Remember the Crocketts

Hood County News – April 8, 2000

Transcribed by Tex Dendy

Editor’s Note: At a recent meeting of the Comanche Peak Chapter of the Daughters of the Republic of Texas, Kenneth Hendricks of Granbury talked about the family of his great-great-grandfather, Texas hero David “Davy” Crockett. This article is a portion of Hendricks presentation.

When David Crockett was killed at the Alamo, his wife Elizabeth and her children were living in Tennessee. They had heard rumors that David had been killed. However, since he had been reported as dead several times before, his son Robert decided to come to Texas to see for himself if the rumors were true.

When Robert found that the rumors were true, he sent news to his mother then enlisted in the Texas army and served the rest of 1836 and part of 1837.

Robert was to have been paid for his military service with a grant of 960 acres of public land, but never received it. He returned to Tennessee and married his childhood sweetheart, Matilda Porter. The couple had five children while in Tennessee.

In 1852, Elizabeth Crockett sold her profitable farm in Gibson County, Tennessee and traveled to Texas to claim the land that was owed to her son on behalf of her husband David’s service to Texas.

Coming with Elizabeth was George Patton-Elizabeth’s son by her first husband-and his family; Robert Crockett, his wife Matilda and their family; and Robert’s sister, Rebecca (Sissy) Crockett Halford and her husband, Rev. James Halford.

It took the group several months to get to North Central Texas where they stopped in Ellis County for nearly two years. They were trying to locate the various parcels of land-a total of 2,900 acres, which was promised them.

After locating a land surveyor who agreed to find and file for the public land, they came to a place called Comanche Peak Post Office, then in Johnson County. Johnson County was later split to form Hood County. The community originally named Comanche Peak Post Office is now Acton.

Robert located a likely building site on Rucker’s Creek. The Rev.Halford and Sissy also settled close to Rucker’s Creek with their children. There were three children by Sissy’s first husband, George Kimbrough and three of their own. Some of these children as well as Sissy and Rev. Halford, are buried in Acton Cemetery, outside the boundries of Elizabeth Crockett’s grave. Some of their gravestones are now illegible.

Robert and Matilda had four more children born in Texas. The second one was Ashley Wilson Crockett, born in 1857 in the log cabin on Rucker’s Creek.

Ashley was born with an opaque film over one eye, which could have been corrected if there had been a doctor in attendance, but since there wasn’t a doctor around, he lived his life with the use of just one eye. Ashley’s mother died when he was 7-years-old.

When he was 12, Ashley attended school for less than one year, having learned to read and write at home.

He remembered one cold winter night when his father and stepmother told him he wasn’t really cut out to be a farmer and should learn another occupation.

Ashley went to Weatherford and got a job as a “printer’s devil” at the Weatherford Democrat, the only newspaper in the entire area. He told about living in a small building behind the printing office and lying under buffalo robes at night to keep warm while listening to Indians roaming outside looking for horses to steal. It must have been a frightening experience for a 13-year-old boy.

When he was 18, Ashley moved to the newly established town of Granbury and went to work for the first newspaper in Hood County, The Granbury Vidette. He did so well that in a few years he became the sole owner of the paper, whose name he changed to The Granbury Graphic. The paper ultimately became the Hood County News.

Ashley was very accurate and meticulous in everything he did. He was a very modest and gentle man and a lifelong member of the Methodist Church where he sang in the choir until he was 85-years-old.

He established a newspaper in Tolar and then moved to Glen Rose where he published a forerunner of the Reporter. His last printing office was in an old two-story building once used as a hotel on Bridge Street on the northwest corner of the square.

He did have some personal setbacks. His wife, Onalda Haynes, decided to leave town with a railroad engineer and moved to Denison. About a year later, their two sons, Chester and Clarence, moved to Denison to live with their mother. Ashley and Onalda had one daughter who died at a young age.

Ashley was 30-years-old when he began courting a 21-year-old schoolteacher named Anna Marie Walkup. She was a grandniece of Sam Houston and the daughter of a schoolteacher in Clarksville.

They married and had seven children-two boys and five girls. One of these girls was Gladys Hortense Crockett, Kenneth Hendricks’ mother.

Gladys Hendricks was Valedictorian of her Granbury High School graduating class and went on to teach in Tin Top, Goliad and Childress. During WWII, she became a licensed vocational nurse for Dr. Ballard, who established the Granbury Clinic. She died in 1987.