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Vol 10 No. 04 - January 1933

The Old Judge Harper Home 

By Henry Merriman

This is the account of the settlement of in 1845 of G. W. Harper, commonly known as Judge Harper, who headed Westward from Gonzales county, Texas, seeking lands in the great open country on which to locate his large family consisting of his wife, nine sons and four daughters. On reaching the Hondo river, he acquired quite a body of land lying on both banks of the river, and established a settlement in which at that time was frontier country, being the most remote settlement up the Hondo river. This sturdy old land-mark, once the home and pride of a pioneer family is the subject of this story, as well as great history of the area and the present town of Hondo.

Further Mentions: a settlement at D'Hanis, eight miles west. The nearest neighbor was miles away and the town of Castroville was sixteen miles east. Judge Harper had the misfortune to lose his good wife. In 1859 he married Mrs. Ann L. King, a widow who lived near San Marcos. The new Mrs. Harper had two sons of her own, one of them being Isaac King, a youth of about nine years at that time, and he, too, came with his mother and, step-father to make his home in the Harper settlement. Pete Ketchum, the Redus ranch, Mustang Moore, About three miles down the river from the Harper home was a two story rock house which served the settlement as a school house, and church, the second story being used by the Masonic Lodge. It was here that the younger Harper children and Isaac King walked to school, always carrying rifles which were stacked under the stair-way and ready for instant use, as was also the ease on Sunday when people went to church. This old building stood adjoining what is known as the old Masonic cemetery and has been torn down, but the cemetery is in well preserved state and most of the old graves are plainly marked with stones. In 1868 Isaac King was married to pretty Mellie Harper. youngest daughter of Judge Harper, and the ceremony was performed in the rock home of the Harpers. Mr. King's oldest living son, V. P. King, is manager of the I. H. King and Sons' Ranch near Bandera, while his youngest son, H. F. King, is president of the Hondo State Bank.

Lumber History of Southwest Texas

By Albert Steves, San Antonio, Texas.

Steves, who wrote this article in 1915 was aided in this work by Otto Brinkmann of Comfort, father of Alex Brinkmann, in gathering data about mills lumber and shingles, of the pioneer days of Southwest Texas. This is also some very detailed and excellent history of the area around Comfort, TX and that region. Numerous references to Mormon settlements and endeavors in the 40’s.

Further Mentions: Steves states that the German immigrant who arrived at the New Braunfels settlement in about 1845 were pioneers in the sawmill industry of Southwest Texas, for the sawmill erected after the arrival on the Guadalupe River a few miles below New Braunfels was one of the first in the section around San Antonio. This old mill sawed hackberry, pecan, black walnut, elm and cypress. The principal timber used by the New Braunfels settlers for doors and windows was black walnut, a wood they had used in Germany. He gave the Mormons credit for erecting in the early 40's, what was probably the first sawmill and grist mill in Southwest Texas. This mill was on the Pedernales River and probably supplied the material for building the first house in Fredericksburg. Mention is also made of a saw and grist mill on Live Oak Creek in the early 50's, built by C. H. Guenther, a name still associated with the milling industry in Southwest Texas. Mormons opened up a sawmill on Verde Creek in. the early 50's; no doubt the same time that the Live Oak mill before referred to was in operation. This mill was between Camp Verde and Center Point. Mr. William Siekenius, a mill was erected by two brothers named Tegner, The first saw mill erected in Comfort, on Cypress Creek, was by a Mr. Ernest Atgelt in 1856, a Mr. Schladoer, Mr. Carl Kutzer, Mr. Robert Pfeiffer, Mr. Ernest Flach; a Mr. F. Perner. A mill on Block Creek which was erected in the early 50's by a Mr. Nicholas Zink. A sawmill that was then termed the Bend, erected in the early 60's by Mr. Immitt, a Mr. Christopher Rhodius, a Mr. Tatium, Another mill was erected at the present town of Kerrville, in the early 50's by a Mr. Christian Dietert, Mr. C. Schreiner of Kerrville, Another sawmill was erected in the early 70's three miles above Kerrville on the Guadalupe River by a Mr. Saner, a Mr. Higgins.

Burnt Rocks in Sterling City Tell of Early Indians

BURNT ROCKS that remain in the streets of Sterling City tell a story of early day Indians who inhabited the valleys of the Concho Rivers as much as a thousand years ago. It is believed the rocks were heated and used for cooking purposes by the Indians, declares W. F. Kellis, publisher of the Sterling City News Record, in an article giving some views of early history preceding the days of the white men.

Further Mentions: The Comanches and Kiowas. Over in the canyons north of Sterling City are the remains of extensive villages. the Canyon Indians, the Pecos River near Grand Falls a Mr. Tatum.


Texas' first historian, HENDERSON YOAKUM was a native of Tennessee and was born in 1810. He moved to Texas in 1845. His old home of still stands at Shepherd's Valley, near Huntsville though in a very dilapidated state. While living in this home Henderson Yoakum conceived the idea of writing a history of 'Texas. The history was completed in 1856, just one year before the historian passed away. remains.

Ghost Story of Pebble Thrower is Classic

By Dean Tevis.

Story of the Hallmark place and the woods of northern Tyler county, along the singing creeks where the Cooshatties once ranged; over the sandy, pine-clad divides and up and down the drift roads, they call him-those who enjoy a ghost yarn and know his biography-the Pebble Thrower of Peach Tree village. Mrs. Laura Fortenberry, long-time resident of Jasper, tells the tale. She was born in the house, about a mile from Peach Tree, and a mile from the spot where they later located the town of Chester.

Further Mentions: the Fortenberry family, the Hallmark place built in the early fifties-of what was known as double-pen architecture. the gold of Lafitte. the ghost of Bottle Neck Bayou on the Sabine, Miss Laura, John Henry Kirby. The old school house that stood near Peach. The Barnes boys and the Barclays and Seamens, One important road, the. now historic north and south Beef Trail, led to the Cooshattie village on the Trinity towards the west, and to Boone's ferry and Zavalla across the Neches on the east. It ran directly through Peach tree village. The Hallmark place lay within the confines of the Peach Tree community. On its edge was Mount Hope, established the year of San Jacinto. The Alabamas and the Cooshatties., One who thoroughly substantiates the story is H. J. Lamb, who lives in the house a few hundred yards from the site of the old Hallmark home. Miss Laura married R. L. Fortenberry ; and to them were born the late Dr. J. C. Fortenberry, Al Fortenberry, Mrs. J. L. Allen, Mrs. J. E. Griner, and Mrs. W. R. Cousins, wife of Senator W. R. Cousins of this city. the' Mount Hope church, Chief Antone. The Hallmark place was purchased by a man named Riley Keys. Another who knows the story is Henry Priest, manager of John Henry Kirby's interests at Peach Tree. Still another is venerable Henry Lamb, Anderson Barclay,

Captain Alonzo Reese Came to Texas in 1852

A. J. Sowell. 

CAPTAIN REESE was born in McNairy county, Tennessee, on the 6th day of September, 1837 and came to Texas in January, 1852. His father died in 1842, and he came to Texas with his mother and two older brothers, Sidney and Adolphus. They first settled in DeWitt county, on the Guadalupe River, near Clinton. Not having good health in the lower country, the Reese family concluded to move further west in the mountain country. Accordingly Sidney and Adolphus came out and explored the Medina Valley, and liking the country bought land on Bandera Creek, not far from the present town of the same name, and now the county seat of Bandera county. They returned home, and the family came out to the new home in 1854. There was but few settlers then where Bandera is now. Among these were P. D. Saner, R. H. and DeWitt Burney, Milstead, Odom, and Malcolm Gillis. Charles De Montel had a sawmill where Bandera is now, and had quite a lot of hands with him making shingles from the cypress timber which was at that time abundant and of fine quality.

There was one settler on the Helotes, eighteen miles from San Antonio, named Forrester. The Lipan Indians pretended to be friendly, and one day a band of them came to the house of Forrester and came inside of the dwelling. The settler apprehended no danger from them, and when they took notice of his rifle in a rack and wanted to look at it, he handed it to them. No sooner had the treacherous rascals become possessed of the gun than they turned it upon Forrester and shot him dead on the floor. A general massacre of the family then commenced, and only Mrs. Forrester escaped and made her way to San Antonio, with the news… This is a great story of early Bandera area history.

Further Mentions: the Fourth United States cavalry, Montel's mill., At this time there lived in the Guadalupe valley, eighteen miles north, near where Center Point now is, Mr. Rufus Brown, an old Texan, and a brother to John Henry Brown, the historian. The Burneys, a lot of Mormons came into the country, under the leadership of O. L. Wight. They were originally from Missouri, out before coming here had stayed awhile on the Pedernales River, southeast from Fredericksburg, in Gillespie county. They stopped on Verde Creek and put up a sawmill for Dr. J. C. Ridley for the purpose of sawing up the cypress timber there. After the mill was finished the Mormons left and settled at Bandera, but soon moved from there and stopped at a place that still goes by the name of "Mormon Camp" below Bandera. Captain Palmer, Capt. James M. Hunter, On James River, a tributary of the Llano, an Indian trail was found, and closely followed to the head of the Pedernales River. J. W. Benson, Jake Banta and McCann. Jake Banta, J. W. Benson, Ben F. Beeson and M. C. Roberts, two ex-sheriffs of Llano county, Justice W. R. Hadley,

Andrew Jackson Potter, The Fighting Parson

The following intensely interesting story of the well known Methodist circuit rider, who was born in Charito county, Missouri, April 3, 1830. He was the son of Joshua and Martha Potter, natives of Kentucky. In early years, wild, rebellious, routy and untamed, he eventually became a fierce Indian fighter, soldier, teamster, frontiersman, and preacher, whose fame and courageous reputation preceded him and whose respect was legendary. The story recites many of his thrilling experiences while in New Mexico, Arizona and Texas in those stirring days when the Indian and the desperado made life unsafe. This is the first account of several installments in Frontier Times.

An excerpt: Born with these predispositions, and early environed by all the influences of semi-savage life, Andrew Potter easily ran into the mazes of sin in the outset of his career. His first decade on the earth having been passed amid the rude scenes of border life, where men were daily armed with the deadly implements of predatory warfare, where and when schools and churches were little thought of, and having a natural inclination to combativeness toward an enemy, the disposition to fight early displayed itself in his youthful activities; vet there were other opposite, neutralizing elements in his germinal character which ever held a balancing and 'a compromising force in his conduct in all his later manhood. A deep sense of the right. a gentle sympathy for the wronged and the oppressed, unfaltering truthfulness, au undying regard for order, and true generosity-these several traits constitute the foundation of his remarkable character, which is so clearly elucidated by his strange and eventful future. These early inborn principles; hallowed and made predominant by our divine Christianity, make up the marvels of his wonderful later career.

Further Mentions: He entered Captain Slack's company, and moved forward to Fort Leavenworth, General Sterling Price, Ash Creek, Joe McGuire,

Eighth U. S. Infantry In Texas Before Civil War

By Colonel M. L. Crimmins. 

Includes B&W photo of Old Fort Brown, Texas, in 1845. Crimmins speaks of his service with the Eighth U. S. Infantry during 1845 beginning near Corpus Christi, then considered "the most murderous, thieving, gambling, god-for-saken hole in the Lone Star State or out of it." Story goes on to recount in detail the various movements and engagements of the army in pre-Civil war TX up to 1861 or so.

Further Mentions: Lieut. Richard H. Wilson, Adjutant of the Eighth Infantry, The Army then consisted of five regiments of Infantry, the 7th, 3rd,. 4th, 5th, and 8th Infantry; the Second Regiment of Dragoons, and Major Ringgold's "Flying Artillery," consisting of Batteries B, D, and E, First Artillery ; Batteries A, C, I, and K, Second Artillery, and Batteries A, C, E, and I, of the Third Artillery. This was the largest force of troops the regular army had assembled up to that time and consisted of nearly five thousand men. General William Jenkins Worth's Brigade, Major William Goldsmith Belknap, Colonel David E. Twiggs, who disgracefully surrendered the American forces of Texas to the Confederates on February 18, 1861. Captain W. R Montgomery. In November, 1848, the Eighth Infantry was ordered to Texas via New Orleans and reached Port Lavaca, December 18, where they established a camp about a mile from town. On December 21 the right wing consisting of Companies of A, E, G, I, and K, marched to a new camp on the Guadalupe River near Victoria where they arrived. Early in January of 1849 the regiment was distributed among the forts and camps in Texas which they were to occupy for the next twelve years. These included Fort Bliss at El Paso, Fort Quitman, eighty miles below on the Rio Grande, Fort Davis, Fort Stockton, Fort Lancaster, Camp Hudson, Camp Verde, and San Antonio. There were many movements of the companies during these twelve years and a number of Indian fights as well as a number of fights with the Mexican outlaw, Juan Cortina. Brevet Major General William J. Worth, the Colonel of the Eighth Infantry, died of Asiatic cholera at the James House where the Western Union Telegraph Office is now on the North west corner of Commerce and Presa Streets, in San Antonio, May 7, 1849, and was succeeded by Colonel John Garland. The regiment made many long marches on escort duty and did a lot of scouting. On February 20, 1850, Company E of the Eighth Infantry had a fight with the Indians between Forts Inge and Duncan (Uvalde and eagle Pass). In 1857 Company A and C left the camp near Mitre Peak on January 1 on an Indian expedition. They arrived at Fort Davis on January 15. On January 31 they had a fight with the Indians at Howard Springs near Fort Lancaster, Texas, in which detachments of Companies A, C, F, G, and H, Eighth Infantry took part. Company C left Fort Davis on the 23rd for Camp Hudson and encamped at Live Oak Creek May 31 at Fort Lancaster. They left on the first of June and arrived at Camp` Hudson on the 7th. Company B, First Lieut. Thomas K. Jackson; Sec and Lieut. H. L. Lazelle, Corporal John C. Hesse Company A, Sergeant-Major Joseph K. Wilson, 8th Infantry. Lieutenant Hartz,

Page's Tree

By Judge J. M. Deaver, El Paso Texas.

Early history of Harrison county and the infamous tree upon which Mr. Page and a host of others were executed. The tree was thereafter known as "Page's Tree" and was the scene of many and similar occurrences. The eminence upon which that tree was situated is now embraced in that portion of Clarksville known as "The Baptist Cemetery" and nearby sleeps many a hardy pioneer and participants in the many stirring and exciting events that led up to the settlement and bringing of law and order in that portion of the State. These executions were gang or mobster rule. In that portion of the State, the Republic had not succeeded in establishing and creating a working judiciary the terms of Court were few and far between and the citizenry oftimes met and elected or selected a presiding judge, impaneled a jury, and appointed attorneys to represent the defendant and proceeded immediately to trial.

Further Mentions: Doctor J. M. Baker, one of the earlier settlers of Harrison county, and one of the Commissioners appointed under the Republic of Texas to lay out the county seat of that county…, Thrall, the author of, "The History of Methodism in Texas", Mr. Page and his-son-in law, Mr. Josephus Moore, Captain J. B. Donoho, Captain W. P. Cornelius, Judge Amos Morrili, a man named Brooks. Falkner, Peter's or Brewster Prairie. Reverend J. W. McKenzie, Andrew Davis who grew up to be a Methodist preacher of some note, the death of John B. Denton, at or near Village Creek, between Ft. Worth' and Dallas, Texas, on the 24th of May, 1841, Aunt Ibbie Gordon, Col Sam Sims,


Brief account of John Young who was born at Lockhart, Feb. 12, 1856, in a log cabin. Raised in Bee and Refugio Counties, he went up the trail five times with Simpson. Jim Reed, Jim Hall, Goodnight and Claire. He was a vaquero in the brush of Southwest Texas, but, in his own words, his trail stretched to the Platte, circled around Dodge City, pronged out across the Plains into the Rockies, meandered up and down the Nueces, Pecos and Devil's River …led into immense boneyards that marked the drifts and die-ups of the open range... ran into the Big Steal, into mustangs, rattlesnakes, barbed wire and lots of other things. He had swum every river from the Rio Grande to the Platte, and once almost lost his life while crossing a herd on the Colorado in 1880. The river was on a rampage and 400 yards wide when, in midstream a drifting treetop rushed Young off his horse and sent him to the bottom. When he came up, his horse was gone. He struck out for shore, but had drifted several hundred yards downstream before his friend, Gus Claire of Beeville rushed by…"

Further Mentions: Young was the cowboy of J. Frank Dobie's "Vaquero of the Brush Country", the Lost Nigger Mine of the Big Bend, George Sanders.


By James W. Land. In the fall of 1860 Bauze Wood and Henry Wood, brothers, went out early one morning to look about their cattle north of Richland Creek and about five miles east of Richard Springs. They had rode about one-half mile when a bunch of Indians, 10 or 12 in number, ran up to them and singled out Bauze Wood and began shooting at him with bow and arrows. Some few had cap-and-ball pistols and rifles.

Further Mentions: A fellow by the name of Goens, at McCamey, Texas, Miss Lizzie Drake at Tilden,


Brief account of Mrs. Elizabeth Johnson, who lived 3 1-3 miles west of Ethel, the first white child born in Macon county before there was a Macon county. She had to wait eleven years after her birth to become a resident of Macon county, which was organized in 1837. The place of her birth was near where long afterwards the village of College Mound was located. In 1853 McGee college was established there, Mrs. Johnson, was a woman of 27 when that institution was built. That gives an idea of what a span of 106 years means. Story goes on to describe Indians and occurrences in Macon co in those very early years. There were good Indians and bad Indians, she said, and the settler had to be careful not to make a mistake. In all her life Mrs. Johnson never enjoyed the thrill of a railroad ride, and she has never been to Macon, her county seat town, but once. However, she has been in automobiles, but thinks they go too fast for safety.


In chronicling the death of Ben E. Kemp, former Texas Ranger, the Magdalena, New Mexico, News says "Ben E. Kemp was born on the Colorado river, near old Fort Chadbourne, Texas, on September 14, 1860. His family moved from there to Fort Mason, about January, 1861. During this trip the Indians ran off and killed…He worked for the Red River Cattle Company, better known as the V Cross T. He was married to Miss Weltha Josephine Cox in September,. 1889, and returned to his ranch near Alpine, Texas. In 1890 and 1891 he was first deputy under James B. Gillett during Gillett's term as the sheriff of Brewster county. In 1896 he returned to New Mexico and started a cow ranch on Beaver Creek, a tributary to the east Fork of the Gila river. He lived there until 1910, moving to Salt Lake, New Mexico, in the fall of that year. He ran a cow ranch at Salt Lake until 1924, selling out that year and moving to Tonto Basin, Arizona, where he lived up to the time of his death. In passing on he leaves us a remembrance of a man who was an honest, law-abiding citizen, whose high standards were an inspiration to his family and his friends. He was a man who had served his country faithful ly, who had never complained, bus stood fast for all that was just and right. The country can ill afford to lose such a man, and though he has passed on be will still be remembered for the good that he has done and the high ideals he has set in life...

Further Mentions: Corporal of Company A, Frontier Battalion, Texas Rangers, Fort Mason, his father, Jasper Stephens Kemp, Ben E. Kemp was the oldest child. Later the Family moved to Llano county, Texas, and settled in. what is known as Honey Creek Cove, near Packsaddle Mountain.

A Typical East Texas Family

By Dabney White. Great early history of Rusk county, TX, and the Buckner family, pioneering fathers of this clan, with inherited tendencies handed down from the Highlanders of Scotland, came here as friends of good government and enemies of anybody who might thereafter attempt to domineer or mislead one of their clan. Events occurred around Pine Hill, Rusk County, Texas which community became known as Rake Pocket.

Further Mentions: Carrie Nation who with her little hatchet became a crusader and started out to destroy all of the saloons, Texas' greatest orator, Frank Bowden, J. Ras Jones, Bob Miller, the most influential editor of his day, Rake Pocket, Lick Skillet and Nip-and-Tuck, three distinctive East Texas communities.

First Texas Flag

From the Goliad Advance Guard. A very interesting and unique account of the first flag of Texas Independence which was raised at La Bahia. Presumptively, it was raised to celebrate their declaration of independence. It was made of white domestic, two yards long by one yard wide. In its center was printed a red arm and hand, grasping a drawn sword, symbolical of the liberty or death attitude of its makers. Two holes were shot through the flag from the streets of La Bahia. A short time later, the Georgia Battalion with Mrs. Troutman's flag joined Fannin, their fellow Georgian, at Goliad. This flag, the Lone Star Flag, was raised on March 2, 1836, on the walls of La Bahia by Fannin. It must have been a thrilling sight to witness on that windy day in March that little band of men, clad in homespun and buckskin saluting their flag, plighting their troth to it, and pledging their lives and honor to its elevation against any attempt to lower it.

Further Mentions: Mr. W. L. Edwards of Victoria, Texas, Magee and Kemper, George Collinsworth, Captain Phil Dimmitt and his fighting, Irishmen from Victoria, Refugio and Goliad. John Henry Brown,


Silver City, N. M., June 5, 1885. The week has been one of unexampled suspense and terror here. Never has the Indians on their bloody raids come so near the city. The first news of the proximity of the Indians was received Wednesday of the last week when a boy riding a horse white with foam dashed into the town from Welty's ranch on Bear Creek. He brought word that hostile Indians were in the hills that an attack on the ranch in which was gathered many women and children was expected and help was needed. A volunteer company of 35 men was organized and went to the rescue. At 7:30,o'clock the ranch was raided. Scouts spent two hours in searching for the trail which led to Little Walnut Creek. Along this stream the most horrible sight was witnessed. Dead bodies, frightfully mutilated and naked, were found at short intervals. The houses were pillaged, and clothing and household articles were scattered everywhere. At William Ogden’s five bodies all scalped, lay in a pool of blood. The two women had been outraged and their breasts cut off. A five-year old girl had both hands cut off. Following the trail over the hill Gomez's ranch was reached. A number of children were gathered here...

Further Mentions: the house of Felix Marquez, the heroic deeds performed by little Willie Carpenter. Duncan Station, a man named Woods

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