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Blog for Ellis County Texas History

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Friday, April 6, 2018

The first recorded white settler on Ellis County land - William Howe

William R. Howe came to Texas in 1839 from Lauderdale County, Tennessee. Howe was issued a conditional certificate, Number 1301, by the General Land Office Of the Republic of Texas on January 10, 1840. Howe claimed 640 acres on Chambers Creek between present-day Forreston and Italy. William Howe was a carpenter, blacksmith, shoemaker and a farmer. Constant attacks from "Indians" caused a delay in the building of his home. But after pushing the "Indians" west Mr. Howe could finish his house and by the spring of 1842 it was built.  It was a two-story house with two stone fireplaces. The house was built on the north side of Chambers Creek and close to the Military road surveyed by Gen. William G. Cooke. 77 and I-35 follow the basic path of the military road of 1841. I believe somewhere near the old rest stop may be where the Howe homestead originally sat. Today, there is a house and barn a little below the old rest stop. I am not sure if the property holds any remains of the Howe settlement. The rest stop has been taken down and is taped off as of today. The Howe cabin was a standout structure compared to many cabins you would normally see built by pioneers who needed to establish their homestead before a certain date. Mr. Howe ran the post office at one time for all of North Texas and his house became a stagecoach stop. The area was known as Chambers Creek after the nearby tributary of Trinity River. When William Howe settled his land he was in Robertson County in the Republic of Texas. After Texas was annexed in 1845 Navarro County was cut out of Robertson County on July 13, 1846. Chambers Creek became the county seat of Navarro County. Later, in 1849 Ellis County would be proposed then cut out of Navarro County in 1850 including William Howe's property. It was a true wildland when Mr. Howe settled on Chambers Creek. He also took in captured Native American children that would be used to trade for pioneer children captured by Native Americans. William Howe also brought the first slave to the Ellis County region named Reuben. Buffalo would hang out near the property so food was always available. Wild horses were there for the taking also. Native Americans would enter the properties claiming to be hunting but it was known they were likely there to steal horses the pioneers had collected. It was a time when a man could cut his own life out of the wilderness using his tenacity, skill, and pure will. For more info visit the Ellis County Museum in downtown Waxahachie where you can fund a small biographical sketch book on Mr. Willaim R. Howe for around $4. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Friday, February 2, 2018

Bessie Coleman- First African American Woman Pilot (MSN Black History Month)


Waxahachie former resident, Bessie Coleman had an interesting short video on MSN for Black History Month.

“I knew we had no aviators, neither men nor women, and I knew the Race needed to be represented along this most important line, so I thought it my duty to risk my life to learn aviation,”

 “The air is the only place free from prejudices.”

Here is a small Blog for Ellis County Texas story on this amazing woman.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

The Mulkey-Loggins House - Ennis, TX is now in Midlothian, TX

          Mulkey-Loggins House picture from

The Mulkey-Loggins House, 110 N Elm St, Ennis, TX. until October 2015 to be moved to Midlothian, Tx and restored.

 This property was part of a tract settled in 1854 by pioneer Philip A. Mulkey (d. 1862). Ennis was founded in 1871, when the Houston & Texas Central Railroad reached this point. Mulkey's son James (1859-1903), a prosperous cattleman, included this site in the Highland Addition, a neighborhood that he developed after Ennis became the railroad's divisional headquarters in 1891. Dr. James C. Loggins (1845-1921), mayor and city alderman, erected this Victorian residence in 1898. It was purchased in 1944 by Keith Mulkey, James Mulkey's grandson, and his wife Tina Beth (Wheeler). (1978)

I have worked next to the Mulkey-Loggins property for years and one time I was visited by some previous occupiers of the house. One told me as a child they had lived in the house and remembered cattle had been driven on a trail on the north side of the property where Wal Mart is currently. The old house had a water well  located on the north side of the property and the little girl would watch the cowboys get a drink of water as they drove the cattle into town.

The Mulkey family pleaded with city of Ennis to keep the house in Ennis. One family member was told "It's just an old house." So the City of Ennis decided to let it go.  A gofundme account was put together and money was raised but was unsuccessful. In comes an investor from Duncanville, Tx who owns FOUNDER'S ROW and saves the day! For a 117 years it sat in this location.  Now it's new location will be in Midlothian, Tx.  It was moved between Avenue G and Avenue F streets in an empty lot between 11th and 12th street. It is currently being remodeled and looks to be almost finished as of 2018.   The car wash is in now in at the houses original location and it almost seemed cursed at first. I thought the car wash would never open.  They had the gas line cut twice and had to move the whole sewer line around to get it in the right place. It opened a year later than expected. Here are some pics of the extraction.

Above in the car is lady who actually lived in the house. It was hard to watch for the nice lady  who grew up in the house. She cried when they started moving the quartered house but in the end history was preserved and in good hands.


Friday, February 17, 2017

The Shawnee Cattle Trai through Western Ellis County Marker

Driving through Italy, TX a week ago I decided to take a scenic route towards 5 points.  As I descended L R Campbell rd (Named for Lee Robert Campbell) to the Chambers Creek bottom I spotted a Historical Marker on the right.  "That was never there before!", I said to myself.  Its behind a wire fence at the entrance to Pecan Springs Ranch .  The ranch's website provides a lot of history of the Shawnee Cattle trail and the ancestry of the land in the Sims family.  A beautiful area if not the most beautiful area in Ellis County. The Shawnee Cattle Trail was the original cattle trail north.  I'm not sure if the trail actually follows the road but I do know the cattle drives varied because they had to find land that hadn't been grazed before and it was thought Western Ellis County was chosen because of the prairie lands and the many creeks and springs. I know that Buena Vista Road that connects Waxahachie to Maypearl was the basic path of a connector trail between the main cattle trails. Lots of interesting hard working cowpokes came through here. 


Thursday, October 23, 2014

Ellie May- Ellis County Mammoth

So there have been many news stories done on the Mammoth Ellie May found in between Italy and Avalon in Ellis County.  I've been googling all the stories and heard one where the guy on the dig say that three Mammoth have been pulled from Ellis County earth. One near Bardwell(I'm guessing when the Lake was built in the 60's but not for sure) and one in North Ellis County in the 1920's.But nothing as complete as this Mammoth.

An added note I've been reading a book on Ely Green called "Too Black, Too White."  In 1912 Ely worked in Waxahachie for the Stone & Webster Company who was building a bridge for the North Traction Company.  While digging a hole for a pier "at ten feet he (Ely) dug up a rock that looked polished a weighed 10 pounds" Judge Dunlap was watching and asked to see it.  He proclaimed it to be a Mastodon tooth and that he would put it in the Sims Library.  I'm assuming this is the trestle that crossed Waxahachie Creek south of downtown.  Don't know if it ever made it to the Sims Library.

In the late 80's early 90's I walked out to the old brick factory in Ferris where the golf course is now.  On a hill where they got the clay for the bricks I found some vertebrae. I can't remember if I kept it or not.  Seems like I left it.  Surely, workers came across bones while moving the dirt there. 


Monday, September 16, 2013


Trumball circa 1968

You probably blow right past Trumbull on I-45 and don't think much about it. Well honestly, there really isn't a lot there. A Quiet community with maybe two or three businesses where chickens roam the neighborhood.The People who live there are pretty much considered to be in Ferris. Trumbull has always had a Ferris connection. In 1872 it became a switch on the Houston and Central railroad. In fact, the Engineer's referred to the town as "The Switch." Which means it really didn't have a name. Since the late 1800's Trumbull had gone by a few names. Three Mexican section hands(some say ranch hands) were killed on the tracks and buried on the near by Smith's property on the west side of the tracks. The graves were marked with steel rails. After this the town became known as "Ghost Hill." The Engineer , Mr Valley, would hang a red lantern out out of respect for the dead when he came through town.The town would go through two more names, "Mackie" and "Clemma", until It was finally named Trumbull in honor of J. A. Trumbull, a railroad official.

  In early 1900's a resident recalled that 16 coal burning passenger trains per day would come though Trumbull. Pretty good traffic and this allowed for businesses to thrive. Grocery stores, a saloon, a bank, and a doctor's office. In the early 1900's, the stores were in wooden buildings over by the railroad track. There were three groceries - one operated by L. N. Lee, who also had a small saloon inside. Another grocery store, owned by Jim Davis, had a soda fountain, and sold clothes, shoes and bolts of material. He was also a druggist, owned the first gas station in Trumbull, and a lumber yard on the other side of the tracks. Next to the grocery store was a restaurant, a barber shop (owned by Eli Whitley) and a doctor's office. The Texas Electric Railway came through about 1913 and you get your tickets at Mr. Perkin's store. The interurban station was a three-sided building. In 1954 there was the Trumbull Implement Co., Perkins Grocery store, a filling station, store and market, and a gin run by Larry Smith. The Trumbull Implement factory was owned by John Toal. It was said that he had an ingenious way of making plows. Some say that they were so well built that he put himself out of business because they lasted so long. The sons carried on the business until 1983.

 Originally the town had a log cabin school in 1912 east of town but eventually they built a fine two story brick school. I believe maybe in the late 1910's. I noticed many brick building were erected in this time period around Ellis county. A long time resident, Burnie L. Bailey, believes that the bricks for the school were delivered by train from Malakoff. The school was located just south of the main town. The aerial photograph above is taken from the west and the school would have been in a field to the right out of frame. The school taught up to the tenth grade. In 1945 the children were transferred to Ferris schools. Starting in 1945 Mexican cotton pickers up to 125 used the school building for living quarters. It eventually became abandoned and vandalized. I visited there in the late 1980's or early 1990's and saw the inside. Of course it was vandalized but we could still get up stairs. If my memory serves me right it had an auditorium up stairs. We were really surprised that it seemed like a very fine school for such a small town. In 1999 somebody burned it down and it was bulldozed. Now there is just a field for feeder corn  probably owned by investors that will sale it to the highest bidding gas station one day.
Thanks to Shanon Simpson from the Ellis County Museum for the pics

Monday, July 22, 2013

Ellis County North Western boundary 1878 - I-GN Railroad map

Internet searching about The International-Great Northern Railroad I found this map of 1878. Still shows Ellis County in it's original North west county line. The IGN Railroad would make some tracks in the west and southern parts of Ellis County in 1902.