Monday, December 5, 2016

Where did my ancestors live? Communities in Erath County, Texas

I have been searching in old newspapers pages of The Dublin Progress, a newspaper published in Erath County, Texas, where many of my mother’s ancestors and cousins lived. I am fortunate that many issues of this paper is digitized on The Portal to Texas History website. I searched on the surnames and many hits came up.

One of the interesting things I learned were the names of the many small communities these families lived in, such as Harbin, Hickey, Alexander, Bunyan, Live Oak, Greens Creek, Lone Oak, and Howell Springs. I had heard of Dublin and Greens Creek before but not any of these other towns. These families were mostly farmers, so this part of Erath county must have been very rural with perhaps a small area where a few buildings such as a store, gas station, church, or school might be located. Now I wanted to learn a bit more about these communities.

Here is a map of the county showing some of these communities:

1907 Map of Erath Co Post Offices

You can see that they are now far from each other. Wikipedia gives information about Harbin: The community had a peak population of about 80 in 1950 where it “had a school, two stores and a Baptist church.”[1] The Texas Handbook gave the location of Harbin on “State Highway 847 four miles east of Dublin.” A landowner named Harbin donated land for a church. By the 1900s there was a store and cotton gin and the Fort Worth and Rio Grande Railroad. For a short five years, a post office operated until 1905.[2]

I could find nothing about Hickey, except there is a cemetery named Hickey Cemetery.

Alexander used to be called Harper’s Mill. It was also a stop on the Texas Central Railroad and was thriving by 1900.

Bunyan is located west of Stephenville on Farm Road. The Texas Handbook gave the names of two of the first churches: Elkin’s Chapel which was erected by Methodists and Cow Creek by the Baptists, which later was named Bunyan Baptist. Later the Methodist Episcopal church was organized.  The community had a one time a flour mill and cotton gin, a post office, and several blacksmith shops at different times.[3]

The only thing I could find about Live Oak is there is a cemetery called Live Oak (Purves) Cemetery, which is located east side of Dublin. There is also a creek called Live Oak Creek. This creek flows into the North Bosque River. These two items are not located near each other.

Greens Creek is a creek, located just east of Bunyan and flows southeast to the North Bosque River. There are two creeks: Upper and Lower and both have dams on them. Greens Creek Baptist Church is located on County road 380 between Dublin and Stephenville. This church has been in the area since the late 1800s.[4]

Lone Oak. There was a Lone Oak Church, located on County Road 179. A newspaper account of a reunion was found, held in 2012.[5]

I couldn’t find Howell Springs on a map or in the Texas Handbook.

I tried to find a way to communicate with the local genealogy society but they don’t have an email. I will need to write a letter. I also found a historical commission and sent them an email asking for help about these communities.

[1] “Harbin, Texas,”,_Texas : accessed December 02, 2016.
[2] Handbook of Texas Online, "Harbin, TX," : accessed December 02, 2016.
[3] Handbook of Texas Online, "Bunyan, TX," :  accessed December 04, 2016.
[4] Greens Creek Baptist Church,
[5] “Former Students and Parishoners Invited to Lone Oak Reunion,” Stephenville Empire-Tribune, 9 May 2012,

Copyright © 2016 by Lisa Suzanne Gorrell, Mam-ma's Southern Family

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