the third car manufactured by the Cleburne Motor Car Company in 1911. He used it as a delivery van for his dry goods store.

AJ Wright car

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Did you know?

In the second week of August in 1869 an 11-foot alligator was killed in the Brazos River near Kimball. Alligators, in the Brazos in north central Texas??!!

Alligator

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Did you know?

 In 1867 the Johnson County seat, courthouse and jail were moved from Buchanan to Cleburne, the new county seat. A new courthouse was soon built on the square and opened April 6, 1869.

1869 Courthouse

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Did you know?

Henry Briden of Rio Vista was among the first settlers and during the Civil War he was a member of the Confederate Cavalry. He was captured on July 17, 1863 in Arkansas. His cabin can still be seen in Rio Vista.

Briden Calavry

Briden Cabin

 

 

 

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Did you know?

 Burnetta College, at Venus, operated from 1896 to 1906 under the sponsorship of the Disciples of Christ. The school was named for Burnetta Barnes. Its four-story frame building was built with contributions of $500 by the citizens of Venus and a $5,000 gift from A. D. Leach, who became the school's first president. The college opened with 250 students on September 7, 1896. At its largest Burnetta College had 350 day students, some boarders, and from eight to ten teachers. 

 (courtesy of Texas State Historical Association)

Venus school

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Did you know?

 Alvarado resident, Charlie Reece was killed in action at Anzio, Italy during WWII. He is buried at Senterwood Cemetery. Thanks for your service, Charlie.

Charlie

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 Did you know?

 February 11, 1899 was recorded as the coldest day to date in county history! It was 10 degrees.

Cold

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Did you know?

 Law enforcement in Johnson County has a long history of doing a great job! In the third quarter of 1902 103 prisoners were jailed in Johnson County. Crimes included: horse theft – 2; felony theft – 5; misdemeanor theft – 12; rape – 2; burglary – 5; aggravated assault and battery – 4; riding train illegally – 6;drunkenness – 30; lunacy – 4; vagrancy – 24; assault to murder – 3; disturbing the peace – 4; and attacking witnesses – 2.

Jail

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Did you know?

The Liberty Hotel at 205 S. Caddo Street in Cleburne was built by A. J. Wright in 1924 at a cost of $105,000. It was a high end hotel with Big Bands playing in the ballroom. The Liberty is still going strong today.

Liberty Hotel

 

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Did you know?

 In 1896 Ringling Brothers Circus came to Cleburne. They paraded around the Courthouse Square and, according to T. U. Taylor, people would follow the circus to the fairgrounds.

Circus

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Did you know?

 In 1906 A. J. Wright established the largest dry goods and general merchandise business in Cleburne on the first floor of  his building which faced South Main Street just south of the square. Upstairs were offices and a factory for making dresses, pants, shirts, suits and leather goods.

AJ Wright

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Did you know?

 Johnson County’s first county seat was in Wardville (now under Lake Pat Cleburne), and was named for Thomas William Ward, second commissioner of the General Land Office of Texas. It was a 16’ x 16’ lob cabin and can still be seen at the Chisholm Trail Outdoor Museum.

Wardville best

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Did you know?

 In 1873 the Brazos River was frozen so hard that a horse and cart could travel over it!

Frozen River

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Did you know?

 There were five Johnson County Commissioners in 1907. Pictured below, top row: R. P. Drennean and John I. Rodgers; bottom row: G. W. Humphries, Judge F. E. Adams (Adams School was named after the judge), and John W. Shropshire.

Commissioners

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Did you know?

 Buchanan was the second county seat in Johnson County. It was located northwest of what is now Cleburne. When the county was re-districted, and Cleburne became the county seat, the Buchanan Courthouse was relocated to the southeast side of what is now the Courthouse Square (Where the Christian Heritage Foundation is located today). When the 1869 Courthouse was built in the center of the square, the relocated Buchanan Courthouse became the “Cheap Cash Store”.

Store

 

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Did you know?

 Back in 1931 a man managed to smuggle beer to a prisoner in the Johnson County Jail to brighten his spirits. When officers found him intoxicated, he was handed another sentence for drunkenness.

Drunk

 

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Did you know?

 Back in 1915 the City of Alvarado had a rather suffocated upscale barber shop. Pictured below are Curtis Navgher, Oscar Hariston, Lee Mahanay, Joe Morrison, and Tom Brown. Shown have a shave and h;aircut are Bob Whitten, John  Gregory, and Charles Mahanay.

Barber Shop

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Did you know?

Back in the 1920’s The bell at Alvarado High School rang every morning at 8:30 AM and 9 AM. If you weren’t there by 9 AM you were counted as tardy. Pictured below are Jack Fowler, Elizabeth Ezell Graham and Jerienne McLeroy Fowler.

Bell

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Did you know?

 In June of 1861 the Johnson County Cavalry organized, followed by the Rock Creek Guards, Alvarado Cavalry and the Grandview Cavalry.

Cavalry

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Did you know?

 Sam Meyers, Jr. was born in Alvarado in 1858 and hung for murdering his step mother in 1880. Unfortunately, he was innocent. It is said his brother-in-law confessed to the murder on his death bed. Didn’t help poor old Sam. . . .

Sam Myers

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Did you know?

 On July 20, 1894 a watermelon feast took place in Johnson County. The picture below shows some of the participants. Front row R to L: Grandma (Amanda) Stephens, Samantha Stephens (with doll), Hugh Stephens, Mumford Stephens, Calhoun Stephens, Alva Stephens, Jim Tiner, Grandpa Neil Stephens and Clifford Tiner. (Thanks to “A Pictorial History of Cleburne and Johnson County”)

Watermelon Feast

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Did you know?

 In August 1912 the Interurban was begun by the north Texas Traction Company. It carried passengers between Cleburne and Fort Worth and back. The interurban was powered by a 480 horsepower electric motor and each car could seat about 40 passengers. The first ticket to ride the interurban was sold on September 1, 1912 to E. J. Campsey. Pictured below

Interurban

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Did you know?

 In 1883 Alta Vista College was transferred to the ownership of Red Oak Presbytery and became Red Oak Academy near Burleson. There were boarding houses for boys and girls. The school was equivalent to a junior college. 

Alta school

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Did you know?

 In 2009, the City of Keene wanted to annex seven parcels of land to its South, but was met with strong opposition from the parcels' residents. Judge John Neill of the 18th District Court subsequently blocked the annexation of three of the seven parcels on the grounds that they were outside of Keene's extraterritorial jurisdiction. On March 10, 2010, 25 residents petitioned a specially called meeting of the Johnson County Commissioners Court to become incorporated as a municipality. The name "Coyote Flats" was submitted at the meeting.

An election to incorporate the City of Coyote Flats was held on May 8, 2010. The measure was approved by a vote of 76 to 11. John Barnett was sworn in as Mayor on August 11. Coyote Flats is located east of Cleburne and, at the 2016 census, had a population of 312. Currently Coyote Flats city officials are:

Mayor - Doug Peterson

City Commissioner - Robert Slough

City Commissioner - Shirley Greene

City Secretary/Treasurer - Clara Morton

Coyote Flats

 

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Did you know?

 The community of Egan is located approximately seven miles east of Joshua and is still there today. At one time the town boasted a winery, syrup mill, nursery, gin, rug factory, broom factory, post office, school, two churches, blacksmith shop, a coal chute, two railroads and numerous stores. W. R. Martin was an early-day Postmaster. The picture below shows the W. R. Martin family in 1912 gathered in front of their Egan home. They are (on porch L-R) Walter and Willie Martin, Opie Martin and wife; (standing L-R) Clenton, Elta, Walter, Laura and Gus Martin

Egan

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Did you know?

In the early 1850’s, near where present day Joshua is located, was a small community named “Rock Creek”. The first known settlers were J. J. Mills, his family and son-in-law, S. B. Kirkham. A spring provided water for the young community. Pictured below is the Bell home in Rock Creek. (L-R) Jennie Bell, Egie Bell, J. D. Bell (toddler), Temple Bell, James Bell, Ray Bell, Bill Bell, George Lemmons, Johnny Lemmons.

Rock Creek

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Did you know?

April 19, 1867, a Post Office was established in Cleburne when it was still known as Camp Henderson. Josephine B. Wren served as the first postmistress before women could even vote!

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Did you know?

 On August 19, 1903, County Judge, J. D. Goldsmith, signed an order for Johnson County to furnish coffins for paupers who died in the county. The cost was $7.50 per coffin.

coffins

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In the 1890’s Joshua had a thriving hotel. It was located where the old B & R Garage used to be.

Joshua hotel

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Did you know?

 The Bethesda Community traces its history to 1853, when pioneer farmer David R. Jackson donated land for a community cemetery. Unmarked graves date to 1844, and the earliest marked burials are from 1856. Bethesda Baptist Church was organized on August 13, 1855. It was the First Baptist Church in the county and was called Cross Timbers Bethesda Baptist Church. Services were held in a log cabin. Initially served by circuit riding ministers, the church's first pastor was William Robinson. A Sunday School was organized in 1887. Services were held monthly until 1944, when weekly meetings were begun. After the original log cabin church burned in 1878, a new wooden structure was built. A brick sanctuary was constructed in 1959, and became a fellowship hall in 1980 when a new facility was completed. A community school was organized in 1855. Located at the head of Crill Miller Creek, it was called Crill Miller School. In 1918 it was consolidated with the Post Oak and Village Creek Schools to form Bethesda School. A four-room schoolhouse was built and served as a center for many community activities. Bethesda School was incorporated into the Burleson Independent School District in 1950.

(From Uncovered Texas History)

Bethesda Cemetery

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Did you know?

 In 1912 Floyd H. “Slats” Rogers, a Railroader from Keene, built and flew the first airplane in Texas. The plane was named Old Soggy because of a persistent droop in one wing. Construction was begun in Cleburne and completed in Ed Wallen’s blacksmith shop in Keene. Slats was an engineer for the Railroad in Cleburne but made more money transporting bootleg whiskey in the cab of his train! Slats was also the first person in Texas to obtain a pilot’s license and the first to have his pilot’s license revoked! The picture below is Old Soggy #1, Slats and his father, Charles.

Old Soggy

 

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Did you know?

 In 1883 Alta Vista College was transferred to the ownership of Red Oak Presbytery and became Red Oak Academy near Burleson. There were boarding houses for boys and girls. The school was equivalent to a junior college.

Alta school

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Did you know?

 Josephine B. Wren, first woman postmaster in Johnson County, is said to have built the first house in Cleburne. It was located at the intersection of Main and Henderson streets.

 Josephine's house

 

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Did you know?

 There was once a community named Bruce in Johnson County.  Bruce was fifteen miles northwest of Cleburne in western Johnson County. The site was settled in the early 1880s and named for early settler Horatio Gates Bruce. By the mid-1880s the community had two churches, a school, and a general store. Between 1885 and 1891 it had a post office. In 1892 it had four businesses and a population of fifty. During the first three decades of the twentieth century most of the families moved to nearby Godley. By 1930 Bruce was no longer an organized community. (From Texas Escapes)

 

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Did you know?

April 3, 1891, Johnson County Review

 Mayor’s Court Cases Tried and Disposed by Mayor Frymier this week in Cleburne:

  •  Jim Powell, drunk
  • Henry Ditty, drunk
  • Geo. Berry, assault and battery
  • Goldsmith and Jake Cohen, fighting
  • Josh Haley, fast riding
  • A. G. Willbanks and J. L. Felder, fighting

 

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Did you know?

Buchanan was named for the U.S. President (before he was elected) and replaced Wardville as the Johnson County seat of government in 1856. Buchanan was chosen for its more central location. A post office opened there in 1857 and a log courthouse heard trials and dispensed justice. A jail was built in 1858.

Buchanan served as Johnson County’s seat of government for slightly more than ten years. The town had an undependable supply of water and in 1866 an agreement was reached which allotted land to the new (adjoining) county of Hood. This action required a readjustment of the county center.

With Buchanan no longer within six miles of the county center, an election was held in March of 1867, and voters chose Camp Henderson (which was to eventually become Cleburne) as the new county seat. The population relocated to the new seat and the post office closed in 1868. A few residents remained but by the 1890s, Buchanan was deserted.

 Buchanan

 

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Did you know?

 On August 29, 1884, a hook and ladder company was organized in Alvarado by R. M. Chapman and R. H. Coleman. In 1885 the fire department began operating in the first floor of Alvarado City Hall. The inscription over the entrance proclaimed it as “Alvarado Fire Station No. 1.” The tower on the top of the City Hall was used As an observation platform to spot fires.

Alvarado No. 1

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Did you know?

In 1902 the Antioch Church also served as the community’s school. In bad weather a wagon would pick up the children and bring them to school. The wagons had chairs for the students to sit in, but  one day, while going up a steep hill, the chairs turned over and dumped the children out!

 Antioch school

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Did you know?

 In the late 1893 Dr. Larkin Leonidas Harris began his practice in Cuba near San Flat. He was joined by his brother, Dr. R. L. Harris in 1896.The doctor has a separate house for his office and wrote and filled his own prescriptions. He accepted vegetables, meat, or services as payment because cash was scares. Pictured below are (out of sight seated in the carriage) Dr. Harris, Mrs. Harris standing on the porch and Catherine Goldman Smith standing by the horse.

(Johnson County, Texas, A Pictorial History, Volume 1)

 Cuba Dr. Harris

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Did you know?

 In September of 1896 The Burnetta College in Venus opened for its first term. It was named Burnetta College in honor of Mrs. Burnetta Barnes. The building was a four-story frame structure with thirty-five rooms which included a dormitory. After about nine years, the college was turned into a public school. (courtesy of Betty Trussell)

 

 Venus school

 

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Did you know?

 Professor W. G. Slaton came to Johnson County in 1889. Slaton and his brother, Henry T. Slaton, donated the land and founded the Slaton Chapel and Friendship School in 1893. It was located nine miles from Cleburne and served the African American community of Nathan. Professor Slaton organized and directed all of the school activities. He was also the principal of the African American school in Grandview.

 Nathan school

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Did you know?

The community was known as Grange Hall and Kimbell before 1881, when the Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe Railway was completed a mile east and the town site of Rio Vista was laid out overlooking the Nolan River and Mustang Creek. Grange Hall declined, and Rio Vista grew.

 Rio Vista station

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Did you know?

 Around 1904 the J. Ganong & Gay Paint Company was established at 116 N. Main in Cleburne. Paint, wallpaper, and mirror replacements were their specialties.

 (From “Johnson County, Texas, A Pictorial History, Volume 1)

 Cleburne Paint

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Did you know?

 In 1941 Miss Hazel C. Phillips was Flower Pageant Queen at the Mt. Zion Baptist church in Cleburne. Miss Phillips who is prominent in music and social circles of the city will spend the summer in Cleveland, Ohio furthering her study in the field of music.

 Hazel

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Did you know?

 Godley was established in 1886 and named for R. B. Godley, a Cleburne lumber merchant who donated an eight-acre tract for a town site and twenty acres of land as a right-of-way to the Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe Railway. In 1888 a post office was opened and Godley had a gristmill, three cotton gins, and two dairy-processing plants.

Godley

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Did you know?

 In 1881 a mill was constructed in Grandview by John W. Westbrook, the first in the county. The mill established the new town as a center for area farmers. In 1882 the tracks of the Missouri, Kansas and Texas Railroad passed within two miles of the town. Over the next year residents and businesses moved south to be near the rail line. The population surpassed 500 by 1890. By the following year the First National Bank of Grandview opened, and residents voted to incorporate.

Grandview

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Did you know?

On April 3, 1874 John Powell sold Ira J. L. Pearson 50 acres, which is now downtown Joshua. The purchase price was $250.The first rail station in Joshua was named Caddo Peak, but the name was declined by the postal service, the first post master, Mr. W. L. West suggested the name Joshua after the biblical figure of that name. The postal service accepted the name.

Joshua post office

 

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Did you know?

 Marystown, about two miles east of Joshua, was once a thriving community. The Reverend J. S. Wilshire, his wife and seven children settled there around 1853. In 1879 Thomas Hollingsworth and his new wife moved from Alabama to the area. Marystown is named for his wife. By 1880 Marystown had a school. Below is a photo of the class of 1906-1907. (First row, L-R) Archie Whitley, Jack Gregory, George Gregory. (Last row, L-R) Johnny Owens, Ethel Jackson, Clyde Miller, and Lorene Gregory. Third row, L-R, Jessie Wilson, T. J. Hughes, Goldie Whitley, and Silas Hughes. (Last row L-R) Marsella Thomas, Estes Kiddy, Anne Gregory, Tom Tarver, Myrtle Gregory and Ollie Tarver. Miss Bertha Borring, teacher, last on the left.

 Marystown

 

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Did you know?

 In February 1872 an ordinance was passed by the Mayor and Board of Aldermen of the Town of Cleburne stating that hogs going at large within the corporate limits of the of town are declared a public nuisance and would to be captured by the Town Constable. If they weren’t claimed within 10 days, the Town Constable would sell them to the highest bidder.

hog

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Did you know?

Cresson is on the Hood-Johnson county line. The town was named for John Cresson, captain of a wagon train that camped in the area before the Civil War. Captain Cresson later built several houses and a general store on the site. In 1887 the Fort Worth and Rio Grande Railway was built through Cresson and extended to Granbury which bolstered the economy in Cresson by opening the Fort Worth and Granbury markets to the town's agricultural products and livestock. A post office was established in 1887. By 1890 Cresson had a population of thirty-five, a lumberyard, and three stores.

Cresson

 Cresson, Texas Late 1800's

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Did you know?

 In 1879 the community of Caddo Grove had seven businesses and a seminary headed by Prof. Sanders, Principal. The Fort Worth to Cleburne stage coach made regular stops in Caddo Grove, the stage stop there was the West Store. Businesses were:

 Dennis Owens, blacksmith

  • Forresters, groceries
  • Goodloe, Dry Goods
  • Jones, Woodshop
  • Dr. McMillan, drugs and medicine
  • West Store, general merchandise

 

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Did you know?

 City and County law enforcement around 1902 included Charles McClain, town marshal and Frank Long, Sheriff. Law and order in the first few years after the establishment of a town was maintained by the Sheriff and other Johnson County officers.

law officers 1902 

 

(From “Johnson County, Texas, A Pictorial History, Volume 1)

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Did you know?

 In the late 1800’s and early 1900’s it was not considered safe for a “proper lady” to walk on the west side of the Square in Cleburne. At the turn of the century, there continued to be cases filed against madams keeping “disorderly houses” in Cleburne. In 1915 any male person over the age of fourteen who knowingly rode in a vehicle or walked on the street with a woman who had a bad reputation could be considered guilty of a misdemeanor and be fined $5 - $100.

Lady

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Did you know?

 Members of the Cleburne Volunteer Fire Company posed for the picture below during an exercise about 1895. The two firemen operating the hose are Lorance Scurlock, left and Mabry Thomas. The first Cleburne fire unit was formed in 1891. A venerable fire horse, “Old Tom”, is remembered fondly in Cleburne before the advent of motor drawn fire equipment in 1913. “Old Tom” was used by the county to pull the road grader, but when the fire alarm sounded, he would snort and paw until he was released then he would run to the fire station and back into a stall to receive the harness to pull the fire fighting machinery.

Fire Dept. 1895 

 

 (From “Johnson County, Texas, A Pictorial History, Volume 1)

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Did you know?

 The Cleburne City Directory of 1899 – 1900 listed two architects: J. B. Cook and T. W. Myall; Two banks: Farmers and Merchants National Bank, S. B. Allen President and National Bank of Cleburne, S. E. Moss, President. Also listed were three bakeries, six barber shops, three “baths”, five blacksmiths, one billiard hall, one bowling alley and fourteen boarding houses, eighteen grocery stores and twenty-nine lawyers. The Hamilton Hotel on South Caddo had rooms for $2.00 a day.

 F&M Bank

F & M Bank

 

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Did you know?

 The Alvarado City Hall, built in 1878, was designed to house a market and jail on the first floor and a town hall on the second floor. Sometimes people, wagons and horses were so thick around City Hall you couldn’t ride a horse around the square. On market days almost anything could be bought or traded there.

 Alvarado Sq

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Did you know?

 There was an article in the April 1872 Cleburne Chronicle newspaper giving instructions for women on how to curl their hair:

 Take two ounces of borax, one drachm of powdered gum Seneca, one quart of hot water (not boiling); mix and as soon as the ingredients are dissolved, add two ounces of spirits of wine, strongly impregnated with camphor. On retiring to rest, wet the hair with the above mixture and roll it in papers as usual. Leave them till morning then untwist and form into ringlets.

curls

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Did you know?

 G. C. & S. F. Engine Number 28, a 4-4-0 with tall smoke stack, is the style of engine that puled Santa Fe trains into Johnson County in 1881. The locomotive shown below in the Cross Timbers is transporting flatcars. Flatcars such as these carried train passengers into Cleburne in the fall of 1881. Passenger cars did not begin service until January 1, 1882. Wood stoves arrived by boxcar on the early trains into Alvarado in 1880.

440

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Did you know?

 The stagecoach stop at Station Branch, southwest of Godley was near the site of numerous stagecoach holdups in Johnson County. Previously the building was a small troop station on the Military Road and then occupied by the Stephen Clements Terry Family (pictured below) Reports state the building was constructed in 1879.

Stagecoach Station

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Did you know?

 In 1912, the Johnson County Commissioners Court hired the Dallas architectural firm of Lang and Witchell to design the county’s sixth and current courthouse. The courthouse style is Classical Revival with Prairie-style details and a stained glass rotunda. Pink granite adorns the interior walls. Within the granite you can find pictures of all sorts. Below are a few, but look closely and you’ll find many more.

Grinch, Bearded Man and Bigfoot!

Grinch Bearded Man 

 

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 Did you know?

 According to the Johnson County Review newspaper, during the first week of April, 1891 the Mayor’s Court (Mayor Frymier) tried and disposed of the following cases:

  •  Jim Powell, drunk
  • Henry Ditty, drunk
  • George Berry, assault and battery
  • Goldsmith and Jake Cohen, fighting
  • Josh Haley, fast riding
  • A. G. Willbanks and J. L. Felder, 

 fast cowboy

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The 1868 Johnson County Courthouse in Cleburne was a two-story, brick building enclosed by a four-plank fence. The courthouse had a hall running east and west, and one joining it on the south. The halls, having no doors, were open at all times and had dirt floors

 

1868

 

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Outlaw, Sam Bass and his outlaw gang did more in Texas than hold up stage coaches and get killed in Round Rock. Sam had a sorrel mare named Jenny that he loved to race in Cleburne and at the Caddo Grove “Turf and Jolly Club”.

 Sam

 

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June 31, 1873

Sometime this week a fellow who claims to be a “drover” made his advent into this county with a herd of cattle. Johnson County Sheriff, O.P. “Perry” Arnold had received information that this man’s (Mr. Walters) herd had in it some stock that didn’t possess the road brand which is  required to be placed upon stock traveling through this State. Sheriff Arnold started in pursuit of the parties and succeeded in overtaking them somewhere near the Tarrant County line. Mr. Walters did have unbranded stock in the herd. Sheriff Arnold and his men arrested Mr. Walters and took the herd back to Cleburne.

 

 

O.P. Arnold 1

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In 1887 Peyton Irving established the Irving Select School for Young Ladies. The school was a success and a few years later he built a bigger school at 1100 North Anglin in Cleburne. The new school was two stories with classrooms on the lower floor and dormitories on the second floor.

Cleburne Peyton school

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The picture below, the Pat Cleburne Camp No. 88 U.C.V. posed in front of the Johnson County Courthouse in 1900. They met regularly in the “Old Soldiers Room” in the Courthouse Basement.

  Cleburne Camp No. 88

 

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The Comanche name for the Brazos River was Pub-che-o-qua which means “clear running water”. The Caddo name for the Brazos was Babatsi. Lakes formed from the Brazos and Nolan rivers are the prominent water supply for Johnson County.

indian river 

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The first settlers to reach the area, Jeremiah Easterwood and his family, arrived in 1852. Easterwood built a Methodist church, which also served as a school. Eventually the community became known as Elm Grove. The Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe Railway built into the area about 1890. A general store was established by Charlie Moore in 1893. In 1894 the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists opened a school to train ministers on 836 acres in the community. The assembly hall was built on the campus of Southwestern Union College that year, and a post office opened. Postal Service officials selected the name Keene. The local post office closes on Saturdays rather than Sundays.

Keene Post office 

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Richard Henry Burns’ Blacksmith Shop was established in Burleson around 1886. His sons, Lucian and Elisha spent a good deal of time assisting him in the shop.

Burleson Burns Blacksmith

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No permanent Indian villages existed in what is now Johnson County, though Indians, including Tonkawas, Kickapoos, Anadarkos, Caddos, and Wacos, hunted in the area. In 1851 the Caddo Indians led an uprising that forced many of the early settlers to abandon their homes, most of which were subsequently burned. No other serious Indian conflicts occurred.

Native 

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Jim Hogg (future governor of Texas) was born in Rusk, Texas in 1851. He came to Cleburne in 1868 when he was about 17 years old. He worked for a while at the new Cleburne Chronicle newspaper and when the Chronicle building burned, he went on to become a lawyer, a justice of the peace and served as governor of Texas from 1891-1895. Governor Hogg visited Cleburne in May of 1892 and stayed at the Cleburne House. He was the first Texas Governor to be born in Texas.

 

 (Governor Hogg's signature is the fifth down on the page)

 Cleburne GovernorCleburne Governor 2

 

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November 18, 1897, Cleburne:  It was a hilarious sight.  A Police Officer was running through the streets of East Cleburne chasing a drunken man in a buggy. This was probably the first case of a DWI in Johnson County.

run away pd 

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Samuel Billingsley and his wife, Temperance Davidson Billingsley, came to Alvarado in 1852. Eight of the Billingsley families followed them to the community. The Billingsley families swelled the population by fifty people, doubling the population within the county. They helped establish the first school at Alvarado and built a horse-powered mill.

 

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In 1900 R. L. Bartley had established a blacksmith shop at 202 West Henderson (next to the Wagon Yard). Mr. Bartley was a professional who shoed horses, repaired carriages and wagons and was an agent for deep well supplies and windmills.

Blacksmith shop 

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John C. Brown’s Opera House, built in 1877, was an impressive, three-story building at the corner of East Chambers and South Anglin Streets. Downstairs was Brown’s buggy and carriage business. Upstairs was an auditorium with a stage where productions included live plays and musical performances until it closed in 1911. Friday was Society Night, when well-dressed patrons arrived in carriages for an evening of high-class entertainment.

 (Courtesy of Layland Museum)

 Browns Opera House

 

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The settlement known as Union Hill (located east of Joshua) began in the early 1850s. By the 1870s Union Hill had developed into a small rural community of families primarily engaged in cotton farming. 

Union Hill cemetery

 

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The first County Seat in Johnson County at Wardville was named for Col. Thomas Ward. He was a veteran of the Texas revolution and headed the first General Land office.

Thomas William Ward 

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Dr. John Duke and his family moved to Johnson County in 1854. They established a farm in the Alvarado area and when their ten-year-old daughter, Zilla, died in 1870 they buried her on the family farm. Several more Duke children passed away and were buried near Zilla. In 1879 Dr. Duke deeded the burial ground to the community as a cemetery.

Alvarado Duke

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The Layland Museum was originally the Carnegie Library. It was begun in 1901 under the direction of the local women’s club. In 1902 members of the organization met with New York industrialist and benefactor Andrew S. Carnegie to secure funds for a building. His gift was matched by local contributions and the structure was completed in 1905. The building functioned as a library until 1978 when it was converted to the Layland Museum. 

Cleburne Carnegie 

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In 1912 Floyd H. “Slats” Rodgers built and flew the first airplane built in Texas, right here in Johnson County! The plane was called Old Soggy No. 1 due to the right wing consistently drooping. Mr. Rodgers loved to taxi the plane through the streets of Cleburne to show it off.

Old Soggy with Horseman001

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Josephine Wren had the first boardinghouse in Cleburne. Called the Cleburne House, it was on the northwest corner of Main and Henderson Streets. It was a log cabin used for a tavern where no whiskey was sold. On May 4, 1892 future Texas Governor, Stephen Hogg stay there. By 1906 different owners had enlarged it to three stories with 50 rooms, a restaurant and a grand lobby. The rate was $2 per day. 

(Courtesy of the Layland Museum)

 Cleburne House

 

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The following is courtesy of Andy AsBerry, JCHC/FJCHC

Horatio Gates Bruce was born in Kentucky on September 4, 1824, the son of Horatio and Elizabeth (Beasley) Bruce. He married Patsy Palmer on August 3, 1848. The couple had four sons and one daughter. Bruce immigrated with his family to Texas in the winter of 1848-1849 and settled in what would become Johnson County! Here Bruce was one of the leading members of the community. He helped establish and was a founding member of the Rock Creek Baptist Church.

 In April 1862 following the outbreak of the Civil War, Bruce raised a company of cavalry for service in the Confederate Army. This unit was incorporated as Company F into the Twentieth Texas Cavalry Regiment with Bruce serving as captain. The regiment underwent training and reorganization at Tyler during the summer of 1862 and Bruce's company was re-designated as Company H. Bruce saw action in Arkansas and in Indian Territory. 

Bruce returned to Johnson County at the cessation of hostilities, resume his leadership within the community. In 1873 Bruce won election as representative for District Twenty-three which was comprised of Johnson, Hood, Parker, Erath, Palo Pinto, Stephens, Shackelford, Jones, Eastland, Callahan, Taylor, Hill, Jack, Young, Throckmorton, and Haskell counties. Bruce was a Johnson County delegate to the Constitutional Convention of 185 and served in the Seventeenth Texas Legislature from 1881 to 1882. 

In the early 1880's Bruce founded the town of Bruce, north of present day Godley. He died while serving in the legislature in Austin on January 11, 1882. He is buried in the Caddo Cemetery.

 

HG Bruce 2

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 Robert Bernerd Anderson (June 4, 1910 - August 14, 1989) was an American administrator and businessman who served as the Secretary of the Navy between February 1953 and March 1954. He served as the Secretary of the Treasury from 1957 until 1961, and was one of President Eisenhower's closest confidants. He was born in Burleson and lived in Godley.

Anderson

 

 

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Wardville, Texas was the first county seat of Johnson County. When Lake Pat Cleburne was created, both the town and it's cemetery were then located under it's waters.  Fortunately, Johnson County Historical Commission and the Chisholm Trail Outdoor Museum (CTOM)  saved the original courthouse by moving it to the CTOM. The Museum has recreated  the cemetery at their location and beginning March 1 (weather permitting) will offer tours on Thursdays and Fridays from 10 AM - 4:30 PM.

 Wardville

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In the 1880's cotton was the biggest crop in Johnson County, especially around Burleson, Grandview, Venus and Alvarado. Alvarado and Cleburne had cotton gins and wagons full of cotton were a common sight. The largest crop came in 1919.

 cotton gin

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On April 15, 1912 the Johnson County Courthouse built in 1883 burned down. (Incidentally, the same day the Titanic sank)  There was only one fatality from the fire: City Marshall, Albert Bledsoe who died fighting the fire. The original courthouse date marker is located on the east side of the present courthouse.

M.A. Bledsoe

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Bud Russell was born and raised Blum, Johnson County. He was the chief transfer agent for the Texas Prison System from 1914-1944. During that time he transported more than 115,000 prisoners all over the State including Clyde and Buck Barrow. He was highly regarded as tough, but fair. He had only one escape in all those years. In the picture below he is on the right of his son, Roy Russell standing in front of his transfer wagon.

Bud Russell

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Johnson County's second seat of government was Buchanan, named for president-elect of the United States. Buchanan was founded in December 1856 on a 60 acre town site donated by John P. Bailey. A jail (first for the county) and office for the district clerk were built in 1858. Unfortunately, lack of a reliable water supply hindered the town's growth. A later survey of county lines showed Buchanan was too far from the center of the County and it was necessary to find a new site. In 1867, Camp Henderson (renamed Cleburne on July 4, 1867 was chosen. The cemetery is the only remaining trace of the Old Buchanan town site. 

 

Buchanan Cemetery

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 In August of 1854 Johnson County held its first election. After all 120 votes were counted, these were the results:

  • Chief Justice - David Mitchell
  • County Clerk - Jeremiah Eastwood
  • Treasurer - J. Robinson
  • Sheriff - A.H. Onstott
  • Tax Assessor and Collector - F.L. Kirtley
  • County Commissioners
    • A.D. Kennard
    • Christopher Billingsley
    • Carr Wise
    • Wm. O'Neal

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Double log cabin

In 1849 William Balch built a double log cabin, a trading post and a hotel in the Alvarado area. It was so hot inside the hotel during the summer that pallets were spread under trees outside the hotel. The hotel gained the nickname “The Sprawls Hotel”.

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 Ben Bickerstaff

ben-bickerstaff-3

On April 5, 1869 outlaws, Benjamin Bickerstaff and Josiah Thompson, rode into Alvarado. They were both a Civil War veterans, but Bickerstaff was wanted for the murder of a African American man in Louisiana. Later he joined up with Thompson (an Alvarado business man) they perpetrated numerous robberies and several murders in and around Alvarado. When they rode in that day, organized citizens of Alvarado were waiting and shot them both dead. Both men are buried in the Balch Cemetery. (There is a historical marker on the square in Alvarado noting the incident.) 

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James Stephen Hogg

 Hogg

Before he was governor of Texas between 1891-1895, James Stephen Hogg was on the staff of Johnson County's first newspaper, the Cleburne Chronicle, established in 1868. Another prominent state leader and contemporary of Hogg Martin M. Crane, lived in Johnson County.  In 1890 voters elected him state senator from the Twenty-first District (Johnson, Ellis, and Hill counties). In the Twenty-Second Legislature he served on a special committee established by Governor Hogg that successfully lobbied for the bill establishing the Railroad Commission. Two years later Crane was elected lieutenant governor. 

 

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The first banker in Johnson County was Samuel Houston Meyers, Sr. He was quoted as saying “If a man’s word wasn’t good, then neither was his signature.” If historical accounts are correct, all of the loans he made were repaid.

 And:

Samuel H. Meyers, Jr. He was hanged in Johnson County on March 19, 1880 for the murder of his step mother. Unfortunately, the Courts hung an innocent man. On his death bed, Samuel’s brother-in-law, James Bowden, confessed to the murder. Samuel is buried in Meyers Cemetery in Alvarado.

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hanging 

 Johnson County has had five legal hangings

  • Samuel Houston Myers Jr. - March 19, 1880
  •  John Renfro - June 26, 1896
  •  John Stokes Shaw – November 25, 1898
  •  John Renfro - July 27, 1900
  •  Henry Fugett - February 12, 1904
    •  (Henry Fugett was the only individual of African American Descent to be hanged legally in Johnson County)

Henry Fugett

Henry Fugett

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 Briden Cabin

The first settler of Johnson County was Henry Briden, who built a log cabin on the Nolan River. His log cabin still exists, and it can be seen along  State Highway 174 in Rio Vista. 

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 General Patrick R. Cleburne

General Pat 

 Cleburne was named after Confederate Major General Patrick R. Cleburne. Although General Cleburne, who was from Arkansas, fought for the South, he owned no slaves. He fought for succession and stated he could not fight against his friends in Arkansas. He presented a motion to the Confederate President in early 1864 that would allow slaves to enlist in the Confederate army and upon doing so the slave and his family would be freed. He was an extraordinarily good military leader but his views on slavery assured he was never promoted to a higher rank. He carried his own flag during battle.

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