Pioneers - William Ross Howe

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Pioneers of Ellis County

William Ross Howe

Written by his daughter, Frances Ann Lacy


"There is a current report among my pioneer friends that I was the first child born in Ellis County. While I would willingly claim Ellis as my native county if I could, truth compels me to state that I am a native of Tennessee. I was, however, only a month or so old, when my father, Wm. Ross Howe, in the year 1839, turned his face Texasward....My father desired that my mother should remain with the family till he came to Texas and prepared a home and returned for us. She told him no that where ever he went she would go....We first came to what was known as Burleson County. There was no county at that time between Bonham and the Brazas River. My father made two crops in Burleson County and then settled on a tract of land eleven miles south of Waxahachie on Chambers Creek. We had no neighbors for a year or more. My father kept a few men with him to assist him in his work and to protect my mother and us two children in his absence. Father first made a house of round poles, he afterwards made a double log house.  J. P. Apperson was at the house raising if I mistake not. This log [house] still remains on this place so I am informed. When I was a child I have seen thousands of buffalo roving over the prairies; they were as plentiful as cattle are now. Wild turkeys and deer were also plentiful. Indians roved over the country. ....the Indians ran off every horse father had the first week he came to Chambers Creek. He found two by going to Bonham after them..... A squaw took a great liking to me and my mother finally consented to let me go with her to her tent. She gave me a pair of beaded moccasins which I was as proud of as a queen of her crown.

"The first court ever held between Bonham and the Falls of the Brazos was at our house;  the first store in Ellis county was in my mother's yard after my father's death, and there has been a store in the community from that day to this. The postoffice of the community is called Forreston and the present store is kept by Capt. Forrest. The first clerk in the store was Col. Stephens, late county superintendent of Dallas County, who died some two and one-half years ago. We settled in Ellis County about six years before it was organized. Waxahachie was then a place undreamed. I lived at the old homestead until I was married in 1858 and lived in 3 miles of it til 1873. Since that time I have been living in the vicinity of Ferris and at Lancaster. I could perhaps relate enough of my early life to fill several columns.... but shall close lest I should weary the readers.  I will say briefly, in conclusion, that while there is a good deal of romance and pleasure in frontier pioneer life, there is also a good deal of hardship, and in the course of time we lose sight of the latter and think only of the pleasure."

[Source:Clipping from Lancaster Herald 1890]


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