Bosque County: Land and People (A History of Bosque County, Texas) Page: 74
the local women into a chapter of the United
Daughters of the Confederacy. It existed
until about 1960. Also there was a Confed-
erate Veteran Chapter. In July, 1900 these
two groups had a reunion at Meridian. It is
not known how much territory the visitors
represented. They came on the train, many
of them. About 3500 came the first day and
8,000 the second day. For years on each
Memorial Day, these organizations met at the
square and marched to the cemetery to
dedicate the graves of soldiers of both South
When the public school moved to the new
building built in 1889 and the Masonic Lodge
built a new building, the Methodists built a
rock church with brick siding on East Morgan
Street. This remained until 1926. The Bap-
tists had a church about where the present
one is. The Episcopal Church was built in
1912. The Cumberland Presbyterian Church
was prominent from 1884 to 1923, when it
disbanded. References are made to a Chris-
tian Church, but it is not here now. Nazarenes
were here awhile but disbanded. The Black
Community had a Baptist Church and a
Cumberland Presbyterian Church. Today
only the latter is here. In recent years
Pentecostal, Lutheran, and Church of Christ
have built churches. A community tabernacle
was built near the Baptist Church, but after
it burned, the next one was built on Bosque
and Hamilton Streets. This was later de-
For years there was an artesian well on the
northwest corner of the square. It overflowed
and ran down South Main Street. Later J.W.
Rudasill asked permission to put up a
drinking fountain as well as a horse trough.
Permission was given, provided he kept it in
After the railroads came, every little town
built an opera house. Traveling actors,
performers, whatever, had a place where
people could see them. Meridian's opera
house was on the southeast corner of the
square at the intersection of River Street and
Main Street. In 1896 the Christmas Ball given
by the young men of Meridian for thirty
couples was held in the opera house. The
Cypret Orchestral Band of Hico played.
Some years later this was referred to as the
Lumpkin Opera House.
Education: Meridian Academy
In 1898 Richard Kimball led a group to
organize a private academy or high school.
The public school taught only to eighth
grade. Parents who wanted more for their
children had to send them away from home.
An organization was formed, and Professor
W.H. Long, his wife, his son, and three
daughters moved to Meridian as teachers.
After a year or so, the daughters married, the
mother died, the son went to Denton, and the
father followed. For a few years the people of
Meridian secured other teachers, and the
school went on until 1906.
Rev. George F. Campbell was pastor of the
Methodist Church in 1907. He had a dream
of a school here to train ministers and
children of ministers. He sold this idea to the
Gatesville District and later to other districts.
It was located at Meridian, and after the
Administration Building was built, it opened
its doors in 1909. At first it taught kindergar-
ten on up, but gradually it dropped grades
below seventh grade. Two years of college
were added as pupils reached that level. It
achieved Class A Junior College status and
held it to the last. Besides the Main Building,
it had a dining hall, two dormitories, and the
old public school building. Three fires in
succession put the school in a financial bind,
and it closed its doors in 1927. None of the
buildings are left now.
Post Office Building
In 1912 a new brick building on South Main
and River Streets became the post office. It
remained so until it moved into the present
one. Besides the first postmaster Joseph
Smith, there were other early ones. During
the Confederacy, these were J.J. Wood, Nov.
12, 1861; Jasper N. Mabray, Feb. 14, 1863;
H.T. Dickerman, Aug. 8, 1864; A.S. Thomas,
Oct. 26, 1864. Sometime after the Civil War,
a Mrs. Compton was either postmaster or a
deputy postmaster. Then William B.
Warrington served from Sept. 1, 1897 until
he died two years later. John Harvey was
postmaster in a building across from the
present post office. He also sold stationery,
ink, pens, pencils, etc. Other twentieth
century postmasters were Charlie Porter, Lin
Darden, Harvey Wintz, Moran Dunlap, Jesse
Gandy, Ray Gibbons, J.M. Wood.
Automobiles and Roads
The first auto was registered in the county
in 1907 by J.W. Rudasill-a Ranier. How-
ever, the first car was owned by J.J. Lumpkin
a few years earlier, but it was disposed of
before the law to register cars was passed. In
1909 J.W. Rudasill and H.C. Odle received a
carload of Overland automobiles, the first
carload in the county. By 1914 Rudasill had
the exclusive agency for the Saxon car, selling
for $440. Odle and Adams were handling the
Meridian played a large part in the promo-
tion of a National Highway from Winnepeg,
Canada to the Gulf of Mexico. This was to
follow roughly the 98th meridian, and was
called Meridian Highway. H.C. Odle was a
member of the Board of Directors of the
Texas Division, and he urged that the county
assist and grade roads in this county. J.W.
Rudasill saw that the highway was marked
with letters "MH" in black on a white
background on telephone poles along the
road. Later H.C. Odle became the first Texas
Highway Commissioner. The road was paved
from Walnut Springs through Meridian to
Clifton on the east side of the river and to
McLennan County line.
A Ford Service Line from Meridian to
Cleburne was in use by 1921. The car had
regularly scheduled hours for going and
coming. There was also a Meridian-to-Waco
By 1916 a few accidents had occurred, and
the city passed some traffic laws. Signs such
as "Drive Slow" and "Drive to Right" were
placed at the two most popular intersections.
Reckless driving was defined as over ten
miles per hour in the business district and
eighteen miles elsewhere. Streets running
east and west were to have right of way over
streets going north and south. No one should
drive between one-half hour after sunset to
one-half hour before sunrise without having
fastened on the car two white lights on front
and one red light on the back. By 1925 a
station had been set up to test auto lamps.
During the Depression years, the local
people were involved in government sponso-
red construction work. Talk had circulated
for a number of years about a park near
Meridian. During this time a Civilian Conser-
vation Corps came to the area west of
Meridian and built the dam on Bee Creek,
built the Concession House under Burney
Warren, Sr.'s guidance, and cleared camping
areas. This took several years and was a boon
to the town.
Another project was the renovation of the
courthouse during the term of Judge B.F.
Word. The beautiful tower had been struck
by lightning in the past. This superstructure
was removed and a new clock space made. An
annex of two rooms on the west side was
added with public rest rooms. The old iron
fence was sold and new sidewalks laid. Other
sidewalks in town were built, too.
After World War II was over, a surge of new
school building began. Bonds were voted, the
old 1912 school was demolished, and a new
elementary building arose. Later a new high
school building was added, and next a new
During all its years, the town of Meridian
received most of its income from farmers and
their produce. Early day newspapers suggest,
"We need a good wagon road to Norse and
Cranfills Gap." The flour mill and the cotton
gins were to process agricultural products. At
one time there was a broom factory in
Meridian until it burned. During the years of
Meridian College, many people had room and
board for the students, as well as other
supplies. Before the day of cars, the days
when court was held, the town teemed with
business. People spent the night at the
several hotels, and the eating establishments
About 1930 Bill Curtis arrived in town and
began a chicken and turkey dressing plant.
He also sold ice, bought cream and eggs.
Philip Markman built the first hatchery. A
company produced Alta Vista ice cream.
The small community schools around
Meridian were eventually consolidated with
the independent school in town. South of
town and west of the river was a school called
Round Mountain about 1905. Later this
school combined with Cooper School farther
south. However, when Cooper consolidated
with Clifton, the northern portion became
On the mountain west of town was the
Lumpkin School. Beside it was a church,
Nazarene probably, also a few graves. By
1936 the school was vacant and the pupils
rode the school bus into Meridian.
Farther northwest was Cove Springs
school. The post office for this community
was Dell. A little store had the post office
inside it. There was also a gin. Members of
the community were great boosters. At least
two graves and/or gravestones are nearby.
When this Cove Springs school closed, part
of it went to Meridian and part of it to
Up Highway 6 northwest in the Hanna
area, there were two schools, Loader Springs
Toward Walnut Springs there were two
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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/m1/90/ocr/: accessed June 24, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Denton Public Library.