Letter from John Gilmartin

Wed, 4 Jul 2007

Greetings from Crockett, Texas !

I am so proud of all the great work you have done and continue to do !

My heart will always be in Granbury the home of my  Hutcheson, Brady, Miller, Millican and Hightower  maternal ancestors .

My grandmother Bessie Helen Brady Miller instilled in me the love for her hometown and its history.

Her father Charles Brady had survived one of the last major Indian attacks in Texas that being the Massacre of Salt Creek Prairie in May 1871 as recorded in T.T. Ewell’s History. As a young boy of the 1950’s who played  “Cowboys and Indians” BECAUSE of my grandmother’s stories of her father and the Indian attack he had survived and recounted to his children,  I felt a special connection to the old west and to Granbury and to Hood County.  That was the time that Walt Disney catapulted the Legend and Life of Davy Crockett worldwide !  My grandmother who graduated from Granbury High School in 1914  went to school and to the Methodist Church with Gladys Crockett Hendricks, a great grand-daughter of Davy’s, and she made Davy come alive to me . Later, my late mother Helen Miller Gilmartin lived next door to Mrs. Hendricks and I was honored and fascinated to hear her stories and the ones of her father Ashley W. Crockett, Davy’s grandson.

May Lou Faulkner Watkins and Mary Kate  Randle Durham were Hood County “pioneers” of a later time  who  double-handedly were  responsible for the saving of the town of Granbury as it was and as we know it today  and who inspired me to move to Granbury after college. (I was related by marriage to Mary Lou’s great grandmother Garland who was a member of my Hightower ancestry.  My great grandparents Charles Brady and Mary Frances Hutcheson were married at Granbury 26th August 1872 by Squire Sears, a Justice of the Peace. Mary Frances was born at Commance Peak Post Office (now Acton) in December 1856  in then Johnson County, Texas, to Susan Hightower Hutcheson Millican and James Hutcheson/Hutchinson? . I believe I am related some way to Mary Kate through the Hutchesons?  Mary Kate’s mother Minnie Grissom was a classmate of my grandmother’s as was her father Keith and Minnie’s brother Sam married into the Cresson Smith family as did my grandmother’s baby sister Vivian Brady who was married to James Hubert Smith.)

I just wanted to say Hello and give thanks to you Virginia and to Mr. Saffarrans who I have not had the pleasure to meet and to point out a couple of typographical corrections in the “SURF’S UP” article that I enjoyed so much !

The courthouse restoration did begin in 1970 but it had a tough beginning. If I recall correctly, the original contractor didn’t last too long primarily because of shaky funding . The Honorable Burton Burks Sr., Hood County Attorney, graciously gave me my first job in early 1974 and that’s when a new contractor was hired for the restoration project and that’s when the  historical books  and records were being thrown out. I borrowed Mr. Burks’ pickup and started taking many of the books now at the depot to my old home at 403 West Bridge. I also saved the old star that had been used  as a decoration at Christmas-time for generations on the courthouse clock tower and five of the original courthouse doors that workers had thrown in a huge trash pile on the south side of the courthouse  lawn. The sixth original door had already been burned at a dumpsite on the Paluxy Road. I also saved two of the  courthouse pull-chain toilets or “Crappers” (as they were called by their inventor) that I was told by Judge Henry Davis  to be the first water closets to be installed in Hood County ! Judge Davis who was also a classmate of my grandmother Bessie Brady told me they were installed even though there was no running water to be piped into the new edifice. He told me that folks preferred the privy/outhouse on the courthouse lawn even after the toilets were connected with running water.

Finally, kindly change Mary Lou’s last name in the eighth paragraph to Watkins. One hundred years from now someone might be confused.

I didn’t plan to ramble but the reflections flowed naturally as I recalled and dreamed of the Granbury of my youth.

John Gilmartin
111 S. Fourth St.
Crockett, Texas