Written by Vance J. Maloney
From Judge Henry Davis Records
In 1871, a one-story log cabin, 16 by 16 feet, occupied the spot where the beautiful Hood County court house now stands. Lots in the new town site of Granbury were to be put on sale. Trying to make it in time for this sale was a young man 30 years of age. In Cleburne he was unable to hire a horse because of a big horse race in town and no one would hire a horse that day. He set out on foot for Granbury. He reached Acton and spent the night there. Next morning he soon covered the distance to Granbury, wading across the Brazos River, and arrived in time for the sale to purchase two lots on the north side of the square. The next day he hired a wagon and team and drove to Ft. Worth where he purchased a tent, a cot, a hammer and nails, some lumber, and a small stock of drugs. Returning to Granbury he erected his tent, and with the lumber he made some shelves on which he placed his stock of drugs. At night he spread his cot and Granbury’s first drug store was also his sleeping quarters. This tent on the north side of the square continued to be Granbury’s first drug store until he built the two story stone structure on the west side of the square which you may see today. Thus began the Hood County career of a man who became familiarly known as “Doc” Hannaford.
Edwin Augustus Hannaford was born in Devonshire, England, on Widicumb Farm, near Axminster, on October 12, 1841. At an early age he came to America and his father records in his diary that the trip across the Atlantic took six weeks. He grew up in Hamilton, Ohio. When the Civil War began he enlisted in the 6th Ohio Volunteers. At the close of the war, he came south in government service and walked all over Texas, thus getting well acquainted with Texas. When Master Sergeant Hannaford received his discharge he returned to Quincy, Illinois where he was in the drug business with his brother. But, something had happened to him. He had caught the “Texas Fever.” The hot dry climate of Texas appealed to him, so in 1871 he came back to Texas.
A man of superior business qualifications, of exemplary character and industrious habits, he soon became, and through all the succeeding years, remained one of the most popular and successful druggists in this part of the state. In time he branched out into the stock raising business on the Hannaford ranch west of Granbury. Dr. Hannaford was identified with perhaps every public enterprise of importance which was inaugurated in Granbury. He was foremost in the educational enterprises in the county, was one of the principal projectors and supporters of Granbury High School and College, and for many years was on the board of trustees. For a time he was treasurer of the Methodist Church, although not a member.
His genial and friendly disposition not only helped him to establish a successful career as a businessman, but won for him a wonderful companion and wife, Miss Nettie Brous. They were married on July 2, 1878. This same year he, with P.H. Thrash, the Nutt brothers, and J.D. Baker, built the old iron bridge across the Brazos River. Perhaps he remembered having to wade the Brazos and it may be that his wife urged him to build the bridge, as she did not want him wading the river again. They were both active in the building of churches and especially so in the Christian Church, of which both were members. To this couple, five children were born. Fred was the oldest. Then came Bess and her blond haired twin sister who died in infancy. Willena was next, followed by Edwin. The girls are well remembered for their beauty and grace and the sons as handsome young men with fine physiques and high intellectual ability. Dr. and Nettie Hannaford not only gave their own children a fine education, but many other boys and girls were recipients of their help in bountiful measure. Of the 30 schools in Hood County, he helped build 29 of them. Many students knew him personally because it was in his store where they bought their school books.
For more than 42 years Dr. Hannaford was engaged actively in business, and in helping to build Granbury and Hood County in ways other than the political route. Dr. Hannaford died November 5, 1915 and is buried by his wife in Granbury Cemetery. The Confederate Veterans Camp of Granbury requested to be named honorary pall bearers at his funeral. For four years they had been on opposite sides in the war, but in peace they had worked together for 44 years. He was now a fallen comrade and they desired to do him honor as a true Texas citizen and a real Texan. The next time you pass Hannaford Street in Granbury, let your mind turn back to the very fine pioneer for whom it was named.