Travels with Grandma...
Preserving the stories, legends & history of Texas for generations to come...
Covering Cleburne & the surrounding backroads.


Welcome back! I hope you enjoyed the snow this week, and you are keeping warm! I know we had a lot of fun at my house. Daughter Alicia got the 4 wheeler out, and when she and Area Weekly editor Christina put their heads together, they devised a way for Alicia to pull Christina around in the snow.

I don’t know who had more fun…Christina… …or Alicia! After being cooped up inside all week, I had to get out! Sunday dawned a beautiful blue sky day and the wide open road was calling my name. So, after a trip to church I packed up the camera and headed out. South on 144, east on 67. I didn’t care where I was going this week…I was just going. About half way between Glen Rose and Cleburne I remembered the Chisholm Trail park, just outside of Cleburne. That would be my first stop… Well, I was in for a surprise…the gate was locked! I couldn’t get in!! But, that didn’t stop me from pulling up on the side of the road and getting a glimpse of what life might have been like during the Chisholm Trail days, when the cowboys were driving the cattle to market in Kansas. You know, that sounds like another adventure. I think we’ll have to try and follow some of the old cattle drive trails when the weather is a little warmer. Who knows what we might find!

It is the sight of the first county seat in Johnson County – Wardville. The area was settled as early as the mid 1840’s when Charles and George Barnard opened a trading post near Comanche Peak. Remember? We learned about them when we went to Glen Rose and visited the mill?? I’ll tell you a little more about them later today too. We’re going to stop at a few places they might have been. Any way, back to the story…


From looking at the park and the surrounding area we can see how the original townsite has been recreated. Where the lake is now – that used to be the Nolan River.

The story says that the Nolan river was named for a soldier of fortune – Philip Nola was killed in the 1820’s with some of his party. You can see the teepees representing the Indian settlement that was nearby. From what the stories say, there weren’t any permanent Indian settlements in the area, although the Tonkawas, Kicapoos, Anadarkos, Caddos and Wacos hunted in the area. In 1851 they lead an uprising, forcing many of the early settlers from their homes.

I continued on down the road into Cleburne, there I hit another roadblock! The courthouse I was going to take a picture of to add to my collection was under construction. UGGH!!! So, instead of the courthouse “steeple” against the bright blue sky I had pictured in my head – this is the picture I did get!


Cleburne has a beautiful building that now houses the Layland Museum. I discovered it years ago, when Aunt Alicia was in Girl Scouts and we took a trip to Cleburne. I still remember all the wonderful exhibits it has, even though I didn’t get to go inside this time. But, I did learn something interesting about it. It was formerly the Carnegie Library. For those of you who don’t know, Andrew Carnegie was an industrialist and philanthropist, who lived from 1835-1919. He began his career as a bobbin boy, earning $1.20 a week. He worked in a telegraph office (who remembers or even knows now what a telegraph was???) and learned the trade and went to work for a railroad. After a series of promotions he had an interest in the Pullman Co. (any one remember Pullman cars? No, not the kind you drive, they were train cars!). At the age of 33, he had an annual income of $50,000, he’d come a long way from his bobbin boy days.


He said, “Beyond this never earn, make no effort to increase fortune, but spend the surplus each year for benevolent purposes.” And as his fortune grew, he followed that belief by donating more than $350 million to various educational, cultural and peace institutions. The Carnegie Library in a little town in Texas was the benefactor of one of those donations after the women of the town petitioned the Carnegie Foundation. And because of their dedication, and the generosity of one man, in 1904 we still have this beautiful old building to admire and enjoy.

Cleburne also has some other interesting sights and another of my favorites – building murals. This one is still being painted, so I can’t wait to go back and visit it when it is finished… Soon it was time to head back
home, but not without taking a detour or two. You know me…there is no historical marker safe from my reading, and few roads not worth exploring.


None the less, I headed back west on Hwy 67, and of course, I couldn’t just go straight home. There was a historical maker! I had to stop! I had to know what it said! And that one, lone, historical marker led me down other roads and on to other stories…

As I wandered down one road, I wondered what the original owners of these old farms would have thought about the new “neighbor” on the horizon… Would they have been as frightened of it as the Indians were of the first “iron horses” crossing the countryside?

A little farther down the road is a sign pointing the way to Bono. Well I had to know what is in Bono, so I took a right on FM2331 and about a mile down the road I found a wide open agricultural community. Bono was settled in the 1870’s when two families, Calvin Jones and BH Williamson who donated 20 acres for a townsite. At one time the town had a gin, two stores, two churches, and a school. All I found on a Sunday afternoon was a church and community building (along with a lot of cows of course). After wandering around a while, I headed back down to Hwy 67 and a little farther along the road I found another historical marker … This one told the story of how brothers Charles and George Bernard formed one of the Torey Trading Posts not too far from here. Remember, I told you about that when we went to Glen Rose? If you don’t remember, you can go to and you can read all about them.


I wandered on down the road, on down to George’s Creek Cemetery (take the road just behind the historic marker) and wandered through some of the countryside they first discovered in the late 1840’s. I imagined it looked much like it does today – minus the power lines and fences of course! Instead of the occasional house the land was scattered with log cabins and a Shawnee-Delaware Indian Village was nearby.

A few more roads to wander and a few more sites to see; I was sad when I passed these beautiful deer. They should have been wandering free… Ahhh, well, another day is coming to a close and it’s time to
head back to the highway and head for home.

I hope you’ve enjoyed our trip today as much as I have!!!

Til’ next time ...

Love, Grandma

P.S. Do you have a story to share or a place you would like me to visit? Would you like to sponsor one of Grandma’s trips to your special place? E-mail [email protected]

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© Story and all pictures are copyright of Sharon L. Curry. No portion of this story or pictures may be reproduced in whole or part without the express written permission of Sharon L. Curry.