Boz - Bethel
Boz was on FM Rd 1493 about eight miles southwest of Waxahachie in southwest Ellis County,. Its history is very difficult to separate from that of Bethel and Greathouse.
E. M. Brack was the first permanent settler in the Boz area. He and his wife, Lucy P. Sims Brack (daughter of John Sims) came to Texas in 1850. With them were her brothers, Nicholas P. Sims and John D. Sims, and another relative, P. C. Sims, son of Starling Sims of South Carolina. They first moved to Mississippi about 1844-45. (Lucy's sister, Maria/Miriah, lived with them in 1860 and 1870. She died Sept. 17, 1882, age 73 years, 6 mos and 4 days, and is butied in Bethel Cemetery).
The vast majority of the populance was white, though a few settlers owned slaves. Ezekiel Brack brought with him a number of slaves and put into cultivation land where the Greathouse cemetery is now located. The story of the beginning of Boz-Bethel would not be complete without telling a bit about Judge E. M. Brack. He had four daughters and three sons. Sarah Ann married Jefferson M. Dunaway, Eliza C. married George W. Whitefield, Mary married Frederick Perkins and Martha J. (her twin) married James M. Patterson. All these families lived in the Boz-Bethel area.
Jefferson M. Dunaway came on horseback to Texas, first locating at Cedar Springs, Dallas. In 1851 he moved to Farmers' Branch for a few years and then traded for land in Boz, Ellis County. He first met E. M. Brack when he stopped to water his horse in Farner's Branch. They met again three years later in Ellis County, where they found that their land joined on Chambers Creek. Mr. Brack hired Mr. Dunaway to oversee his slaves, and the latter married Sarah Ann Brack Oct. 11, 1854.
Many of the Boz-Bethel-Greathouse Community were the first settlers of southwestern Ellis County, and included the Moore, Young, Greathouse, Mitchell, Sims, Cunningham and Edmondson families They scattered south toward Forreston and Italy and married into the Car Forest family as well as many of the other well-known area residents.
About 1853, a log school house was built on Greathouse Creek, and before the Civil War, school was held on Bakers' Branch which flows through the Boz area. This creek was named for Mr. Baker from Denton County, who was killed by Indians near here years ago. The first records found in the County Superintendent's office (in 1962) were for the school year 1897-1898. Mr. J. M. Alderdice was Superintendent at that time. Boz school trustees were T. B. Jackson and B. F. Forrester and the teacher was J. W. Baker. There were eight grades and high school students went into Waxahachie. It was consolidated with Waxahachie in the 1940s and during that time, Bob McCrady was County superintendent (1938-1946).
Ira Graves, Jack Clayton and Mr. Self had general stores at one time. There was a barber shop, 2 blacksmiths, gin, school and two churches. Mail was usually delivered by horseback twice a week to the rural post offices. Boz postmasters were James H. Alexander, March 7, 1893; John P. Bennett, March 31, 1902; Ira Graves, March 6, 1905; discontinued Nov. 19, 1906 with mail received through Waxahachie. The gin, school and most of the business establishments were on what was the original Greathouse Road.
In 1852, N. P. Sims gave 10 acres of land to the trustees of the Bethel Methodist Church established four miles west of the present church and cemetery near a spring known as High Springs. The earliest burial there was in September 1854. Some of the early burials were later moved to the new Bethel Cemetery across from the present Methodist Church; however, one can still find the names Buchanan, Hines, Whitefield and Zollicoffer among the few remaining stones. The first revival was near High Springs in 1853. Services were first held in the school building on Baker's Creek until 1870 when a pretentious church was built on the north side of the cemetery. In May 1892, a storm destroyed the first real church, but subscriptions were taken and there soon was enough to rebuild. The present structire was erected in 1924. The Methodist Church in the Boz-Bethel community has been actuve since 1853, first at High Springs. In 1868, G. H. Cunningham and P. C. Sims gave the first land where the Bethel Methodist church and cemetery are now located. The first burial in the new cemetery was in 1873. Bethel Methodist church was the set for several scenes in the 1964 movie Places in the Heart.
In the mid-1930s, Boz had seventy-five residents with a number of new families were moving in later, although perhaps not reported. Though there were no businesses, the numerous rural families considered themselves a part of the Boz-Bethel Community.
In 1989, the remaining residents saw the ultimate destruction of their entire community and farms which had been in the same families since the 1850-1860 period. The federal government had selected Ellis County as the site for the proposed superconducting supercollider. In 1990, it was reported that the population had dwindled to about 15, but actually there were closer to 200 in the area., and at one time, probably some two hundred more. By 1992, however, eighty-four-old Monnie Bratcher was the only remaining resident. Soon after the sheriff had removed her from her home, the project was canceled because of the abundant water and springs which were hampering the building and causing the cost to sky rocket far beyond any projected costs. Hence the funding was stopped by the federal government and the tunnel was sealed and allowed to fill up with water.
Names of other early settlers of this community were Forrester, Green, Sparks, Turner, Maxwell, Jackson, Stiles, Norman, George, Poindexter, and Barley - to mention only a few. Now, old roadshave been closed, new ones built, and housing additions are growing where once the livestock grazed, wheat and rye swayed in the breeze, children could romp and play across the rough terrain, fish in the creeks and hunt in the heavily wooded areas.
In 1992, a Dallas News reporter bade farewell to the Land of Boz - where :"Boz Was." "It was never a fully chartered town, but it was awful pretty. Now Boz is as gone as the Indians who once chased buffalo across these black lands. No one is sure how Boz got its name, but it dates back to the mid 1800s. Its sister settlement was Bethel. It wasn't known to many and escaped most maps; however, Boz had its boosters, its good neighbors and enough powerful people to make it a must on the list of Ellis County politicians. There were cake sales and pie suppers. To quote one of the old timers, "If you were going to heaven, you'd want to go by Boz on the way." What made it such a remarkable community? As with many of these older communities, it was the neighbors, always willing to swap and help each other. It had always been that way - according to Mr. J. P. Sims. Mr. Graves' store was the last remaining, and it also was the post office, as long as there was one, Masonic Lodge Hall and meeting place for local farmers. For seating there were always plenty of natural fiinish nail kegs inside and aluminum painted ones outside on the porch, where such things as "Metaphysical, cultural, social and political are given an airing."
To sum it up in the words of an unknown publication in 1952, "We've just naturally got some nice folks out here - I guess that's the reason it's different."
References: Scrapbook and Personal Papers of Mrs. J. R. Dunaway
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This page was last modified: Monday, 10-Sep-2018 10:23:32 MDT