Bosque County: Land and People (A History of Bosque County, Texas) Page: 82
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Valley Mills in 1895, looking east on Main Street.
Suggs-Bible House. Built in 1910 by John Pool.
Cotton Yard and Public Weigher, 1895.
Veterans of Civil War; Back Row: Alfred Odle, V. Wortham, Billie Lawbden, Joe Harris, Bob Snider
Jonathan McFadden. Front Row: Albert W. Sears, Joe McMurry, Calvin McSpadden, Enoch George, John
Bostick, John McKenzie. On Steps: Curtis Barnett, Jonathan Preston.
Armistic Day Parade, Valley Mills, 1922.
' > +.
Valley Mills Depot; meeting the train in 1920's.
with the goods to show us what we could get.
He had calico, jeans, hickory shirting, spool
thread, brown and black domestic, knives,
forks, cups, saucers, plates, and tin milk pans.
Right here is where old Texas began to
simmer. The sun began to shine brighter
all because everybody saw a future."
In the spring of 1868 there was great
excitement as men, taking the advice of the
apple peddlers, began rounding up cattle.
John Pope went north with two thousand
head of steers, which he had rounded up
south of San Antonio. Millet and Mabray
rounded up 2500 head of cattle in Williamson
and Travis County. These men and their
herds blazed the way of the Texas Trail (often
called the Chisholm Trail) which crossed the
Red River and joined the Chisholm Trail on
to Kansas. The Texas cattle trail came from
San Antonio, through Austin, crossed the
Colorado by Roundrock, on to Georgetown,
crossed the San Gabriel to Belton, crossed the
Leon River, then on to Valley Mills, crossed
the North Bosque River, thence up the big
divide between the Bosque and Brazos,
crossed the Brazos at Kimball Bend, on to
Cleburne, Ft. Worth, Denton and on to the
Red River crossing at Red River Station. The
men came back in the fall telling of the prices
they had received and about the great wide
open spaces covered with fine sage grass and
great streams of water north of the Red River,
grass and water enough to fatten all the cattle
By the middle of May, 1870, the Texas trail
was lined with herds. According to Gaines,
about 16,000 head of cattle were passing
through Valley Mills per day. The local
merchants had learned that the chuck wagon
following each herd meant business, and they
kept a supply of bacon, flour, meal, molasses,
coffee, sugar, smoked hams, and shoulders.
Farmers were able to clean out their smoke
houses and sell surplus flour.
Two brothers from Missouri came to the
Valley Mills area with six wagons loaded with
clocks which they traded for cattle. Gaines
remembers that when he drove over three
cows and calves to trade for a clock twenty-
four inches high and run by weights, the
peddlers had already collected about 600
cows with calves.
Perhaps the year 1872 was the peak of the
cattle drives through Valley Mills. The trail
was forced to move farther west in the mid
seventies because the farmers were plowing
up the fertile soil and planting cotton. Fences
were being built.
r, In 1868 Paul and Andrew Downing built a
n six horse gin in Valley Mills and also put in
a general merchandise store. Mr. Gaines
recalls that his father made a bale of cotton
in the fall of 1868, ginned it at the Downing's
gin, hauled it to Hearne, a distance of one
hundred and fifty miles, where he sold it for
$90.00. The next fall (1869) 460 bales of
cotton from Coryell, Hamilton, and Bosque
Counties were baled at the Downing gin. The
bales of cotton were hauled to Bremond
where cotton buyers were located.
The "old" town of Valley Mills was contin-
uing to grow. Daniel McNeill and his three
sons, A.A., Will T., and Alexander moved to
Valley Mills from North Carolina in 1869.
Paul Downing established a dry goods store,
and A.A. McNeill was employed in the
Downing store before he entered into the dry
goods business for himself. Dick Peters, who
came to the area as a clock peddler, worked
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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/m1/98/?q=campbell: accessed September 20, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Denton Public Library.