Nocona Hogg Club – In the News

Dallas Morning News, April 21, 1892

“Nocona, Tex., Last Saturday night a ‘Hogg and commission club’ was organized with sixty members.  W. S. Thurman, mayor, was elected president and James Foashee secretary.  Speeches were made by W. S. Thurman and G. W. Barefoot.  The club invited Hon. Charles Stewart of Gainesville to address them next Saturday night.”

Anyone have an idea about what a “Hogg Club” might have been?


From Bowie to Texas Governor: James Allred

James Burr V Allred was the 33rd governor of Texas.  He was born in Bowie, Texas in 1899 to Renne and Mary Allred.  He and his four brothers all became attorneys.

Photo courtesy of Montague County Historical Commission

Photo courtesy of Montague County Historical Commission

His political career started when he was appointed district attorney in 1923 in Wichita Falls, Texas.  While in this position he prosecuted several high-profile cases.  One of which was the Collier murder case.  Frank Collier, the mayor of Wichita Falls, was charged with murder in 1925.  His 17-year-old daughter, Mary Frances, secretly eloped with Buster Robertson.  She managed to keep her marriage hidden from her father for several months, but once he found out he filed for an annulment on her behalf.  But before the courts had a chance to legally eliminate the union, Collier took matters into his own hands and shot and killed his son-in-law.  Due to his popularity and high esteem in society, Collier was only sentenced to three years.  Allred felt this was grave injustice.  He then filed a murder charge against Mrs Collier as she had accompanied her husband that fateful day.  Testimony at the trial indicated that she was fully aware of her husband intentions toward Robertson.    Mrs Collier received a sentence of ten years.  Such acts of due diligence by Allred proved his character.

At the age of 31, he was elected as the state’s attorney general in 1930.  He served two terms in that position.  He was elected governor of the state of Texas and served from 1935-1939.  Upon completion of his gubernatorial term, he held a position as a federal district judge.

Allred married Jo Betsy Miller in 1927.  They had three sons: James, William and Sam.

The Mighty Red River

Early photograph of the Red River.  Photo courtesy of Tales N Trails Museum

Early photograph of the Red River. Photo courtesy of Tales N Trails Museum

Today, as one drives over the “New Bridge” outside of Illinois Bend into Oklahoma, it is hard to imagine the Red River on a raging, out of control rise.  But over the years, she has flooded the country side causing damage life, limb and property.

There have been several recorded accounts of the Mighty Red restricting the crossing of cattle at Red River Station on the Chisholm Trail.  Causing herds of Longhorns to be backed up for days while the river settled back down into its natural flow.

In June of 1891 torrential rains caused the Red River to rise higher than ever previously recorded.  The Dallas Morning News accounted how it effected communities along the river bottom on the Indian Territory side as well as the communities in Cooke and Montague Counties:

“Gainesville, Tex. Red River, which so suddenly started on a rampage yesterday, as reported in this dispatches last night, continued to rise till noon today, having in the meantime risen forty fee, being ten feet higher than ever known.  great destruction to crops and live stock has resulted and several persons have been drown.”

The article gives first hand accounts from some of those fortunate to escape with their lives.  They describe the severe damage and loss caused by the flooding.

“Capt. William Bourland of the Chickasaw nation came in today and reports several families resident in the river bottom fifty miles west of Gainesville on the Indian Territory side as having been swept away together with their horses and drowned.  The loss of stock is very great. Capt J P Harris, a prominent ranchman had 400 head of cattle drowned and 60 head of horses.  Many others who had stock in the river bottoms have lost largely and from what is already known the number destroyed will amount to several thousand, all being on the territory side and within a scope of country about eight miles long.”

The rise of the water happened so quickly that most were unable to take any precautions.

“All crops in the bottoms have been washed away and the water today covers the fields several feet deep where yesterday was as fine wheat, corn and cotton as ever grew.   A large number of dwellings and other houses were washed away.  The rise was so sudden that people living in the bottoms near the river in many instances had not time to escape.  The first intimation that many had of the terrible waters was when they were swooped down upon by a wave or avalanche of water coming upon them during the latter part of Friday night.  Early Saturday morning word was telephone from Burlington, fifty miles west of there, of the coming flood and people down the river were notified, which enabled them to escape and drive their stock to the hills.”

The flood waters took out a railroad bridge.  And as with most disasters, people were fascinated by the fall out of the tragedy.

“The approach to the Santa Fe bridge on territory side seven miles north of Gainesville, eighty feet in length, yielded to the current and passed down the stream.  It will be several days before repairs will be made so trains can pass.  A special train has been running from Gainesville on the Santa Fe to the Red river bridge and return all day and thousands of people have gone out to view the treacherous river in its mad flight and which covers a scope of country nearly a mile wide, and is by far much larger and more destructive in its course than known at any time in its past history.”

The article also described how included Saint Jo’s reaction to the flood waters.

St Jo, Tex.  Red river is higher than for many years. It commenced raining Friday and has been raining very rapidly ever since.  Saturday night the water rose so fast that it surrounded a number of houses before the inhabitants could get away and daylight found many persons on housetops calling for help.  So far as learned no one has been drowned, but terrible damage is being done to the growing crops and stock.  Hundreds and thousands of acres of the finest corn, wheat, oats and cotton are entirely covered by the wild and foaming waters.  The water is so rapid that is tearing the banks of the river away.  The great cottonwood and elm trees that line the banks are washed out by the roots and carried off by whirlpools of water.”

The article also reported from Belcherville:

“Belcherville, Montague Co, Tex.  The rise in Red river is the greatest ever known.  It rose by six to ten feet in great rolls with a noise almost deafening.  Houses, cattle, horses, hogs, sheep and all kinds of animals and grain are among the debris.  Hundreds of pieces of bridge timbers and logs of all kinds are going down.  This is evidence of great destruction up the river.  Thousands of acres of crops of all kinds are covered by from four to fourteen feet with water,  All kinds of wild animals are being washed down.  Hundreds of the curious town people are going and coming from the scene,  They tell woeful tales of drowning cattle and frantic horses.  One farmer, Joe Harris, has 300 acres of corn under water, and believes he has lost fifty head of horses which were in a bottom pasture.”

The situation was very similar at Red River Station.

“Henry Heaton, living at Red River Station, has 100 acres of cotton under water and believes he has lost all of his work horses which were on the territory side in a pasture.  Houses in the bottoms are nearly covered, and some being washed away.  No lives lost.”

These accounts show that Red River is a living and breathing thing, with a temperament that could calm and soothing or violently raging.  The Mighty Red must be handled with the utmost respect at all times.

4 March 2013 Addition:  Thank you Max Brown for these photos of the Red River on the rise in the not so distant past.

Red River flooding (2) Red River flooding

Sunset Fruit Shipment 1897 – In the News

From the Dallas Morning News, June 17, 1897

“Sunset, Montague Co., Tex., – There were shipped from this place yesterday 700 boxes of fruit and vegetables, being the largest shipment that has ever been made from this place, 500 boxes going to New Orleans, the other 200 boxes going to Colorado and other points west.”

I was aware of Sunset’s famous fruit stands in the 1930s and after, but had no idea they were known for the fruits of their labor as early as 1897.  Did you?

Charles Stroup Taxidermist: The Odder the Better

Charles and Lydia Stroup came to Ringgold, Texas in 1893.  (Their daughter, Gladys, was the first girl to be born in Ringgold.)

Inside of shop_front

Mr. Stroup was a well-known taxidermist and his wife Lydia worked in the shop by his side.  Their shop doubled as an oddities museum.  The collection included lizards, a monkey, skunks, ferrets, and a two-headed calf just to name a few.  People came from all over the country to view the rare and unusual fare offered at the Stroup’s taxidermy shop.

The unique establish succumbed to fire on two occasions, once in 1913 and then again in 1928.  Stroup rebuilt both times.

Photos courtesy of Max Brown

Forestburg Historical Society

The Forestburg Historical Society will be hosting a pancake breakfast on Saturday, March 10, 2012.  It will be held at the Community Center from 7am – 11am.  The proceeds from this all you can eat breakfast go toward further development of the Forestburg Historical Museum.  Adult tickets are $6, children $3, under 2 years of age are free.

This is for a great cause, come on out and show your support.

The Montague County Courthouse

From the earliest days of statehood, Texas county courthouses were often damaged or destroyed.  The main cause of destruction was usually fire, although sever weather often took a toll on these architectural beauties as well.  Cooke County’s first courthouse, a small log structure was leveled by a bull.  The nosy bovine found his way into the building leaving nothing but  topple logs and a trampled mess in his wake.  Montague County’s courthouse did not escape the courthouse curse.  disaster struck the county seat on more than one occasion.

The Montague County Courthouse as it stands today.

The first courthouse was a log building that was erected shortly after the county formed in 1858.  It was used until the end of the War Between the States.  This structure may have met a fiery doom, but there are no remaining records that resolutely prove what became of the first courthouse.

Montague County's second courthouse was destroyed by fire in 1873. Photo courtesy of the Montague County Historical Commission

A second courthouse was a frame structure that succumbed to fire in February of 1873.  During the time between the fire and the construction of the third courthouse, the county found temporary accommodations in which to conduct business,  They first rented a house from D S Hagler,  later, they purchased the Covington Saloon and converted it into a working courthouse.

Montague County's thrid courthouse, the first to sport a domed top. Photo courtesy of the Montague County Historical Commission.

By 1879, an impressive two story domed, native sandstone structure graced the county square.  The stately building met its demise at the hands of arsonists in March of 1884.  Three men, William and Frank Clark and Landy Howell doused the building with coal oil and struck the match that caused the irreplaceable loss of everything that was not stored in the vaults.  The arsonists were apprehended and placed in the Montague County jail.  Notations in the jail log books indicate that a mob broke the Clarks, Howell and eight or nine other prisoners out of jail.  They were eventually recaptured.  Due to the outrage in the county, their trials received a change of venue to Cooke County.  Howell,s case was dismissed, the Clark brothers each received a sentence of 10 years.

The fourth courthouse came close to not being built in Montague.  After the courthouse was destroyed in 1884, the citizens of Bowie tried to have the county seat transferred to Bowie from Montague.  The results of the poll were in Bowie’s favor, but did not meet the 2/3 majority required by law.

Montague County’s fourth courthouse. Photo courtesy of the Montague County Historical Commission

This courthouse was also built from native stone and sported a beautiful domed clock tower.  While this courthouse did not meet a fiery death, it was no match for Mother Nature.  On July 5, 1905, a tornado ripped through norther and central portions of Montague COunty.  The deadly storm claimed sixteen lives and leveled several churches and homes.  The clock tower was damaged beyond repair and was removed.  In April of 1912 another storm struck the courthouse tearing off large sections of the roof and breaking out several windows.

At this point the county commissioners deemed the county in need of a new courthouse.  In order to dodge another war for the county seat they took quick action.  The old courthouse was demolished and construction began on the new one during the spring of 1912, just weeks after the debilitating storm.

The last courthouse built in Montague County. Still in use today. This photo shows the building before the dome was removed. Photo courtesy of the Montague County Historical Commission,

This building is still in use today.  The grand structure originally had a dome.  The dome suffered structural damage in a storm in 1939 and was removed.

Today a grassroots campaign is in the works to raise the funds needed to replace the dome.  If anyone is interested in helping with this effort,  please contact me for more information.

A few other fun facts about the courthouse:

The fourth floor held the county jail until the new jail was erected in 1927.  The Masonic Lodge met in the vacated jail for a time.

During the 1930s and 1940s, Dr Ernest Johnson housed his doctor’s office in the basement of the courthouse.

At least one baby is known to have been born in the courthouse.

Ringgold 1907 “In The News”

The following article is from the December 11, 1907 edition of the Fort Worth Star Telegram


The Ringgold State Bank’s report shows a very healthy growth in receipts and a very liberal patronage.

The new Methodist church, now under construction, is looming up.  Ringgold will soon have one of the nicest churches in North Texas.

The city has received 1400 bales of cotton this season, which has been far ahead of what was expected.  It was thought that 1000 bales would go against 1800 of last year.

W E Witt, a prominent farmer, living a few miles west of Ringgold has moved his family to Ringgold for the winter to take advantage of the schools.

The Ringgold high school’s first term has been a decided success and will end next Friday evening with a big entertainment.

On account of the large attendance at school the trustees have elected another teacher to help in the primary department.  Miss Beulah Hawthorne of Seago, Texas has accepted the position.

Forestburg’s Timid Ghost

In the summer of 1877, a Forestburg farmer related a most unusual sight.  Everyday around noon, he noticed a woman meandering across a nearby pasture.  She took the same route each day, walking diagonally across the field and into a thicket.  If he ignored her, she quietly and leisurely made her daily journey.  If he walked in her direction, she would scurry into the thicket.  After seeing her for several days, he decided perhaps she was a wild woman and called for  reinforcements to investigate.  The next day he rounded up his buddies, they strategically lined up around the perimeter of the pasture.  When the woman made her appearance, they all approached towards her, surrounding her on all sides.  She rushed into the thicket.  The curious searchers continued their advance, circling closer and closer to the thicket.  They  entered the thicket and searched every nook and crannie, but found no sight of the mysterious woman.

The next day, the noonday sun arose, and the woman made her daily stroll.

Hog Cholera at Belcherville “In the News”

The following article is from the Dallas Morning News, December 1898.

Hog Cholera at Belcherville
Belcherville, Montague Co, Texas, Dec 3 – There has been considerable hog cholera near here this fall and winter. This is the first visit of this plague for many years in this vicinity, but it is getting less severe in the death rate and will probably abate entirely very soon.