Interesting Stories and Events in Honey Grove’s Early History

Honey Grove Signal Citizen, March 17, 1938

Written by H. P. Allen, assisted by W. J. Erwin

Honey Grove Preservation League

Saving and Documenting the History of Honey Grove, Texas

Early Settlers from Georgia

Between 1855 and 1860 quite a number of families came from Georgia and settled near Honey Grove.  Mr. James Williamson, deceased, was the first one we remember.  He bought a farm about two and one-half miles northwest of town and soon built a mill on it.  One of his daughters, Mrs. Bell Parrish, owns the farm at this time.

At a time later three brothers, Henderson, Perry and Ben Trout, came, and all acquired farms one and a half to two miles of town.

Mr. Henderson Trout's family consisted of three daughters and one son, Tom Trout, who grew to manhood near Honey Grove, married a daughter of Thomas Craddock, and became the father of the Trout brothers who are in the grocery business in Honey Grove at this time.  He also reared other children and acquired a large amount of good farm land.  At present he lives in Dallas and is 89 years of age.

Perry Trout bought a farm about two and a half miles northwest of town where he resided the balance of his life. He reared a good sized family.  He was a peace-loving, good man and lived to a good old age, and if my memory is correct, lost his oldest son in the Confederate Army.

Ben Trout, the younger brother, also acquired a farm near town; was also a good, honest man.

The late John Raiden was a Georgian.  Came to Texas when he was a young man, and settled about four miles south of Honey Grove. He later married the daughter of John Martin, who was a Tennessean, but came to Texas before the Civil War.  Mr. Raiden was a successful farmer, and a man of more intelligence than the average citizen.  He represented Fannin county in the legislature at one time, reared a large family and acquired a large amount of good farm land.

There were other families from Georgia who came, some before the war and some afterward.  As a class they all made good, useful citizens.

The John T. McCleary Family

Mr. McCleary was born in Tennessee March 4, 1842.  Came with his father's family to Texas in 1844, and soon the family was settled on a farm east of Lane's Academy, where the young boy grew to manhood.  In 1864 he joined Company C in Burnett's battalion, where he served until the close of the war.  In 1867 he married Sarah Elizabeth Wood, daughter of B. F. Wood, who was an early settler from Kentucky.  Mr. McCleary and his wife were soon established on a farm about one mile south of Honey Grove, where their family of eight children was born.  They were upstanding, Christian people, and trained their children well in habits of industry, economy and good morals.  Mr. McCleary passed away several years before his wife did.  She lived until August, 1937, and had she lived until December she would have been 90 years of age. Her loyalty to and her faithfulness in attendance at her church services exceeded that of anyone we ever knew.  Truly she was a noble mother.

The Burgher Family

Young Burgher was born Nov. 19, 1821, and was a son of Joseph and Ann Burgher of Virginia.  He was educated in Tennessee, and at 20 years of age began farming,  at the age of 32 he engaged in stock raising in Lamar county, about seven miles northeast of Honey Grove.  On August 29, 1844, Mr. Burgher was united in marriage to Miss Mary Ann Bell, daughter of Robert Bell, a native of Tennessee.  Five children were born and reared by this union, three sons and two daughters - Alice, Epps, Ballard M., Joe T., and Maggie.  All have passed away.  Mr. Burgher continued his stock raising until about 1896 when he moved to Honey Grove and engaged in the hardware business with Ed Stephens as a partner.  They did a profitable business for a number of years.  They built what is said to be the best store house in the town.  Mr. Burgher withdrew from the firm, turning his interest to his son, Ballard.  He then became a stock holder and director in the First National Bank; lived to be 80 odd years of age.  He was a member of the Methodist church and contributed freely to its needs.  He was also helpful in charity work.  It was said that he paid tithes on all his income.  The writer was authorized to solicit funds for the building of a manse for the Presbyterian church some years ago.  We met Mr. Burgher in the post office and we asked him if he would feel interested in a small donation for the Presbyterian manse.  Yes, he said, and took out his check book and wrote me a check for $25.00.  He was truly a liberal giver and a good man.

The Provine Family

The Rev. W. A. Provine and family came to Honey Grove at an early date; were from Tennessee.  Rev. Provine was an ordained minister in the Presbyterian church.  The family consisted of four sons and four daughters.  The oldest son made his home in Paris after spending a few years in Honey Grove.  The oldest daughter married Porter Davis of Grayson County.  William died a bachelor.  Neal married a young lady at Whitesboro and made his home there.  Miss Sallie married Thomas Price.  Several of her children and grandchildren live here and at Windom.  Calhoun married Miss Lou Gunter.  She and some of her children are here.  Mattie married Charley McKee.  Their daughter lives here.  Ella married a man who lived in Tennessee, where she died.  All the Provine children have passed away.

The Napoleon Smith Family

The Napoleon Smith family came from Christian County, Ky., in 1869.  He was in the grocery business for a while, then was engaged as a dry goods salesman for about 30 years with J. B. McKee, then became a partner in the business until after McKee's death, then ran a feed store a few years.  Mr. Smith built a home and reared quite a family.  He was a man who was fond of books and kept well posted on state and national affairs; was a member of the Baptist church and a regular attendant at its services.  He was a man of cheerful disposition.  His wife passed away some years before he died.  When about 80 years of age his health began to fail.  He had a married daughter living at Fresno, Calif., when on a visit to her and died while there.  His body was brought to Honey Grove for burial.  The service was conducted by his former pastor, Rev. Boyet.  His sons were all present.  They all reside in Oklahoma.  One of the sons, I have been told, is a fine physician.  Two of the daughters reside in California.  The writer received a letter today from one of them, whose name is Florence Steele, Ceres, Calif.

Silas Smith, the gunsmith, came from Central Kentucky before the Civil War.  An aged bachelor, he was an educated man and well posted on many subjects.  He built a shop east of the square, had a small living room in one end of his shop.  He for years took his meals at the hotel and lived alone.  He was a very skillful workman.  He grew tired of bachelorhood and married a widow Smith about the year 1867.  Then went to his 90-acre farm and spent the balance of his days farming.  Two daughters were born to them, both living; one married, the other a maid.