Taken from the article "The Flo News" in the Buffalo Express
written by Norma Moore
(August 6, 2003)
The Oakwood, Leon County settlement
platted as a township and a ten mile post location. It founded
when the International and Great Northern Railroad made its entrance
into Leon County in 1872. Then its title was Oakwoods, it
receiving this title because of the large number of Oak trees growing on
the black loam prairie. at first the town premises was located in
the black muddy prairie farming section of the town. From the
beginning of settlement, Oakwood was fast growing and well populated.
The Railroad brought prosperity in business opportunity and recognition
of the New York and Texas Land agents and Stephen F. Austin with his
watchful eyes on populating the town with law abiding moral immigrants.
Oakwood was the earliest Leon County
settlement with a broad variety of industrial enterprise to offer.
Housing made available for the settlers by the Land Agents provided a
pride among the homesteaders. They were proud caretakers of their
homes and property. The many business establishments had
successful farming, ranching, and the commercial trade of the Trinity
River. Oakwood was a wealthy community.
In 1878, with the dissatisfied
homesteaders of their premises, the land agents wanting assurance of the
people to remain in Oakwood. They grumbled because of the muddy
mire situation they were in, the black mud of the winter and the deep
ruts of the summer caused impossible up keep and travel. The
settlers let their lots and homes go back to the land agents. The
agents and officials actually moved the Oakwood westward to Wolf Hollow
giving the residents lots equal to the original ones they owned.
This brought a more thriving flourishing township with a vast population
One of the most important gentleman
to bring great success was A. J. Walston. He was a noted farmer,
grew Durham wheat for bread up until the time their bread was made from
ground corn. This was a satisfaction enjoyed by the Oakwood
settlers and residents of surrounding communities. A. J. Walston
established a horse drawn cotton gin. Later he replaced this gin
with a steam operated cotton gin. He established the first
blacksmith shop, and he built the first public building in Oakwood.
J. F. and Crawford Baggett
constructed the new streets. Charles Erwin, W. S. Wards, Alford
Curtis, Beverly Witherspoon, James Mobley owned and operated dry good
Charles Evans owned and operated the
first lumber hardware store. Laura Parker was the first in
operation of a hotel, Joseph Byars was the railroad clerk. John
Perrin was first postmaster of the post office established in 1880.
The first doctors and druggist were Sam Coffield and James Murdock.
The earliest Oakwood school was held
in A. J. Walston blacksmith shop. Agnes Burchsmith was the
teacher. The grades were 1st thru 7th .
The students were promoted as they learned the levels of their reading,
writing, arithmetic, spelling subjects.
The Nix was later hired to teach
Latin. In 1896 a two story school building was erected. This
one consisted of four rooms. Mr. and Mrs. A. T. Clark were
teachers. This school burned down in 1910 and a brick school was
built. Then in 1931 the present day school was built.
(Sept 3, 2003)
The Oakwood Leon
County Community founded in 1872 was the most flourishing, thriving
settlement in our pioneer days. It was near the resourceful
Trinity River, its foundation connected with the G. N. Railroad.
With the recognition of the Government officials and land agents, it
brought a rapid populated settlement of white settlers and of its
previous habitants of the Indians, with trading posts of animal pelts.
The pathway of the Spanish route of
travel was Oakwood which was a favorite. Since the 1700's a tale
of Spanish gold pieces that were hidden in a lake of the Oakwood
settlement has been a conversation topic for many years among the
Two Spanish men with two donkeys had
their saddlebags filled with gold pieces. They were the only ones
knowing about the gold. A band of outlaws appeared behind them on
the same trail. Through the Oakwood territory the two Spanish men
hid their gold in a special place of the lake to return to get their
riches. They and others learned of the prospect of finding the
gold and were disappointed, for as anyone knows it never was found.
A remarkable man, Christopher
Columbus Goodman of New York, who as a farmer, homesteader, and a land
agent provided much prosperity and recognition for Oakwood and Leon
Christopher seeking adventure of the
New Texas and upon request of Stephen F. Austin agents, he with his land
business was going to stay just long enough to populate our New Leon
County with good moral people. He then would move on.
Christopher, so taken by the fertile
rich land of the Oakwood Trinity River territory planted a variety of
vegetables, corn and cotton. He was amazed at the success he had.
He wrote letters to his brother in New York telling him he could grow
anything here. He was especially surprised of the large sweet
potatoes he raised. His correspondence of letters to his brother
have been historical heritage of Oakwood.
Leon County since the 1800's
published in the Southwestern Historical Quarterly of the Winedale Press
Curators Corner. Christopher sent his wife Perillers a recipe of
sweet potato pudding. It was famous from Texas to New York,
becoming a favorite of households and of Government banquets.
Perillers sweet potato pudding recipe: grate a quart of sweet
potatoes, add to that about the same amount of flour, ten or twelve
eggs, salt, spice to suit your taste and mix all with molasses to a
thick batter, then put in a skillet and bake the same as bread.
Then you make a sauce to pour over the top (one you prefer). You
will find a special Texas pudding.
Christopher Goodman and his family
lived the rest of their lives in Oakwood. He may have made visits to New
York, yet his home was Oakwood Leon County, Texas. Christopher,
Periller and their children are buried at Mt. Pisgah cemetery of the
Oakwood, Red Branch communities. Oakwood, with Christian minded
people, have been blessed with churches of their beginning on through
their history until the present time.
The first church was built by Willie
Hasker and Joe Parker in 1872. Soon a Methodist Church was built
1884. This church was well known for the weddings that have taken
place. The first couple to be married in that church was Dr. E. P.
Murdock and Annie Kate Waldrum
(Sept 10, 2003)
settlement plated in 1872 was the most flourishing township of Leon
County of our early pioneer days.
Oakwood has always been blessed with
Christian citizens who founded churches from its beginning and all
through its history. The first church was built by Willie Hasker
in 1872. Then in 1884 a Methodist church was established.
This church was an attraction to couples who were to be wed. The
first wedding held at the Methodist church was Doctor E. P. Murdock and
Annie Kate Waldrum. Then protestant churches were built of the
early days and there were six churches in Oakwood.
Every Sunday they were all full with
active members. Today Oakwood is blessed with Church of Christ,
Baptist Church, Back to the Bible Church and a Methodist church.
Oakwood's first bank was established
in 1900 by Oscar Wiley and Mr. McKenzie. He later sold his
interest to Oscar. In 1910 Mr. Wiley's bank was robbed. The
robbers making their get-away on a railroad hand car left their tracks
by the strewn papers found between Oakwood and Buffalo. This
helped to catch the robbers.
Another bank was opened in 1910.
This one was owned and operated by J. W. Barton. He also built the
first brick residence in Oakwood. Oakwood has an established bank
today. It is owned and operated by Roddy Wiley who is a descendant
of Oscar Wiley. The first newspaper was "The Sun" owned and
operated by the Bookman brothers. This one was followed by the
Oracle, which was owned and operated by Perry Jetton, Rambo and
Scarborough. This was a well recognized newspaper of Leon County.
The operation brought special published items of community and county
publications of the special needs of the people. It also brought
citizens attention to the facts and the gathering of the citizens to the
Centerville court house. Today a section of the Oakwood Oracle
building is located in Buffalo, near the auction sale. This was
once part of Oakwood, now Buffalo. History shows since 1910 there
were six mercantile stores in Oakwood in the early days.
B. B. Kinbrell is well known for the
most success. He a natural business leader of Florida, started his
success at fourteen years old, with money he had saved from every
available job he could find in Florida so that he could come to the New
Texas. Settling in Oakwood first he fished in Glaze Lake, brought
his catch to town on Saturday and sold them He was very
conservative. Soon he had enough money to own his own land and
open a store.
His operation was prosperous.
He established a flour milling business, which was in operation for many
years. There were many national civic and social organizations in
Oakwood of the early days and over the years.
The Daughters of the Republic, The
Masons, Eastern Star, The Women's Christian Temperance Union, Land Agent
Conference Meetings. Government Railroad and commerce trade
official meeting and special church singings and Missions all were
events of Oakwood.
(Sept. 17, 2003)
Oakwood founded in
1872 the most thriving community of Leon County of the 1800's was noted
for its industrious, Business trade one of the most remembered is J. M.
Dixon Drug Store. Dixon a young man as a professional druggist with the
Southwestern drug company of good business qualifications with fine
characters of being a most agreeable, helpful gentleman to his patients.
He brought a recognized enterprise to Oakwood with his drug store in the
1920. The Gatesville and Star Newspaper publishing of Macks Drug
store described his business as being one of the most modern drug stores
west of the Leon river. Mack Dixon keeps his store like a parlor,
carries a full line of drugs, patient medicine, druggist sundries and
maintains a prescription department and believes in the patronage to his
customers of full satisfaction and always willing to assist in pushing
his community forward and his soda fountain with his variety of ice
cream treats excellence brings crowds of people paying compliments.
Making remarks there is no other ice cream to match Mack's. His drug
store was the gathering place on Saturday's for all age groups to visit
and have the pleasure of his excellent ice cream and other goodies.
Mack and his wife Ida, owned a farm and a Drug Store in Oakwood provided
a richness of class and wealth to Oakwood bringing a great foundation of
the Pioneer days and a memorable treasure of today.
Also the D. W. (Deck) Moore drug
store business is a fond memorable operation of Oakwood he with his drug
business established in 1914 was an Oakwood foundation for 50 years.
He employed many local people this being the pharmacy for the two
doctors of Oakwood. He sold many prescriptions a day. Deck
married to Dr. Murdocks daughter, Lula Murdock who was a most loved,
respected doctor of Oakwood. These two families provided many
years of medical success to the township.
Doctors Carter, J. F. Bell and Bing
are other well remembered doctors of Oakwood. Oakwood's Proctor
and Rice hotels were thriving businesses. All Proctor and his wife
owned, operated the Proctor hotel, its location was on front street
facing the Railroad, it supplied the Railroad workers, farmers, commerce
trade and land agents the cotton market visitors and many other
traveling visitors refreshful, clean restful nights of sleep. The
Rice hotels located on the present Bob Holloway property furnished the
Oakwood business leaders and the traveling visitors with three wholesome
delicious meals a day and perfected lodging. There were Real
Estate business of the township, these with the land offices brought a
booming population. Oakwood was considered the Leon County
complete settlement of business construction and operation and of
captivating with a stage.