Grapeland Texas

Queen City Of The Sand Flats

Another incident that happened when I was a small boy involved me and my brother, Milo. We were over in papa's far field hunting birds with sling shots.

Grapeland Texas

Historic Nostalgia



The Swimming Hole

Another incident that happened when I was a small boy involved me and my brother, Milo. We were over in papa's far field hunting birds with sling shots. We had come up on a dividing fence between papa's farm and grandpa's place, where we entered a strip of woods. About 200 yards or so into the woods, we began to hear a man's voice whooping and hollering like he was having a lot of fun. As we got closer to the voice, we could hear water splashing. I told Milo it sounded like someone in a swimming hole. We topped the terrain and couldn't believe our eyes as we realized the voice was coming from a naked man in a big hole of water, He was waving his hands, whooping and yelling, even trying to sing a few bars of 'Yankee Doodle" but he was no Caruso, so the singing wasn't very good. That alone was quite a discovery but there was quite a surprise coming... As we got closer, Lo and Behold! We couldn't believe what we were seeing. That naked man making a lot of noise down in the branch water was none other than Grandpa himself! We could see his long handles hanging with his shirt on a bush. There was a big bath towel lying across another bush. A bar of soap was lying on a rock ledge near the water. "Grandpa's taking a bath in the swimming hole!” I told Milo. About that time he looked around to see us standing there and yelled "What the h--- are you kids doing over here?" "Grandpa," I answered, "we heard you hooping' and hollering' so we wanted to see what was going on!" "I'm taking my weekly bath, that's what's going on!" he yelled back. "This is better than any wash tub, you know!" He explained that he came to the hole every week to take a good bath. He was a bit surprised and somewhat embarrassed at first, but finally pulled himself out of the water, dried off and got dressed. So...that's how we found our wonderful swimming hole. Yes, grandpa's outdoor bath tub was a real treat for all the kids in our family. It is where Milo and 1 learned to swim and undoubtedly where my sisters Loye (Walston) and Opal (Brimberry) learned, too. I often wonder if that little hole of water is still in existence. If I live long enough, I may go over there and check it out--but more than likely it has long filled up with sand or washed away.

Fortune Teller & the Bride

There is a true story about the late W.W, Livelys who owned the old J.W. Howard home where Catherine Pridgen and Hazel Jones were raised, along with seven other children. Will Lively and Sarah Catherine Lively were their great-grandparents. The story was told to me that when Will and Catherine (Kate) came to Texas with their families, he was 15 years old and Kate was a little girl of 5. The families were camped on the river bank, and Will was carrying Kate around on his shoulders when a fortune teller called out to him to come over and have his fortune told, but Will refused. The fortune teller then called out, "I'll tell you one thing, young man! Some day you'll marry that little girl you are carrying on you shoulders!" And sure enough, ten years later, when Kate was 15 and Will was 25, they married and lived in a log cabin in the community which was called Livelyville!

Paint the Depot Red

Painting the depot brings up old time memories to Lee Clewis. Many years ago Lee and Will Lively went to Houston and remained several days. While they were away the depot was painted a bright red. When they stepped off the train, Will said, 'Lee, this is not Grapeland; see the depot is red.' Lee agreed, and they got back on the train and rode to Palestine before they discovered they were wrong.

If You Knew Me

If I knew you and you knew me, 'Tis seldom we would disagree, how little to complain there'd be if I knew you and you knew me. With customers many hundred strong, occasionally things go wrong, sometimes our fault, sometimes theirs Forbearance would decrease all cares Kind friends, how pleasant things would be, if I knew you and you knew me. Then let no doubting thoughts abide of firm good faith on either side, Confidence to each other give. Living ourselves, let others live But any time you come this way, That you will call, we hope and pray, Then face to face we each shalt see, And I'll know you and you'll know me.

Six O’clock Dinner

Miss Sallie Mae Kent complimented a number of friends last Sunday evening. Several courses consisting of salads, meats, fruits and other edibles were served in a most delightful manner on the pretty lawn, by the hostess, assisted by her mother. Before dinner was served the guests enjoyed several musical selections, rendered by Misses Kent and Haltom. After dinner the guests attended services at the Methodist church en masse. The following were the personnel: Misses Winnie, Eula Mae and Esther Davis, Annie Rainey Hollingsworth, Lura Mae Owens, Arline Howard, Annie Lois Taylor, and Linnie Dee Haltom; Messrs. J.H. Ryan, Reagan Long of Augusta, Arthur Walton, Chas. Henf alid Ono . R. Owens.

Edens-Madden Massacre

Presented below are two accounts of the Edens-Madden Massacre that occurred in the northwestern part of Houston County onSan Pedro Creek, near the town of Augusta. James W. Madden (June 16, 1856 to June 1, 1936), a grandson of the James Madden and wife, Lucinda Edens Maddens, involved in the tragedy, presented the story of the massacre which he recalled from his Grandmother Madden who escaped as follows. 'In about 1834, learning of the approach of the Indians, relatives and neighbors of John Edens had on this night congregated at his home. There were two principal dwellings on the place, and in times of danger one of them was occupied by the women and the other by the men. This Indian raid had been anticipated and the men had collected in their house; but when the danger had apparently passed, they had left their guns stacked in their house and gone over to the house of the women to have a chat with the women and children before going to bed. A close watch had been kept up through the day and night, and nothing to indicate an attack by the Indians had been discovered. But the settlers had miscalculated the shrewdness and treachery of the savages. Evidently they had 'spies' watching the movements of the whites and fully understood just how they were situated. At this critical moment, while the men and women were conversing, all in the women's building, the Indians suddenly and unexpectedly rushed in on them all together and began their deadly work. The result, as I recall now, was eight killed, several wounded, and others missing were never found. 1 do not remember all the killed, but among them were my father's two brothers. Charred remains were afterwards found in the debris of the burned houses, indicating that their bodies were consumed in the fire. Mrs. Robert Madden was seriously wounded, and one of her ears was either shot or cut off. I remember to have seen her thus when I was a mere lad. My Grandmother Madden was tomahawked, being wounded in the side, back and head, and had her collar bone cut in two. She was left for dead but succeeded in dragging herself out of the house between the legs of an Indian guard, the Indians in their excitement failing to observe her exit. Crawling to the corner of a fence, she lay there, bleeding, while the Indians set fire to the buildings and destroyed the entire group of houses with the exception of one little out-building. As she laid in this fence corner, my grandfather, James Madden, escaped into the woods. After the fire had died down, and the Indians gone, my grandmother pulled herself into this little outbuilding which had been left, and lay there alone all night. I have heard from her own lips the remarkable statement that she 'never slept better in all her life', a fact probably due to the severe loss of blood. My father, Balis E. Madden, at the time of the massacre was a small boy about four years old. He saved his life by following his mother out of the house, crawling between the Indian's legs as did she, and running off with the slaves on the place and remaining all night. The Indians never molested Negroes, so the boy was practically safe while with them. My grandfather, James Madden, as I have already indicated, barely escaped with his life. Despite all the terrible injuries and experiences that my grandmother suffered that night, she recovered in a short time and lived in this county until 1883 when she died at the advanced age of 77 years. The following account of the massacre written by Judge A. A. Aldrich born in 1858, twenty years after the event and living among the descendants and no doubt knowing and conversing with two or three survivors (Mesdames James and Robert Madden and Mrs. James Duke) differs in many of the particulars of the massacre as presented by J. W. Madden. His story is `No history of Houston County would be complete without an account of the terrible Massacre that occurred in October, 1838, known as the Edens-Madden Massacre, which occurred at the home of John Edens, on San Pedro Creek, about 12 or 13 miles northeast of Crockett. 'At that time, many of the citizens of that locality were absent from home having volunteered under Captain W. T. Sadler, a soldier of San Jacinto, to accompany Major Mabbitt in the Cordova-Kickapoo Expedition. A number of the families of the community were removed for safety to John Edens' home and were left under his protection and three other old men-- James Madden, Martin Murchison and Elisha Moore. The others present in the house were: Mrs. John Edens and her daughter, Emily; Mrs. John Murchison; her stepdaughter, Mrs. W. T. Sadler; Mrs. James Madden and two little sons, aged seven and nine years; Mrs. Robert Madden and daughter Mary; and a Negro woman about sixty years of age, named Betsy or Patsy. `The John Edens' home--consisted of two log rooms, separated by a covered passageway. The women occupied one room and the men were in the other. 'On the fatal night, about the 19th day of October, 1838, after all the inmates had retired, the house was attacked by the Indians. The assault was made on the room occupied by the women and children. The savages broke down the door and rushed in using knives and tomahawks, Mrs. Murchison and her step-daughter were instantly killed. Mrs. John Edens, mortally wounded, escaped from the room and crossed two fences to die in an adjoining field. Of Mary, daughter of Robert Madden; Emily, daughter of John Edens, each three years old, and the two little sons of James Madden, no tidings were ever heard. Whether they were carried into captivity or burned to ashes was never known. The room was speedily set on fire. The men did not open the door into the passage. Mrs. Robert Madden dangerously wounded, rushed into the room of the men, falling on a bed. One by one, or rather two by two, the four men ran the gauntlet and escaped, supposing all the others were dead. Early in the assault, Patsy (or Betsy) seized a little girl of John Edens, yet living and the beloved wife of James Duke, swiftly bore her to the house of Mr. Davis, a mile and half distant, and then moved by an inspiration that should embalm her memory in every generous heart, as swiftly returned as an angel of mercy to any who might survive. She arrived in time to enter the rapidly consuming house and rescue the unconscious Mrs. Robert Madden, but an instant before the roof fell in. Placing her on her own bed in her unmolested cabin in the yard, she sought elsewhere for deeds of mercy and found Mrs. James Madden under the eaves of the crumbling walls, doomed to speedy cremation. She gently bore her to the same refuge, and by them watched, bathed, poultice and nursed—yea prayed!! Till thee morrow brought succor.' `Mrs. James Madden thus rescued from the flames, bore upon her person three ghastly wounds from a tomahawk, one severing her collar bone, ribs cut asunder near the spine, and a horrible gash in the back. But it is gratifying to record that both these wounded ladies recovered, and in 1883 were living near Augusta, Houston County, objects of affectionate esteem by their neighbors. On the day following this horrid slaughter, the volunteers, the husband and neighbors of the victims, returned from the battle of Kickapoo, in time to perform the last rites to the fallen and nurse the wounded. The late venerable Captain William Yancey, of Palestine, Robert Madden and Elder Daniel Parker and others of the Edens and other old families of that vicinity were among them.' There are four or five other versions of this Massacre recorded in various Indian histories of Texas. There are many likenesses and differences in the telling of the tale, but most of the points brought out in the others are also included in the above two accounts. The great tragedy for us today is our inability to record whereby posterity can understand and interpret.

John Sheridan & Daniel McLean

John Sheridan (born April 5, 1796; died May 10, 1837) Daniel McLean (born 1784 in Moore County, N. C.; died May 10, 1837) McLean and Sheridan, a dauntless duo, were fighters of Spanish, Mexicans and Indians. They were scouts and early pioneer residents who, with their families, established first homes in the Augusta area of Houston County (northeastern area.). Daniel McLean first came in to Texas with the Magee Expedition of 1813 and was one of the 93 survivors of the Battle of the Medina River. He and his brother-in-law, John Sheridan returned with Austin's Colony in 1821. Leaving the colony, they located on two leagues of land in northeasternHouston County; McLean on San Pedro Creek; Sheridan on Silver Creek. McLean made application for his land on 11/02/1824. They brought in their families (Sheridan's wife was Lucinda C. Nugent who was born on January 20, 1808; died Feb. 4, 1862. His sister, Hannah, born in 1798 in Moore County, N. C., and died March 14, 1849, was McLean's wife) from Louisiana and established themselves in the Augusta area before 1825. Together in life, the brothers-in-law were together in death on May 10, 1837. Indians killed them near Slocum in Anderson County as they were attempting to recover stolen horses belonging to the James Madden and John Edens families (later involved in an Indian massacre on October 19, 1838.) Lucinda Sheridan, aided by a Mexican boy returned the two bodies, burying her husband beneath a black walnut tree near their home on Silver Creek. McLean was buried under a pecan tree near his home, and his wife buried by him at her death. Mrs. Sheridan is buried in the Augusta Cemetery.

Edward Wingate

Edward Wingate came to Texas with a group of volunteer soldiers from Montgomery, Alabama. They landed at Matagorda Bay and came inland to fight the Mexicans. Wingate died at Goliad on March 27, 1836. Edward Wingate's wife, Isabella Mc- Call Wingate, was born in Scotland in 1792. At the death of her husband, she was left with three daughters: Elizabeth, Patience, and Isabella II. In 1860, Gov. Sam Houston gave 1400 acres of land to Isabella and her heirs, survivors of the Texas Hero, Edward Wingate, who died at Goliad. At the time of her death in 1867, Isabella was buried in the Davis family cemetery, eight miles west of Grapeland, where the historical marker was placed in 1936 at the time of the Texas Centennial. She was living with her daughter, Isabella II, on a portion of the land that was given to her by the state of Texas at the time of her death. Isabella II was married to John A. Davis Sr. and was the grandmother of John A. Davis and Edward W. Davis who were lifelong residents of Grapeland.

Forty Years Ago

June 22, 1916-Forty Years Ago Column in the Grapeland Messenger The young man decided to have a new fashion riding tournament. The ground was in an old field that was dying out at that time but is now in cultivation. It was an expensive entertainment in that day and time and would be today. The track was a hundred yards long and straight. It had tall posts every 25 yards and an arm from the post over the track and piece of the arm with several holes in the bottom end to raise or lower the rings to fit the height of the horses. The rings were about three or four inches in diameter and hung on a crooked wire. The boys had lances that were about 8 feet long and tapered from the end of a hoe handle to a sharp point and they rode with them under their arm and caught the rings on the same. They had to make the distance of the track in a given time. They had three rides each and the one getting the most rings was entitled to a pretty crown of which they had three--first, second and third and if any of them tied they had to run over. They also had a $10 gold ring to be given to the most graceful rider. A long brush arbor was built along the side of the track for the spectators. The judges and the time keeper were at the end of the track. The judges for the graceful riders were ladies, and a young man who was teaching school in our midst by the name of Chandler got the ring.

How It Was Then

                                                              Early Day Train Wreck

How was it back then when times were slower--when people had time to lend their neighbor a helping hand from building a house to gathering his crops-- when the mother sang joyously as she churned butter and baked bread—when men whistled as they did their chores at 4 a. m. in the morning--when boys spent Sunday afternoon playing ball-- when the town needed a clean-up job everyone pitched in and did it--when little girls spent hours with an old wish book cutting out paper dolls—when the catalog was used for--oops—when times were slow. Those were the days when jokes and pranks were played and the whole community enjoyed them--how startled the three young ladies were that went to a house party for the weekend and opened their suitcases to find some young gentlemen had placed asafetida in them--what fun it was to buy a five cent bottle of Hoyt Perfume and pour the whole bottle on a boyfriend and it took weeks for the sweet aroma to be washed away--. How friendly everyone was on the train almost too friendly--little did the bride and groom know as they attempted to relax in their compartment on their way to St Louis for their honeymoon, that a good friend had distributed printed announcements and passed them out to everyone on the train that a bride and groom were in drawing room A and needed to be congratulated--remember the kid who was told if you salt a bird's tail you could catch him, those birds really took off—it was the same little boy who came into the hardware store to buy some striped paint to paint the barber pole--many a boy stood for hours holding a bag during a snipe hunt--when times were slower-- When times were slower people spent Saturday afternoon picnicking and cleaning the local cemetery--The boys and girls brought in the stove wood-- carried out the ashes--they beat the rugs and dusted the furniture--brought in the eggs--In evening the boys and girls studied their lessons by the light from oil lamps or the fireplace--They played dominoes and jackstraws--read Black Beauty and the Alger books—When times were slower-- They were the days of the one room school houses--almost everyone walked to school, a very few rode horses (We don't recall hearing of anyone living close to the school.)--they wrote on  slates and often when there was no eraser a little spit and a shirt sleeve would make the slate shine--germs-- there were a lot of these--when times were slower--a paddling from the teacher was all it took to get a boy on the right track--at the close of the school day it was straight home to get done with the chores cause it just might be your night to use the headphones to the radio--when times were slower—an evening with your best beau might mean a taffy pull--young men of `courting age' took their 'ideals' for rides in a buggy and treated them to ice cream at the Bon Ton Ice Cream Parlor--if a girl was lucky she might court a young man who could drive his dad's horseless carriage but of course he couldn't go over eight miles an hour--- Company's coming-Company's coming--time to have a singing get together--the family would go to the crib back of the house and pick peanuts off the vine so they could serve parched peanuts and shell some corn off the cob to pop--mother would make tea cakes and if it was hot some homemade ice cream---the kids would have to pump the organ for a neighbor lady to play, some of the men would bring their juice harps and oh what harmonizing—when times were slower. When the first `northern' came it was time for the family to go to the crib and shuck the dry yellow dent corn-- washing it good in tubs--gather wood from around the creek bed and start a fire--place the big black iron pot on the hot fire, put in the corn and creek salt and cook to get the husk off the corn-- rinse the corn off good and then get fresh creek water and again place on the fire adding a little salt. The hominy would cook all day--the ladies would then put it up in jars for the winter months always saving enough out for a big feast for all the family and neighbors-- when times were slower there was time to catch a few black birds by opening the window to the feed crib and when the birds flew in they were caught, killed, and cleaned and then mother would make black bird pie. The smell of oranges and apples in the house could only mean one season- -Christmas--everyone was excited and preparation for Christmas began—sweet gum balls were dyed from red oak bark- -paper chains and pop corn chains were made --all year the family saved scrapes of foil to make decorations-with the help of pine cones, holly berries, mistletoe and greenery--on Christmas eve each child hung an old sock up which Santa filled with nuts and fruits and candies-- and if they were especially good children there would be a small toy under the tree on Christmas morning-- most toys were homemade dolls and guns whittled from wood, trains made from snuff bottles--a very special doll was one with China head and hands—all of the family would work to get the house ready for the visit of relatives and friends on Christmas morning—the house would have to be clean and shining--the kerosene lamps must have their wicks trimmed and chimneys cleaned--the women would busily `primp' themselves up--they would get an old hot iron and put curl in their hair- -some would roll their hair on small pieces of tin--the men would get all cleaned up and wash their beards and wax their moustaches--from miles around family and friends would arrive with gifts of pies, jelly cakes, boiled backbones, jams, jellies, they always brought food--They would all sit down and the minister (who always came by for Christmas dinner) would offer the blessing for the food which covered the table. There was cured beef and pork-- cured just right in the smokehouse-- sweet potatoes baked in the ashes of the big fireplace--crackling bread, turnip greens, collards, dried beans and peas cooked all day on a wood stove or iron heater--late in the evening everyone would get into the buggy and head for home--happy and content--when times were slower. Those were the days of the home remedies and a mother could cure almost any ill with the following remedies: Boil a peach seed, and drop a few drops of liquid in the ear for ear aches. Crepe Myrtle bark brewed like tea was used as a laxative. Willow tree bark made a type of aspirin for pain. A pan of water under the bed was good for the night sweats. Watermelon seed tea was good for gravel in the kidneys. Red clay and vinegar mixed with water--to a paste--good for a sprained ankle, kept the swelling down. A scrapped potato was good for a burn. Nothing could purify the blood like sassafras roots brewed as a tea. Turpentine and sugar were excellent for a cough. Allow a chicken to fly over a child with chicken pox and the pox would dry up. Asafetida around the neck could protect any mother's 'little angel' from disease. Sulfa and hog grease were used for seven year itch. Cover body with mixture and wait three days and then bathe in lye soap made from hard lard, ashes, and lye. If you stuck a nail in your foot, you should soak foot in kerosene. As time moved slowly on, many housewives did the family washing and ironing while listening to the problems of 'Portia Faces Life', 'Stella Dallas’,’ Pepper Young's Family' and 'Young Widow Brown’. --- And in the evening after the chores were done and lessons for school were completed the boys and girls shuttered with fear as they listened to 'The Green Hornet', 'The Shadow' and 'Inner Sanctum'. It was a must for the man of the house to hear the 'Walter Winchell News Report' each evening. And many evenings the family would get together to listen to the antics of 'Amos and Andy' and 'Bud Abbot and Lou Costello'. There was no sleeping late on Sunday morning for the chores had to be completed before church-- Gospel singing by the Stamps Quartet set the Sunday mood as mother prepared dinner and the children cleaned house. Nearly every home that had a little girl also had a 'playhouse' under the best shade tree. A few old tin cans and discarded planks made perfect furniture--Black Haw sprouts were an ideal broom for any young lady's floor. An empty match box was the delight of every little boy--it served a multitude of purposes--a perfect container for a grasshopper-- or by tying it to a lizard or frog it became a horse and buggy and was capable of actually hauling important things like dirt and sticks. Nearly every young man had a pair of homemade stilts on which they could walk tall. Children would gather and spend hours pushing old automobile tires or iron hoops just to see who could keep theirs up the longest--a big hill was perfect for the game--until you started back up. - A break in playtime often meant going to the closest sweet gum tree to pick a 'chew of gum' or a trip to the nearest fruit orchard for a healthy snack. Remember when Times were slower.

I Remember When

                                                              1923 Train Wreck

I remember asking my maternal Grandmother one time, such a lovely, happy person, and the only time I was ever privileged to see her. She lived in Alabama and it was such a long train ride from Alabama to Texas; and she said--'Money doesn't grow on trees. She told us many interesting things about our Mother's childhood on that visit. Our grandfather had died when Mother was a little girl. He had been wounded in the Civil War. His death left Grandmother with ten children, all under seventeen years of age. The ones who were old enough joined together to support the family. She reminded us of how lucky we were to be able to go to a free school. Our own Mother had to quit school when she was very young because my Grandmother said, 'It took my last meat hog to pay the tuition.' The doctors and school teachers were paid with produce, cattle, chickens, hogs and many other items. And then I remember first hand that midwives were called in when children were born, and a pretty good job they did, too. My father was acting midwife at the birth of some of their twelve children. He always said, 'Practice makes perfect.' Doctors were not called too often because our parents made their own medicine from herbs, spices and what have you. Prickly pear was made into a poultice to bring a boil to a head. A poultice made from digitalis roots would draw an infection out of the body. Mullen was made into a tea to break a fever. Asafetida was worn around the neck on a string to stop chills and fever (and it worked). Anyone knowing anything about Asafetida knows it will stop anything. Cough syrup was made from honey and pines, also rock candy and whiskey. Many of the men developed a severe cough as soon as the medicine was made. I remember when we attended school only 6 months in the year. That gave us time to help gather crops in the fall and help start them in the spring. I remember the first big Northern was always celebrated by killing a hog. This assured us of a nice ham for Thanksgiving and Christmas to go with the turkey or hen and dressing. Most everybody raised their own meat, and then cured it by smoking it in the smokehouse. Hog killing day was always a red letter day as everyone was full of spare ribs and hot biscuits and the kids all had greasy mouths and nightmares. The hogs head and feet were dressed very carefully and made into souse or hogs head cheese. The intestines were used to stuff sausage or make chittelings which by the way--is a delicious delicacy even today. The lard was rendered in the wash pot and put away in crocks and cans. The cracklings left from this was used to make crackling bread (oh for a slab of it now). Lye was made by rain dripping through ashes and caught in a crock. This was used to make soap from grease drippings and also to take the husk off corn to make hominy. This soap was used to remove dirt from clothes, floors and kids. The battling bench was also a help to the soap. This was made from a big block of wood and a board for a battling stick. The dirty clothes were soaped real good and then beaten on the battling bench. The dirt was then easily removed on the rub board. Often some of the lye was added to the boiling pot to whiten the clothes. I remember when my father came in with the first screen doors and windows in our community. The neighbors came from all rounds to see the new fangled things that would keep flies and mosquitoes out of one's house. This pleased me most of all, as I was the one who stood with a peach tree limb, all leaves in tact, and fanned the table when company was there, to assure them a fly free meal, and I drooled as I watched them devour (what seemed to be) the last good piece of chicken and Mama's good egg pie. I remember the first car I ever saw. We were on a fishing trip. We all lined up by the side of the road like a bunch of tin soldiers. I was so scared, I forgot to breathe and not knowing whether to run or faint--I did both. I ran and then fainted. I remember the first car my father bought--a Metz. We always though they had misspelled the name. Then I remember the next year he bought a seven passenger Studebaker. After that- -cars seemed common. Oh yes, I remember---- and enjoy it.