HOOD COUNTY HISTORY
WRITTEN IN 1926
Hood County News – September 23, 1971
Transcribed by Katherine LeMaster Dendy
|Editor’s Note: The following History of Granbury was written December 20, 1926, as a theme for Granbury High School. It was loaned to us by Mrs. Henry McPherson of Lipan. The paper carries a correction on the spelling of Granbury in the paragraph about General Granberry. The writer used Granbury, it was corrected to Granberry. Where the writer says the rock and concrete house was on the corner where A.P.Gordon’s store stands, someone corrected it to read Lampkin Bros.|
HISTORY OF GRANBURY
Granbury is situated upon a prominent northwestern projecting bend of the Brazos River. The town is in the basin of beautiful slopes, and its surrounding hills are covered with evergreens. A better place for the town could scarcely have been found in Hood County.
The name ‘Granberry’ was given to the county site in honor of General R.B. Granberry.
The courts and all the official matters were transferred to Granbury from Stockton, some time about 1867 or 1868. The removal of the few scanty records from Stockton to Granbury was a call for a courthouse; so a small sixteen by sixteen foot, one-story log cabin with doors on the north and south sides and a chimney in the west end was erected. The building, which consisted of one room, was the headquarters of the lawyers and land agents; also it was a place for the reception and distribution of the United States mails, which was received once a week. In this one-room all records of the county officials were kept.
The small log court house was found to be too small for holding of district court, so a rock and concrete house about twenty-five by forty feet and one-story high was erected on the corner where Lampkin Bros. stands. This building was used for the holding of courts, school; and meetings of all kinds.
A larger court house was necessary, because of the prosperity of the town. The subject, concerning a larger court house, was brought into consideration in 1871. A two-story rock courthouse was built on the place which had been occupied by the log cabin courthouse. It was completed in the spring of 1872. It was fifty by fifty feet, with four rooms on the first floor, which was separated by halls. The second story contained two jury rooms. This building was the pride of the county as well as the town.
A part of the debt for this courthouse was paid by taxation. It was burned the night of March 5, 1875. This was the first house ever to be burned in Granbury. The court and county records and many private deeds and papers were destroyed. This courthouse was replaced by another, which was finished and presented to the court in 1875. It’s walls cracked and it collapsed in 1890. This courthouse was replaced by our present building which was completed in 1891 at the cost of $40,000.00.
A wooden jail was built in 1873 and was used when our present jail was erected at the cost of $9,500.00. County bonds were issued for this building.
Judge Landers was the judge of Hood County when the county seat was moved to Granbury but his office became A.S. McCamant’s who was district and county clerk also. All men who took an active part in the Civil War were not allowed to hold office. (The following is a picture of ten of our sheriff’s who were still living in 1822 and a poem was written about each of them.)
In 1871 E.A. Hannaford came to Granbury and erected a store where he sold his drugs. Dr Hannaford encouraged the work of education and was interested in public enterprises. Some of our other businessmen were: Capt. J. R. Morris, Maj. C.H. Blake,and son, A.P. Gordon, and F.C. Bush. Captain Morris at one time [was] sheriff of Hood County and he was also an ex-Confederate soldier. Mr. A.P. Gordon came to Hood County in 1871. He was superintendent of the Hood County schools. He died some time between 1920 and 1922.
In 1871, the Granbury Masonic Lodge was granted a dispensation, but it was not chartered as Lodge No. 392, until several years later.
The Odd Fellows organized their lodge in Granbury in 1877. Several other lodges and benevolent societies have been organized in Granbury.
In 1873 several influential men began to work together for a certain common enterprise, which was a Methodist College. The District Conference, which was held in the summer of 1873, voted that the city of Granbury was the most suitable site for the college. A committee selected the location and secured the title to the ground. The citizens of Granbury raised the necessary money to erect a beautiful stone building forty-two by sixty-two feet, and three stories high. It was chartered [an] institution July 6, 1875. On January 9, 1887 the building was destroyed by fire, with all the equipment. Its loss was approximately $10,000. In its stead a larger building was erected, it was sixty-two by eighty feet. On February 24, 1890 a new charter was obtained. The college was maintained by tuition fees entirely, as there was no endowment at all. The building was torn down sometime after 1901 as the school could not be maintained. Some of the buildings were put into the present Methodist Church of Granbury, and some of them were put into the parsonage. The college building was built of stone taken out of the hill on which it was erected. The college had a limited amount of chemistry and physics equipment and it had five or six hundred volumes in the library. Some of the presidents of this college were:
Rev. W.P. Wilson (1873-75);
Rev. J.J. Shirley (1875-80);
D.S. Switzer (1880-89);
I.M. Onion (1890-91);
E.P. Williams (1891-94);
T.S. Sligh (1894-?)
and Rev. W.J. Moore.
Since Rev. Moore, there were several others.
In November 1872, Captain W.L. Bond established the first newspaper in the county, the “Vidette.” This paper continued for several years until Garland, the second editor, retired and Ashley W. Crockett became editor and changed the name of the paper to the “Graphic”. The “Graphic” continued for about twenty-five years.
In 1886, Jeff. D. Ballard started a weekly paper at Granbury, under the title of “The Granbury News.” He soon obtained for it a good circulation and patronage. Ballard was succeded [sic] by E.F. Baily who sold the paper in September, 1887 to Mr. Frank Gaston. “The Granbury News” has ever since been published and it is among the leading country papers of the state. This paper has, at all times, been filled with clean material, both in the editorials and its correspondence department. The “News” editor is interested in all public enterprises.
In 1887, Mr. D.C. Cogdell, with assistance, organized the First National Bank of Granbury. He was elected president of the bank and has been its president ever since. Mr. Jess Baker was elected vice-president of the bank. This bank began with a capital of $50,000. Mr. D.C. Cogdell and Mr. Baker were president and vice-president of both the Hood County Milling Company and the Granbury Quarry Company, until Mr. Baker’s death.
An important enterprise of our town is the tubular arch bridge which spans the Brazos River at the other edge of the town. It was first erected by private capital in 1878, the cost was approximately $25,000.00. In 1893, it was sold to the county for $12,500, and bonds were issued for this debt. This bridge has been repaired several times but is still standing and will be for many years to come. It was, for eighteen years, the only bridge across the Brazos above Waco.
There have been many other enterprises of public interest, such as the railroad, water and light plant, the ice plant and the cotton gins.
“The History of Hood County”, – T.T. Ewell.
A letter dated November 22, 1926, – Rev. W.J. Moore.