Vickery, Dallas County, Texas
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(Updated July 2, 2004)


     A new Methodist church is shortly to be constructed at Vickery, on the McKinney interurban line, just beyond the Dallas city limits.
     The congregation have already secured a lot and committees are at work under direction of Rev. Harry S. DeVore, pastor, raising funds for the construction of the new building, which will cost about $5000.
     The Vickery congregation, at present, is forced to worship in the Vickery Woodman's Hall. Many Dallas people are aiding in the construction of the new church building.

- January 11, 1920, Dallas Daily Times Herald, Sec. II, p. 17, col. 3.
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Vickery Woman Has Lived
in Same House for Past Fifty-Three Years


Came to Texas in Covered Wagon
From Kentucky in 1869 With Husband
and 18-Months-Old Baby.


By Wilber Shaw, Jr.

Home of Mrs. Eliza Ann Spillman near Vickery. The two rear rooms of the house (upper right) were built of timber cut from White Rock creek bottoms more than fifty years ago.

Mrs. Spillman, who still lives in the old home place.

     On December 26, more than fifty-five years ago, five covered wagons, besmeared with mud and drawn by horses that plodded with faltering steps over roads that were but little more than cattle trails, arrived on the outskirts of Dallas after a forty-eight day journey, which has seldom been equalled for hardships and privations. Of the seventeen occupants of the wagons, who made the perilous journey from Scottsville, Ky., to Dallas, overland, but four are alive today. And, perhaps no one of these remembers the trip more graphically than Mrs. Eliza Ann Spillman of Vickery. Bedridden for the past four years in the home in which she has resided for fifty-three years, she often entertains her friends and visitors with accounts of the journey and its hardships.
     Shortly after the Civil War was over, a small group of residents of Scottsville, Ky., including James Virgil Spillman and James Wells Pinson, decided to move to Dallas with their families. Mr. Spillman had been in this section of the country during the war and was much impressed with it. Then, too, a number of his neighbors in Kentucky had moved to Dallas, including W. W. Caruth, Bob Weatherhead and an uncle, E. B. Spillman, and he desired to settle in a community where he would not be an utter stranger. The trip was planned; household effects disposed of, and only the necessities for the journey piled into the five covered wagons, horse drawn, which were to take them to the "promised land." The party left Scottsville on November 12, 1869. In Mr. Spillman's wagon, with him, were his wife and little daughter, Otelia, then eighteen months of age.

Had Wet Journey.
     It was a dismal day, cold and raining steadily, when they bid their friends and neighbors "goodbye" and started on their trip, which carried them across Tennessee, Arkansas and part of Texas. "It rained on an average every other day during the entire forty-eight days of the trip," Mrs. Spillman said, "and we were also handicapped by the cold. Often, when we stopped to camp at night, we had difficulty in finding dry wood with which to build a fire. At other times, we would awake in the morning to find our wagon wheels frozen to the ground and we would have difficulty in extricating them from the ice before we could continue.
     "We ferried across the Mississippi river at Memphis, Tenn., and followed the old federal highway through Arkansas. After we arrived in Texas, there seemed to be nothing but broad prairies without end. We would locate the direction of our destination and strike out in that direction without the semblance of a road to guide us.
     "The weather had been bitter cold, but we experienced our first Texas norther at Bonham. We reached there on Christmas eve and a regular 'blue norther' was blowing. Just as we were leaving town, two men on horseback passed us and Mr. Pinson yelled at one of them, 'Do you think we are going to have a norther?' 'It's already here,' was the reply, and it was, but we didn't know it.

Traveling is Slow.
     "The next day, we made scarcely ten miles, but that was the slowest going we had on the entire trip. We arrived at the home of Bob Weatherford, north of Dallas, on Dec. 26, and spent the night there. The next day, we went to the home of E. B. Spillman, where we stayed for a week, resting ourselves and our team. From there, we went to the W. W. Caruth farm, where we had been told there was a house we could occupy. When we got there, however, the house was occupied by two bachelor brothers by the name of Milwee.     They consented to go to Mr. Caruth's house, however, until one could be built for us. The next morning, Mr. Caruth sent his hand into the White Rock bottoms, where they cut timber to build our new home. This was a one-room affair, 14 by 16 feet, and we lived there for three years.
     "The timber was green when the house was built, and pretty soon, it began to warp and shrink. One day, Mr. Pinson came to see us. He always like to chew tobacco and, as usual, he had a quid in his mouth. With a dexterous aim, he could spit between the cracks in the floor and didn't have to leave his chair. After spitting though one or two of the cracks where the timber had warped, he said with a smile, "Don't you see what a handy country this is? A man can sit right in his own home and chew tobacco."

Bought Homesite.
     After living on the Caruth place for three years, Mr. Spillman bought a hundred acres from Mr. Caruth, just south of Vickery, and moved onto his own place. A two-room house was built from timber, also out in the White Rock bottoms, and, although it has been added onto, the original two rooms still stand as part of the home now occupied by Mrs. Spillman, her son and two daughters.
     Mr. Spillman died in April, 1905, leaving Mrs. Spillman and ten children. A daughter, Mrs. Otelia Guinn, died in March, 1923. Surviving children are: C. R. Spillman of Holdenville, Ok.; Mrs. Elizabeth Inclear of Seymour, Texas; Mrs. Hattie James of Wichita Falls, Mrs. Lula Hibler of Austin, Mrs. Stella Miller of Dallas, Euclid Spillman of Vickery, and Miss Emma, Ernine and Joe Spillman, who reside with their mother.
     Of those who made the trip to Texas in 1869, there are but four surviving -- Mrs. Spillman, Mrs. Mattie J. White of Richardson, Dr. Perry Pinson of Paris, and Rev. Tom Pinson of Dallas.

- February 8, 1925, Dallas Times Herald, Sec. II, p. 4, col. 3-7.
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Added July 2, 2004:

     The history of the Vickery school has been prepared in book form by members of the school's P.-T. A. and placed in its library, for the use of the students. The book contains the history of the school for the last forty-seven years.
     Mrs. John E. Surratt has spent more time on the book than other members of the association. The period from 1890 to 1931 was written by Mrs. Surratt. Mrs. J. F. Godfrey was the historian for 1931 and 1932; Mrs. E. B. Miller, 1933; Mrs. A. H. Hoose, 1934, and Mrs. William S. Skiles, 1935 and 1936.
     The book points out that the school building has been erected six times on different sites. The school has changed names three times. In 1890, there was a two-room school building, with the same number of teachers. It was called Fairland. The name of the school was changed to Highland in 1909. In 1934, the Vickery school opened in their new $121,515 brick building, with a staff of twenty-two teachers.
     Photographs of various presidents of the school's P.-T. A. may be seen throughout the book.

- May 9, 1937, Dallas Daily Times Herald, Sec. II, p. 7, col. 6.
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