(from John W. Speer's Blanco County History)
|bef 1854||About 1852/53 Capt. James Callahan, while on a scouting expedition, camped for a time in the valley and decided to make it his future home.|
|1853||Spring 1853: Capt James H. Callahan
and E.C. Hinds ("Uncle Clem") move to the Blanco Valley and build
their cabins; Callahan on the south and Hinds on the north bank
of the Blanco river, about one mile above town.
The Pittsburg Company (Wm. E. Jones, Capt. James H. Callahan. F. W. Chandler, A.M. Lindsey & Gen. John D. Pitts) buy the H. Eggleston league, lay out a town and sell lots
Uncle Billy Trainer moves from Curry's Creek and settles 2 1/2 miles south east of town.
Hugh McLauren settles 3 miles south of town
Col. Jesse McCrocklin and son-in-law Capt. A. J. Kercheville settle on the Blanco about 7 miles east of town. Kercheville's first son, Dick, was born this year, the first boy born in the county.
Woodson Blassengame (Coordinator's Note: this might be an error as his son-in-law William K. Holmes bought land about this time and Woodson did not move to Blanco until 1856 and is not listed on any Tax Lists prior to that time) buys land from Callahan and settles higher up the Blanco about 1 mile west of Callahan
Uncle Joel Cherry settles on Little Blanco about 7 miles south of town.
|1854||Capt. Joseph Bird settles at Round Mountain,
a village soon springing up called for a time Bird Town.
Harrison Lewis settles on Spring Creek.
First Methodist Church organized at Blanco in old log school house in "Pittsburg" with 6 members by Rev. Daniel Rawls, a local preacher from Curry's Creek.
Missionary Baptist Church organized at Round Mountain.
First school taught by John M. Watson, just come from Tennessee.
Rev. Josiah Cox settles 5 miles east of town.
|1855||Spring 1855, Capt. Callahan and his company of about 100 men were mustered into the State service as Texas Rangers. Soon thereafter they followed an Indian trail to the Rio Grande, at or near the town of Piedras Negras, in Mexico. While near Santa Rosa, they were attacked by a body of Indians and Mexican, losing several men, among which was Willis Jones, the eldest son of Hon. Wm. E. Jones. On their retreat, the city of Piedras Negras was burned, either by accident or by a disgruntled trooper. One of the men wounded in the fight was Ben Patton.|
|1856||The Blassingame Incident takes place with
Capt. Callahan and his friend William S. Johnson being killed, and
Uncle Clem Hinds being wounded. Later the lynch mob composed of
Callahan's relatives, friends and supporters, numbering over 100,
drag out the Blassingame men and shoot them numerous times, killing
A. Pharr, A.V. Gates, and Robert Branum settle in the area.
Fall or winter 1856, Rev. Samuel Johnson settles about 6 miles west of town. R. P. Harrison settles near him.
Jacob and B. H. Watson, Cristian Pruitt, Daniel Crider and other settle on Hickory Creek.
Twin Sisters Masonic Lodge # 216, organized at Robinson's Mill on Curry's Creek. this lodge was later moved to Blanco and an arrangement made with the County Court to build a lodge room as a second story to the court house in 1860.
|1857||Jonases settle on the waters of Little
Blanco. E. Ben George, Sr. settles on Little Blanco.
J. B. Tennyson settles first on McCall Creek but then moves to town.
Christian Church organized at Blanco with 6 members, as well as another one on Hickory Creek.
George Wilkins Kendall establishes a sheep ranch a few miles east of Boerne (which was part of Comal County, as was the Blanco area)
Uncle Jake Felps and his four sons and one daughter are settled on Miller's Creek.
Blanco County formed out of parts of Travis, Hays, Comal, Bexar and Gillespie counties. By election, the county seat is to be located at Blanco, within 5 miles of the center of the county and a tract of 120 acres was donated by the Pittsburg Company for this town, which was named Blanco, as per act of Legislature.
Thomas M. Smith settles north of Pedernales.
Indians kill Jesse Lawhon. Capt. John Lawhon, the Pattons and Samson on Curry's Creek, Uncle Clem Hinds and Joe R. Burleson of Blanco and Capt. C. R. Perry on the Pedernales provide protection for the settlers.
First marriage license issued in the new county to Sol Tanner and Cynthia George
Beginning of a drought which lasted until 1862, discouraging farming.
Scourge of grasshoppers.
|1858||Rev. Josiah Cox dies and is buried at
family burying ground
Uncle John McCoy settles near son-in-law Clem Hinds. His daughter, Mrs. Cloud moved from Gonzales.
|1859||First District Court held in old log schoolhouse
across the river in Pittsburg by Judge E. J. Davis. McAnderson of
San Antonio is District Attorney.
Some town lots are sold at public sale to raise money to build a court house.
Clem Hinds and Mr. Stephenson try their hand at Sheep ranching with remarkable success.
Mail route established between Austin via Blanco to Curry's Creek, carried on horseback once a week by John B. Tennyson, postmaster at Blanco.
Rev. M. B. Kemp in charge of the Blanco Mission and Rev. I.G. John was presiding elder.
John H. Alley, Joseph H. Alley and John W. Speer arrive in early July from Louisiana and John Carson from Tyler County, Texas with the idea to get a herd of Mexican sheep and get rich. They did.
May 1859, Robert Silliman and his wife settle 1/2 mile above town from Pittsburg
Uncle Clem Hinds and Sam Durham finish their stone houses.
Louis Zork opens a store at Cold Spring in Pittsburg.
Dr. McKinney settles about 4 miles above town with several slaves. He was later indicted for bigamy and moved with both wives, reportedly, to Utah.
Nov. 1859- Mr. Myrich drives in almost 3000 head of Missouri sheep. Jenkins brothers, just arrived from England buy 600 head and Uncle Clem Hinds, 400. Mr. Silliman took the balance on shares. In the ice storm that followed in Dec. and lasted for 6 weeks, the Jenkins lost half their flock and Alley lost 150 head in one day. Only one cow died in the valley that year. Col. Meyerhopen has 75 head of hogs frozen in one thicket.
Col. Rice builds a second house in town where Mrs. Pharr's hotel later stood, as well as a small stone shop in the gully in which he made hats.
William Woolridge moves to Blanco
Sol Tanner and Bennet Bass make crop of cotton on the McKinney place, four acres, about 1/3 of a bale per acre.
Uncle Billy Tanner made a wheat crop, hauled it up near Hind's to a large flat rock and tramped it down with horses, yielding about 10 bushels per acre.
|1860||Louis Zork moves his store from the Cold
Spring in Pittsburg to Blanco and builds on the site where W. H.
Ford later had his saddle and harness shop (southwest corner of
the C. E. Crist yard).
While exact dates are not know, many new settlers to the area include John Lindeman and his 5 sons and 5 daughters, his son-in-law Col. Goar, Col. William Hamilton and his family, Mr. George Boon and family, and Naaman Shropshire and family, all settling in the Blanco Valley. N. R. Huckoby, Carl Koch, Joseph Reteman, Christian Schmidt, William Bruemer, Henry Rohan and Andrew Wagonfhur with their families settled on the Little Blanco. Andrew Yeager settled on Yeager's Creek, J.L. Moss settled on the Provost place near where Johnson City now stands, Mike Burcher, Wilson Jones, Mr. Westfall, John Cude, Arthur and Richard de Cloust settled near Grape Creek, Uncle Buck Roberts settled on Cypress Creek, Levi Shugart settled at Bird Town, Capt. J. T. Cleveland, Mr. Widekind, Sr., S. T. White, George Latham, Jack Johnson and perhaps others settled on the north side of the Pedernales river.
In all the Blanco valley there were 32 families in addition to those on the Little Blanco. On the Pedernales there were 34 families.
General Election of county officers:
|Alley goes into winter with 900 head of
sheep and comes out in the spring with 300. Jenkins, Hinds and Silliman
fare nearly as badly.
Capt Samson, Judge Jones, Blackwell, Speer and John and Joe Carson decide to try their hand raising horses, bringing in Spanish mares. Large numbers of cattle are brought in from the lower country, and located on the Pedernales by Hudson and Davis, H. McKellor, Frank Daniels, Wm. E. Winckleman and the Whittingtons and Statons.
Capt. J. M Patton's Rangers protect the settlers from Indians
County Court house is built by Judge A. V. Gates for $600
David and Wesley Wier move from Gonzales County in Nov. with 175 head or nice horses and locate on McCall Creek.
J. Cummings Evans starts a sheep ranch on Simmons Creek
|1861||Secession! the vote at Blanco is
about 2 to 1 in favor, but the county goes against secession by
a small minority, most likely because the many German immigrants
felt bound by their Oaths of Allegiance to the Union.
Col. Ed Burleson is sent out with a regiment of Texas Rangers and winters in the Wichita Mountains. Men serving with him from Blanco County included Joe Carson, Charlie Thompson and August Groting.
Peter W. Gravis is preacher for the Blanco Mission, his circuit including Johnson's Institute (east of Driftwood), Dripping Springs, Blanco, Curry's Creek and Grape Creek.
Elder Jacob Talley moves to Blanco and settles just above town.
Elder Abbot moves to Curry's Creek and preaches occasionally at Blanco. He and John B. Tennyson have a three or four day debate on some religious subject, creating quite a stir and hard feelings on both sides.
Of the young men who enlist in the Confederate Army, one was Ed Henley who had established a horse ranch on Onion Creek where the present-day Henley Post Office now stands. He joined Terry's Rangers and fell in battle.
Louis Capt erects a grist mill on Miller's Creek about 8 miles north of Blanco.
George Leinewebber moves to Blanco from Gillespie County and starts a blacksmith shop.
Mr. Glen erects a turning lathe and makes rawhide bottom chairs.
Ben H. Watson moves to Blanco.
John Lindeman, Jr. and R. B. Bernhard, living on the Anderson place, 3 miles from town, have their house burned down, losing everything they had. Lindeman's loss is partly repaired by the settlers with Joe R. Burleson taking the lead, offering Lindeman his mare valued at more than $100,000, but Mr. Lindeman declined the offer.
Dr. James Ordiorne (sic, should be Odiorne) and Thomas Morgan move on Miller's Creek with a flock of sheep.
W.S. Callahan and his brother, John, bring in a flock of sheep from Pennsylvania.
Mr. Joe Pearce establishes a sheep ranch on Wonsley, 10 miles east of Blanco.
Leinwebber puts in a small grocery store, selling tobacco and whisky -- mostly whiskey. Leinwebber soon found the venture did not pay and went back to his blacksmith anvil.
|1862||Feb. - Col. George H. Sweet of San Antonio,
comes to the county recruiting for the Confederate Army. Among those
who joined his cavalry company after his patriotic speech and singing
of the Bonnie Blue Flag, were Rev. Samuel Johnson, afterwards Chaplain
of the regiment, A.J. and A. W. Cox, Sam E. and David J. Trainer,
Charles Steele, John McCrocklin. John W. Speer is appointed
to fill the County Clerk's officer and later elected to full term.
Mar.-another recruiting officer comes to enlist men for the Frontier Company. Judge Gates joins this company and was elected Lieutenant. Others in the same company were Bob Davis, David Kent, and the Statons.
Thomas Morgan is elected chief justice to fill the vacancy created when Judge Gates joined the Frontier Company.
Rumors of general conscription begin, and a regiment of infantry is raised at San Antonio, drawing Blanco County men to enlist in Company I (Capt. Toole) of Col. Lucket's Regiment. Among these volunteers were John M. Watson (later made a Lt.), Joe Rodgers, Joe, John and Buck Carson, Charlie Thompson, August Grayling (Groling?), Jake Peverhouse, George and Ben Palmer, Tas Kenerly, Joe H. Alley, Charlie Foster, John Tinney, Joe Cherry, Col. Pruitt. This company remained in San Antonio until about the close of the year and were then ordered to Brownsville.
Summer - Capt. Duff is sent out with a squad of cavalry and a civil officer, Mr. Schlohengger, a notary public, who sent out notices for every citizen to come to his camp and take the oath of allegiance to the Confederate government. Nearly all came, but a few refused and the cavalry scoured the country for them. A few evaded the cavalry and took to the brush, Mr. Eden, one of the men captured was shamefully treated. This was the beginning of the "bushwhackers".
A militia company is organized under the command of Lt. Casner, a part of which was kept out scouting most of the time.
August- A general election for county officers:
With Union men in the county, and Reed of Boerne in the State Senate and McDowel of Caldwell reprenting Blanco County in the Lower House, feeling began to be prevalent that a separate county, a Union county, would be formed from the western half of Blanco County, and so it happened, much before many knew what was happening. Mail had stopped because of the war, but still enough money was raised to bring it once a week from New Braunfels.
Grandpa Samuel Johnson is discharged from the Army and comes home in the fall. Thomas S. Speer is discharged east of the Mississippi River and he and his sister, Mrs. Robert W. Ragland, later Mrs. Thomas Morgan, come to Blanco on Nov. 5, 1862.
Col. Thomas Durham, the chief justice of the county dies and Judge A. V. Gates is elected to fill the vacancy.
|1863||The Conscription Law is in full enforcement,
some few men who were left hurrying into the army and those determined
not to fight, going to Mexico. Others took to the brush and as long
as they evaded the Confederate service they met more or less with
sympathy. A proposition is made to these non-combatants that they
might take teams to the Rio Grande with cotton and bring in supplies.
Some take advantage of this offer.
During this time, Capt. Dorbant's Militia from Burnet County comes to Blanco County and confers with Lt. Casnor, arranging that a squad of Capt Dorbant's men should go to the house of a Mr. Snow near Grape Creek and arrest any bushwhackers, as they were called. At the Snow house, the squad foung Messers Snow and Lundy and a shoot out occurred, killing both Snow and Lundy instantly. A few days later, a near neighbor of Mr. Snow, Mike Burcher, was at the house fixing a wagon to move Mrs. Snow and family away when someone came up behind and shot him dead. Soon afterwards, bushwhackers were reported on Williamson Creek. A military squad found them and another fight ensued. Ben Watson and young Snow were killed in the thicket and Sevier Neal, Zack Whittington and another man were killed as well.
With the war and the Texas ports blockaded, staples such as coffee, sugar and tobacco were in dire need. Sorghum, pressed in wooden mills and boiled down was used as a sugar substitute. Tobacco was grown to some extend locally but coffee was the most difficult to substitute. WW Fometimer contrived to get some real coffee, and Uncle Tom Smith, Dick Hudson and Gum Raab and others gathered a small herd of fine fat beeves and drove them to the Rio Grande, buying some dry goods, but mostly tobacco and coffee. Because of the length and difficulty of the trip, a good beef only paid out 20 pounds of Rio coffee
Joe H. Alley dies at Sabine Pass while serving in the Confederacy.
|1864||Confederate government furnishes the citizens
of Blanco County with cotton cards and other things that cannot
be obtained otherwise.
Rumors spread that Jesse Starr and a young Mr. Williams who lived near Wimberly's Mill, were in the brush and reportedly were starting to Mexico, and also that they were coming by Blanco to kill 2 or 3 of its citizens. A squad of Rangers meets them at Wonsley, 10 miles east of Blanco. A fight ensued and they were killed, only a few hundred yards apart.
Among those killed in the Civil War this year were Tom Johnson in Tennessee while on picket duty by a sharpshooter, Charlie Steele on Missionary Ridge.
Election of County Officers:
|Summer - Capt J. W. Combs sent with order
to get a herd of beeves for the government, buying if he could,
impressing if not. Managed to get a herd of 400 head by taking one
beef out of 20.
Elder Jacob Talley was pastor of the Baptist Church. John B. Tennyson of the Christian and the Blanco Methodist circuit was served by Rev. Samuel Johnson.
Conscription Law still enforced, brought Wm. Hamilton to enroll as an officer, and managed to get all that were subject to military duty to come in and enroll as well, with a few so seriously afflicted they were awarded certificates of disability and not further molested.
The long drought coming to an end, many of the fields make as much as 20 bushels of wheat per acre. No market for stock of any kind, calves were not makred or branded and some became wild and unmanageable.
|1865||By the 4th of July all the men who had
served in the army and who had been discharged at places far and
wide, some sickly, others wounded were finally home. In way of appreciation,
wives and daughters managed up a nice dinner at Cold Spring.
Some of the young men returning from the war argued that the unbranded stock, running wild was the increase of the stock they had left behind. Unfortunately the quickest and most adept with the branding iron became the onwers of the major share, leading to hard feelings
Money is very scarce. Mr. Silliman and his wife who owned property worth several thousand dollars in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, decide to return there, but the only way to get money for the trip was to go to San Antonio, Mr. Silliman working at his carpenters trade and his wife to run a boarding house.
The famous District Court is held, the Grand Jury going over the wrong-doings of the last four years, with consequences of 73 indictments for murder, all of a political nature (killings of bushwhackers and soldiers).
Fall -- all county officers turned out and following Apointed County Officers:
|1866||Feb. - John P. Kellam rents out his place
and moves to Stringtown, near San Marcos.
Joe Rodgers moves to Hays County
Spring - Robert Silliman and wife return from Pennsylvania on account of his health. It appears that as soon as they had arrived near Pittsburg, PA, the "City of Smoke" that his old disease, tuberculosis, took hold of him. Once back at Blanco he fitted up a store in his old residence a 1/2 mile above town and opened up a small stock of general merchandise.
A. J. Peel visits his old home in Holy Springs, Mississippi, and upon his return through New Orleans buys a stock of goods and opens them in the old Zork store house. Mr. Peel's younger brother, Volney Peel comes out to texas.
July 4th --Elected County Officers:
|Cattle drive was started by Diamond Slaytor,
who drives a herd of beeves to California. Another drive to New
Orleans did not turn out well.
Cotton raising begins in the county, some planted on Uncle Clem Hinds farmer, also the Cox brothers, but most are forced to haul to New Braunfels in the seed, as there was no gin nearby.
10 Oct. -- the grasshoppers return destroying all the growing wheat and oats.
Some citizens arrested and taken to Fredericksburg for some murders committed in Gillespie County during the war. Under writ of habeus corpus they were later released.
John B. Tennyson leaves the county and moves north. Carl Mayrhoffen leaves the county for San Antonio.
Sam Hinds, a freedman, buys a house and lot in Pittsburg -- the first freedman to acquire real estate in the county.
Registration of voters under President Johnson's Amnesty Proclomation, each voter paying $1 for the privilege of being enrolled and getting his papers. If a man was not loyal enough, or dishonest enough, to take what was known as the Iron Clad Oath, he was told to stand aside, which meant disfranchisement.
|1867||New registration of voters -- this time
Capt. Dick Irving leaves his ranch on the Pedernales and moves to Mississippi
Mark Anderson moves to near Mountain City in Hays County.
Martin Casner moves, with his stock, to California
William McCarty settles on his ranch across the Pedernales
Tom and Sam Johnson bought the Moss place and started a ranch
Dick Hudson, James Tanner and others drive a herd of beeves to New Orleans but it did not pan out well, some members of the drive having to stop and work to get money to get home on.
Col. Walker is appointed District Judge.
Appointment of County Officers:
|1868||Thomas S. Speer, who had returned to Louisiana
at the close of the Civil War, returns to Blanco County when his
health fails and dies mar. 28
Col. McCrocklin introduces the Jennings wheat, which turns out to be rust-proof Nicaraguan wheat, producing as much as 40 bushels per acre, but the grain is flinty and makes a low grade of flour.
Judge A. J. Foster settles in Blanco to practice law, but with little litigation, he finds it necessary to open a school in the old log school house.
Judge Walker is appointed to the State Supreme Court.
I. N. Everitt, adopted son of Judge Walker is appointed District Judge, with Johnny Walker, aka "Little Johnny" as District Attorney.
|1869||June- Tom Felps and wife, living on Cypress
Creek, murdered by Indians within sight of their home, leaving two
small children. Mrs. Felps was scalped.
7 July -- first "overflow", doing great damage to farms along creeks and branches, the Blanco being higher than it had ever been known before. A stage from Blanco to Austin was upset and swept away in the Blanco. Several people drown. Worst damage from the flood was the washing away of Mr. Harrison's mill at Blanco.
B.A. Brown moves to Blanco and at first goes into business with M. F. Bell then soon afterwards buys the Harrison residence where the Hamilton hotel now stands.
Elder M.H. Bell comes to the county, and organizes a Union Sunday School.
|1870||Stubbs, Cage and Bingham moved in and
plant considerable cotton.
Miller and Callahan put up a horse-powered gin, and Mr. Capt gets his water-powered gin ready to gin part of the crop.
Oct 11- Another flood, washes away Capt's mill and damages the cotton fields
B.A. Brown buys the old store house moved from Blanco by Mr. Peel and moves it back to Blanco on the corner in front of the hotel and opens a store.
State Superintendant of Public Schools assigns to Blanco E. Freer Thomas.
Nov. - John W. Speer fits up the old shanty near the town spring and opens a store.
|1871||Cotton in New Braunfels sell for 5 to
8 cents per pounds
Tom Johnson, who with his brother Sam had driven 7000 head of cattle to Kansas the year before, come home with $100,000 and begin to pay for cattle already driven and to buy for the year's drive. The 1870 drive consisted of 10,000 head. But because many people were driving cattle to market, the financial pressure was so great that many could not be sold and Johnson was forced to winter a part of the cattle, and many of them died. Johnson lost so heavily he was forced to sacrifice some property in Fredericksburg and a fine farm in Gillespie County, yet still ended up unable to pay his debts.
Mr. Lem Stubbs takes 10 bales of cotton to Columbus but could only get 8 cents for it, he stored it, came home, and sold it to Ben Cage, Sr, who let it lay in the warehouse until Sept, then ordered it to Galveston, netting him after storage fees, reshiping and commissions, 14 cents per pound.
The old Union Church is built in Pittsburg at a cost of $1300.
A.M. Metteal builds his school building.
Spring - Sam West comes to Blanco for his health.
Fall- Elder A. B. West, traveling to Texas for his health, hears of his cousin Sam and comes to Blanco, spends the winter, preaching. He liked the country and the people so well, he afterwards moved to Blanco.
|1872-1874||(Coordinator's Note: These chapters are missing from the Speers accounts)|
|1875||Prof. Atterbury takes charge of the school
and had a large and prosperous one at the house on the Pittsburg
side. He also builds a nice residence in Blanco.
Judge A. W. Moursand builds a residence in Blanco and settles there.
The storm which destroys Indianola and causes great damage to Houston and Galveston, causes no problems to Blanco County.
|1876-1880||(Coordinator's Note: These chapters
are missing from the Speers accounts. Only a few lines exists)
1878 or 1879 - Johnson City is laid out.. In about October 1879, an election was ordered, resulting in a victory for the county seat to remain in Blanco by only seven votes.
|1881||Fair crops in cotton, grain. Cattle increased and all steer yearling were driven off and sold at fair prices, selling for $8 a head.|
|1882||Cotton makes 1-2 bales per acre, average
in other years being 3/4 of a bale per acre.
Rev. A. J. Potter as presiding elder and Rev. J. M. Leaton as preacher in charge, there were a number of accessions to the Methodist Church at Blanco. Building committee was appointed.
|1883||Building of the new Methodist Church begins
with the corner stone laid in June by Rev. Samuel Johnson. On 14
Oct. it was first occupied. The first song was "All Hail the Power
of Jesus' Name" and the sermon was by Rev. W.H. Killough, he being
the first itinerant sent out by the Blanco church and recommended
by the Blanco Quarterly conference. Also on that day the Methodist
Sunday School was organized.
Summer - a public meeting is called in the Pecan Mott for 3 p.m. Aug 7th to address the needs for a good school at Blanco, with addresses made by Elder Hillyer, pastor of the Baptist church at Blanco, and Rev. W. J. Joice who was passing through town. It was agreed to form a joint stock company with a capital stock of $10,000 divided into shares of $25 each. Books were opened and some $4,000 subscribed the first day. A few days later, share-holders met and organized by electing a board of directors, consisting of John M. Watson, John F. Cooper, John W. Speer, John C. Goar, Phil P. Cage, Dr. A. V. Duncan and J. O. Roundtree. John W. Speer was elected president, John F. Cooper, Secretary and Phil P. Cage, treasurer.
|1884||Work begun on the new schoolhouse, with
the cornerstone being laid 3 Mar. Speeches were made by Hon.
L. W. Moore and Dr. Jacob Ditzler. School commenced on Oct.
27 with W. H. Bruce as principal and Miss Ada L. Bruce as assistant,
opening with about 100 students and increasing to about 175, making
it necessary to hire another teacher Miss Alice Nash.
Another drought and poor crops, resulting in cotton yielding only 1/4 bale per acre, and that selling at a low price.
Election held Dec. 16 for location of the county seat. Another victory for Blanco by a small majority of 15 votes out of a total of 1001 in the county.
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