Bosque County: Land and People (A History of Bosque County, Texas) Page: 38
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Rufus T. Womack
Johle's Store at Womack, circa 1915
The State of Texas issued a certificate
granting 18 Labors of Land on the head of
Childress Creek to James Smith in 1847 upon
a certificate dated February 12, 1838. This
3300 acres more or less was deeded to James
Pinckney Henderson on March 8, 1852, in
consideration of $2000 cash. Henderson was
the first governor of Texas (1846-47) and a
Major General in the U.S. Army. He died in
1858 leaving his wife and daughters as
survivors. In 1869 the daughters conveyed to
their mother their Texas lands including "a
certificate to James Smith, a balance of which
for 3184 acres is located in Bosque County."
In 1877 Mrs. Henderson gave to C.R. Johns
of Austin power-of-attorney to sell her Texas
The Womack community, on FM 219 seven
miles northeast of Clifton, is in the center of
the James Smith Survey.
A Scotsman, Hugh S. Anderson, who
owned and operated a general store, applied
in 1879 for the establishment of a post office
to serve 200 patrons. The office, located at the
store, was established January 8, 1880, with
Anderson as postmaster. It was named
Womack on February 25, 1880. Thomas
Womack was appointed Postmaster Febru-
ary 7, 1881. Others who served were Eli S.
McGuire (1897), Mattie F. Miller (1900), and
Robert P. Simmons (1904). The Womack
office was discontinued July 24, 1906. Thom-
as Womack died in 1900. His brother Rufus
Womack lived in the community until he
moved to Clifton in 1919. The Rufus Wo-
macks lived about a quarter mile south of the
church on the place later owned by Bill
Families of German heritage, attracted by
the rich soil and lush grass, settled along the
branches of Childress Creek. In 1883 the
August Bernhardts, Ludwig Conrads, August
Rachuigs and August Zuehlkes moved to
Chase, 3-1/2 miles north of Womack. Most of
the area was open land. Wild game and cattle
roamed freely. Among landowners already
there were the Bradstreets, Fosters, Hunts
and Gregorys. Emil E. Prescher settled
farther down Childress Creek in 1885 as did
Joseph Knust in 1890 and Edward Anz in
In 1891 Thomas J. Rhodes built a general
store at Chase. A post office was established
in the store in 1893 with Rhodes as postmast-
er. Tom Primm, a dentist and rancher, had
a dentist office in the store. There was also
a blacksmith shop. The store was on the west
side of the road with a gin on the other side
by the creek. A square shallow well which
supplied water for the gin remains at the site.
The German Evangelical Zions Church was
organized April 26, 1891. Charter members
were August Bernhardt, Ludwig Conrad,
Emil Prescher, Joseph Knust, Alvin Pres-
cher, Friedrich Wenzel, August Lueck and
the widow Mrs. August Zuehlke. First child
to be baptised was Reinhardt Buro. First
couple to be married were William Steinke
and Wilhelmine Schmidt.
A building was erected at Chase, about a
mile from the store, for purposes of worship
and education. Facing the altar were school
desks followed by handmade wooden
benches. A painted inscription on the arch
above the chancel area read, "Land! Land!
hore des Herrn Wort!" (Land! Land! Hear the
Word of God!). After 17 years the congrega-
tion numbered about 13 families. In 1908 the
Rev. Theo. Pfundt was elected pastor at
Chase and St. John's, a sister congragation
which had been established in 1906 at
Bismarck near Cayote. His pastorate of over
18 years marked a period of expansion for the
When the building at Chase grew too small,
it was decided to build in Womack near the
geographic center of the membership. The
cemetery remained at its location behind the
church site a quarter mile from the road.
In the spring of 1913 a wooden building
with a 60 foot tower, "The Pride of the
Prairie," was completed at a cost of about
$3100. E.R. Stanford built the church taking
time out to recover from a case of smallpox.
In 1948 St. John's Church and Zion of
Womack were merged.
A buff-colored brick church with a copper
steeple was built in 1955. In 1956 the
Evangelical and Reformed and the Congrega-
tional Christian denominations merged to
form the United Church of Christ. In 1968
Zion and First Presbyterian of Clifton enter-
ed into a combined parish. The Rev. Frank
H. Horak has served as minister since that
In the early years, preaching and instruc-
tion were in the German language. Into the
20's, children in some German-American
families did not speak English until they
went to school. Some of the first generation
of settlers had a few years of instruction in
English, but many learned to read and write
it on their own. As the years went by, a desire
to succeed in America, fear of being ridiculed
for a brogue, and the impact of two wars
caused many to drop the mother tongue.
Traditions of common sense, independence
of mind and hearty German cooking remain,
but the greeting, "Wie geht es ihnen?" is
seldom heard on the prairie.
C.W. Johle operated a general store on the
north side of the road at the corner where the
Womack Store stands today. His wife, Emma
Johle, purchased one acre of land from a
Honeycut for $60 in 1905. It was sold to E.E.
Prescher in 1918. The building was moved to
the Ernest Anz place and made into living
quarters. When Henry Meinkowsky bought
the Anz land, his family lived in the remod-
eled store until 1939 when a new house was
built using some of the old lumber.
A man named Coffey lived in a two-story
house on the south side of the road. At one
time there was a small store and a blacksmith
shop on his property. A Sparks from Cayote
operated the store.
In 1925 Argyle Biffle built a store at the
former Johle Store location. Henry and
Louise (Conrad) Hafer bought the store from
Biffle in 1926. They enlarged it and added
living quarters at the back. In the summer
they sometimes sold twenty 100-lb. blocks of
ice in a day to supply ice boxes. Besides
groceries, they sold sacks of feed. They
bought eggs and cream from local farmers. In
1961 John and Drotha Musselman bought
the store and operated it until Claude and
Janet Ellingson bought it in 1984.
Around 1908 Jim Greenwade built a cotton
gin north of the store and dug an artesian well
which served the store and church as well as
the gin. After it stood idle for a few years,
Arthur Urban bought the gin in 1924. He died
in 1925 and Adolph Reichert and son Herbert
bought the gin in 1926. During the busy
season a dynamo was used to generate
electricity for light and the gin operated late
into the night sometimes producing 70 bales
a day. An average year's production was 800-
900 bales with as many as 1250 in a good year.
Most bales were hauled to the compress in
Waco. Herbert Reichert sold the gin in 1944.
and it was torn down.
The foundation of a gin is on Childress
Creek on the Joseph Knust homestead now
owned by Calvert Hoel. Knust sold 4-1/2
acres for the purpose of a gin to J.M. Carr in
1894. There was also a gin in the Brown
community in the White Ranch area.
An early blacksmith was a Mexican, Paul
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Bosque County History Book Committee. Bosque County: Land and People (A History of Bosque County, Texas), book, 1985; Dallas, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth91038/m1/54/?q=campbell: accessed May 27, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Denton Public Library.