This was written in the early 50’s after the Whitney Dam was completed.
Doanted by: Carolyn Sosebee
(George Washington Sosebee was my husband’s great grandfather. There is a sign
there now that says Sosebee’s Bluff, but the other sign saying Soldier’s Bluff still stands.
The Corp still will not let the name be changed even though all federal maps now
say Sosebee’s Bluff. Efforts are still being made for name change.)
The following article concerning Sosebee’s Bluff was taken from a Whitney, Texas
newspaper (Whitney Star) several years ago. When the Army Corp of Engineers
was constructing the dam, they mistakenly named this bluff “Soldier’s Bluff”.
“No one knows just when George Washington Sosebee’s parents left South Carolina
to settle in Georgia where George was born, August 15, 1850. He was too young
for participation in the Civil War, but the Reconstruction world he grew up to face
gave him all of that era he ever wanted.
Reconstruction reached its most odious stages in the mid ’70’s and George Sosebee
determined that he could stand no more of it. On the raw frontier, he reasoned,
there must exist a place where no Reconstruction Official or carpetbagger would venture.
His exact date of departure is unknown, and he may not have come directly to the
Whitney area, but he was here by 1875, where he married Alice Catherine Pierce
on the 7th day of February, 1876.
Sosebee had found his Reconstruction retreat.
He built his home on the Bosque County side of the Brazos River in the overhang
of a sheer limestone precipice just above the mouth of the Big Rocky Creek.
The Sosebee home site was then one of the most picturesque in Central Texas. The
imposing cliff, which afterwards came to be called Sosebee’s Bluff, curved for a
distance of several miles in and out of coves and canyons, its massive white walls
pocked with seams and caves that were just beginning to yield their archeological
secrets when Lake Whitney sealed them shut.
The house stood in the bottom land forest on a point of land between the Brazos
and the place where Big Rocky came tumbling down its gorge through the bluff.
It was a hunter’s paradise and a fisherman’s dream.
The Brazos was fordable at that point, but it was not a regular crossing.
Sosebee found a place just above his house where a wagon could, with care, be
maneuvered up and down the bluff. He improved the natural cut as best he could,
and often used it when cutting poles and posts in the cedar brake above the cliff.
The place, now federal land, is still marked by the scars of Sosebee’s wagon
wheels. Few others except his sons ever dared it, and not even the Sosebees
could descend loaded. They could take an empty wagon up the bluff, cut and
load cedar poles, then haul them to the edge and throw them down. The sheer
drop was then about 90 feet.
G. W. Sosebee died January 18, (1897), while still in the vigor of his manhood. He
left a (39)-year-old widow with small children, Walter, John and Mattie, to make a
living for themselves on his wilderness farm. With the assistance of her family, the
Pierces, and of neighbors, the family made a go of it, but it could not have been easy.
Walter Sosebee, after his marriage to Lottie Overton, made his home in his mother’s
house and raised his family there, where his only son, Donald Sosebee, became the
last Sosebee, to intimately know the caves and winding chasms of Sosebee’s Bluff.
Walter took his family to live on another farm in 1922.
The old Sosebee Cabin was salvaged before the lake was filled, and various parts
of it still exist.
When the Corps of Engineers was attempting to familiarize itself with local names in
1949-1950, a verbal misunderstanding somehow occurred when they asked about th
e great rock bluff that would anchor one end of their dam. They recorded the name
as Soldier’s Bluff, and so has remained to this day.
Present Corps officials acknowledge that an error was made, but they question the
wisdom of changing the name after all these years. They point out that the change
would cost a surprising sum of money-they estimate several thousand dollars-and
would cause a great deal of trouble. They say such a move would be considered
only if a large number of citizens should officially request it. The probability is that pioneer George Sosebee has forever lost his remarkable