May 23, 2011

Tracing Our Bosque County Roots
From the Bosque County News
23 May 2001

Saturday the 19th, I attended the dedication cemetery for the Scrutchfield Cemetery near Valley Mills. This cemetery was the first in Bosque County to be designated as a Historic Texas Cemetery. It was a wonderful turnout and such a beautiful spot, the cemetery is impressively maintained by volunteers. I was given a tour by Bob Allen of Valley Mills and enjoyed learning of the early settlers of that area.

The Scrutchfield Cemetery dates from at least 1883 and there are approximately 50 identifiable graves with readable markers as well as many unmarked but apparent gravesites.

The land was originally in the Michael Baren Survey (1846), later owned by George Erath (1851) and then Lowery H. Scrutchfield (1883). It was during the 1883 transaction that Henderson deeded 2 acres for cemetery use to the Bosque County Commissioners Court.

It’s traceable use as a burial ground began in the 1882-83 era when Daniel Redman Henderson and his wife, Carolyn Mabray Henderson, buried their infant daughter Minnie.

The cemetery has been in continuous use since 1883. Lowry H. Scrutchfield and family and pioneers of the Searsville – Valley Mills community are buried here. The most recent burial was in 1986.

The Baker-Lain Cemetery (at one time in Bosque Co.) has been designated a Historic Texas Cemetery. The dedication ceremony will be at 10 AM on the 28th. The dedication ceremony will be preceded by a salute to the Veterans who are buried there. The flag raised that day flew over the capital in Austin for one day.

The cemetery is located about 5 miles south of the Cleburne State Park on Johnson County Road 1239 until 1866 this area was in Bosque County.

 Its suggested that you bring lawn chairs for a place to sit during the ceremony.  Refreshments will be available. For more information contact Grady Cheek at 817-645-7690 or Donna Brand at 469-358-1530.

Bosque County: Thanks For The Memories contributed by, LaNelle S. Gallagher
A few days ago as I was taking a trip down memory lane, my path took me by Walnut Springs, Texas. In fact, I didn’t just pass by, I decided to indulge myself and linger awhile.  

While my immediate family never officially resided in Walnut Springs, it isthe community which had the most impact on my early life. My mother’s parents were born and “raised,” as we say in Texas, and lived all of their lives in and around Walnut Springs. Their parents had lived most of their lives there as well, coming to the area from Georgia in the mid 1800s.

I was a child of the depression and World War II, having been born in Lometa, Texas in 1933. I learned early that there was a world outside my small-town central Texas life, not from television, which we did not have, but from the radio, “newsreels” at the local Walnut Springs movie theatre and my father’s discussion of correspondent Ernie Pyle’s latest column on the war in Europe in the Fort Worth Star Telegram.

My father aspired to be a farmer/rancher, following in the footsteps of parents and grandparents in the Hamilton/Lometa areas of the state. But the depression took it’s toll and he found himself in Louisiana in the defense effort. During the school year my parents bundled my sister, Mary, and I up and took us, usually by train, to stay with my grandparents, Dave and Florence Reed, and Uncle Ralph, in Walnut Springs to attend school there.  Thus my early experience with this delightful little town nestled in a valley surrounded by rolling hills, cedar trees and chalky terrain.

Before my school days in Walnut Springs, I had another connection from brief visits my family made there from Lometa, which I am sure made a dramatic difference in my life. Even from almost toddler days when we visited Walnut Springs I always attended Ms. Echol’s Sunday School class. I couldn’t wait to get there. She was wonderful and I remember years later when Ms. Echols could no longer teach, how sad I felt for all of those children who would miss this rare opportunity. Ms. Echols probably had no idea how important she was in my life and in the lives of all of those she touched. I expect she sometimes wondered if teaching that little class was worth the time she spent preparing, leaving home early to greet everyone at the door, and enduring the frustration s of a small room filled with three, four and five year olds…..

When we went back to Walnut Springs in the summer, Ms. Echols was also involved with the Sun Beam Band, a musical opportunity for children to sing at the revival meetings out under the old tabernacle. We never missed a single night. Ministers in those days did not adhere to the twenty or thirty minute allotted time for a sermon, but took their liberty in extending their pontification until late into the night. Sometimes we would fall asleep on
the homemade wooden benches, or sit under my parent’s or grandparent’s feet playing in the sawdust which carpeted the ground. I can still see the congregation – listening intensely while cooling themselves with a hand held fan from Dodson/Brister Funeral Home with a picture of Jesus and the lamb.

School days in Walnut Springs were another unique experience and readied me for many challenges of life. The school house was in southwest Walnut Springs and my grandmother lived in the northeast, meaning a wonderful adventure as we walked to school on nice days, but a cold and wet long walk during inclement weather. There were so many things to see and o on the way to school ….lady bugs, rocks for throwing, plants that would fold up when
touched, wild flowers with petals that would float in the air with a gentle puff from your mouth. Top this off with a frosted coke from Mr. Oats’ drug store, sitting at the glass-topped tables, and you had almost perfect day.  We were never driven to school. Gas and tires were rationed and cars were used for serious transportation needs. I’m so glad; think of all the wonderful learning experiences I would have missed.

I was in the first grade in Walnut Springs, Miss Bertie Crow was my teacher.  (She had also taught my mother’s sisters.) Miss Bertie was a good teacher, as I recall, and had the traditional blue bird, red bird…..reading groups.  Our reading text was filled with indomitable Dick and Jane, Puff and Spot, Mother and Father. Another long lasting remembrance of Miss Bertie was her enforcement of the patriotic pledge in our school during the war to assure that all children ate all of the food served to them in the school lunch room. I spent one entire afternoon sitting before a plate of peas, ham and sweet potatoes, with Miss Bertie occasionally checking to see if they had disappeared. For years peas and ham were excluded from my diet and only reappeared after much effort to develop a taste for them or leave many banquets hungry.

School yards, in those days, did not have manicured lawns, landscaped with just the right plants, hedges and trees. The school yard, rather, was covered with gravel – low maintenance must have been the goal.

I became intimately acquainted with the gravel lawn in the second grade.  Our school had an “ocean wave” – really a merry-go-round with, as I remember, a very high center post. In addition to going around and around, you also clanged back and forth toward the post. It was my favorite! It was fast, noisy and bumpy. I became braver and braver, going around and bumping back and forth as fast as possible, with no hands. One recess period found me
sailing off my seat, landing on my hands and knees on the graveled surface.  I still have scars which remind me even at my age today of the exhilaration of that ocean wave ride.

My mother was devoted to “well-rounded” children and the find arts. She determined that piano lessons were appropriate for me at an early age. Miss Bertie’s sister, Gertie, was a piano teacher, but I did not become her student, instead, Mother enrolled me in Ms. Whitely’s studio, another happy accident. Ms Whitely had long, thin fingers, lots of rings, and wrinkled skin, which I thought were fabulous. She looked and acted like a “real lady”.

I believe Ms Whitely knew immediately what my mother never understood – that I would never become a famous pianist. She was willing to help me learn an “recital piece” so I could perform at the recital and make my mother proud.  I worked on “The King’s Review” for many months and finally had it committed to memory for the recital. I had a passion to sing like Kate Smith. Since there was no television, I had no idea what Kate Smith looked like, however, she could belt out the Star Spangled Banner on the radio like no one else.  Ms Whitely decided to try to encourage my singing, which wasn’t as good as
I thought, but she was patient and encouraging. A good share of my piano lesson time was spent singing while Ms. Whitely effortlessly moved her long, graceful fingers up and down the keyboard. The tunes were marvelous – When Johnny comes marching home again, hurrah! hurrah! We’ll give him a hearty welcome then, hurrah, hurrah! My hurrahs were boisterous and I was convinced that they were near to Kate Smith’s rendition. But my favorite was White Cliffs of Dover. Often those words come back to me – There’ll be blue birds over the White Cliffs of Dover tomorrow when the world is free; there’ll be love and laughter and joy ever after, tomorrow just you wait and see.

So Ms. Whitely planted a patriotic seed in my young, developing personality, that remains. When I go to Washington, D. C. I always get teary eyed when I see the Capitol, Washington Monument, Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials. When patriotic holidays approach, our house is the first to display the stars and stripes. Thanks, Ms Whitely.

In today’s fast paced world, it is difficult for me to believe those wonderful, lazy-crazy days of childhood in a sleepy small central Texas town ever existed, where sheer delight could be felt by finding a horned toad, a bed of red ants or reading Smilin’ Jack or Dick Tracy in the Ft. Worth Star Telegram. Violence in our town was unheard of – doors and windows in our house were never locked, day or night, unless it was to keep the baby inside, then we “latched” the screen door. Thank you Walnut Springs, for a wonderful, innocent beginning.

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.  

Be sure to visit website for Bosque County Collections, located in Meridian, there is a vast collection on the history of our county. Hope to be reporting their grand opening in the near future. For more information visit their website at   .

If you are researching your Bosque County families online be sure to visit Bosque Co. TXGenWeb site at   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. You can also find information for ordering the book, The Memories Of Will Conine, 1860 – 1890, by Sharon Whitney located here on this site, a fascinating first hand account of Bosque County during this early time frame. 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