Although I would have preferred to link directly from my web page to this oral history at the WPA's web page, this was not possible.  Their pages are not set up to accommodate such links.  I was able to copy the text exactly as it appears on their site.  What follows is an exact copy of the document found at the WPA's web page with one exception.  I deleted a bit of information on viewing  the document that is not relevant for this site.  The references to "Page image" below refer to links of images of  the original type written page. 

This project is online thanks to the:
Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, WPA General Writer's Project Collection.



Mrs. Walter Emmett Hunnicutt


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FOLKLORE - White Pioneer

Miss Effie Cowan, P. W.

McLennan County, Texas .

District No. 8

No. of words 2,250

File No. 240

Page No. 1 Reference

Interview with Mrs. Walter Emmett Hunnicutt, Marlin, Texas .

"My husband, Judge Walter Emmett Hunnicutt, was born June 11, 1865, and he passed away in
December 1936. He was Judge of Falls County for fourteen years, at different times. He was
the son of Winfield S. Hunnicutt, who came to Texas in 1849 and established his rural home in
the Blue Ridge community where he continued to reside until his death in 1908. Mr. Scott
Hunnicutt was a member of Company B, of Waller's battalion, General Hardeman's brigade of
the Confederate Army. He was a native of Tennessee before coming to Texas .

"The pioneer record for large families was almost broken by Judge Hunnicutt's father and
mother, above mentioned. There were seventeen children, my husband being among this
number. I married Walter Hunnicutt on December 12, 1894. My maiden name was Miss Mattie
Keyser and I was the daughter of W. D. Keyser a pioneer stockman and farmer, and business
man of Merlin, Texas . My father and mother came to Texas from Alabama.

"Judge Walter Hunnicutt was reared near the place of his birth in Falls County and there his
education began. He spent some time in Southwestern College at Georgetown , Texas , and
two years in the school of Mr. Chamber's in Kossee. For two years after leaving his school
work, he devoted his life to farming but was not content and a long cherished idea of joining the
legal profession caused him to enter the office of Goodrich and Clarkson, one of the most noted
firms of that day of the Brazos Valley.

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"Judge Hunnicutt was admitted to the bar at Marlin before Judge [Scott,?] being examined by
Messrs Swan, Harlan and Boyles. Before he completed his preparation for the bar, he had the
honor of being elected District Clerk of Falls County, and held this office for two years. He then
began the practice of law in Marlin and pursued it for four years, then he was elected County
Judge, and was re-elected at different times for this office, in all, serving fourteen years.

"He was Worshipful Master of the Masonic Lodge #152 at Marlin, and also a member of the
[Moccabees?] and Woodmen of the World. For his church affiliations he was a Methodist. Our
children are Emmett Jr., who resides with me and who married Miss Josephine Merriman of
Lockport, New York, where he resided for twenty years before returning recently to our home
in Marlin, where he is doing work for the government. Horace T., died in 1919, at the age of
eighteen, these two boys were our only children.

["Before he completed his preparations for the bar, he had the honor of being elected District
Clerk for Fall County and held this office for two years, then began the practice of law in Marlin
and for four years followed his profession. Then he was elected County Judge; he served in this
capacity for fourteen years.?]

"During Judge Hunnicutt's life as Judge there were many interesting things which happened in our
county and town. He lived to see it grow from a small village to the present [??] where many
come for the healing benefit of the Marlin hot water. Judge Hunnicutt died in December of 1936.

"I will try to tell you about some of the first families of the Blue Ridge community where Judge
Hunnicutt's father settle in 1849, and the way they lived at that time. The Forbes family came to
the

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[?] from Tenneessee. Dr. and Mrs. Robert Forbes arrived in the early fifties. His son, Dr. L. D.
Forbes, graduated from the New Orleans school of medicine, and practiced both on the Ridge
and in Marlin. The older Forbes built their home on the spot where Mrs. Forbes lives today.
They built in the fifties, long before the Civil War. Aside from his practice of medicine, Mr. L. D.
Forbes invented a mechanical cotton gin, where the feeders automatically carries the cotton to
the gin-saws or units. Near the Forbes and Barclay homes there was located a mule-driven gin.
This gin was across the road from the Swinnes place, owned by Bill [?] and later, by Ed Vann.
It was moved down near Big Creek and used until discarded for a newer [?] model.

"Another early family to settle on the Ridge was the Barclay family whose [?] was known as the
"Squire" and they lived in a log house on the spot a few hundred yards north of where
Hancock's store stands today. Farther north east on the Ridge the Garretts lived. They came
from Tenneessee about 1849. The old home, with some improvement, stands today, a silent
reminder of those early days. The family history is one of [?], destiny and accomplishment. The
original head of the family was Thomas Garrett. His children were Jasper, Mary Elizabeth,
Cynthia Ann and Catherine, Jim, [?], Sarah, Tome and Rennie. All are linked with history and
development of this section of the country.

"As we follow the Ridge in the location then of what is now Stranger, the next old home place is
that of the Brothers family. Jesse Brothers with his wife and children came from Tenneesee to
Texas in the late fifties. They brought their slaves with them. Like so many of their

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neighbors, they sought new fortunes in the land [?] their former fellow-[?], Sam Houston, and
found a lot. They also sought relief from the troubled question of slavery; the Brothers family,
with their slaves, camped under the big oak tree that stands today in the middle of the road as
you approach the Ridge in the section now known as [?]. They settled near the Barclay family
who kindly [???] stock for meat for the family. [?] men went as far as [?] County looking at the
country; they returned to the Ridge an' bought land on the [?] hill overlooking Big Creek and
began to build their homes. Grandpa Jesse Brothers served in the Civil [?], returned [?] on a
furlough and died before the war ended. He left several sons, among them William, [?], and
Jesse, Junior. His sons and grandsons followed farming for [?] occupation.

"[?] South, along the Ridge, lived [??], [?] son, Joel, was supposed to be the first official [??] in
the community [????]. [?] is [?] by the older settlers [?] the [????] a quiet friendly old lady with a
wealth of lore concerning early days of Texas . We came to this section in the early days with
[??] family, her relatives. The old [?] log house is still standing, but has been covered with
weather-boarding.

"One of Granny Moffett's daughters married Quinton [?]. Vann who farmed with [?] on the Little
Brazos River. There are many descendants of the [?] family, whose head was William [?]. They
came to the Ridge in an early day and William Erskine married Miss Mary Elizabeth Garrett.
They built near the little church-school house where the present Methodist church is at Stranger.
Frank [?] lives in the spacious old Erskine home in Stranger.

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"Still farther south-west, on the Ridge, is the old Eddins' home. John Eddins and family came to
Texas from Alabama in 1860; and, after a short stay in Marlin, bought a farm lying close to Big
Creek, in a valley between a ridge of hills. The farm now belongs to the Jesse Brothers' estate.
Jasper Garrett persuaded Eddins to build his home up on the Ridge about the time the Civil War
began. Eddins bought sufficient ground from the Garretts to build the home. Mr. Eddins and his
sons had to walk a mile across the sandy ridge to get to his farm, leaving his wife and daughter,
Kate to keep house.

"Near the Eddins home was the home of Hodge and also of Swinnes. And nor far away was the
pioneer home of Allen Morrell, a son of the Baptist preacher, Rev. Z. N. Morrell. Two years
ago, all that remained of the Morrell home, a heap of logs, was moved to the Falls County Old
Settlers Association grounds and there were built into a log cabin in remembrance of those early
pioneers. This old Morrell home stood on a spot later occupied by the home of Bill Fannin; then
Grady Blair bought the place. It stood on top of the Ridge, overlooking Big Creek Valley and
from it could be seen one of the most picturesque views in the county. For miles one could see
the farms, dotting the countryside, with little spots of grass land and trees scattered about.
Through this country runs old Big Creek which flows into the Brazos River. East of this Morrell
home is the town of Marlin.

"Mr. W. T. Fannin came to the Ridge in 1875 and bought the Moffett home; later it was sold to
the Blairs. On the Ridge, southwest of the Moffett home was the home of the Prices. W. A.
Price, Junior, a son of the pioneer lives in the old Price home today.

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In 1882, Dr. and Mrs. J. C. Shaw came to the Ridge to live and settled east of the Price home.
Dr. Shaw served fifteen months in the Alabama Calvary of the Confederate Army. He was a
native of Alabama and his wife, Miss Nannie Sypart, was a Tennessean. Dr. Shaw practiced on
the Ridge for many years, then moved to Marlin, where he died. His son, Dr. Frank Shaw
succeeded him in his practice.

"About a mile south of the Stranger store, [?] Rogers and John Marlin settled a few years after
the battle of San Jacinto. The Rogers family settled on the Ridge, while the Marlin family settled
at a place known as [?], a few miles south of the present town of Marlin. The Rogers and the
Merlin families came from Tennessee, following the footsteps of Sam Houston.

"The Kay home and store were built where old Mrs. Gertrude Hancock lived and was south
east of Stranger. Mr. Kay was a farmer and devoted church worker. He organized the first
Sunday School at Stranger and was superintendent until his death. He was an un-official post
master before the rural mail service was established. On business trips to Kosse, he would call
for the people's mail and bring it to his store, where they came to get it. Mrs. Kays' son, by a
former marriage, was Hollman Hancock. He married Miss Gertrude Garrett, daughter of the
pioneer family of Garrets, of Blue Ridge. [?], Sanford Hancock, still owns and operates the
store at Stranger on the Ridge.

"It is difficult to give the dividing line between Stranger and the Reagan community. The Stranger
community on the Ridge can be seen for miles from the Waco-Marlin state highway. In fair
weather, there is always a deep blue atmosphere over it, hence the name of Blue Ridge. The old
Hunnicutt home stands overlooking the valley on the Ridge stands today just as it stood when
Winfield Scott Hunnicutt located

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there in 1849. Additions have been made to the house and the logs covered with
weather-boarding lumber. Two of his sons still live in the old house.

"You may stand on the Ridge and look westward where you can see the broad valley as it
abruptly drops down below you with a ravine between the Ridge and the valley. Farms, farm
houses and the green woods of Big Creek, dot this valley. In the fall of the year cotton pickers
can be seen swinging to and fro, gathering the fleecy staple. Tall trees, sloping hill and beautiful
prairies form a never-to-be-forgotten picture. About ten miles to the west can be seen the tops
of buildings in Marlin, and a few miles beyond Marlin, one can see the trees which border the
Brazos River.

"The Ridge gradually slopes south west to the little town of Reagan. Here is a small creek,
named Salt Branch and on its banks many of the early settlers sleep the last sleep, unmindful of
the changes wrought by Father Times since they came, in their ambition to build new homes, to
the new state of Texas .

"To the east, lies the town of Kosse, where the Houston and Texas Central Railroad came
through in the seventies. Some of the early Ridge settlers moved over to Kosse for the benefit of
the railroad facilities. Among them was Dr. Toland, who came to the Ridge as a young doctor.
He, like Dr. Poindexter, boarded at Granny William's. They could tell many a story of those
early days. I remember one story that they loved to tell. All the people met at the little church to
pray for rain. One woman came with her coat and umbrella, prepared for an answer to their
prayers. They brought their lunch and spent the day. Alone in the afternoon, the sky [?]
over-cast and by late afternoon, it began to rain and what a rain fell! It rained so hard that all the
creeks got out of banks and the crowd

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had to spend the night in the little school-church house and they spent the night giving thanks for
their answer to prayer. But only one came prepared for an answer to their prayers. It was one of
the oldest members of the flock and she declared that in time gone by, the way to receive an
answer to prayer, was to have the faith to be ready for it.

"The Pools and the Bells were other families whose names are indelibly written into the history of
the Blue Ridge settlement. The Bell family came from Tennessee in the [?]; they had a large
family and took an active part in the affairs of the community. Two sons served in the Civil War
and one had lost his life in the war with Mexico, along with fifteen other men from [?] county.
Other prominent early families were the Arnetts, Mayes, Herron, Nichols, Vann, Hickman,
Darden, [?], Saxon, Clawson and many others who lived farther south on the Ridge. About
1870, two single men came from Tennessee; they were Henry Clay [Cowan?] and Jim Owens.
Mr. Cowan married Miss Laura Wyche, who was teaching school near Bremond. She was a
daughter of Dr. George Wyche who settled in the settlement known so Bedias, near Anderson,
Texas , in the days before the Civil War. Jim Owens married Miss Betty Robertson, who came
from a large family who lived on the lower Ridge. The Owenses made their home at Reagan,
where they reared a family. The Cowan family, with others from the Ridge, moved in the early
seventies to what was then known as Willow Springs, and is now the town of Mart.

"It is difficult to give even a brief sketch of those early settlers, but the Stranger settlement dates
back to the days before the Mexican War. The Hunnicutts, the Barnes, Cornelisons, Williams,

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Mitchells, and others who settled on Blue Ridge at Woodland, had a definite part in the building
of the Stranger community. There were other communities on the Ridge, and all are [?] linked
with the history of Falls county. In this outline, mention only is made of those who lived nearest
the place where the school and church were held. It was many years later that the place secured
a post office and was given the name of Stranger

"Dr. Forbes had a gin a few hundred yards from his home. Later, Thomas Kerchain built a store
and another man built a blacksmith shop. So, to a spot near the [??], came the first essentials of
a community center, i. e., a doctor, a gin, a blacksmith shop, and a store. Kay's store was
located where the present Hancock store stands today. Kerchain and others saw the advantage
of having a post office up on the hill, and they wrote the government for blanks on which to
make application for a post office. Kerchain received those blanks, worked out all the detalils
and then they made their way to the nearest place to receive a hearing, probably Waco or
Marlin.

"According to local history, the hearing was favorable and the need for a post office was
established. And, the story goes, that the name the applicants suggested did not meet with the
approval of those who held the hearing and that one of the officials, with some impatience,
turned to Kerchain, who spoked English brokenly, and said: "Come, come! Can't you think of a
suitable name?" To which Kerchain hesitantly replied, "Well, I don't know. I'm just a stranger in
the community." To this the official replied, "Well, that will do-- Stranger ," and he wrote the
word "Stranger" upon the application blank which went to Washington and was approved. So
this is the story of how Stranger, on Blue Ridge, got its name.
 
 

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"My parents, {Begin inserted text} {Begin handwritten} Mr. Mrs. W. D. Keyser {End
handwritten} {End inserted text} emigrated to Texas before the War Between the States,
and settled in Falls {Begin inserted text} {Begin handwritten} {End handwritten} {End
inserted text} County {Begin inserted text} {Begin handwritten} {End handwritten} {End
inserted text} where they reared their children to maturity. On the {Begin inserted text} {Begin
handwritten} 12 {End handwritten} {End inserted text} th day of December 1894 I married
Walter Emmett Hunnicutt {Begin inserted text} {Begin handwritten} {End handwritten}
{End inserted text} who was also born in Falls county June 11th, 1865. He was a son of
Winfield Scott Hunnicutt who settled on Blue Ridge in 1849, emigrating from the state of
Tennessee, where he was widely known as a surveyor. He was also a member of Company B.
of Waller's battalion, General Hardeman's brigade of the Confederate army.

"The pioneer record for large families were almost broken by this family of Winfield {Begin
deleted text} cott {End deleted text} {Begin inserted text} {Begin handwritten} Scott {End
handwritten} {End inserted text} Hunnicutt, father of my husband {Begin inserted text}
{Begin handwritten} {End handwritten} {End inserted text} Walter Emmett. There were
seventeen children in all and all lived to reach the age of maturity. My husband Wlater Emmett,
received his preliminary education in the Blue Ridge public school. Then attended the
Southwestern College at Georgetown Texas . And previous to this was a pupil of a Mr
Chambers of Kosse. After finishing school he devoted his time to farming for two years. {Begin
deleted text} ot {End deleted text} {Begin inserted text} {Begin handwritten} Not {End
handwritten} {End inserted text} being content with this life he entered the law office of
Goodrich and Clarkson at Marlin and began reading law. He was admitted to the bar by Judge
Scott of Marlin {Begin inserted text} {Begin handwritten} {End handwritten} {End inserted
text} after standing his examination under Messrs Swan, Harlan, and Boyles {Begin inserted
text} {Begin handwritten} {End handwritten} {End inserted text} attorneys of Marlin.

"before he completed his preperation for the bar he had the honor of being elected District Clerk
for Falls[,?] county {Begin inserted text} {Begin handwritten} {End handwritten} {End
inserted text} and held this office for two years, then began the practice of law in Marlin and
pursued it {Begin handwritten} [??????] {End handwritten}

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for four years {Begin inserted text} {Begin handwritten} {End handwritten} {End inserted
text} then was elected {Begin deleted text} [?] {End deleted text} {Begin inserted text}
{Begin handwritten} County {End handwritten} {End inserted text} Judge and was {Begin
deleted text} [?] {End deleted text} {Begin inserted text} {Begin handwritten} re-elected
{End handwritten} {End inserted text} at different times for this office, serving in all fourteen
years. He was Worshipful Master of the Masonic Lodge NO. 152 at Marlin and also a member
of the Maccabees and Woodman of the World. For his church affiliation he was a Methodist.
Our children are Emmmett Junior who resides with me and married Miss Josephine Merriman of
Lockport, New York, where he resided for twenty years before returning recently to Marlin
where he is now doing government work. Horace T {Begin inserted text} {Begin
handwritten} {End handwritten} {End inserted text} our other son, passed away in 1919
{Begin inserted text} {Begin handwritten} {End handwritten} {End inserted text} at the age
of 18 years. These two boys were our only children.

"During Judge Hunnicutts life as Judge there were many interesting things which happened in our
county and town. He lived to see it grow from a small village to the present notable health resort
where many are brought here for the benefit of the Marlin Hot water. Judge Hunnicutt died in
December of 1936.

"I will try to tell you of some of the first families of the Blue Ridge community where Judge
Hunnicutt's father settled in 1849, and the way they lived at that time. First there were the
Forbes family. The Forbes family came to the Ridge from Tenneessee. Dr and Mrs Robert
Forbes arrived in the early fifties. His son Dr L. {Begin deleted text} [?] {End deleted text}
{Begin inserted text} {Begin handwritten} {End handwritten} {End inserted text} . Forbes
graduated from the New Orleans school of medicine {Begin inserted text} {Begin
handwritten} {End handwritten} {End inserted text} and practice both on the Ridge and at
Marlin. {Begin inserted text} {Begin handwritten} {End handwritten} {End inserted text}
The elder Forbes built their home on the spot where Mrs Forbes lives today, this was in the
fifties {Begin inserted text} {Begin handwritten} {End handwritten} {End inserted text}
long before the Civil War. Aside {Begin deleted text} [?] {End deleted text} {Begin inserted
text} {Begin handwritten} from {End handwritten} {End inserted text} his practice of
medicine Dr L.D. Forbes invented a mechanical cotton gin where the feeders automatically
carries the cotton to the gin saws or {Begin inserted text} {Begin handwritten} {End
handwritten} {End inserted text} units.

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"Near the Forbes and Barclay home was a mule driven gin located across the road from the
Swinnes place {Begin inserted text} {Begin handwritten} , owned {End handwritten} {End
inserted text} by Bill Erskine and later by Ed Vann {Begin inserted text} {Begin handwritten}
{End handwritten} {End inserted text} where it was moved down near Big Creek and used
until discarded for the newer model.

"Another early family was the Barclay family. The head {Begin inserted text} {Begin
handwritten} of {End handwritten} {End inserted text} the family was known as "Squire"
and they lived in a log house on the spot a few hundred yards north of where {Begin deleted
text} [?] {End deleted text} {Begin inserted text} {Begin handwritten} Hancock's {End
handwritten} {End inserted text} store stands today. Farther north-east on the Ridge were the
Garretts {Begin inserted text} {Begin handwritten} {End handwritten} {End inserted text}
who came from Tenneessee about the year 1849. The old house with some improvement stands
today, a silent reminder of those early days. The family history is one of romance, destiny and
accomplishment. The original head of the family was Thomas Garrett His children were Jasper,
Mary Elizabeth, Cynthia Ann, and Catherine, Jim, Rhoda, Sarah, Tom and Fennie. All are linked
with the history and development of this section.

"Following the Ridge in the location of what is now Stranger, the next is the old home place of
the Brothers family. Jesse Brothers {Begin inserted text} {Begin handwritten} {End
handwritten} {End inserted text} wife and children {Begin inserted text} {Begin
handwritten} {End handwritten} {End inserted text} came from Tenneessee in the late fifties
{Begin inserted text} {Begin handwritten} {End handwritten} {End inserted text} bringing
their slaves with them. Like so many of their neighbors they sought new {Begin deleted text}
fortune {End deleted text} {Begin inserted text} {Begin handwritten} fortune's {End
handwritten} {End inserted text} in the land {Begin inserted text} {Begin handwritten}
where {End handwritten} {End inserted text} their former fellow Tennessesan, Sam Houston,
had found a place. Also they sought relief from troubled times over the slavery {Begin deleted
text} [?] {End deleted text} {Begin inserted text} {Begin handwritten} question {End
handwritten} {End inserted text} preceding the War Between the States. The Brothers and
their slaves camped under the big oak tree that stands today in the middle of the road as you
approach the Ridge in the section now known as Stranger. This was near the Barlcay home and
these good people were kind to the

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Forbes family furnishing them stock for meat for the family {Begin deleted text} [?] {End
deleted text} {Begin inserted text} {Begin handwritten} and {End handwritten} {End
inserted text} their {Begin deleted text} [?] {End deleted text} {Begin inserted text} {Begin
handwritten} slaves {End handwritten} {End inserted text} . They finally {Begin inserted
text} {Begin handwritten} {End handwritten} {End inserted text} after looking around as far
as Leon County, returned and bought land on the high hill overlooking Big Creek and began
their lives in this section. Grandpa Jesse Brothers went to the {Begin deleted text} [?] {End
deleted text} {Begin inserted text} {Begin handwritten} War {End handwritten} {End
inserted text} between the States in the sixties and returned home on a furlough {Begin
inserted text} {Begin handwritten} {End handwritten} {End inserted text} where he died
before the war ended. He left several sons, William, Boog, {Begin deleted text} an {End
deleted text} {Begin inserted text} {Begin handwritten} and {End handwritten} {End
inserted text} Jesse, Jr. who extended their farming interest to succeeding generations. Mrs
Brothers married W.H.W. Williams and their only daughter married A.W. Eddins of San
Antonio, Texas . {Begin inserted text} {Begin handwritten} {End handwritten} {End
inserted text} Farther south along the Ridge lived Granny Moffett, whose son Joel was
supposed to be the first official mail carrier {Begin inserted text} {Begin handwritten} {End
handwritten} {End inserted text} for the community of Stranger {Begin inserted text} {Begin
handwritten} {End handwritten} {End inserted text} on the Ridge. She is remembered by the
older settlers of the Ridge and Marlin as being a quiet friendly old lady, with a lore of stories of
the early days of Texas . She came to this section in the early days supoosedly with the Hodge
family {Begin inserted text} {Begin handwritten} {End handwritten} {End inserted text}
since they were near relatives and lived close by. The Hodge home stands today built of logs,
but the logs have long since been covered with weather boarding.

"A daughter of Granny Moffett married Quinton H. Vann who {Begin deleted text} [?] {End
deleted text} {Begin inserted text} {Begin handwritten} was {End handwritten} {End
inserted text} associated with the Erskines in farming on the Brazos (Little) bottom. There are
many descendants of the Erskine family whose head was William {Begin deleted text} [?] {End
deleted text} {Begin inserted text} {Begin handwritten} Erskine, {End handwritten} {End
inserted text} who came to the Ridge and married Miss Mary Elizabeth Garrett and they made
their home near the first school and church combined, on the site of the present Methodist
-Presbyrterian church. {Begin inserted text} {Begin handwritten} [at Stranger?] {End
handwritten} {End inserted text} There are the Frank Erskines who with their children have
lived for many years in the spacious old Erskine home, a familiar sight to all who pass thro' the
town of Stranger.

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"Still farther south-west on the Ridge is the Eddins place. John Eddins and {Begin deleted text}
familu {End deleted text} {Begin inserted text} {Begin handwritten} family {End
handwritten} {End inserted text} arrived from Alabama in 1860 and after a short stay in
Marlin {Begin inserted text} {Begin handwritten} {End handwritten} {End inserted text}
bought a farm lying close to Big Creek {Begin inserted text} {Begin handwritten} {End
handwritten} {End inserted text} in a valley between a ridge of hills {Begin inserted text}
{Begin handwritten} {End handwritten} {End inserted text} The farm now belongs to the
Jesse Brothers estate. Jasper Garrett persuaded Mr Eddins to build his home up on the Ridge
about the time the War between the States began. He bought sufficient ground from the {Begin
deleted text} arretts {End deleted text} {Begin inserted text} {Begin handwritten} Garretts
{End handwritten} {End inserted text} to build the home and there he built the old Eddins
home. Mr Eddins and his boys walked a mile across the sandy ridge to the farm and the mother
and daughter, Kate, kept house and prepared the meal {Begin inserted text} {Begin
handwritten} {End handwritten} {End inserted text}

"Near the old Eddins home stood the Hodge and the Swimnea {Begin deleted text} [?] {End
deleted text} {Begin inserted text} {Begin handwritten} homes {End handwritten} {End
inserted text} . These families names {Begin deleted text} re {End deleted text} {Begin
inserted text} {Begin handwritten} are {End handwritten} {End inserted text} linked also
with the early settlers of the Ridge. But I must hasten on with these early settlers families. Not far
from the above mentioned homes was the former pioneer home of Allen Morrell, a son of the
pioneer baptist preacher Rev. Z.N. Morrell. Two years ago all that remained of the old Morrell
home was a heap of logs which was moved to the Falls County Old Settlers Association
grounds and built into a log cabin in remembrance of those early pioneers. This old home stood
on the spot later to be the Bill {Begin deleted text} [?] {End deleted text} {Begin inserted
text} {Begin handwritten} Fannin, {End handwritten} {End inserted text} then the Grady
Hair place, on top of the Ridge overlooking Big Creek Valley, and here is one of the most
{Begin deleted text} [?] {End deleted text} {Begin inserted text} {Begin handwritten}
picturesquis {End handwritten} {End inserted text} views in this country. For miles one can
see the farms, dotted with a little grass land and trees, through which runs, old Big Creel on
{Begin inserted text} {Begin handwritten} its {End handwritten} {End inserted text} way to
join the Brazos River, and over to the east lies the town of Marlin. {Begin deleted text} "On the
old Morrell home site has since stood the Hair, the Fannin, home also. The Hair family were
from Alabama. {End deleted text}

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"The Fannins had owned the Hair place buying from the Moffets. Mr W.T. Fannin came to the
Ridge in 1875. Following the ridge south-west- was the Price {Begin inserted text} {Begin
handwritten} home {End handwritten} {End inserted text} where the son Mr and Mrs W.A.
Price Jr. live today {Begin inserted text} {Begin handwritten} {End handwritten} {End
inserted text} carrying on the work in the same place where the elder Price cast his lot with his
young wife {Begin inserted text} {Begin handwritten} , ( {End handwritten} {End inserted
text} who after a career filled with romance and adventure in the Civil War times and
reconstruction days {Begin inserted text} {Begin handwritten} {End handwritten} {End
inserted text} , located here and reared their family.

"East-ward from the Price place in 1882 came Dr and Mrs J.C. Shaw to live. Mr Shaw was
from Alabama {Begin inserted text} {Begin handwritten} {End handwritten} {End inserted
text} serving fifteen months in the Alabama Calvalry. Confederate Army. His wife was a
Tennessean a Miss Nannie Sypert. Dr Shaw {Begin deleted text} [?] {End deleted text}
{Begin inserted text} {Begin handwritten} practiced {End handwritten} {End inserted text}
medicine many years and later moved to Marlin where the elder Dr passed on to his reward and
their son Dr Frank succeeded him in his practice.

"About a mile south of the Stranger store, came Larkin Rogers, and John Marlin {Begin
inserted text} {Begin handwritten} {End handwritten} {End inserted text} a few years after
the battle of San Jacinto. The Rogers family settled on the Ridge while the Marlin family settled
at the place known as Bucksport, a few miles south of the present town of Marlin. The Rogers
and Marlin families came out of Tennessee, according to the records {Begin inserted text}
{Begin handwritten} {End handwritten} {End inserted text} out of admiration for their fellow
Tennesseean and friend, Sam Houston. The story of John Marlin and the Indian Massacres on
the Marlin family and the naming of Falls county is another story.

"The {Begin deleted text} ay {End deleted text} {Begin inserted text} {Begin handwritten}
Kay {End handwritten} {End inserted text} home and store were located where the old Mrs
Gertrude Hancock home south-east of {Begin inserted text} {Begin handwritten} where {End
handwritten} {End inserted text} Stranger store stands today. Mr Kay was a farmer and
devoted church worker. He organized the first Sunday {Begin deleted text} [?] {End deleted
text} {Begin inserted text} {Begin handwritten} School {End handwritten} {End inserted
text} at Stranger

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{Begin page no. 7}
and was superintendant until his death. He was a sort of un-official post-master before the rural
mail service came this way. When on his business trips to Kosse he woud call for the people's
mail and bring it to his {Begin deleted text} [?] {End deleted text} {Begin inserted text}
{Begin handwritten} store, {End handwritten} {End inserted text} where they came for it.
Mrs Kay's son by a {Begin deleted text} [?] {End deleted text} {Begin inserted text} {Begin
handwritten} former {End handwritten} {End inserted text} marraige was Hollman Hancock
{Begin inserted text} {Begin handwritten} {End handwritten} {End inserted text} who
married Miss Gertrude Garrett, a daughter of the pioneer family of Garretts of Blue Ridge. Mrs
Hancocks son, Sanford, still owns the store at Stranger on the Ridge. {Begin inserted text}
{Begin handwritten} {End handwritten} {End inserted text} It is difficult to give the dividing
line of the Ridge and just which part the families lived {Begin deleted text} [?] {End deleted
text} {Begin inserted text} {Begin handwritten} farther {End handwritten} {End inserted
text} south in the Reagan community were a number of early settlers which I will give you later
perhaps. The ridge where the Stranger community is can be seen for miles from the state high
way to {Begin deleted text} [?] {End deleted text} {Begin inserted text} {Begin
handwritten} Marlin {End handwritten} {End inserted text} from Waco, Texas . In fair
weather it is always a deep blue atmosphere {Begin inserted text} {Begin handwritten} {End
handwritten} {End inserted text} hence the name of Blue Ridge. {Begin deleted text} [?]
{End deleted text} {Begin inserted text} {Begin handwritten} The {End handwritten} {End
inserted text} old Hunnicutt home stands overlooking the valley on the ridge today just as it
stood when Winfield Scott Hunnicutt located here in 1849, with the exception of the additions
which have been made and the old logs covered with a modern weather {Begin inserted text}
{Begin handwritten} {End handwritten} {End inserted text} boarding lumber. In it there still
live two of his sons.

"You may stand on yhe {Begin deleted text} [?] {End deleted text} {Begin inserted text}
{Begin handwritten} Ridge {End handwritten} {End inserted text} and look westward. See
the broad valley as it abruptly drops down below you with a ravine between the Ridge and the
valley. See the farm houses dotted here and there[?] The green woods {Begin deleted text} [?]
{End deleted text} {Begin inserted text} {Begin handwritten} of {End handwritten} {End
inserted text} Big Creek valley and in the fall of the year see the cotton pickers as they swing to
and fro' gathering the fleecy staple. Tall trees-- Hills -- and prairie forming a picture to
remember. While over about ten miles to the west see the tops of the buildings of the town of
Marlin {Begin inserted text} {Begin handwritten} {End handwritten} {End inserted text}
and a few miles beyond Marlin one can see the trees which border the Brazos river,

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"To the south following the ridge as it gradually {Begin deleted text} [?] {End deleted text}
{Begin inserted text} {Begin handwritten} slope's {End handwritten} {End inserted text}
south-west towards the little town of Reagan {Begin deleted text} on {End deleted text}
{Begin inserted text} {Begin handwritten} one {End handwritten} {End inserted text} can
see the old Salt Branch {Begin inserted text} {Begin handwritten} {End handwritten} {End
inserted text} a small creek {Begin inserted text} {Begin handwritten} {End handwritten}
{End inserted text} near by many of the early settlers sleep the last sleep unmindful of the
changes which Father Time has wrought since they first came in their ambition for {Begin
deleted text} omes {End deleted text} {Begin inserted text} {Begin handwritten} homes
{End handwritten} {End inserted text} in the new state of Texas .

"To the east lies the town of Kosse where the Houston and Texas Central came through in the
seventies. Some of the early {Begin deleted text} idge {End deleted text} {Begin inserted
text} {Begin handwritten} Ridge {End handwritten} {End inserted text} settlers moved over
to this town for the benefit of the rail-road facilities. Among them was Dr Toland {Begin
inserted text} {Begin handwritten} now living at Kosse {End handwritten} {End inserted
text} who came to the ridge as a young doctor and he {Begin inserted text} {Begin
handwritten} {End handwritten} {End inserted text} too {Begin inserted text} {Begin
handwritten} {End handwritten} {End inserted text} like Dr Poindexter boarded at Granny
Williams. [They?] could tell many a story of those early days. One I remember of how they met
at the little church and prayed for rain, one woman came with her coats and umbrella prepared
for the answer to their prayers. They brought their lunch and spent the day.

"Along in the afternoon the sky became overcast with clouds, and by late afternoon it began to
rain and did it rain? Well it rained so hard the creeks all were up so the crowd had to spend the
night in the little school- church house and there they spent the time giving thanks for their answer
to prayer. But only one had the faith to come prepared, and it seems that it was Granny Williams
or perhaps Granny Cornelison or [?] Moffett[,?] Any way it was one of the oldest members of
the flock, who declared that in time gone by the way to receive answer to their prayer was to
have the faith to be ready for it.

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{Begin page no. 9}
"Other families whose names are indelibly written in the history of the Blue Ridge settlement are
those of Bell, who came from Tennessee in the fifties and the Pools. The bells had a large family
and they had much to do with the building of this community. Two sons served in the Civil War
and one lost his life in the war with Mexico along with fifteen others from Falls county. Others
are the Arnetts, Hayes, Herron, Nichols, Vann, Hickman, darden, Loggins, Saxon, and
Clawson and many others who lived farther south on the {Begin deleted text} idge {End
deleted text} {Begin inserted text} {Begin handwritten} Ridge {End handwritten} {End
inserted text} . About the year 1870 two single young men came from Tennessee, they were
Henry Clay cowan and Jim Owens. Mr Cowan married a Miss Laura Wyche who was teaching
school near {Begin deleted text} [?] {End deleted text} {Begin inserted text} {Begin
handwritten} Bremond {End handwritten} {End inserted text} . A daughter of Dr George
Wyche who settled in the settlement known as Bedias, near Anderson {Begin inserted text}
{Begin handwritten} {End handwritten} {End inserted text} Texas {Begin inserted text}
{Begin handwritten} {End handwritten} {End inserted text} in the days before the Civil War.
Mr Ownes married a Miss Betty Robertson, from a large family of the lower Ridge and they
made their home at Reagan, Texas where they reared a family. The Cowan family with others
from the Ridge moved in the early {Begin deleted text} senties {End deleted text} {Begin
inserted text} {Begin handwritten} seventies (70's) {End handwritten} {End inserted text}
to the then Willow Springs community, later known as Mart. {Begin inserted text} {Begin
handwritten} {End handwritten} {End inserted text} It is difficult to give even a brief sketch
of those early settlers, but the above {Begin inserted text} {Begin handwritten} settlement
{End handwritten} {End inserted text} date back to the days before the Mexican War. The
Hunnicutt's the Barnes, Cornelisons, Williams {Begin inserted text} {Begin handwritten} {End
handwritten} {End inserted text} Mitchells and others who settled on Blue Ridge at {Begin
deleted text} [?] {End deleted text} {Begin inserted text} {Begin handwritten} Woodland
{End handwritten} {End inserted text} -- had a definite part in making the Stranger
community. There were other communities on the Ridge and all are inseperably linked with the
making of Falls county. In this outline {Begin inserted text} {Begin handwritten} {End
handwritten} {End inserted text} mention is made of those who lived nearest the place where
the school and church was held, and it was many years later that the place secured a post-office
and the name of Stranger given to it.

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{Begin page no. 10}
"As I mentioned before {Begin deleted text} [?] {End deleted text} {Begin inserted text}
{Begin handwritten} Dr {End handwritten} {End inserted text} Forbes had a gin a few
hundreds yards from his home. Then a man set up a black-smith shop and another built a store
near by. His name was Thomas Kerchain. So to a spot near the Forbes home came the first
essentials of a community center, a doctor, a gin, a black smith shop and a store. Kay's store
was located where the present Hancock store stands today. Up on the hill Kerchain and others
saw the advantage of a post-office and wrote the government for blanks for making the
application for one. He received them and worked out all the details of filling them out. They
then made their way to the nearest place to receive a hearing, probably to Marlin or Waco.

"According to the story the hearing was favorable and the need for a post office was established.
And the story goes that the name the applicants suggested did not meet with the approval of
those who gave the hearing and one of the officials with some impatiens turned to Kerchain who
spoke broken English and said" Come, Come[!?] Cant you think of a suitable name? To which
Kerchain hesitated and replied "Well, I dont know. I'm just a stranger in the community". To this
the official replied, "Well that will do-- "Stranger" and he wrote the word {Begin inserted text}
{Begin handwritten} {End handwritten} {End inserted text} Stranger {Begin inserted text}
{Begin handwritten} {End handwritten} {End inserted text} upon the application blank
which went to Washington and was finally approved. So this is the story of how Stranger, on the
Blue Ridge {Begin inserted text} {Begin handwritten} {End handwritten} {End inserted
text} got its name.