Interesting Stories and Events In Honey Grove’s Early History
Honey Grove Signal-Citizen, [specific date unknown; likely Spring, 1938] (H)
Written by H.P. Allen, assisted by W.J. Erwin
Samuel Erwin, the first settler of Honey Grove, was born of Irish parents in Wyth County, Va., and moved from there to Tennessee. There he met and married Sallie Rodgers Crisp, David Crockett, then a justice of the peace, performing the ceremony. From Tennessee he moved to Missouri, and from there came to Texas settling on Red River. Not being pleased with that location, he and his eldest daughter started out on horseback to find another location, and on reaching the spot where Honey Grove is now located, stopped their horses on the west hill and he said, on looking over the wide expanse of tall grass and buffalo trails, that in fifty years hence there will be a large town here, and the daughter replying: "Yes, father, and if I am living I;ll see it." How well she kept that promise some can testify. He built the first house, was the first postmaster, one of the first merchants, the late B. S. Walcott being his partner. He was also a surveyor and accumulated large land holdings. His family of two daughters and two sons were reared in Honey Grove. The oldest daughter married Dr. Strenzel, who was a surgeon in the Polish army, and was exiled and never allowed to return to his native country. The second daughter was married twice. Her first husband was Franklin Day the second, Dr. DeSpain. The oldest son was married twice, first to Eliza McKenzie, and the second wife was Minerva Curry. Descendants of these families live in and near Honey Grove.
The writer's individual knowledge of the Erwin family began in the year 1854 when we were about 5 years of age. The historical sketch by Mrs. J. E. Breckeen (in the above paragraph) was all past before I was born,; but by 1854 we began to remember S. A. (Gus) Erwin and his younger sister, Mrs. Franklin Day, and her little daughter, Alice, who grew to womanhood in Mr. Gus Erwin's home and was married to Mr. Will Ryan. Her father died when she was quite young, and her mother married Dr. DeSpain, and made her home elsewhere. A. J. (Jack), the elder brother of Gus Erwin, married a daughter of John McKenzie, and to them were born the late S. L. Erwin and some daughters. A. J. Erwin made his permanent home in Falls county. There his first wife died. He later married Miss Minerva E. Curry, and our fellow-townsman, Julian S. Erwin, is one of the sons born to this union. The writer's acquaintance and neighbor dealings have always been of a pleasant nature. When we were about five years old Mr. Gus Erwin was harvesting wheat. One of my older brothers was helping him. After dinner we went to the harvest field and my brother told me to get the water bucket and go to the spring and bring fresh water for the hands, which I continued to do all the afternoon. At quitting time Mr. Erwin wanted to pay me, but I persistently refused to accept anything. Later he was doing some contract work for my father and I was continually with him, though too small to do real work, but I could bring him fresh water and do some light jobs for him. He invariably would speak to me in a kind, fatherly way and I learned to appreciate him very highly and that friendship continued while he lived. When he passed away we attended his funeral, which was conducted as he wished it to be. We went away feeling that we had lost a good friend. We never had a better neighbor than he was, and during the darkest days of the Civil War when my father and older brothers were in the army, we were the one at home to protect the family and look after the stock. I frequently went to Mr. Erwin and borrowed articles I was in need of but did not have. He seemed to have adopted the Biblical admonition: do unto others as you would have others do unto you. He was fond of music, loved to play his violin and loved to see his children enjoy life. His wife, before their marriage, was Miss Elizabeth Drenan. Their children were Mary, John S., Mattie, W. J., Nannie and Eva. We visited Mr. and Mrs. Breckeen in Paris a few months ago. Jim, though ninety years old is the same jolly, good-natured man he has always been and plays his violin well for his age.