Blanco Chronicles
Published in the Blanco Courier April 12 1911
Republished in the Blanco County News September 09 1987

    We give the list of Confederate widows as best we can, some of the names below may be of those who died within the year or two, and we may have omitted some but the list is as near correct as we are able to give at present.
    Blanco:  Catherine A. Brown; Mattie  Cox;  Mary J.  Foster;  Mary E. Hardin;  V. F. Murry;
Elizabeth M. Neil;  N. E. Patterson;  Laura Price;  Pinkey J. Robison;  E. J. Smith;  Sarah J. Trainer;
B. Saunders;  Mrs. Wm. Triesch.
    Johnson City:  Sarah J. Beauchamp;  Martha Brown; Ophelia D. Crosby; Julia Felps; S. J. Hopper;
Mary Lee;  E. J. Mouser; Mary J. Russell,  Nannie B. Withers; Mary A. Bushnell;  Mrs. Joe Waller;
Martha Bird.
    Round Mountain:  Arcene Boozer;  Amanda E. Jenkins; L. F. Stribling.
    Twin Sisters:  Catherine Cloud;  Mrs. Herman Koch
     Hye:  Susan P. Doyle;  Elizabeth Tunnell;  Derinda Winkleman;  Mrs. Sanford Jennings.
    Cypress Mills:  Lusala Danel;  Christie Goeth
    Sandy:  Mary S. Sweatman.
    Some of these are the ones who stayed at home, cleared the land, broke it and made crops, faced starvation, and at times worse.  But bore it all with that bravery that the world had never witnessed until from 1861, to the close of the Civil War, while our fathers and grandfathers were undergoing the worst of privation and offering up their life blood for the cause they believed was just and right.  Ought we not honor them?  The man who does not is no man, whether he believes they were in the right or in the wrong, and - but pardon the digression we will try to go back to to some of the history of our country.
    A large percent of our younger people will not know of where we speak should we refer to Illinois, in Blanco County, and probably some of the older heads do not know why the community of McKinney was known for years as Illinois.  In the year 1870, if we have it right, Rev. A. B. West and Green Moore came to Blanco from Illinois and purchased land with the view of locating a colony from their old home state.
    The year following, 1871, Paul Millan,  M. H. Lawson, N. R. Smith, T. J. West, Tom Nickols and probably some others came out to Texas "The land of free range".  Tom Nickols returned to Illinois, the others came to Blanco, bought land up the river and made this their home, and the community  of  settlers from Illinois bore the name given them in honor of the state from which they came, and a few,  N. R. Smith,  T. J. West, Paul McMillan are living in the same community to which they came 40 years ago.
    In the ginning season of 1880 the mill and gin which stood where the Ethridge mill and gin now stand were burned.  It caught in the press which was of the old Screw Pattern, solid box and the cotton was packed in the lower box and tramped by pressmen.
    A man by the name of Giger was in the press, which was about one half full, when a report something like a pistol shot was heard and a stream of fire spurted from the press.  The lint flashed and burned all over the man as he called for help and as he was down in the box help could not be rendered him quick enough to save his life, and he died and was burned in the box.
    His brother who now lives at Cypress Mills came and carried the trunk of his body, the limbs were burned from it, to his home where it was buried.
    Adolph Beckman, then only a small barefoot boy, was at the engine and when it was found that the mill could not be saved, he ran to take the weight from the arm of the safety valve to prevent the boiler bursting.  He ran the length of the boiler on its top,  his bare feet sticking to it at each step, but he was so determined on his work that he said afterwards that he did not realize that his feet were cooked and burned deep into the flesh until after he had thrown off the safety  weight.  
    He was nearly cooked by the escaping steam, and it was many weeks before he was able to be out.
    It has been mentioned that the old Court house was burned;  it stood where the Masonic building now stands and was destroyed in 1876.
    In 1883 while the Court house was being built on the square in Blanco the saloon which stood on the south east corner of the square was burned.  When first discovered many thought it to be the Court house (now bank building) which was probably three fourths completed.
    In our next article we will give, correct as possible, one of the crimes that blot the fair page of our Country's history.  We were averse to the publishing of it but some of our readers requested it, claiming that is part of the making of Blanco County as she is today.  There never was a stream but that sometimes got muddy, neither a history but that has a dark page.  
by Sophorania Smith, Grandma Josephine Saunders Massey and Sarah Bay West

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