George Langston.

History of Eastland County, Texas online

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They have seven children and have lived in Eastland
City since 1895.

In the early history of Cisco, Mr. Hightower kept
books for Park & Paterson and for Blake & Son,


The Connebs oe Eastland County.

Samuel S. Conner, born June 10, 1821, and hi?
wife, Margaretta L. Conner, born November 19, 1830,
settled in Eastland in 1876. They were from Virginia
and Kentucky families, and immigrated to Texas from


their native State, Indiana, in the early fifties, and
spent the greater part of their subsequent lives in Cald-
well, Ellis and Eastland Counties. They moved from
Ellis to Eastland County in the Fall of 1876, and are
now lying peacefully side by side in the graveyard
in the city of Eastland — S. S, Conner having died on the



!lth day of February, 1899, and M. L. Conner Novem-
ber 20, 1901. They were both strong characters and
through the many years' residence in this county be-
came widely known and universally esteemed, — conspic-
uous types of that sturdy Christian manhood and
womanhood that iiavemade our nation great-


As a result of their union, they reared the following
children, most of whom are now well known: Truman
H., Maud, Ella, Jennie, Claude L., and Earl.

The most distinguished member of this noble family
is the oldest son, Truman H. Conner. He graduated


in the Law Department of Trinity University, Texas,
in 1876, and was in the active practice of his profession
from the spring of 1877 until July, 1887, when he was
appointed Judge of the 42nd Judicial District, com-
posed of Eastland and other counties, by Gov. L. S.
Ross, and was thrice re-elected to the office. In 1898
Judge Conner was elected Chief Justice of the 2nd Su-
preme Judicial District of Texas, composed of ninety-
five counties, including Eastland. Since the date of his
present incumlbency, he has lived in Fort Worth.

Mjaud, whose home was never in Eastland, was married
to Col. John W. Coleman of Ellis County in 1871,
and they now live in Coke County, Texas. Ella was
married to Wm. S. Parson, of Ellis County, in 1872,
and they lived in Eastland a number of years as many
old settlers will recall. They have one daughter living
in the county- -Mrs. Craco Dreinhofer of Eanger.

Earl Conner is practicing law in Eastland and is
well known.

Claude L. Conner is well and favorably known, and
makes his home at Cisco with his sister Jennie, the wife
of the present District Judge, J. H. Calhoun.

All the Conners are and have always been, loyal in
their devotion to the best interests of the county and
her people.






E. A. HILL, Mayor or Eastland City

In Tennessee, on July 16, 1865, the subject of this
sketch was born. Seven years later his father died.
Having been reared on a farm his education was lim-
ited to that aiiorded by the common schools and the
Dresden High School.

At the age of eighteen he entered the office of the
Dresden Enterprise and there served an apprenticeship.

In 1864 he oame to Texas and entered the law office
of Davenport -and Conner as a student, and was ad-
mitted to the bar June 11. 1885, at the age of twenty-

Mr. Hill was elected County Attorney in November,


1888, and re-elected in 1890. He is a good lawyer, has
a well equipped library and office on the north side of
the Square, is a ready speaker, a good story-teller, and
an excellent entertainer. He is serving his fourth term
as Mayor of Eastland.

On December 14, 1892, Mr. Hill was married to
Miss Bessie, daughter of Dr. and Mrs. Evans. Mrs.
Hill died in 1894. He was again married on December
25, 1892, to the eldest daughter of Mr. and Mrs. W. H.

Mr. Hill enjoys in a marked degree the confidence
of his fellow townsmen.

The Eastlaxd Cheoxicle.

This creditable weekly Democratic paper is owned,
edited and published by Frost and Chastain, lawyers,
and is devoted to "Science, Literature, Eeligion, Poli-
tics, and the Upbuilding of Eastland County."

Judge Frost, son of B. Frost, a minister of the
Methodist Episcopal Church, South, was born in Chat-
tanooga, Tennessee, in 1849. When only eighteen years
old he engaged in teaching "with little education, but
by hard study'' he familiarized himself with Natural
Sciences, and with the English, Latin, French and
Spanish languages. He came to Texas from Illinois in
1872, and was admitted to the bar to practice law in

Judge Frost was a member of the 26th Legislature.

Claude P. Chastain, the junior memher of the firm,
is a native Texan and was educated at Weatherford Col-


lege (under David W. Switzer), and Baylor University.
He was admitted to the bar to practice law in 1897,
after having taught school for five years.

Mr. Chastain served as a Lieutenant in the Fourth
Texas Infantry during the Spanish- American war. Hp
was married to Miss Maude Harrison on September 25,



The Texas and Pacific Railv^ay Company.

When it became known in Eastland that this great
East and West line had reached Fort Worth and would
be built on to El Paso there was great rejoicing in this
section of the country because of the development and
conveniences that would result. The settlements that
followed, the building and maintenance of schools and
churches, the cheapness of the lands (at that time from
tifty cents to one dollar an acre), all combined to in-
crease the population and develop the resources of the

The Texas and Pacific Railway Company was or-
ganized under an act of Congress, March 3, 1871, and
the general Railroad laws of the State of Texas. It
acquired the properties of the Southern Pacific Railroad
Company of Texas in 1872, which Company, at that
date, owned and operated the sixty odd miles of railway
between Shreveport, Louisiana, and Longview, Texas.



The Southern Pacific Eailroad Company was a consoli-
dation of the Vicksbiirg, Shreveport and Texas Rail-
roadj (chartered in Louisiana), and the Southern Pa-
cific Eailroad, organized under the laws of Texas.


The N'ew Orleans Pacific Eailroad Company, (or-
ganized also under the laws of Louisiana), was consoli-
dated with the Texas and Pacific Eailway Company in
June, 1881. Early in the seventies the Texas and Pa-
cific also acquired the properties of the Southern Trans-
continental and The Memphis, El Paso and Pacific
Eailroads, both incorporated under the laws of Texas.

In those early days, the population of the State was.
of course, insignificant in numbers as compared with the

^ "^"ff*



present time, and was confined mainly to the eastern
and coast counties. West of a line drawn through say,
Gainesville, Fort Worth, Austin, San Antonio and Cor-
pus Christi, there was, then, scarcely any white popula-

The charters granted hy the State to the Memphis,
El Paso and Pacific Keilroad, and to the Southern
Trans-continental Eailroad, were the results of efforts
made by the people of the counties of Bowie, Eed River,
Lamar. Fannin, Grayson, Cocke and Denton, to secure
this great East and West Eailroad.

The construction of railroads was in its infancy in
the early fifties, not alono in Texas, but in all other

The numerous laws passed by the early Legislatures
of Texas, offering subsidies to induce capital to come
liere and construct railroads, etc.. cL'^rly evidence that
the early pioneers and settlers of this goodly country
duly recognized and appreciated the necessity for artifi-
cial means of communication and transportation facili-
ties. This was practically true of Northern and Middle
Texas on account of the absence of rivers and other

The building of the great East and West Eailroad
across the State seemed then of early consummation
and efforts to secure it created considerable rivalry in
the counties in the Northern half of Texas.

These people were particularly strenuous in their ef-
forts to gain an advantage over the people living on the
line surveyed to Dallas and Fort Worth, now the main
line of the Texas and Pacific. As early as 1852, this


line, known as the Texas Western Eailroad had obtained
a charter, which later became known as the Southern
Pacillc, then the Texas and Pacific.

Little, however, was accomplished in the way of
extensive construction of any of these lines until that
master spirit, Colonel Thomas A. Scott, became identi-


fied with the Texas and Pacific enterprise, which was
in the year of 1871 — his connection continuing until
1881, or nearly up to the time of his death. During
the Scott regime that portion of the road between Tex-
arkana and Fort Worth, via Sherman, was constructed,
and from Texarkana to Abilene, via Marshall and

Mr. Jay Grould acquired control of the properties


early in 1881, and to him is greatly due the credit for
the large extensions which were made to Texas and Pa-
cific properties about that time, to-wit: The extension
of the line to El Paso, and from Shreveport to New Or-
leans. More than half of all the mileage of the Texas
and Pacific was added during the incumbency of Presi-
dent Jay Gould, and was added (contrary to the idea of
the general public) without any aid or subsidy, landed
or otherwise, national or state.

This railway line extends entirely across Eastland
County, and has contributed largely to its agricultural
find commercial development.

With a diversity of soil — from sand to rich choco-
late loam; with an averae^ rainfall ; high hills and their
rich store of minerals, and the uplands and \ alleys that
produce anything agricultural, lands in Eastland have
increased in value and now sell from $5.00 to $40.00 an

While the road winds its way along the leading of
the Palo Pinto Creek and bridges the deep gnllie? that
feed it, and crawls around the cliffs and hills that
abound, the traveler, sitting in his comfortable sleeper
as it glides over the steel rails, looks out and admires
the rugged scenery with the little patches of valley that
make the picture more beautiful, but does not know
over what historic lands and scenes of romantic adven-
ture he is passing.

Eastland is ricJi in possibilities and offers the man
seeking a home many advantages.

Under the present management of Mr. L. S. Thome,
Vice President and General Manager; Mr. John W,


Evernian, Assistant G-eneral Manager; E. L. Sargent,
General Freight Agent, and Mr. E. P. Turner, G-eneral
Passenger and Ticket Agent, and its elficient corps of
Superintendents, the "Old Eeliable" has grown in popu-
larity and to-day stands without a peer in the State.

Mr. J. ^y. Ward is Superintendent of the Eio Grande
Division — Fort Worth to El Paso — with headquarters
at Big Springs.

The Passenger Conductors, Fort Worth to Big
Springs, are Messrs. McCUeod, Bogart, Tobin, Cole and
Smith; Engineers, Messrs, Foy, Baker, Craig, Dean and

The Texas Central Eailway

Made its entry into Cisco, May 20, 1881, and has
been a very great factor in the agricultural and com-
mercial development of ^he County.

In 1866 or 1867, the ^Houston and Texas Central
Eailway Company, which formerly controlled the Texas
Central, sent out Captain William Armstrong to locate
all public lands still unsurveyed. In this way Eastland
was sectionized, that is, the land was surveyed and cut
up into sections of six hundred and forty acres each.

When the road was disposed of to the present owners
it was in a most deplorable condition — a mixed train
ran every other day being the only passenger service.
Shortly after the present management assumed control.

*The State of Texas gave this company sixteen sections
of land for every mile of railroad it built between Hous-
ton and Denison.




m the person of Colonel Charles Hamilton as Vice Pres-
ident and Greneral Manager^ and W. F. MbMillan as Gen-
eral Passenger and Freight Agent^ daily passenger trains
were put on and the interests of the line began to

When the Texas Central was built through Eastland,
lands along its route "that could hardly be given away,
are now worth fronx $20.00 to $40.00 an acre." This
is due to the discovery that in the sandy loam district —
which includes fully one-half of the County — there is a
clay subsoil which holds the water*. ^

About four years ago the travel on the road had so
increased that double daily trains were put on from
Waco to Dublin and in a few months this service was
extended to Cisco.

Many signs of improvement evidence the prosperity
and popularity of the road. The wooden bridges across
gullies and cr?eks, which gave two bridge gangs constant
employment from frequent replacing of timbers, have
been replaced by cemented stone structures, and only one
carpenter crew is required. A little Qurve in Steele's
Creek, betv/een Morgan and Fowler, was cut out liter-
ally, expense and all, by building a new track around
the curve. Carefulness and keen oversight seem to be
Colonel Hamilton's watchwords.

Not the least thing this management has done is the

*Tt is a well-known fact that sand, though not able of
itself alone to hold moisture very lond, parts readily with
what it has and makes vegetation welcome to almost every
drop it contains. Other soils, though capable of retaining
moisture, are chary of giving it to the roots that forage
for it.

liisi OR r OF Eastland co un'jy. iw

system of siniall parks and spots of green it maintam>
about its depots all along the line. The Company knows
the invest Piicnt is a good one, and keeps up the improve-
ments, although it is repeatedly rumored that different
roads want the property and would secure it if they

In the early days a joint ticket agent served the two
roads at Cisco. Mr. George Langston, present station
agent of the Texas and Pacific, and who filled the same
position at that time, served as first, and only, joint
agent. The present agent is Mr. Bulbrook, Sam Green -
hiJl, cashier, and Mr. Brown, operator.

Superintendent Ramsey Cox maintains headquarters
at Waco. The passenger conductors are Messrs Holt.
Hawkins, Hooper and Webster; Engineers; Bettis. Wig-
gins, Uloth, Myers and Cottrell.



PERIOD III-1881-1904




In 1S79 (?). when there were not more than half
a dozen families in this locality, Eeverend C. G. Stevens
established a post office at a pass way in the hills, one
mile west of town, and called it Red Gap. A fioorless log
school honse, with one small window was built, and Mrs.
Colistie Green tanght school. One half mile west of Red
Gap Postoifice, W. T. Caldwell had a store in which he
kept dry goods and groceries.

In 1880 the Texas and Pacific Railway pushed its
line on westward through Eastland County, but Red Gap
continued its existence, the railroad locating its depot
at Delmar. It was expected, however, that when the
Texas Central reached the Texas and Pacific a town
would be located at the crossing of the roads. Each day,
as the iron rails led nearer and nearer to this point of
crossing, saw new tents stretched, new covered wagons
taking their stand, and new faces in the rapidly growing
town which was called Red Gap. With the Texas Cen-
tral within one mile of the junction, and the Texas and
Pacific only a short distance west, many laborers and
their families helped to swell the number of inhabitants,
which now reached six hundred. Accommodating them-
selves to the only expression where it was supposed the
new town would be located, which was a wagon road


running east and west, the people had ''squatted*' on
either side of this thoroughfare. In thi'^ white town
were two or more stores of general merchandise, two or
three grocery stores, a numher of restaurants, doctors'
(Jf:ces, and Mrs. Haws' hotel, which stood about the mid-
dle of Broadway, between the Daniels and Broad well
homes. Dr. Vance, who arrived in Cisco April 1, 1881,
officed in the hotel group of tents.

Major Bob Elgin of Houston, who had charge of the
Land Department of the Houston and Texas Central
Eailway, assisted by Mr. Metzo, an engineer, with T. E.
Johnson as chain bearer, laid off the town. A platform
was put up where Mayhew & Company's feed store now
stands, and Major Elgin (who is a brother-in-law of
N. E. Wilson and lives in Houston), stood there for two
days and cried the lots. Mr. White secured the *firsl
lot, paying $175.00 for it, and selected from the hug?
map of the town Major Elgin had at hand, the one now
occupied by Cooper's livery stable.

As soon as the to^m was located and laid oif, the
inhabitants accommodated themselves to the permanent
arrangement and shifted to the most desirable positions
attainable and profitable to their business.

Among the business firms in the town at that tinne
^rere W. A. Stevens, general merchandise, who put up
the first store building); James Caldwell, Campbell
Bros., Adams & Sons, Miller & Wike, Porter (Will) &
Park, (who bought out Am'merman's yard) and Camer-

*Mr. R. G. Luse is the authority for the above statement.
I. Lamb thinks the first lot fell to Adams & Son, and was
the one now occupied by Mayhew & Co.'s warehouse, the
town being- first built facing the Texas Central railroad.


on & Company, lumber, Taylor & Bedford (for whom
Vv'iUiam Gaiiltney, now banker, clerked), John Bice and
Yarbrough & Martin, druggists.* The front of a lit-
tle ten by twelve box store was given a coat of red paint,
^^nd the always and still popular "Red Front Drug
Siore" came into existence.

Mrs. Haws began the building of her hotel, which
was blown down in a furious gale but immediately re-
placed before the sale of lots, and managed the same
until her death in 1890. The Majenta, standing near
where HalFs v/agon yard is, was kept by Mr. Hoddinger.
Mr. W. D. Chandler had a boarding house where the
Broadway now stands, and Mts. Parker kept private

Shortly before the sale of lots took place a large
number of Millet's cowboys came into town and created
great consternation among the tent dwellers, as they
exercised great freedom in the use of their pistols, so
much so, in fact, that the constables of both Cisco and
Eastland City, together with the men summoned to as-
sist, were all night long (in somef saf<* place) devising
means for their capture. They made two arrests next
day, and this is no reflection on the courage of Constable
Alex Simerl, either.

The first bill of lumber sold in Cisco Avas to Hor-
ace Donaldson, who built the first residence on the lot
now occupied by Moody's blacksmith shop. About the

*Dr. Vance and Dr. McNeil witnessed the contract be-
tween the memhers of this last firm, Yarbrough furnishing
the means, and Martin the brains and time,

tAuthority, I. Lamb.


same time W. D. Chandler, T. M. Taylor, W. A. Stevens
and others were building homes, and J. K. Miller, Ed
Eppler, I. Lamh, B. F. James & Son, and Mjr. McCor-
mick were the carpenters.

Some of the names of those who were here in 1881,
not mentioned above, follow:

John F. Patterson, R. G. Luse, Charley Parks, Seth
Ramsey (now of Cottonwood), David Redfield of Ard-
miore. Judge Flemming oi Seattle, Henry Hilliard of
St. Louis, J. E. Luse and wife, Major Preveaux and wife
and sister (Mrs. R. G^. Luse), J. Alexander and wife,
Mr. Turknette, W. A. Rhoads, Captain Whiteside, R. B.
Vaughn, T. J. Worthington, W. J. Walker, Hugh Corri-
gan, Frank and Lee Jordan, Dr. M'ancill, J. T. Yeargin,
J. R. P. Chapman (who built the old Bunnell resi-
dence), J. W. Smith and wife, Nat Noel, Ed Morehead,
Traveling Auditor Perry of the Texas Central, John
Collins, Gr. W. Graves, T. E. Larimer, W. M. Freeman
of Dallas, J. R. and K. S. Fisher, John Gude, M. B. ,
Owen, who lost his life in the cyclone of 1893, J. J. I
Wallace, B. L Patp, Mr. Bunnell and family. Gomer
Williams, and Miles and Quitman Eppler, George
Daniels and W. A. Gude.*

A sixteen by twenty school house was put up
free of charge by B. F. James and Sons and J. K. Mil-
ler. In this building a Baptist minister, J. C. Finnell,
taught a day school. Here, also, a union Sunday school
was conducted. Mr. Chaflftn, a contractor on the Texas
Central Railroad, was the Superintendent. At the

*These names were furnished by Dr. Vance, W, D. Chan-
dler, I. Lamb and R. G. Luse.


weekly prayer meeting every Wednesday night, which
was attended by all denominations, there was frequently
not standing room, "many being turned away/' This
school house was used for church purposes until the
different denominations erected their own buildings.
From time to time additions were made to the 16x20
school building, until it grew to be about sixteen by one
hundred and was known as the "long school house."

Mr. Frank Kynette, assisted by Mss Sallie Greer,
now Mrs. Eeed, were succeeded by Dr. Stout, who did so
much for the school and to^vn. Dr. Stout might prop-
erly be called the introducer and founder of the Public
Schools of Cisco. He came here when educational in-
terest was chaotic in condition, and being a man of deep
learning he proved himself a Joshua, leading his people
into a promised land that has since blossomed and
fruited many times.

Judge Flemming, aided and encouraged by Dt.
Stout, worked for a special tax for the enlarging of the
school house and the incorporation of the school dis-
trict, which at that time included four sections of land !
He lived in the town long enough to see his desire ac-
complished. Hugh Corrigan was a warm supporter of
this measure.

Or. W. Graves was first Mayor of the town and Ed
Campbell, Constable.

The first graduating class was Burette Patterson.
Mamie Blake, Eva Winston and Laura Eichardson.
This was in 1888 while Charles T. Alexander was Su-

As the Texas and Pacific pushed farther westward


inland mail routes were changed. It is interesting to
note the difference in conditions and times twenty years
ago and now. The Government now pays from $600
to $700 for the mails to be carried from Cisco to Eising
Star. In 1882 it paid W. li. Chandler $2400.00 an-
nually for carrying the mail from Cisco to Brown-
wood. There was no road. W. W. Smith and Jim
Tyson cut one through and the stage, which held from
six to eight passengers, began its daily run each way
(except Sundays). The first stand was at H. Mer-
lilFs, the second at Uncle Tommy Anderson's, where
the richly promising town of Kising Star is now lo-
cated, and the third at Clio, thirteen and one-half miles
north of Brownwood. The horses were changed at each

Travel and express being heavy, the coaches would
frequently be over full, and extra hacks would be pui
on, the lines sometimes clearing $100.00 per day.
Drivers were paid $30.00 per month and board. Mr.
Chandler kept two stables, one at DfeLeon and one at
Cisco. Fifty-five horses were used, twenty on the
l^rownwood line.

During the four years Mr. Chandler held the con-
♦;ract the stage was robbed several times. At last, people
demanded that an officer go along. A Deputy Shcri-R'
at Brownwood accordingly climbed up on the seat Dy
t]]e driver. After having left Mr. M'errill's a couple
of miles behind, he saw a man coming toward them.
The Sheriff held his pistol cocked under the laprobe.
but coming nearer and seeing that the man was a mere
jrjip of a boy, he let the hammer down. When the care-


less, kind-looking boy, was even with the driver, he cov-
ered the men with his pistol and ordered "hands up."
The bewildered Sheriff, however, presented his gun in
stead, and several shots were exchanged, as the frightened
horses broke into a wild run. Mrs. Bryan's trunk on
the back of the stage had four bullet holes in it, and
)}]-obably saved the lives of the passengers. Dave Hick-
man was the driver on that trip.

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Online LibraryGeorge LangstonHistory of Eastland County, Texas → online text (page 6 of 10)