Written by Mary G. Saltarelli in 1985
From Application Form for Official Texas Historical Marker
for the Smith-Savage House
The Savages, who owned the Smith-Savage house for 36 years, were active Granbury merchants. William Savage also served as a Granbury City Marshal and a Deputy U.S. Marshal.
Emma G. Savage was born in August 1878 on a farm near Cleburne, Texas. She moved to Granbury with her parents, William Riley Skipper and Elizabeth Skipper, as a small child. William Riley Skipper’s father, E.E. Skipper, lived in Granbury and his brother, James M. Skipper, was an early Granbury merchant. Emma G. Skipper was raised in Granbury and she attended Granbury College. After her graduation, she became a teacher. She taught in an Indian school in Oklahoma, and she taught speech in schools throughout Texas. She married William Poole Savage and settled with him in Granbury.
William Poole Savage was born in Taber, Iowa, in 1864, and he moved to Texas in about 1911. In 1920, he served as a state certified public weigher in Granbury and as the Granbury City Marshal. One year after the Savages purchased the Smith-Savage house, they moved to Fort Worth because he had become a Deputy U.S. Marshal. The Savages lived in Fort Worth for eleven years. During that time, William Savage also worked as a Claim Agent for the Trinity and Brazos Valley railroad.
During the eleven years that the Savages resided in Fort Worth, they continued to own the Smith-Savage house. In June 1922, the Granbury News reported:
Mrs. W.P. Savage was here from Forth Worth last week for a visit with friends. She says they are just “camping” in Fort Worth, that Granbury is their home.
In June 1932, Mr. and Mrs. Savage returned to Granbury to live in the Smith-Savage house, and they opened a grocery store and meat market on the west side of the town square called “The Savages.” On August 14, 1933, William Savage died at his home in Granbury. He was buried in Granbury Cemetery.
Emma Savage continued to operate their grocery store on the square after her husband’s death, and she continued to own and live in the Smith-Savage house. During the depression, and after Franklin D. Roosevelt was elected President of the United States, National Youth Association (NYA) cooking and sewing classes for young ladies were held in the Smith-Savage house. Apparently, Emma Savage was not a teacher in the NYA program; she let local NYA officials use part of her house for classrooms.
During World War II, Emma Savage ran the Office of Price Administration (OPA) in Granbury. Many local residents still remember her rationing local gasoline purchases during the war.
After the war ended, Emma Savage organized and started the Retail Merchants Association in Granbury in 1948. She owned and managed her thriving local business until 1955. The Retail Merchants Association was a credit reporting service that is still operating. It is now known as the Credit Bureau of Granbury.
Emma Savage was an active member of the Granbury Church of Christ. Her parents were charter members of the Granbury Church of Christ–they were two of the church’s original members. Emma Savage died on March 4, 1956, at her home. She and her husband had no children, so Emma Savage left the Smith-Savage house to the Granbury Church of Christ as a memorial to her parents. Emma Savage was also buried in Granbury Cemetery.
While Emma Savage lived in the Smith-Savage house she used her single fireplace and probably a woodburning stove or a kerosene stove for heat. Emma Savage’s neighbor, Mrs. Opal Musick, remembers that when she moved into a house across North Thorp Spring Road from the Smith-Savage house in 1934, there were no gas lines, no sewage systems, and no fire hydrants on the north side of Granbury. Mrs. Musick also remembers the layout of the Smith-Savage house. Apparently, there were no indoor bathrooms in the house while Emma Savage lived there. Mrs. Musick recalls that no changes were made to the Smith-Savage house from 1934 until Lee Perry bought it in 1959. Lee Perry added two bathrooms to the house, one upstairs and one downstairs.
There were two or three large pecan trees on the south side of the Smith-Savage house, where only one tree remains today. Emma Savage had a hen house and chicken pens east of her house, where she raised chickens.