• Kenneth Evans On Creamer, Gustine, Pettit, Texas

    Kenneth Evans grew up in Gustine, Texas, and 88 years later, that area of Texas is still embedded in his heart. A few days ago, he and I took a little ride through the countryside as we visited Creamer, Pettit, Swann Hill, Union, and Gustine. I didn’t know it at the time, but he purposely timed our visit to Gustine so that we could sit down and discuss our findings over one of Zelma’s chicken fried steaks! :)

    Kenneth Evans

    Kenneth Evans

    We started out with Creamer. As you will remember, Missy Jones and I did the Creamer run a few weeks back, and I wanted to see if both of their memories coincided. For the most part, they did, with just a few variations.

    First of all, Missy mentioned a depot in Creamer and its location. She knew where it was because her parents told her all about it. Kenneth agreed with the exact location, the only difference being that he says it wasn’t actually a depot, but a section house. This does seem to make sense because those wanting to go into Comanche had to flag the train the northbound train so that it would stop for them.

    The location of the Hebron school was also a little different; however, Missy told me on our trip that she was not sure on just which side of Salt Branch the schoolhouse sat.

    As you can see, the old Hebron school was a board school.

    As you can see, the old Hebron school was a board school.

    If you recognize anyone in this photo, please explain in the comment box below.

    Clicking on this photo will enlarge it a bit. If you recognize anyone in this photo, please explain in the comment box below.

    Kenneth placed the Hebron school about 100 yards south (closer to Gustine, after crossing Salt Branch on 36 going toward Gustine) and further back off of the road, right behind the Ruben McCullough’s (Kenneth’s great-grandfather) place and where Salt Branch twists and runs through the old place.

    According to Evans, he has stood right where the remains of the hand pump are located. Students used the pump to get a drink with water pumping out of 3-4 pipe ends. “Wasn’t that sanitary?” he laughed.

    Heading south on Highway 36 toward Gustine, just after crossing Salt Branch by about 100 yards, the Ruben McCullough place is located on your left. This was Evans' great-grandfather. The Hebron school, according to Evans, sat another 100 yards or so behind the old house.

    Heading south on Highway 36 toward Gustine, just after crossing Salt Branch by about 100 yards, the Ruben McCullough place is located on your left. This was Evans’ great-grandfather. The Hebron school, according to Evans, sat another 100 yards or so behind the old house.

    For the most part, everything else, according to Evans, was just as Missy described, with the church being farther back off of Highway 36 than what I told you. Of course, the octogenarian was quick to tell me that although it seemed like yesterday, 80 years had passed and things “have really grown up.”

    Continuing on south down Highway 36 toward Gustine from Comanche, we took a right on FM 1476, just across from Union Cemetery.  On the right hand side of the road, directly across from a mailbox with the address 7681 on it, there is a fence with a gate in it.

    When you see this address, look directly across the road.

    When you see this address, look directly across the road.

    According to Kenneth, walking through that gate about 100 yards will bring you to the site of the Union school, which I have always assumed sat beside the cemetery!

    According to Evans, it is about 100 yards beyond this gate that the old Union school sat.

    According to Evans, it is about 100 yards beyond this gate that the old Union school sat.

    “The last time I walked out there, the rock foundation could still be seen. I never saw the school, but I would assume it was a log schoolhouse on a rock foundation, wouldn’t you?”

    Continuing on toward Pettit, within a mile or so, we stopped and looked to our left long enough for me to take one photo of the chimney still standing from the old Charlie Isham home that both Charlie and son, Sterling, once owned.

    Today, nothing stands but the chimney and fireplace that once did its best to keep the Ishams warm, the bricks (I assume) added in some remodel job.

    Today, nothing stands but the chimney and fireplace that once did its best to keep the Ishams warm, the bricks (I assume) added in some remodel job.

    From there, we continued on down 1476 until we literally ran onto the old Pettit school grounds. Located there today is the Pettit Baptist Church and the building that was once used to house the superintendent of the school, at least Kenneth “thought” he remembered that. Of course, the actual school building was moved into Gustine and used there for years.

    According to Winnie Mae Hall Johnson who was a member of the last graduating class from Pettit, this is the building where she studied Home Economics.

    According to Winnie Mae Hall Johnson who was a member of the last graduating class from Pettit, this is the building where she studied Home Economics.

    “Paul Patton drove a bus, and he would drop the little kids off in Pettit and take the older ones into Comanche.” Of course, he was talking about the years after Pettit high school no longer existed. At one time, all Pettit kids went all of their school years in Pettit.

    “During and even after WWII, the mothers would come to school everyday and prepare lunches for the kids. There was a little building that sat on the property, and they would fix lunch there.”

    The Eric Seay home still sits on the school complex today. “Eric Seay had a store there by his house. It had groceries and things along with a gas pump and coal oil. A lot of people only had a team and wagon, and it was hard for them to get into Gustine when they needed something. Earl Seay had the Newburg store.” (Of course, the Newburg store is the gorgeous home of Betty Herbert today.)

    Where the road Ts at the Pettit school site, we turned right on 1476 toward Newburg, driving on down through Pettit and the site of the Pettit place where Boss Greene was murdered. Of course, Pettit and Fleming run together, and we drove just far enough for me to take CR 216 to the right. Just a few yards up on the left, I was able to take a photo of the old Fleming ice house. Of course, it was a snaky day, and I didn’t take my sandals into the weeds and brush! Across the road a up the hill from the ice house once stood a Poor Farm according to Evans.

    To my knowledge there is no one who actually knows firsthand that this was an ice house. However, I've never heard it called anything else until Winnie Mae Hall Johnson referred to it as the little rock house.

    To my knowledge there is no one who actually knows firsthand that this was an ice house. However, I’ve never heard it called anything else until Winnie Mae Hall Johnson referred to it as the little rock house.

    From the ice house, we retraced our steps on 1476 and passing the Pettit school site on our right. At that point, 1476 turns into FM 2486 toward Energy. The drive was absolutely beautiful and in no time, we were crossing the South Leon and looking to our right for the Swann Hill historical marker.

    With Pettit literally a minute down the road via automobiles, it is impossible to understand that both schools could exist side by side.

    With Pettit literally a minute down the road via today’s automobiles, it is impossible to understand that both schools could exist side by side.

    We then retraced our steps back to Highway 36 and headed into Gustine. After our lunch at Zelma’s City Café, we did quite a bit of driving up and down the streets of Evan’s boyhood. I ended up with way more info than I can fit into this article or my brain so I’m only going to include some tidbits that I think a lot of you may not know.

    First of all, we went to the school, where Kenneth pointed out the location of Mrs. Chambers’ (daughter of D.S. Davis) store that Missy Jones described in depth for us. Then, we talked about the gym that I can tell is still a sore subject over 60 years later!

    Mrs. Chambers store sat on this site, near today's school. Part of the old rock fence still stands as well.

    Mrs. Chambers’ store sat on this site, near today’s school. Part of the old rock fence still stands as well.

    “The Gustine gym was built about 1939. In 1948, when the WPA and CCC were building, the school had the choice of the rock fence around the property or a new gym. They took the fence.”

    The depot and section houses (that we discussed with Betty Kirkland and Carol Teich) stood about where Zelma’s City Café is today, and a windmill and water tank used for the trains stood in the lot next to the church.

    According to Evans, the old depot stood in this lot.

    According to Evans, the old depot stood in this lot.

    Kenneth also remembers when two windmills and tanks provided the town with its water supply.

    “A windmill with a big cypress tank stood between the mercantile and Dr. Brown’s office, and it furnished the north side of town with water.”

    In the lot to the right of this building is where one of the windmills and cypress tanks stood.

    In the lot to the right of this building is where one of the windmills and cypress tanks stood.

    I didn’t understand where the other windmill and tank were located, but apparently somewhere on the other side of the road, servicing the south side with water.

    The Gustine calaboose caught me off guard, I must admit. As many times as I have been in Gustine, I had never even seen the pitiful little rock 12 x 12 that once held those poor souls who needed locking up, mostly for drunk and disorderly. Although I was given a few names, I have chosen to omit those. :)

    Can you just imagine being locked in this hot (or cold), dark thing?

    On South Cotton Belt Street, can you just imagine being locked in this hot (or cold), dark thing?

    Continuing to the corner of the calaboose property, we found  the overgrown site where once stood a men’s public restroom.

    “Men’s? What about the women?” I asked.

    Unable to contain his laughter, my dear friend sputtered, “Well, I guess women didn’t really come to town all that much…” making me join him in laughter even in my indignation!

    With the jail on your left, continue on to the corner. That is the site where once stood rest rooms for the men.

    With the jail on your left, continue on to the corner. That is the site where once stood rest rooms for the men.

    We ended our day at the Union Cemetery where lie his parents as well as the wife that he still openly misses daily, the cemetery that he was once so active in maintaining.

    Kenneth's Parents

    Kenneth’s Parents

    Kenneth's Wife

    Kenneth’s Wife

    And as for the rest of my notes, I’ll hold onto them for now since we’ve crossed too many trails already in this article.The bottom line is that we had a great day, and we’ve saved a bit more of days gone by for those who come after us.

    About Fredda Jones

    Fredda Davis Jones was raised “in the country” in Comanche County and learned very early that creativity and innovation are traits that can flourish even in small-town Texas and that with enough effort, indeed nothing is impossible, including being married to the same man for over 40 years! Rickey and Fredda have 2 children, 5 grandchildren, and a crazy life that includes sitting in the bleachers several times a week. The rest of her time is spent creating great content for texansunited.com and marketing small-town Texas.
    This entry was posted in Just Texas! Presenting Bloggers From Texansunited.com and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

    9 Responses to Kenneth Evans On Creamer, Gustine, Pettit, Texas

    1. Carol Teich says:

      Fredda I did not realize until I read your article that Mrs. Chambers little store was on the land that I own across from the School.

    2. Missy Jones says:

      I am so thankful for Kenneth Evans. He is so interested in histories, and family history, and is the type of person that should be honored for that interest. Fredda, I am so glad that you two were able to spend this time together. And, he brought out of his personal memory some of the items that I was trying to remember from about 70 years ago when i was just a child and someone else was telling me these stories. this is a treasure. Thanks, Missy Cox Jones

    3. Missy Jones says:

      Fredda, I can’t remember who told me this, but that Robert Earl Seay and Eric Seay built the ice house at Pettit. Missy Cox Jones

    4. Janet Jobe Gindlesperger says:

      Wow! More family history and connection. Had no idea Mr. Evans is related on the McCullough side! Ruben was also my great-grandfather. Wonder if Mr. Evans remembers my mother Beatrice and her two brothers Dale and Weldon?

    5. I have a video of my grandmother, Myrtle Cox, talking about the Creamer store and areas around the store.

      We took her to the Shiloh Cemetery one day.
      We did a video of her talking about the old homestead of Adam Sliger.
      As we drove down those roads she talked of her childhood. She pointed out the different places like the Creamer store.

      We have many recordings of her memories.

      She talked about her dad buying her mother a washtub.
      The tub would be filled with ice and sodas.
      And they would get new shoes this one time of the year when he took crops to town.

      She told of the first time she rode in a car. It was a doctor’s car.
      They rode in his car.

      I did not know that these articles were available.
      I am enjoying reading them.

      We also have recordings

    6. Wilda Sargent says:

      Our grandparents I do believe are buried in Union cemetery. They lived and worked on the Pettit place. Their names were the W. R. McGlothlin’s! They live their lives in that part of Comanche county as long as I can remember! Grandmother was a child of L. C. Boynton family. Sure wish I had more family history than this!! I do know the Boynton family was a huge family back then.

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