July 4, 2001

Tracing Our Bosque County Roots
By LaDawn Garland
04 July 2001

Hope everyone has a safe and happy 4th of July and take a moment to reflect on how lucky we are to be able to celebrate a holiday such as Independence Day. This week I wanted to take a look at the early history of a few of the towns here in Bosque County.

Meridian – The town site for Meridian was surveyed by George B. Erath in April of 1854. The lots were first sold on July 4th of that same year. The first courthouse was a log cabin which cost $154 to build in 1854, in 1859 it was replaced with a new three-room courthouse. In 1871 the three-room courthouse was destroyed by fire, and in 1875 a two-story rock courthouse, built by Enoch George and Dave Neely, was located in the middle of the
square. In 1886 the fourth and final courthouse was built on the Courthouse Square. Meridian had its first jail by February of 1857.

A post office, was established August 26, 1856 (the first in the county) with Joseph W. Smith as the first postmaster. By 1860, Meridian businesses included a grocery store, drug store, a general store and a hotel when M.D. Emerson built the famous Emerson Hotel.

The town of Meridian became incorporated around 1898 around that time a two-story, four-room school building was built. J.W. Rudsall opened a flourmill around 1899 and in 1903 the first electric lights arrived in the town.

Meridian College opened in 1909 as an elementary and high school, two years of college level work were later added and it became a recognized junior college.

Iredell – In 1870 the town was founded by Ward Keeler on a fifty acre tract bordering the south side of the Bosque River. The town was named after Mr. Keeler’s son Ira and dell for the valley location. Early Settlers included Dixon Walker – 1849 – 50, and the Bearcroft families. The first post office was established in 1870 and the Iredell Grange was organized in 1874.

In 1880 the Texas Central Railroad arrived and a depot was built. Businesses were located between the depot and the river. In 1882 Iredell businesses included, six general stores, a drug store, a blacksmith shop, a livery stable, two hotels, two steam cotton gins, a flourmill and a public school with  approximately 350 residents.

A fire destroyed much of the downtown area in 1884 and in 1887 there was a severe flood which destroyed 25 stores and homes. The town was then rebuilt and another flood in 1889 finally convinced most residents to move to higher ground across the river.

Mosheim – Mr. Jonathan Dansby was one of the first settlers of the area when he came to Bosque County in 1850. His home was built four miles northwest of present day Mosheim. In 1856, Jeff D. Howard, built the first store and in 1887 he became the first postmaster.

Hugh Shafter and R. M. McMinn later added two more stores to the community.  The first school was built in 1890, located on the banks of Live Oak Creek.  The first churches built in Mosheim were the Methodist, the Live Oak Baptist and a Christian Church.

If you would like to see first hand some of the history of these and our other early towns I encourage you to visit the Bosque Memorial Museum, in Clifton, you’ll love the wonderful exhibits . With the photographs, memorabilia and artifacts from this era, you’ll take a step back in time to our county’s early days.


I am searching for my Bosque, County (Eulogy), TX genealogy.  My Great Grandfather, J.O. Chapman and his wife, Mary Jane _?_ Chapman arrived in Bosque about the 1800’s He is reportedly born in TN abt. 1824, She was born in Al abt. 1829. The 1880 census of Bosque Cnty indicates two sons in home at that time, James and John, ages 15 and 13 Yrs. Both born in Ms. My Grandfather, W.J. Chapman also listed in 1880 census of Bosque Cnty with his new wife, My grandmother, Susan Elizabeth Wales, was also son of J.O. and Mary Jane.

Susan Elizabeth Wales was daughter of John & Rebecca Wales, both reported born in LA abt 1820 & 1822 resp. 1860 census shown them in Fort Bend Cnty, TX where my Grandmother Susan was born. 1870 census indicates they were in Hill Cnty, Tx. 1880 Census indicates Rebecca as head of household with son Michael (or John M.) with his wife, Viola Smith, and a newborn son William.

Susan Elizabeth Wales sister, Ann E. Wales (or Annie) was second wife of Philip W. Williams Jr. of Brazos Point. They had 4 children. Phillip W. Williams Jr. and his original settler father were reportedly prominent men in that area.

I am able to trace my Grandfather and Grandmother, W.J and Susan Elizabeth Chapman and their family to Indian territory and on through all the descendants.  I cannot,however, find any trace of the Chapmans, Wales, or Williams after 1880 in or from Bosque Cnty, Tx
Do any of your readers know of any descendants of these folks? If so I would be ever so grateful. All the on- line products, message boards, and inquiries have left me exactly where I started(or almost where I started).
Thank You
Glen Hamilton

Searching for information on the ancestors and family of: Aspassio (Aspssio) {sp based on his drivers license} Cruth SMITH….aka – A C SMITH…..Bud SMITH –11 July 1879 – 3 April 1951 believed to have been born in Valley Mills, Tx (Bosque County) Nora Ellen
SPARKS SMITH – 10 August 1885 – 18 May 1956 believed to have been born in Waco, Tx (McLennan County) Died in Fort Worth, Tx (Tarrant County) Her obituary says she was a resident of Iredell most of her life. They married 21 December 1901. this date based on internet findings except (1901) Neither are listed in the Social Security Index.that I have found. Other Obit info…. Sons… Bryan SMITH, W. B. SMITH (Dub) Daughters….. Pearl L. SIMPSON, Estile WHITLEY, Tony MEADORS, (1 child still living now) N. E. SMITH brothers….. Tom SPARKS, Oran SPARKS N. E. SMITH sisters…… Ella SPARKS DAVIS, Ola SPARKS body was sent to Hico by: Owens & Brumley services were held at the Baptist Church in Iredell
Contact me……  luvlylisa2001@home.com

Items From Old Newspapers
The Bosque Citizen
Thursday, December 8, 1887

Deputy Sheriff Heatley was in the city of business Tuesday.
Calvin V. Glenn of Hill Creek, was in Meridian Monday.
H. L. Long came down Saturday on a hurried business trip.
Captain Ed Walling is on a business trip to Hill and McLennan Counties.
Esquire Ole Oleson, of Norse, was up Monday buying Christmas goods.
Miss Emma Randal is visiting her relatives and friends in Meridian.
Lon Cooper and Joe Pickett had a short service on the U.S. Grand Jury.
Jim Greer of Kopperl is catching big catfish while the farm is too wet to work.
Harvey West of Hill Creek, says the farmers over there are now hopeful for the future.
Bob Alexander pays cash for subscription to THE CITIZEN for friends in California.
Parker Kellum on of the wealthiest men in the county is now enrolled on the list of Bosque merchants.
Constable Maggard and Smith Parr of Walnut were down Tuesday on court business and were full of life and hope as is their want.
Ed Bigelow, Lethe Tinnin and Charley Watson left for San Diego, California last week on a prospecting tour. Their parents should save up sufficient funds to pay their way back.
Rev. Mr. Price is the new Methodist Minister in Clifton. His congregations are pleased with him.
Postmaster Donnell is the hardest working postmaster in all Central Texas.
The department should provide him a full pay clerk, for which application it is said will be made.

These newspapers and many more dating back to the late 1800’s can be found in the archives of the Bosque County Collection in Meridian. For more information on their wonderful collection of history you can visit their website at http://www.htcomp.net/bcc.
You can also now research on Saturdays at their new home in the historic Lumpkin Building in Meridian, as well as Monday, Tuesday and Thursdays, also by appointment on Fridays. This is to make it more accessible to those who are unable to visit on weekdays.

Here’s my reminder to everyone, talk with your relatives, remember to take the time to record you family history and memories, someday, somewhere some descendant will surely thank you for not letting the past slip away.

If you are researching your Bosque County families online be sure to visit Bosque Co. TXGenWeb site at  http://www.txgenweb5.org/txbosque/  you’ll find a wonderful collection of information provided by other researchers, it’s quite possible you might just find other researchers there researching your same family lines. This column will also be available weekly at this site.

If you would like to submit a story or query about your Bosque County family, as well as information on reunions, to this column please mail them to:
LaDawn Garland c/o The Bosque County News,
P.O. Box 343, Meridian, TX 76665
fax to (254) 435-6335
or email me at garland@htcomp.net.