The facts and figures are in order, so we know this unknown storyteller had his first hand observations of the events of the day. He simply begins this piece of our history with the section entitled:
Barnard’s Mill: “Mill Privileges: In 1861, Charlie Barnard commenced a large corn and flour mill on the Paluxy about six miles below Mr. Williams’ mill. This was intended for a merchant’s mill and at that time it cost about thirty thousand dollars to put into successful operation. The building was of stone and the timber hauled by ox teams from the pine mill in East Texas, a distance of one hundred and thirty miles and cost from fifty to seventy dollars per thousand. It did a good business; the most of the wheat in the joining counties came to Barnard’s mill. It being completed induced the oldest settlers who had land adapted for wheat to enlarge their farms and sow wheat. All of the creek valleys were the best of wheat land. The first settlers were on the creeks and branches for wood and water. The Brazos Valley was best adapted to corn and cotton, but no cotton was planted until about 1866-1867.
All that remained on their homesteads and endured the hardships and privations of a frontier life and the danger of the Indians until 1864 made the country self-sustaining and strong enough to protect themselves against the Indians which were very troublesome at this time.
Roads: Of course we had no roads except from one settlement to another; every man that wanted a road, made it. When a man located in a settlement the first thing to do was to blaze a road to his neighbors; if it was through the timbers I would set up a stake or plow a furrow. I made a road from my house to Meridian, a distance of about twenty miles. I had been to Meridian two or three times and surveyed out my road, and in the fall of 1960 I went with my wagon and my wife went with me. I fastened a log on to the hind axletree of my wagon to drag and mark the road. When we came to a cedar brake or other timber my wife drove and I went before with my axe and cleared up the road. This is the road now from Barker Branch to Meridian.
Somervell County: Somervell County was created in 1875, out of about two hundred square miles of territory taken off the south end of Hood County and the county site was located at Barnard’s Mill. We had only one legal road in 1875 and it was the one leading from Granbury to Barnard’s Mill. After this the roads were established.
Squatter Sovereignty: – to be continued….