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Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Why Ovilla is dry -Double-Barreled Shotguns

It's a mentality that stays in Ovilla today. Especially now since Ovilla is not the commercial hub it use to be in the 1850's. Now it's a place you want to retire or raise your kids and keep out the outside world the most you can. Leave all the violent crime and sinful pleasure business' in other communities. Ovillians can just drive to them if they need them. Of course having 5 or 6 churches in such a small community helps keep the those evil spirits out of town.

Ovilla in it's early days of the 1850's was a fairly big community for it's time but it was made of Church going people. Diehard Christians. Shiloh Church was the backbone and the community formed it's morals around it. They liked it that way. Keep the carnal in other towns. Well when some Dallas boys showed up to set up a mobile saloon near the Shiloh meetings, the citizens became the mighty hand of God. Shiloh was a big attraction and these Dallas boys were sent by a business man to capitalize on the Churches traffic. But didn't account for the Christians of action in the congregation.

The following is an account from the early days of Ovilla. Just for reference, according to an inflation calculator, what cost $300.00 in 1850 would cost $7014.96 in 2006. The recollection was written in 1890's about an even earlier time in Ovilla History.


Be it said to the honor of the early settlers, not only of Ellis county, but all over the State, that it was considered beneath the dignity of a man to misbehave at church; and so general was this the case, that if any one violated the rules of decorum, he was spotted as not a Texan, and this was not only true among church people, but even among those of desperate character. This state of decorum continued for quite a number of years, until people began to flock into Texas in large numbers, and then and not until then people began to misbehave at church. Es-
pecially was this true at Shiloh, at which time a man of Dallas sent some boys with "material" to Shiloh during one of these protracted occasions to run a saloon. When they opened up they were waited upon by the authorities to leave, but did not leave. Then the owner of the land waited upon them and notified them to desist, but still of no avail. Then a legal notice was issued and read to them, whereupon the boys began to pack up and dilly-dallied about it until services began at the stand; then started, and, as they passed the stand, fired off their pistols, putting their team to the top of their speed. Whereupon the male part of the congregation with one impulse arose and gave chase, overtaking them in about a half-mile, brought them back, tried them, bound them over to court, and placed them in the church house under guard. Their friends said there were not men enough on the camp-ground to keep them until morning, but by sundown we had twelve double-barreled shot-guns well charged, while the rabble on the outside numbered between fifty and a hundred; but we kept them all the tame till morning. Then their friends said we could not take them to Waxahachie; but we did, and lodged them in jail, and it cost the man who sent them to run the saloon about $300. Right here permit me to remark, though it is not a part of the history of Shiloh church, that doubtless through the influence of Shiloh no saloon has ever existed in the neighborhood, though it was tried a few years ago; but died in a short time for want of patronage." from the memories and biographies of ellis county

1 comment:

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