PIONEER DAYS AT CARLTON REVIEWED
By R. W. SMITH of Carlton
Son of a Pioneer
In 1876 Carlton had not had its
beginning, for it was in this year that two large families moved from
Coryell County and located near where the village of Carlton now stands.
The families of Lewis C. Smith and Dr. F. M. Carlton had known each other
in Arkansas, and after stopping awhile in Coryell County immigrated to
this section, which was then very sparsely settled. J. M. Evans, A. G.
Britton, J. H. Everett, E. L. Deaton, and L. E. Sheridan were among those
found here at that time.
In 1877 H. R. Armstrong moved a small
frame building on ox wagons from Honey Creek and put it down where the
little town now stands. The post office was then kept in a private
residence and went by the name of Honey Creek, but just at this time it
took the name of Carlton in honor of D. Carlton.
The pioneers of those days underwent
many privations and hardships. Waco was our principal market, where we
went to sell our farm products and buy our family supplies. There were no
established roads then, and the streams were not bridged, and for these
seasons the people went to market in companies so that they could double
team to get through the bog holes. Under these adverse circumstances, my
father, L. C. Smith, hauled lumber on ox wagons from Waco to build the
first pine lumber house erected in this section of the country.
I shall now name a few settlers who came
soon after the town was started: J. F. Pinkerton, F. M. Richbourg, W. D.
Thornton, J. W. McKinzie, J. D. Clark, the Gibsons, J. C. Finley, J. W.
Porter, Dr. N. B. Bowie, J. T. Curbo, J. W. Hill, Dr. J. H. Tull, J. A.
Rowland, Capt. C. E. Walker, J. B. Curry, and many other substantial
citizens who did much to develop this corner of the county and secure for
the people the high type of citizenship for which we are noted.
Allow me now to name a few things that
helped to develop these lofty ideals among our people. From the beginning
our people took an interest in the cause of education. The school
first taught by Prof. L. E. Sheridan in a small log house with dirt floor
and split log benches. Later Prof. J. E. Corrigan, followed by Prof. J.
O. Morrison, both from the state of Wisconsin, taught there. The
introduced new methods, giving strong emphasis to discipline and
thoroughness, and had remarkable success. In 1892 R. A. Smith, a former
pupil of theirs, was called to head the school, where he remained for nine
Back in those days school funds were so
limited the school terms ranged from four to five and a half months. In
1876 the per capita was only $1.47. It varied from this startling low
figure to $5, with no special tax and no state aid, and very poor
equipment so far as buildings were concerned, but in spite of these
adverse conditions, boys and girls went out from the schools fired with
zeal and determination to make go, and they have succeeded.
Our first newspaper came out early but
was never put into print. The people contributed the articles, which were
handed to the editor, R. F. McKeage. They arranged them, and on Friday
night would come before large audiences at the school house and read the
paper from manuscript.
At an early date in our territory our
young people, directed by some older heads, we reorganized into a
temperance order, known as the United Friends of Temperance. Here all
members took a binding obligation never to take any intoxicants as a
beverage. Their motto was, " Touch not, taste not, handle not."
The influence is felt in our community today, and this accounts for the
"dry" sentiment found here.
Next we will speak of a farmersí
organization, known as the Grange, in which many of our people took part.
They came together the third Saturday of each month and spent the day
together. It did much to develop the people. Through the influences of
this order, E. L. Deaton became a thinker, a writer, and a lecturer.
About 60 years ago the Methodist and
Baptist churches were organized with Rev. Graham as pastor of the former
and R. M. Comb, we think, as pastor of the latter. Besides these we think
of other pioneer preachers, W. J. Hicks, J. H. Vinson, R. H. Gibson, J. C.
Carter, J. R. Elder, and others.
Our citizens since have been largely
Christian, and young preachers have gone out as gospel messengers, some of
whom are outstanding today. Many of those whose names are given have
already Crossed the Bar. Yes, they have crossed the Great Divide, but they
have left behind them an influence for good--an influence as enduring as
HAMILTON COUNTY NEWS, Vol. VIII, No. 7
THE CARLTON CITIZEN, Vol. 30, No. 23
Friday, June 24, 1938
W. F. Billingslea, Publisher, Hamilton