Bosque County: Land and People (A History of Bosque County, Texas) Page: 70
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Emerson Hotel from sketch by Fay Davis
A view of the city looking east from the courthouse. Buildings shown here include the Administration
Building of Meridian College, the First Baptist Church, flour mill, hotel and Cumberland Presbyterian
View of Meridian made from old Morgan Road
this was the Oddfellow Lodge, which met in
the upstairs and the Methodists in the lower
In 1876 Dr. J.J. Lumpkin, pharmacist and
doctor, arrived in Meridian and two years
later established the first exclusive drugstore.
He built a two-story rock business house on
the southeast corner of Main and Morgan
The year 1881 saw the Santa Fe Railroad
laying tracks into Bosque County. The route
passed two miles east of the courthouse, and
there was talk of moving the town. The
courthouse was fairly new. Some say Dr.
Lumpkin spoke against it, but no document
has been found to prove this. In December,
1896, the Meridian Tribune reports, "A little
talk of the Santa Fe building farther into
town." Next month railroad officials arrived
to discuss this. The tracks remained where
they were, but lots were surveyed and the
depot. A lumber yard was built there, a
grocery store, and several good sized houses,
as well as smaller ones.
Besides the Emerson Hotel, the Duncan
Hotel (later called Coleman) operated on
Block 6, where the bank is. Also on Block 17
was the Thompson house, later the Womack.
Each hotel had a "Wagonette" to haul
passengers and freight to the town. Each also
had stables where horses were kept. Besides,
there were at least two livery stables. One
would rent a horse and buggy to a salesman
(drummer) who came in on the train. The
drummer might stay a week visiting neigh-
boring towns, then board the train and go
somehwere else. One livery stable kept only
mules to haul freight from the depot to the
stores or to individuals.
Local passenger traffic ceased some years
ago, but Meridian was on the route of the
Santa Fe's Texas Chief, and is now on
Amtrak from Chicago to Houston. Freight
train traffic is heavy.
In 1884 a two-story rock structure was
erected on the northeast corner of Morgan
and Main intersection. J.M. Williams bought
this lot in 1881 and kept it until 1891. It was
called the Williams Building and is still
Then in 1886 the fourth courthouse was
finished. The work of removing the older
courthouse and building the new was begun
In the meantime, J.W. Rudasill of South
Carolina moved to Meridian and decided the
town needed a bank. J.M. Robertson, attor-
ney, and others assisted Rudasill to purchase
Block 5 and to charter a bank in 1885. A small
frame building somewhere up North Main
served as an office until the two-story rock
and brick was finished. The chartered name
was Bosque County Bank, but it was changed
to First National Bank in 1889 when it
occupied the new building. Across the street
in the Williams Building, another bank began
in 1911 called Farmers Guaranty State Bank.
About 1927 the two banks merged into
Farmers State Bank, using the original bank
building. There it remained until the present
structure was built on Block 6. At that time
the organization became Bosque County
In the same block as the original bank, the
International Order of Oddfellows built a
combination business house-lodge in 1896.
Harry White, a prominent businessman,
built a large two-story house a block north of
Lane Street. Two years later Dr. and Mrs. J.J.
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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/m1/86/?q=campbell: accessed April 24, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Denton Public Library.