George Langston.

History of Eastland County, Texas online

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the county many years, successfully irrigates a truck

EASTLAND County's Prize Baby


The Herald.

Published Friday, W. T. Curtis, editor and proprie-
tor. The Herald, the local paper for Eastland County,
pleases its readers and pays its advertisers, and is strict-
ly a local and county newspaper.

Although not published at the County Town, it brings
all court news of importance to the general public. It
has a good circulation and is increasing rapidly.

Only clean advertising from clean people is in-

The Bank of Carbon.

Eesponsibility, $500,000.00.

W. H. Eddleman, president; W. A. Waldrop, vice
president; J. E. Spencer, cashier.

That so able a financier as W. H. Eddleman is con-
nected with this bank insures its solidarity. That J. E.
Spencer, who has been in the banking business for sev-
eral years, is its cashier, speaks for its popularity, while
Mr. Waldrop, the efficient cashier of the Bank of G-or-
man, only emphasizes the strength of the organization.

The Carbon Bank occupies its own two-story brick

FiNLEY Bros.
W. P. Finley. S. P. Finley.

The memibers of this firm were born in Tennessee
and emigrated to Texas with their parents and the other
brothers in 1867. They located in Eastland in the mem-
orable year of 1876, and engaged in farming. Later
some of the family lived at Jewell, and in the early '80^s


W. P. Finley and Mr. Duke (now of Dallas) merchan-
dised at Cisco.

This firm established itself here in a general mer-
chandise business in 1895 and enjoys a long and grow-
ing trade.

The Finleys are substantial and progressive citizens
and foster every interest of the promising town.

Ml". S. P. Finley is the able President of the Board
of Trustees.

A. C. POE, M. D.

Dr. Poe was born in Magnolia, Arkansas, and came
to Carbon, Texas, in 1896.

He received his education in the public schools of his
native State, and took his degree from the M'emphis
Hospital Miedical College.

Dr. Poe is the senior miember of the firm of Poe &
Moore, Druggists. This firm is one of the three State
agents in this county for the supply of school books
adopted by the Board of Examiners.

It is such men as Dr. Poe that make a town grow.
Hie believes in the future prosperity of the town, backed
by its richly promising agricultural possibilities, and
upon this belief he makes his investments.

With C. B. Poe as a partner, the Doctor is interested
in a lumber yard, which does a large business and carries
a complete and up-to-date stock.

Besides his various business interests this enterpris-
ing citizen does an extensive practice. As an evidence
of the prosperity of the people of this section, and of
their integrity as well, they pay on an average 95 per
cent of their physician's accounts.


T. J. Morris^ Merchant.

On January 14, 1893, with a small stock of "Eacket
goods," Mr. Morris began business in Carbon. Two
years later he erected and moved into a building in the
center of the town, where he is still located.

Few men have had more marked success than Mr.
Morris. From the small beginning, made a little more
than one decade ago, his business has grown until now
he handles everything in a general merchandise line.
Besides dr}- goods and groceries, hardware and every
conceivable kind of farming implement, he handles
furniture and imdertaker's goods.

Mr. Morris' energy and ingenuity does not stop here.
He is interested in the two gins of Morris Bros, and
Fowler at Carbon and Hookers Spur. His latest ven-
ture is stockng his fine ranch near town with goats, some
of which are thoroughbreds.

It is plainly evident that Mr. Morris invests strictlv
in Carbon "futures.^'



Xinety-five miles west of Fort Worth the historic
little town of Eanger stands. Many, many years ago, be-
fore the valleys of Eastland had ever .^elt the thrill and
jar of rumhling cars, or her hills had echoed the shrill
cry of an engine, the Indians found and utilized a mag-
nificent rendezvous a few miles east of Eanger, where



now the Texas and Pacific Railway bridges the deepest
canon in Texas. After one of their usual raids the In-
dians fled to this canon, now so famious for its rugged
beauty, and were followed by the Texas Eangers, than
whom no class of men have done more for Texas.
These poorly fed and poorly paid guardians of life and
property on the frontier drove the Indians on this occa-


si on from their lair. On emerging from the deep and
ragged gorge the Rangers found themselves in a beauti-
ful, level * valley of richest soil and luxuriant grasses,
but" did not loiter, as they pushed hard on after the In-
dians, overtaking them at what is known as "One Hun-

*It is said that the valley was known among the In-
dians as the Caddo Indian Ball Ground.


dred * Mile Mountain." Here a battle was fought and the
victorious Rangers struck tent in the luxurious val-
ley, where the Watson Eaneh is now situated. The ex-
act date of this battle could not be learned, but it is
thought Captain Whiteside, who lost his life in the cy-
clone at Cisco, was in command of the Rangers.

Twenty-five years ago the valley was dotted with
tents. One year later A. J. Sims and a Mr. Griffin formed
a partnership and carried a stock of general merchandise
in a tent store. Mr. Griffin did a thriving hotel busi-
ness, also in a tent, prior to forming this partnership.
There were tent schools and tent churches. Tom Coop-
er, brother of one of Rangers' m^ost popular teachers,
was the first boy born in the town. A little girl made
her advent one day before Tom's arrival. In the Ran-
ger valley some two hundred or three hundred people
lived in tents until the railroad came, when houses went
up as if by magic. Ranger was built a couple of miles
west of where the tent town had had its existence. The
oldest settler living in Ranger today is John Bryant,
who came in 1881,

Ranger has three good church buildings, Methodist,
Baptist and Cumberland Presbyterian, with leagues and
young people's societies; a High School, which is corre-
lated with the State University, a phone system and
water works, bank, five doctors and the usual number of
stores, eating houses, etc.

In the tent town there were saloons and gambling

*"One hundred miles" from where could not be learned,
but the mountain stands out clear-cut and runs down into
the valley near the railroad.


dens, in the Ranger of today there are no houses of vice
of any kind.

Ranger has a population of about seven hundred
and fifty.

The Ranger '03 Club — a woman's literary club — has
founded a public library and is gradually increasing the
number of volumes.

C. E. Frost, M. D.; A- B.; A. M.

Dr. C. B. Frost, the oldest resident physician of
Ranger, was born in Tennessee. His father, J. B. Frost,
fell heir to sixty-two negroes in 1859 and 1860, but set
the,m free at once. As a result of this philanthropy the
boy Cyrus had to work out his own destiny. He cut wood
for two fireplaces and a stove, fed t'^n horses, twenty
cows, a drove of hogs and a flock of sheep for his board,
and worked Saturdays for his clothes. He took his lit-
erary degree at the Northern Illinois Normal Univer-
sity. He attended the Nashville Medical College, where
later at the Missouri Medical College, he gratuated in
1878 with first honors. Mrs. Frost is a daughter of
Dr. 0. D. Tankersly of Arkansas.

Dr. Frost located at Ranger in 1892 and has prac-
ticed his profession night and day continuously since
that time with the most marked success, never having
suffered from an accident of any kind, nor had a diag-
nosis changed. He is a scholarly, scientific, up-to-date
physician and surgeon, a consistent. Christian Methodist
citizen, and is held in high esteem by the profession and
his patrons.




Scranton, a town of about one hundred and fifty in-
habitants, is situated in a thickly settled, agricultural
community, which lies twelve miles southAvest of Cisco,
near the line of Callahan County.

The first man who setlted in tliis locality w^as D. C.
Lane, who came in 18T5, and was followed by H. B.
Lane, Mr. Huff, Aaron Brown, Uncle Joe Brown and
Nat Hendrickson. These, together with Messrs.
Sprawls, Eay, Gattis, Clement, Rutherford and many
others, have made a progressive and substantial com-

In 188 — Mr. Snoddy taught a school here. The in-
terest in education has gradually increased until Scran-
ton now boasts of an incorporated school district, and one
of the best schools in the county. There is a commodi-
ous, two-story building, with a separate music room on

The Mi'ethodist and Baptist churches were organized
here in 1893, the former by Eev. M. M'. Smith, the lat-
ter by Eev. J. E. Kelly. Both churches have good build-
ings and are served at present by Eev. J. L. Malls, Meth-
odist, and Eev. G. W. Parks, Baptist.

The Post Ofl&ce was esablished in 1892, with Mr.




Reydon as Postmaster. Mr. Reydon also put up the
first gin in 188 — . The present fine gin is owned by
a stock company of farmers. J. M. Williamson of Cis-
co was the pioneer mierchant. Among the present pro-
gressive business firm:s are E. E. Chunn, dry goods,
groceries and hardware; I. E. Cook & Bro., dry goods,
and W. L. Grattis & Son, druggists.


This prosperous and enterprising community was
first settled by A. J. Fembling and Mr. Ballard. These
were soon followed by E. J. Arnold, Dr. J. X. White
and Mr. Green, all from West Virginia.

During the disastrous drouth of 1886-1887 emigra-
tion stopped, but the natural advantages of the locality
held the first settlers, and even in the most trying period
brought Mr. P. N. B. Ghormerly.

The Freeman and Bashan brothers, J. C. McCoy,
T. D. Freeman, E. J. Arnold, T. J. Finn, W. R. and C.
C. Bashan and Dr. J. W. White organized the school
community and a school house was put up at once. T. D
Freeman was the first teacher, and A. J. Tyson, editor
of the X-Ray, published at Rising Star, followed him.

The Romney Postoffice was established August 15,
1890, T. D. Freemlan, Postmaster. The country has
developed rapidly. All agricultural products, fruits and
vegetables grow well, making this one of the miost pro-
gressive communities in the County.

Wn. W. P. Grubbs of Arkansas established the first
gtore, then sold to H. D, H'Plbrook. At present T, D,


Freemian, who has charge of the long-distance telephono
and is Postmaster, has the only store in the village, wi>ich
also contains a blacksmith shop, a gin and a good school.

The Baptist, Disciples of Christ and Methodists havp
organizations and worship at the school house.

The citizenship of this locality represents a moral
and progressive people, who welcome all who come


William and Ben Funderburg pre-empted the land
on which Desdemona is built. The Funderburgs (who
later sold their pre-emption to Bill Brown), Lewis Elli-
son and Uncle Johnny Caruth were the first settlers of

Mr. Frank Eoach, the first merchant of Desdeniona,
put up a 12x16 store building, the boys lending a hand,
which was dedicated with a dance the nig] it of the fir-^t
wedding in the new, old town. Mr. Willie Matthews and
Miss Ella Parm!, who were the contracting parties, w. re
married at Tom Prather's home, M'ary Caruth and Mr.

. '^standing up" with them. After the cerumonv

the crowd, chaperoned by Lewis Ellison and wife, re-
paired to Mr. RoaeVs new store and danced all night.

The first school house, eighteen by twenty feet, was

♦Desdemona was named in honor of the daughter of
Squire Wynn,


built of hewed logs, with a log cut out at one end for a
window. The benches were made by splitting trees in
two — one of these with longer legs in front was put up
by the window for a writing desk. Mr. Johnny Caruth
and Charlie Mitchell w^re paid $80.00 to put up the

On the second Sunday in June, 1872, the Rev. John-
nie E. N'orthcutt, a Baptist minister, preached under
the large Spanish oaks shading the picturesque bridge
which now spans the historic Hog Creek, at Desdemona,
and kept up the appointments until September. He was
then allowed the privilege of the log school house and or-
ganized Rockdale Church, with nine members, John
Caruth, wife and daughter — Mrs. Mary N. Jasper, Aunt
Sallie Robinson, Nancy Ellison, Jim Ellison and wife,
John Cowen and Mrs. Sallie Ivy.

Pleas Jones lived in the Hogtown community in a
single log cabin, 10x12. For some unknown reason the
floor of the cabin was the naked bosom of mother earth.
A wagon board lay from the door to the hearthstone.

One night a young man hunting a locality where he
might secure a school, stopped, as night had overtaken
him, and asked for lodging.

"All right, pard," assented Jones. "Git down and
come in. You'll have ter laret out yer nag, 'cause T
hain't got no feed fer her."

The fare given to the man was in keeping with the rest
of the surroundings, and his mind was relieved of won^
dering who would sit up when a buffalo hide was thrown
down on the wagon board, with a pillow, and he was
told his bed was ready ! Imagine his surprise when he


asked next morning how much he was indebted for his
and his mare's lodging and was told, "Well, seein' its
you, I'll only charge yer a dollar !"

The young man, who was none other than Judge
Hammons of Eastland City, rode on and secured and
taught the school.

The town is beautifully located on rising ground,
sloping east from Hog Creek. The community is in-
corporated for school purposes, and expects to erect a
large, handsome building.

There are five dry goods and grocery establishments,
the most prominent among them are Captain A. J.
O'Eear, staple and fancy groceries, and Dr. Snodgrass,
drugs and general merchandise, who is also a stockholder
in the fine gin stand and a successful practicing physi-

Dk. Copeland, who has studied in Missouri
Medical College, in St. Louis, and graduated from Fort
"Worth Medical College, is a physician of growing popu-
larity and prominence.

That the doctors collect 95 per cent of their bills
speaks well for the community, as it does for the soil
which makes it possible.

A good school is maintained at Desdemona. The
Baptist and Methodist churches have buildings and good
organizations. The Christian Church building is in
want pf repairs.


The Methodist Church.

The first church organized in the county, of which
there is anything known, was in the Allen neighborhood
and was effected by Eev. William M'onk, a pioneer
preacher, who attended his first Texas Annual Confer-
ence at Tyler, in 1854. In 1865 Mr. Monk was on the
Palo Pinto Misison, which included Eastland County.
With a few members he organized a Methodist church
on the Allen and Davidson ranch. The members were
Peter Itevidson, wife and four children, Robert
N'ewberry and Uncle Bobbie Martin, with their fami-

Mr. Monk writes: "Tn 1872 I was Presiding Elder
on the Stephenville District. In 1873 I attended a
Quarterly Conference at McGough's Springs. Rev.
Levi F. Collins was the missionary and had organized
a little church there, which I suppose was the second or-
ganization in the county. The county was infested by
Indians. jWe all went to church with our guns, not
knowing what moment we would be attacked. Two
nights before I went to McGough Springs the Indians
stole my horse at Picketville in Stephens County. 1
made my way down there on borrowed horses, and from
there to Comanche I went on a wagon, where I secured
another horse.''

The following letter is self-explanatory and will be
interesting to many old settlers :



"Iredell, Texas, October 13, 1903.— Dear Sister
Langston: Yon want to know what territory was in-


eluded in the Palo Pinto Misison when I was pastor in
1865 and 1866. It included all of Palo Pinto County,


all of Erath, east of Stephenville and all of Johnson
west of the Brazos Eiver. Hood County was not organ-
ized then. I also had two appointments in Parker
County, Big Valley, where your father then lived, and
Kickapoo. I made the round on my work every four
weeks, preaching under trees, in private houses, under
brush arbors and in little school houses. Our congre-
gations would be from twenty to one hundred people.
We had some great revivals. I organized the first
church at Big Valley and held a great meeting. When
T traveled the Stephenville District in 1872, ^73 and '74,
it included all the territory west of the Brazos Eiver
from Waco to Fort Belknap, Fort Griffin, San Angelo,
Camp Colorado and Fort Mason. These were the out-
side settlements, but all the territory to N'ew Mexico be-
longed to the district. I made the round every three
months on horseback, with my Winchester rifle hang-
ing to the horn of my saddle, and my wardrobe in
a pair of saddle bags. These were the happiest years of
my life. I believe all the preachers that were associ-
ated with me then have passed away, except Levi Coll-
ins and Brother Smith of Stephenville. If I could see
you I could tell you many things of interest, but can
write but little now. Wishing you success with your
book, I am yours, W. MONK."

' Today there are about 2,00a Methodists- iii this Coun-
ty. Histories of a few of the individual churches fol-

EisiNG Star Church. — This charge first belonged
to the Pecan Circuit and was served by L. S. Chamber-
lain in 1877. In 1879 this same preacher was returned



to the work and then organized the class at Eising Star
with eight members, James Irb}^, Sallie J. Irby, An-
drew Agnew, N. S. Agnew, T. P. Agnew, Sarah Agnew,

THE METHODIST CHURCH, RISING ^TAU.— Photo by WatMns, Rising Star

Dennis Bond and Sarah Tannerhill. Out of the eight
miemtoers only James Irby and wife remain with tho
church today. It was at a night appointment this or-
ganization was made in a little 10x12 log school house


with a dirt floor, and was the first church organized in
this part of the County.

The Rising Star Misison was created some time later
with two appointments (Jewell being the other), and
had an appropriation of one hundred dollars from
the missionary board. It was included in the Breckin-
ridge District, with A. K. Miller as Presiding Elder
f.nd G. F. Fair pastor, 1883-1885.

By and by a new school house w^as built near where
Ihe cemetery now lies, and served for church purposes.
The class continued to gather strength; to its niember-
ship w^ere added those of Uncle Tommie Anderson and
his family. Mrs. L. S. Anderson still retains her mem-
bership. She is the aged mother of H. E. Anderson.

In 1881 the first Sunday school was organized
in the school house. A Methodist Sunday School
in a school house did not prosper, so under the leader-
ship of the indefatigable R. R. Raym^ond a church was
built and lat-er a parsonage. They are valued at $2,000.
On a beautiful, grass-covered lawn this church has put
up a tabernacle at a cost of $300.00.

In 1902, under the pastorate of J. H. Chimbliss, as-
sisted by J. C. Watkins, a most wonderful revival took
place, resulting in such an increased membership that
the church had to be enlarged. This was done at a cost
of $500, making a total of $2,800 of church property.
With a membership of nearly three hundred, a fine Sun-
day school, both Senior and Junior Epworth L;:a?nes
and an active Woman's Foreign Missionary Society, the
church is doing well.

Rev. D. A. McGuire is the present pastor.



The Church at Eanger was organized by Eev.
Hightower in a tent in 1881. The membership has
growTi to ninety-two with church property valued at
'"r'j 500.00, which inchides a house of worship and par-
;^. iiige. The present pastor is Rev. B. R. Wagner.


The Cisco Methodist Church had its beginning
in the fertile brain of a pioneer '^circuit rider," Rev.
Lamb Trimble. On the quiet hunt for any one who
wore the name of Methodist, where he might find a kin-
dred spirit, shelter and something to eat, he discovered
M. V. Mitchell and wife (in a log hut 10x12 feet)
running a sheep ranch. The tired preacher was not long


in accepting a large hospitality in small quarters. The
dirt floor to the little room had been overlaid with grass
and on this was spread a carpet. The cubby-hole, (or
shed room) and a bed of skins was the only place for the
preacher, while plenty of blankets for cover and a good
case of religion made him happy.

In 1880 this preacher organized the first church, and
when that roll was called the only names were M. V.
Mitchell and wife,, ^Mr. and Mrs. AYalton. Mr. Mitchell
vras elected steward. This church was begun in a little
log school house, located where now lies the beautiful
cemetery. Eev. Andrews was the next circuit rider, and
..lohn Lane steward. In 1881 Cisco was founded at the
junction of the railroads, and everybody moved to town,
the school, post office and church following the people.

Rev. Mills was the next pastor. He and Eev. R. B.
Yaughan canvassed the new to^ATi for Methodists and
found about twenty. The people were all living in tents
A school house was s^on built by popul^.r contributions,
and this sufficed as a place for the monthlv preaching.

Two or three years later, during the pastorate of Rev.
John A. Wallace, a small church, costing six or seven
hundred dollars, v\-as erected on the lot where the present
building now stands.

During the pastorate of Rev. T. C. Ragsdale the
house was enlarged to meet the growing demands of the
congregation. This was swept away by the cyclone in
1893, and a beautiful and commodious house was erected
at a cost of about $6,000. The church has a parsonage
valued at $1,200, and a membership of three hundred
and thirty members. During the past year under the
pastorate of S. J. Vaughn there was a net gain in mem-

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bership of eighty, and about $800 were expended in im-
provements on the churcli and parsonage. The church
is doing fine work in all departments. The building is
lighted by electricity.

The Carbon Church was first organized in 1890
by I. N. Reeves, with about twenty members. There
was no building other than Thurman's store, which was
utilized, the counters serving, in part, for pews. As
the preacher stood with his back to the door he could not
understand, during this first sermon at 11 o'clock Sun-
day morning, why a row of girls directly in front of him
were so intensely amused. They caused so much confu-
sion that he stopped shortly after he began and dismissed
the audience. Afterwards he learned that a man out
on the street in front of the door, with a woman's sun-
bonnet on his head, was "making a monkey of himself."

At night the audience gathered early. The counters
were filled with boys, who wore clanking spurs. The
preacher had barely reached his "secondly" when one of
the boys on the counter noisily left the room, brushing
right by the minister, who stood near the entrance.
In a very few minutes another boy was rattling his spurs
in his rush to get outside with the one who started what
was evidently meant to include all who sat with them.
At this juncture D'r. Jules Trader rose to his feet and
with an imipetuous oath exclaimed, "Parson, I don't
want to interfere, but if you'll knock the next boy down
who tries to pass you, I'll stand by you." The sermon
continued without further interruption.

I. N. N'eel, agent of the railroad, organized and
taught a Sunday School in the station house where he
lived. Later, the railroad gave the town an acre of


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Online LibraryGeorge LangstonHistory of Eastland County, Texas → online text (page 9 of 10)