Texas history has much to do with railroads and cattle. During the life of my grandmother, facts of land development tell an interesting story: Beulah lived in Tom Bean, established in 1887, and White Mound, towns in Parker County, Texas, west of Dallas. White Mound, originally spelled “Whitemound,” which was bypassed by the railroad, lost its post office to Mr. Tom Bean’s euponymous city in 1888, and many Whitemound settlers moved to the new town. Mr. Bean’s estate began to sell town lots surrounding the routes of the railroad in the 1890s. The town school was moved in 1891 from a one-room structure to a two-story building with an auditorium. Several Christian denominations, including the Church of Christ, Baptist, Presbyterian, and Methodist, established churches in town. The city charter was signed in 1897. As time progressed, the sharp increase in automobile travel and transport, and the decline of cotton as the principal crop of the area, led businesses to the larger nearby cities of Denison and Sherman. Although never again the railroad boomtown of the late-19th and early-20th centuries, the community enjoyed a growth spurt in the 1950s and 1980s, celebrating its centennial in 1987. The city of Tom Bean continues to thrive, according to a “Community History” section of The Handbook of Texas on the internet.
Another Texas town I heard about from Beulah herself, her voice animated at the mention of it, was Yates, also called Yates Crossing, of Kimble County. It was here where early settlers held camp meetings under the live oaks and Joseph A. Yates opened a post office in June 1907. Between the late 1860s and the early 1880s, herds of cattle, averaging up to 2,000 head, crossed the Llano River at what was called the Beef Trail Crossing. Not having the success of the town of Tom Bean, Yates reached a population of fifty-one, and its last reported population in 1958 was ten. Beulah also lived in Weatherford of Parker County (near Fort Worth) where she was married, and in Temple, of the Temple-Belton area. Belton is the County Seat of Bell County in central Texas, located on the famous Chisholm Trail for cattle drives. Thousands and thousands of cattle walked the miles upon miles from the Rio Grande Valley or thereabouts to markets in Kansas. [Wording found in The Belton Journal “Belton City Guide,” 2010 Edition.] Today, Belton and Temple are on I-35 midway between Dallas and San Antonio, just over an hour north of the state capital of Austin. Belton is home of The University of Mary Hardin Baylor, chartered by the Republic of Texas in 1845, the Quilting Queens of the Belton Senior Center, and in ages past, The Sanctified Sisters of the Belton Women’s Commonwealth, generally referred to as The Sanctificationists. Temple is home of the famous Scott & White Hospital, and the Temple Symphony, now in its seventeenth season.
The influence of my grandmother on the south-central Texas place to which she migrated took hold of my fascination, and I used this as motivation to write a story for submission to a contest sponsored by National Public Radio (NPR). The word limit was six-hundred words. I enjoyed imagining a scene wherein Beulah and her sister struck out in a buggy pulled by a contrary mule. I changed some names around to suit my own ear, and have included it here in patnotes.com.