Joseph Henry Carter arrived with his parents, Mr.
and Mrs. Henry Jones Carter, in Hamilton County from Tennessee
on 15 September, 1856, and became the first settlers on the Cowhouse
Creek. Indian raids caused Mr. Carter to leave his family in
the new town of Hamilton, while he and the older boys lived in a
log cabin at Blue Ridge. With oxen they sodded the largest farm in
Hamilton County because Mr. Carter had acquired more than a league
of land. A double log house was built and as soon as conditions were
deemed safe all of the family moved to the farm, and helped to organize
and to built the Blue Ridge School. In 1872 Henry Carter
built a large two-story house at Blue Ridge, hauling lumber from Waco
on ox-drawn wagons. In October, 1907, this house was sold to Thomas
Edwin Stribling and his wife Martha Mariah "Mattie"
Kirkland Stribling. This house, which burned in 1977, was later known
as the Jack Stribling house. I retrieved from the ashes some of the
square nails which held this house together.
In the mid 1870's many early settlers built small
houses on public school land at Blue Ridge with the hope that land
would be placed on the market at affordable prices. In 1876 public school
land at Blue Ridge was sold at prices from 25 cents to $2.50 an
Other pioneers began settling at Blue Ridge in
the 1870's. Marion Andrew Whittenton and his wife Mary Elizabeth
Bullard Whittenton arrived at Blue Ridge on December 23, 1871,
and camped by a spring and lived in their covered wagon and a dugout until
a house could be built. In 1876 Marion Andrew Whittenton donated
land to establish a public cemetery--the Whittenton Cemetery at Blue
Ridge. Mr. Whittenton made splints, set bones and made caskets
for neighbors. Mr. Whittenton helped establish the first school at Blue
Ridge and was one of the first trustees. Mrs. Whittenton’s
sister, Miralda and her husband Tom Wesley arrived at Blue
Ridge shortly after the Whittentons.
met Nancy Ann Ruth Koen at a
singing in the home of a friend at Blue Ridge and they were married
21 December, 1876. George Knoll helped establish schools, churches,
and post offices at both Blue Ridge and Aleman where they later lived.
The Koens came to Hamilton County in 1876 with their sister Ozilee
Pierson and family. On July 20, 1880, A. P. Koen married Eunice
and Lizzie Bullard came to Blue
Ridge from Brundedge, AL. They were joined in 1877 by William
Hilliard Bullard and his mother Amanda M. Spence (Bullard) Davis
and younger siblings Sara "Babe" and Alfred Davis.
The trip from AL to Waco was by train. From Waco to Blue
Ridge two longhorn steers pulled their wagon over snow-covered trails.
William Hilliard Bullard returned to AL for his wife, Cora
Allen Bullard, and their baby son John
James Lemuel Grisham, Sr. with his wife Margaret
Amanda (Jones) Grisham arrived at Blue Ridge from Fannin
County, TX before July, 1880, with four young children--William
Richard, James Lemuel "Lem" Jr., Ida Rose Anna, and Charles
Ephraim. James Lemuel and Margaret Amanda Grisham were charter
members of the Blue Ridge Baptist Church of Christ. For many years
they made semi-annual trade trips to Lampasas in their ox drawn
wagon to buy staples. The trip took days of travel each way.
William Henry Jarius "Billy" Fergusson
and his wife, Sarah Alexander "Sallie" (Adcock) Fergusson
moved from Bell County, TX, to a Cowhouse farm of John
Dillard Hunt in 1890 with their children--Robert Jeff, Charles
Johnson, Callie Mae, Luther Guy and Maggie Roberta.
In October, 1907, Thomas Edwin Stribling
purchased the Henry Jones Carter farm and two-story
house. He and
his family arrived in Hamilton County from Coryell County, TX
on 31 October and 1 November, 1907. His family included his wife, Martha
Mariah "Mattie" (Kirkland) Stribling and their children, Anna
Jane Stribling, Amanda Elizabeth "Mandy" (Stribling) Crain, William
Joseph "Joe", John Thaddeus "Jack", Neil Augustus,
and Eugene Perry "Pet." Also moving were Mandy’s
husband, James Wesley "Jim" Crain and their children-- James
Edwin, Robert Verne, Ruby Pearl, and Lura Bernice; and Joe’s
wife, Lillian "Lilly" Dooley Stribling and their
children--Willie Eunice, Jessie Laura, and Thomas Edgar.
In 1928 Verge (Claudie Virgus) Grisham built a
store/filling station with an attached rock ice house. A feed mill was
added. The store/filling station which had attached living quarters was
later operated by Elmo and Mildred (Williams) Newsom, Bill and
Lorene (Williams) Jones, and Elzie and Mildred (Raibourn)
Kemp. The REA brought electricity to Blue Ridge in 1939.