From History of Texas, Published in 1896

Standing, left to right: Jackson V. Powell, Robert Jones Powell, Charles Y. Powell, Lewis J. Powell, John R. PowellSeated, left to right: W.G.W. Powell (aka Uncle Billy Powell), Adarine Jones Powell (wife of W.G.W.), Sarah Jane Powell, Julia Frances Powell
Photo Courtesy of James P. Barrett

In this connection the biographer would invite attention to some of the most salient points in the life history of one of Hood County’s first settlers and venerable citizens, W.G.W. Powell. He is a native of Georgia, born in Columbia County in 1817, son of Isaac and Sarah (Jones) Powell.

Isaac Powell was a son of Hardy Powell, who was of English descent, served as a Revolutionary soldier, was for some time a resident of North Carolina and from that state removed to Georgia. On his mother’s side the subject of our sketch traces his origin back to Wales. His maternal grandfather, Robert Jones, was one of the pioneers of Georgia. In Georgia W.G.W. Powell was reared on his father’s farm, from his boyhood assisting in the farm work, and remaining in the parental home until he was twenty-two years of age. Then in 1839 he wedded Miss Adevine Jones, a native of the same county in which he was born, and a daughter of Joseph Jones and his wife, nee Nelson, both of Welsh descent.

He and his young wife settled down to housekeeping on a Georgia farm, remained there until 1841 and that year moved to Tallapoosa County, Alabama, where hereclaimed a farm from Nature’s wilds and upon which he resided until his removal some years later to Texas. Arrived here, he settled on Squaw creek, ona pre-emption claim, having for his neighbors and companions the Indians and wild animals, as there were then but few white people in this part of the country.

At first the Indians were friendly and harmless. Later, however, by their raids and depredations of various kinds they gave the settlers great trouble, and Mr. Powell had for some years to be constantly on the alert. At one time he and his sons had a battle with the Indians and killed seven of them and drove the others away. He cleared up and improved 160 acres of land where he first settled on coming to Hood County, and still owns the place, its operations now being conducted by his son.

The great loss of Mr. Powell’s life was in the death of his aged companion. For a period of fifty-three years they traveled life’s pathway together, sharing each other’s joys and sorrows, working hard in early years to make a home and accumulate a competency for old age, and enjoying together the fruits of their labors until 1892, when she was called to her home above. They had twelve children, ten of whom reached adult age. Six are still living and are residents of this county: Jackson, Robert, Charles, Lewis J., John R. and Sarah J. Sarah J. is the widow of W. J. Arinton. Of John R. we make more extended mention further on in this sketch.

During his long residence in Hood County, Mr. Powell has witnessed the many changes that have taken place here, and he has not only been a witness to these changes, but also he has been a prominent factor in developing the resources of the country and making it possible for the people of today to enjoy the privileges and advantages which they do. He took a leading part in building the first churches and schoolhouses here. For many years hehas been a member of the Christian Church, with which hisgood wife also was identified, and for years he filled the offices of deacon and elder. During his early residence here hserved as county commissioner. He maintains a membership in the A.F. & A.M., having been initiated into the mysteries of this order many years ago.

W.G.W. Powell was born October 27, 1817 and died September 2, 1897. He was buried in Powell Cemetery, south of Tolar, in Hood County, Texas.


John R. Powell, an enterprising merchant of the prosperous new town of Tolar, Hood County, Texas, is a native of this county and the youngest son of one of its honored pioneers, W.G.W. Powell, whose history we have outlined above. John R. dates his birth November 9, 1862. He was reared on his father’s homestead on Squaw Creek, early assisting in the farm work and making himself generally useful at home while he remained there, which was until the time of his marriage, that event occurring in 1891. He received a common-school education only.

In 1891, he came to the present site of Tolar, built the first house in the place and was a leading factor in giving the town its start and pushing on its rapid development. In that same year, he was appointed postmaster of Tolar, which position he filled acceptably from 1891 until 1896. Also about the time, he received his appointment as postmaster he opened out a stock of general merchandise, in which business he has continued up to the present time, his annual sales amounting to a sum between $6,000 and $8,000. The past year, 1895, he sustained a heavy loss by fire, his building and stock all going up in flames and his total loss being about $500. As soon as possible he stocked up again and opened his doors for business, and is meeting with that success which is sure to follow earnest and well-directed effort.

Mr. Powell was married February 22, 1891, to Miss Ella Perry, a native of Hillsboro, Texas, but who was reared in Bosque County, this state. She is the daughter of F.M. Perry, now of Hood County.

Mr. and Mrs. Powell are members of the Christian Church, and his political support he tenders the Democratic Party.

History of Texas, 1896, Chicago: The Lewis Publishing Co.