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Feature Name:


Feature Type: populated place
State: Texas
County: Hamilton
USGS 7.5' x 7.5' Map: Carlton


William Harrison Secrest, surveyor, engineer, and Texas Ranger, came to Hamilton County in 1858 and settled near what was to become the town of Carlton sixteen miles northwest of Hamilton. William H. Secrest helped draw the boundary lines of the county and to lay out the town of Hamilton. Returning from a scouting expedition in 1872, Secrest found that his community was besieged with scarlet fever. Mr. Secrest made a dashing trip to Waco for medicine. Stopping only to change horses at ranches, the exhausted Mr. Secrest, who had also contracted the disease, succumbed to scarlet fever after he returned  home.

Carlton was named in honor Dr. Francis Marion Carlton, who was born 5 April, 1831, in Coweta County, GA. The earliest settlers west of Hico on Honey Creek were the families of W. S. Fisher, J. M. Evans, A. G. Brittain, J. H. Everett, E. L. Deaton, and L. E. SheridanDr. Carlton came to Texas in 1876, and in November, 1876, purchased 160 acres of land from Zachariah Taylor. There was a log cabin on the place, and ten acres of land had been broken for cultivation. The town of Carlton is situated on land owned by Dr. Carlton and by J. M. Evans. In 1879 when the Honey Creek Post Office was moved from the Malone Gin to the new town site, the town was named for Dr. Carlton.

Carlton was on a direct east-west stage and freight route. Beginning in Waco this route and proceeded through  Bosque County, Hico, Carlton, Comanche, and Brownwood to San Angelo.  R. V. Cox moved to Carlton about 1877 and entered into the sheep business before moving to Hico.  

Other pioneers moved in after the establishment of the town of Carlton. These included: F. M. Richbourg, J. F. Pinkerston, W. D. Thornton, James Wilson McKenzie, J. D. Clark, Randolph Hunter "Randall" Gibson, Ira Jackson Gibson, J. C. Finley, J. W. Porter, Dr. N. B. Bowie, J. T. Curbo, J. W. Hill, J. H. Tull, J. A. Rowland, Captain C. E. Walker and J. B. Curry.

James Wilson McKenzie, born 19 November, 1839, in Lawrence County, MS, came to Hamilton County on 6 December, 1889, and bought a farm near Carlton. He was a postmaster at Carlton from 22 May, 1893, until 3 December, 1897; Justice of the Peace for two terms, and actively participated in Carlton Baptist Church and the Hamilton County Baptist Association. J. W. McKenzie died 18 August, 1911.

The Stephenville North and South Railroad came to Carlton in 1907 and that increased both business and commercial growth. The Carlton State Bank and the Merchants National Bank were organized in Carlton in 1908. Business included:  Carlton State Bank, Farmers and Merchants State Bank, Carlton Brothers Department Store, Curbo Mercantile, Fisher Grocery, McKenzie Drug Store, Tull Drug Store, Barnes Lumber Company, Tin Shop, and two gins.

Dr. J. H. Tull and Dr. N. B. Bowie owned the first two automobiles in Carlton.

The Masons and the Oddfellows had lodges in Carlton.

Grady Laws managed the Barnes Lumber Company in Carlton in 1938.

On the night of December 16, 1932,  robbers broke into the Griffin & Pierce Drug Store in Carlton.  Audie Lee Gibson, a farmer and deputy sheriff went to investigate.  As  the thieves rushed to leave, they encountered Audie and murdered him with his own gun.  For more details, please see the story written by Audie's grandson, Bryan Wooley when Audie's name was added to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, D.C.

1934 Carlton Canning Plant

"CARLTON, TX." The Handbook of Texas Online



People and Places: Gazetteer of Hamilton County, TX
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Copyright March, 1998
by Elreeta Crain Weathers, B.A., M.Ed.,  
(also Mrs.,  Mom, and Ph. T.)

A Work In Progress