The Comanche Chief, Comanche, Texas, 22 January 1880
EARLY SETTLEMENT OF COMANCHE COUNTY
AN INTERESTING REMINISCENCE BY THE FIRST WHITE SETTLER
On the night of the 18th Dec. 1854, the first settlers of Comanche county, Jesse MERCER and F.M. COLLIER, struck camp in a Live Oak grove, one mile east of Dr. Geo. W. MONTGOMERY’s residence-formerly MERCER’s; the first furrow plowed in the county, was done by B.J. HOLMSLEY- on Holmsley’s creek-in the HOLMSLEY field; the first cabin was built by F.M. COLLIER, on Mercer’s creek, one mile east of Dr. MONTGOMERY’s residence; the first birth in the county was Thos. A. COLLIER, son of F.M. and Julia A., born May 30, 1855; the first death in the county was a little daughter of C.H. ISHAM, one mile south-west from Comanche town, who was poisoned by eating berries from mesquite mistletoe; the first man killed was J.H. FOREMAN, in an altercation with Jesse REED at the crossing on Mercer’s creek near where J.F. KETTLE’s farm now is; the first marriage license was issued to Elias DENTON and Polly WRIGHT; the first marriage ceremony was said to T.J. HOLMSLEY and Bettie CUNNINGHAM at Capt. CUNNINGHAM’s residence on Mountain creek.; the first sermon was preached by Rev. B. KEMP-Methodist-at F.M. COLLIER’s cabin; the first Baptist sermon was preached by Rev. HOWARD, on Mercer’s creek, near Fletcher NEELEY’s residence; the first school and church house was on Mercer’s creek, near Dr. R. TUGGLE’s old place-now D.H. CUNNINGHAM’s; the first Indian depredations was the stealing of Adam’s-not Ichabod’s-an emigrant moving to the settlement-horses by two Comanche Indian’s, on Warren’s creek in the valley where Uncle Billy LATHAM’s-Mama HONEY’s-field is now; the first persons killed by Indians, were – BEAN and his negro man, near the Twinn mountains, now in Hamilton county, and Peter C. JOHNSON, near Johnson’s peak in Bosque county-BEAN and JOHNSON were citizens of Comanche county; the first persons killed and scalped by Indians, in the county proper, were Gid FROWMAN and a little son of John BAGGETT’s. FROWMAN was killed on South Leon, four miles below Old Cora. BAGGETT’s son, on the Baggett branch, north of the North Leon, during the same raid that FROWMAN was killed. Kenith McKENZIE was mortally wounded, and died in a few hours, in an Indian fight after night, in the north edge of Comanche town, where Buggertown now is. The first settlers on Indian creek were John A. McGUIRE, Henry MARTIN, Sr., and C.H. ISHAM. MARTIN and McGUIRE got there with their families in Feb. 1855. Knarf M. REILLOC
Among our artisans and mechanics there are none more worthy than W.C. SWITZER, whose hammer can be heard going from morning til night, in his old shop near the northwest corner of the square. His shop does not shine much, but his work does. His son, Rufus, does the heavy work (slings the sledge) and blowing (the bellows) for the shop.
J.L. WRIGHT—COMANCHE’S BOSS PHOTOGRAPHER
With the exception of Galveston and Dallas, we doubt if there is a town in the State that has an artist equal to our Jim WRIGHT. His work brings out every feature of the human physiogomy upon the negative, and his pictures are printed and toned to perfection. He takes every style and kind of picture from the little miniature for a lady’s locket, to the magnificent cabinet size photo. He has on exhibition and for sale at his gallery some magnificent views of our little city. If you wish a cheap and magnificent present for your friends, and one that will be appreciated as much as the most costly from Tiffany’s, have Jim to make you a dozen of those elegant cabinet sized photos.
COMMERCIAL TRAVELERS generally stop at Mrs. LOWRY’s, when they come to Comanche. This excellent lady sets an elaborate table, and her house has a state reputation for its cleanliness, neatness and home-like appurtenances. The following are a few of the traveling men who stop at Mrs. LOWRY’s, to all of whom the public is most respectfully referred: Messrs. BRANNON, WALTERS, PEAKE, MERCHANT, PADDOCK, MIDDLETON, BETTERTON, MELLERSH, STEPHENSON, GRAHAM, WIGHT, DENNEY, WILKES, McLAUHERTY, HARRIS, and a host of others.
This enterprising young man also introduces himself in a new roll to our many readers this week. He has purchased the neat and elegant little billiard parlor and drinking saloon of Messrs. VAUGHAN & Co., and will take charge of the establishment on the 24th inst. We can assure our readers that Mr. DEATHERAGE will keep up the reputation of the establishment he has purchased and while we are sorry to lose such an estimable citizen as Mr. VAUGHN, we are glad that he has such a worthy successor as Mr. DEATHERAGE.
The town of Comanche has five good schools for the education of its young. These schools are generally in session from eight to ten months of the year-four of which, they are free schools, and the remaining months pay schools. The primary and intermediate branches are all well taught in them; but we can not say that we have any real first-class higher school, but there is some talk of establishing a graded school.
MRS. J.E. CANAN’S SCHOOL
Mrs. CANAN has a large and interesting school of some forty-five scholars, and she ranks high as a teacher of the young. She has a large and commodious school-house, and her scholars are muchly attached to her.
This school is under the able management of Prof. D.S. SWITZER, and has near fifty scholars upon its rolls. Prof. SWITZER is a thorough master of the higher branches, while his talented lady instructs the primary department.
MISS HART’S SCHOOL
This estimable young lady has recently opened a private school, at Dr. PAYNE’s residence. She comes to our town highly recommended, and we hope she will succeed in building up a good school. She also teaches pianoforte music.
MRS. CANUTESON’S SCHOOL
This talented lady has an excellent school, in the western suburbs of our little city, with a good attendance.
MISS DANLEY’S SCHOOL
A good primary school for younger children is taught by this young lady, and is highly spoken of by all.
SIPE SPRINGS SCRAPS
The school of Messrs. GILLILAND and MOORE closed last Tuesday, and all who were present at the examination expressed themselves well pleased.
Capt. ANDERSON contemplates moving the remainder of his stock of goods west soon, on the head of Sabana, where he expects to make his home in the future. He also talks of putting up a gin and mill there.
JUDGE FLEMING RESIGNS
The many friends and admires in this city of Hon. J.R. FLEMING, district judge of the twelfth (the Comanche) district, will be interested to know that he has positively tendered his resignation, and it has been accepted, to take effect April 1st, proximo. It is intimated that Gov. ROBERTS will appoint one Mr. HUTCHISON, a lawyer of Comanche, to succeed the retiring judge.
SOUTH LEON NEIGHBORHOOD [extract]
This neighborhood, perhaps better known as the "Cunningham neighborhood," is some ten miles south-east from Comanche, on the South Leon and Mercers creek……………………….
Quite a number of the old settlers of the county are there. Among these are Capt. Jas. CUNNINGHAM, Mr. F.H. NEELY, Simeon WELCH, H.A. ALLIN, Wm. LITTLE, G.W. CUNNINGHAM Sr., and B.P. LEWIS. These old people, with most of their families, now grown up, married, and settled around them, are, after the hardship and dangers incident to an early frontier life, now enjoying a quiet and contented old age in the midst of peace and plenty still retaining, in a marked degree, their early pioneer characteristics of courage, friendship and open hospitality they form a social community in which it is pleasant to dwell.
HENRY HILL – LIVERY STABLE
Mr. HILL keeps a splendid livery, feed and sale stable. Most of his vehicles are of home make and of the latest and handsomest style. His teams are all neat and well cared for. Strangers can be assured of good attention for their stock when they put them under Mr. HILL’s care.
J.M. McCRARY—HARDWARE AND TINWARE
We take especial pleasure in mentioning Mr. McCLARY’s business, because the tinware department is what all should encourage – a home industry – connected with his store, in an adjacent building. He has a well-equipped shop, where pans, cups, boilers, and everything in the tin line is turned out by a skillful workman, who is one of the best tin-smiths in the state. Matt, in another house, keeps a large stock of glass, earthen and crockery ware, while in his main store, may be found a large and complete stock of shelf and heavy hardware, cutlery, plows and other agricultural implements. This house has been in existence nearly ten years. McCRARY liberally patronizes the printers, as our columns will show, and many a stranger who reads this paper will owe it to his liberality in purchasing a large number of extra copies and sending them abroad.
Mr. HOPE is one of the substantial young men our our town and possesses untiring energy and admirable business qualifications. He keeps all kind of furniture, pictures, brackets, frames, mattresses, etc. Mr. Hope also does a large business in cofins and undertaking goods.
LESSING, LYONS, SOLOMON & CO.—DRY GOODS AND GROCERIES
This is a Waco firm, but they have a branch house in Comanche, located in the elegant rock front on the west side of the square. Johny MOORE and G.A. BEEMAN, the patriarch of the Chief, manage the dry goods department, while Oscar HAMILTON manipulates the grocery department in an adjacent building. Their stock is large and complete. Mr. BEEMAN, of this house, was the founder of the Chief, and having been a newspaper man himself, he of course appreciates the value of printer’s ink.
MEADOWS & CHILTON—SALOON
Comanche can truly boast of the most orderly saloons in the state. We have only two of these establishments in our town, and they are carried on with as much order and politeness as the most fashionable sample rooms of any large city; and the few drunken men upon our streets prove this assertion. Jimmy MEADOWS and Sandy (G.A.) CHILTON, constitute the team who ring the bell-punch for thirsty customers at the Monarch Saloon. Polite and attentive, and liked by everybody, these young men have not a single enemy in the county. They keep an elegant billiard table, and only the best of cigars and liquors. Another item in regard to Comanche bar-keepers, they ring the bell-punch for every drink sold, which can not be said in many towns.
F.M. McDERMOTT & CO.—GROCERIES
This is one of Comanche’s most substantial firms. Mr. McDERMOTT has sold goods for himself and others in the town of Comanche for ten years. He keeps a large stock of family groceries, fine cigars, tobaccos, wines, liquors, etc. They sell on the plan of small margins and quick sales. Everything in the line of fine groceries may be found on their well-stocked shelves.
J.D. STEPHENS & CO.—DRY GOODS
This store is under the management of Mr. C.B. MASON, one of our most substantial and prosperous citizens. Mr. MASON is a young man and an Alabamian by birth, and has only been in Texas six or seven years, but by close attention to business and perseverance, he has acquired a competency, and above all, a character for integrity and honesty which is to be envied by all. In his store may be found all kinds of dry goods, gents furnishing goods, boots, shoes, etc. Mr. Jno. CARNES, who is known by every one, is his polite and attentive assistant.
A.L. HAMILTON & CO.—DRUGS
This is one of the best drug houses in the county. Mr. HAMILTON (Doc) is one of the few men in this world who are liked by everybody. To the new citizens, physicians and others who have come within the circle of Comanche’s trade, we will say that no more reliable house could be selected from which to make orders. Dr. TURNER, a prescriptionist of much experience, attends to the medicine department and gives general satisfaction. But everybody knows "Doc" HAMILTON and his cleverness, and it is no use for us to further describe him or his business. Mr. HAMILTON liberally supports his home press and other industries.
Mr. ZWEIFLE has one of the neatest and cleanest establishments of the kind in the west. He bakes fresh bread, cakes, etc., every day for his numerous customers. In connection with his bakery he has an elegant restaurant and cigar stand; also a liberal stock of confections. Dave also serves up the luscious fresh oyster in any desired style. Mr. ZWEIFLE came from Switzerland. Being a typ himself, of course he knows the value of printer’s ink when judiciously used.
Mr. BARNES ranks as the most "solid" merchant in northwest Texas, and he lives up to that most splendid rule of paying cash for everything he gets and selling upon the same basis. His stock of shelf and heavy hardware, plows, cooking stoves, etc., though not so extra large, contains an assortment of every article in his line, and embraces builders hardware, houskeepers’ goods, and such outfits as the farmer needs around his house and farm. In stoves, and in fact everything else, he handles none but the best goods.
T.J. HOLMSLEY & CO.—DRUGS AND GROCERIES
Keep a splendid stock of their line of goods. Dr. Frank M. HOLMSLEY, one of our best physicians and prescriptionists, and Mr. Walter CUNNINGHAM,, have the store in charge. Upon the neat and tastefully arranged shelves, are every kind of herby, elixer, extract, powder, oil, etc., that is used in curing any of the diseases that man is heir to. On the grocery side of the house, you can see all sorts of canned goods, crackers, pickles, salt, flour, confectionaries, tobaccos, etc., that are usually kept in a family grocery. This house bears a fine reputation for integrity and honesty and its gentlemanly proprietors please all who deal with them.
CITY HOTEL—W.H. CHANCELLOR, PROPRIETOR
This house is situated near the northwest corner of the square, and is convenient to the busines portion of the town. The house is kept clean and neat, and the table is always bountifully supplied with the best the market affords. As a host Mr. CHANCELLER will always be found pleasant and agreeable, and never tires in trying to make his guests comfortable.
L.R. LUPTON—CARRIAGE AND PLOW SHOP
Mr. LUPTON, like Banquo’s ghost, cannot be kept down. He has too much energy to remain idle, and whatever he undertakes, he carries out. It was not much over a year ago that he first announced to the people that he intended to manufacture wagons in the town of Comanche. Some people hooted at the idea, however, but LUPTON hired a shop, put his card in the paper and went to work. In a few days he had made a complete wagon, having done all the work himself. The wagon was not long in finding a purchaser, and LUPTON had orders for more. His business rapidly increased, and he was soon forced to hire numerous assistants, and, finally, to build the commodious shop, where he is now located. He did not confine himself strictly to the manufacture of wagons, however, and now makes in the highest style of the art, all kinds of buggies, hacks, plows, etc. His last venture is the manufacture of plows.
Few towns boast of such a complete blacksmith shop as Mr. BRAEUTIGAM’s. It is kept clean and neat as a parlor and Mr. BRAEUTIGAM, as a smith, has few equals. Making a specialty of horse-shoeing and tire-shrinking, his facilities for doing this kind of work are perfect. Mr. BRAEUTIGAM is also a carriage ironer and plow maker. He has always contributed liberally towards any public enterprise, and is a quiet, peaceable citizen who would be credit to any town.
J.W. STONE—SADDLERY AND HARNESS
In mentioning the men who manufacture, we must not forget our old friend J.W. STONE, who keeps the extensive saddle and harness shop on the northwest corner of the square. He makes every kind of saddle, bridle, harness, quirt, etc., and keeps a large stock in store.
W.G. DUNCAN & CO.—GENERAL MERCHANDISE
This firm was only established in our town last fall, but it can already boast of a part of the friends and customers of this section. Judge CARDER and W.G. DUNCAN constitute the firm, while John CARTER’s jovial carcass ornaments the selling side of the counter. Their stock of fresh and well-selected general merchandise is complete. They patronize the Chief quite liberally, and have become thoroughly identified with our town.
©2004 Judith Michaels. This transcription is the generous work of Judy Michaels taken from microfilm held by the Newspaper Collection of the University of Texas at Austin with a microfilm copy at Comanche Public Library. The information may be used for personal research only and not for commercial purposes without specific permission.