rE Surveyoars fiht
HARRY McCORRY HENDERSON
IN 1838 Old Franklin, the county seat of the original Robert-
son County, was the extreme outside settlement in that
part of the Republic of Texas, with the exception of a few
old families in the old Brazos valley in the vicinity of Marlin.
At this time Old Franklin was the rendezvous for surveying
parties and for expeditions against the Indians.
Many discharged soldiers and other citizens, who had received
bounty and headright certificates, wanted their land located and
surveyed.2 The country was rich and attractive, consisting of
prairie land interspersed with wooded streams. It abounded in
game, and from a hill one could see as many as a thousand
buffalo at a time in a season. Naturally the Indians, who had
been accustomed to securing their annual supply of buffalo meat
and robes in this country, were hostile to surveying parties. The
Indians had learned that where the surveyor went, settlers soon
In the spring of 1838 William F. Henderson, a twenty-one-
year-old surveyor, left Old Franklin with a party of fourteen men
to locate land in the Robertson Land District in present Navarro
County. A line was run from the highest point on the Navasota
River to the junction of Pin and Richland creeks. A man named
Holland wandered away from the party and was killed by the
Indians. The discovery of Holland's body, coupled with the
scarcity of food, demoralized the party, and Henderson was
forced to lead them back to Springfield. Henderson and two
others returned to the area to rescue Buck Barry's party, arriving
shortly after Barry had been killed by the Indians. Another land-
locating expedition under Colonel Richard Sparks of Fort Hous-
ton (now Palestine) met with disaster at the same time; the
101ld Franklin, now a ghost town, was located between the present towns of
Calvert and Bryan. John Henry Brown, Indian Wars and Pioneers of Texas (Aus-
tion, 1892), 47.
3J. W. Wilbarger, Indian Depredations in Texas (Austin, 1889), 352.
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 56, July 1952 - April, 1953. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101145/. Accessed May 31, 2016.