Hood County News – October 16, 2001
by Christopher C. Evans
CRESSON “A PRETTY COUNTRY” EVEN IN 1856
The writing is long, at times disjointed, and tainted by misspellings and run-on sentences. The narrator, William George Washington Powell, was describing Hood County as he found it in the middle 1850s.
“To any one who has traveled over the hills and rolling prairie between Wetherford (sic) and Fort Worth and through the region where Cression (sic), Hood County, is now located, will have an understanding of what a pretty country is really like,” a passage about Cresson begins. “Especially is this true when made during a rainy spring when everything is growing in abundance and the streams are full of sparkling water. Fish and game were plentiful everywhere. Grass was waving like wheat fields across the rolling hillsides. Plenty of timber line (sic) the banks of every stream.”
The document is called Some Interesting Sketches in the History of Various Powell Families. It was compiled by O.B. Powell between 1921 and 1933, and released in small numbers in hardcover in 1933. It basically charts the trip of William George Washington Powell, O.B. Powell’s grandfather, and his family, including O.B. Powell’s father, Lewis Jasper Powell, from Waldron in Scott County, Ark., to Thorp Spring in 1856, a jaunt that began April Fool’s day and ended sometime in early summer.
That the first section of Powell’s book includes a description of the Cresson landscape is fascinating to those of us who know or reside in Cresson today. The document’s potential value to overall historical research on Hood County — it will soon be made available online thanks to Powell descendants and the Hood County Genealogical Society and — is more than simply fascinating.
James Barrett of Bedford, a Powell family descendant, worked to transcribe the only copy of the “book” he had, a 180-page typed, double-spaced manuscript. O.B. Powell’s daughter, Nancy Bowen, gave permission for the Genealogical Society to put the book on its website, a project that is being done about 20 pages at a time.
How important is it that this document is made available to anyone doing serious research on Hood County?
Barrett, in correspondence with the Genealogical Society people, pointed out that an entire chapter is devoted to the Powell’s trip in the 1887-published Ewell’s History of Hood County.
Ewell’s History, of course, is generally considered one of the most widely trusted circulated documents available, if not the most trusted, on “early” Hood County.
The sooner the whole Powell document is made available the better for Hood County historians. Regarding the Cresson side of things, I could use a little more of a description about what it was like when the streams were full and the grass was high.
SIDETRACKS: Commitments for impressive donated items to be auctioned off at the Oct. 27 Cresson Fall Festival continue to roll in. Among the latest are (with donors in parentheses): ceramic turtle planter (Studio II, Cresson), custom-matted color photograph of President and Mrs. George W. Bush dancing at the Inaugural Ball (photograph Helen Long, matting by Photo Express and Frame, Granbury), wrought iron cat planter (Country Corner, Granbury), bird cage planter (Marjorie Grafa), cat sweatshirt (Jane Lotton), autumn floral basket (Granbury Florist), cut glass candy dish (The Wagon Yard, Granbury), antler candle holder (Country Corner, Granbury), “God Bless America” T-shirt and king-size floral quilt (Nancy Robinson), Brighton bracelet and earrings (Jean’s Crossing, Granbury), kitchen dolls and picture (Country Corner, Granbury), pastel prizm star quilt (Grandma’s Quilts, Cresson), book on the state capital signed by Gov. Rick Perry (office of state Rep. Jim Keffer), Texas Rangers baseball club pennant autographed by Rangers managers (pennant Texas Rangers, custom frame by Photo Express and Frame), copper watering can (Arrow Farm and Ranch, Granbury), couch-size coffee table (Brenda Grant) and an eight-photograph frame on spindles (Woods Furniture)…The list of names of folk who taught at the Cresson School way back when continues to grow. “In reading your Sidetracks in the Oct. 2 paper I thought of a few more teachers at the Cresson School,” writes Rose Putteet in a recent e-mail. “Lota Faye Driskill was (Rose’s husband) Bill’s teacher in the middle or late thirties. H.D. Staples from Godley was principal and his wife Winnie taught the first, second and third grades in the middle ‘60s. Lynn Brawner taught the first, second and third grades in the late ‘60s when Katherine Hardesty was principal and teacher for the fourth, fifth and sixth grades. Lynn started teaching in Granbury after that when our school consolidated with Granbury. She taught there until she retired a few years ago…Mildred Milburn, who was a member of the first class at the current, 1931-completed school building, added two names to the list. She said a “Judge Dent” — not sure whether the Judge was a given name or a formal appellation — taught at the Cresson School for a time in the ‘30s or ‘40s.. Further, Milburn said Mrs. Hester Reynolds, who lived in the Aledo area, had taught also in Godley schools and was friends with Milburn’s in-laws, Gus and Bessie Fae Milburn, also taught at the Cresson School at some point…It’s not ready for release yet but a certain Arlington resident who is also a cemetery buff has videotaped all headstones/grave markers in Nubbin Ridge Cemetery and is almost ready to announce a website whereby you can call up the site and, by selecting a name view an actual photograph of any marker in the old cemetery. So what does that have to do with Cresson? A similar site could be set up for our cemetery, and without immense expense. The notion has been bandied about by at least two or three Cemetery Board members for some time. Dream expressed here at least six months ago that one day the bluegrass-jazz combo Salt Lick might do a concert at the historic Cresson School still flickers. At the annual by-incitation-only Salt Lick reunion concert at Joe Dulle’s White Elephant Saloon Beer Garden in Fort Worth recently, Salt Lick banjo picker/booking agent D. Lee Thomas said a possible fall 2002 date is possible in conjunct with the annual reunion of the motley but wildly talented 25-year-old group that features not only traditional bluegrass instruments but keyboards, trumpet, clarinet, tin whistles and a big ol’ baritone saxophone…Condolences to Priscilla Bostick, whose sister passed away last week in Fort Worth and was buried Saturday in Alvarado… Crossties still is seeking any information pertaining to the transferral of remains of several folk from the Upper Fall Creek Cemetery to Cresson Cemetery. Missing are such vital tidbits as when the exhumation and reinterment occurred, where the Upper Fall Creek Cemetery was, how many bodies/gravesites were involved, where they are in Cresson Cemetery…Don’t forget: The election in which the incorporation of Cresson, Bluebonnet Hills, Scenic Ridge and Clearview Hills is set for Nov. 6. An open-to-the-public workshop regarding the election is at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday Oct. 16 at the Cresson School…Fred and Alice Skaggs are heading up the effort to make yard signs touting the incorporation election…In next week’s Crossties: Highlights of Cresson Homecoming 2001!