From the Dallas Morning News, May 20, 1887
THE TOWN OF HONEY GROVE,
IN EASTERN PART OF FANNIN COUNTY.
The Prairie of Ten Years Ago Now Looms Up as the Prosperous Abode of Three Thousand People.
A Growth That Illustrates the New West
Honey Grove is a place where Anplo-Saxon push and enterprise has made a city of brick, stone and mortar whose site a decade ago was an open prairie. Here wealth and manhood are developed together. There is no falling off in the energy of the sons of Kentuckians, Tennesseeans, Georgians and men from other Statcs who have built the handsome and growing town of Honey Grove, at the intersection of the Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe and the Texas and Paciflc Railroads,
The population of the town now is more than 3000, and there is a steady increase in the number. Seventy-two business houses are now in active operation, and three handsome stone store-houses are in process of construction, which will be finished and occupied this summer. A majority of the buildings on the four sides of the public square are constructed of the stone found in the quarries of this county (Fannin.) The stone is of a cream color, easily worked and when first taken from the quarries rather soft, but subjected to the action of the elements hardens, in fact, when subjected to heat becomes actually fireproof. A quarry three miles from town supplies the home demand for stone, and much of it is shipped to other points. Some of the buildings constructed of this stone are of great architectural beauty, especially the Burgher & Stephens corner.
Some dozen dry goods establishments furnish the necessary clothing for the people. One firm that began business less than a dozen yours ago on $300 capital now carries tho heaviest stocks between Texarkana and Sherman. The total amount of the dry goods business amounted to over $600,000 for the past year. The grocery trade is carried on by ten first-class stores, and close estimates make the trade of last year$500,000. Hardware, crockery and the manufacturing of tinware amount to more than $150,000 per annum. The agricultural implement trade plays a prominent part in the business of the town. The rich black-waxy lands surround the town on all sides, and even it no factories were ever established agricultural interests would make Honey Grove a populous and rich place.
Lumber is supplied to the people by two lumber-yards, woich do a thriving trade, and the steam planing mill is kept busy all ihe time. A building boom is now on. In addition to the large stone stores, many handsome private residences of stone, brick or wood are going up. In the business portion of the town the sidewalks are of the native stone, which is smooth and pleasant to walk upon, and from them miles of wooden sidewalks stretch out in every direction to the residence portion of the town.
Walnut and cedar lumber is shipped to foreign markets in great quantities. One merchant has paid since Jan. 1, 1887, over $3000 for cedar, and the squared walnut logs are sent to Europe to be made into fine furniture. The grain of the Fannin County walnut is of exceeding fineness and the wood admits of
THE HIGHEST POLISH.
A stock company with a paid up capital of $50,000 has just been organized to erect a roller mill for the making of flour from the wheat grown in this section, which has no superior. Four cotton gins are in active operation here drring the cotton season, and one cotton compress has all it can do in preparing cotton for shipment to New York, Boston and Liverpool. Two banks name in the commercial operations of the town. The First National Hank has a capital of $75,000, surplus $28,000, and last year its business footed up $10,650,000. Wilkins & Baker, a private bank with $30,000 capital last year did a business of $1,350,000.
The Honey Grove Graded and High School ia a handsome and commodious two-story brick building and it is well adapted to the purposes for which it was constructed. The Walcott Institute is also a good edifice. These schools are well attended. There is one private school for white children and two colored free schools.
Even towns of greater population and of greater age do not possess handsomer church structures that have been reared by the different denominations, the Presbyterian, Cumberland Presbyterian, Methodist, Baptist. Episcopal and German Lutheran. In addition to there the colored people have a Methodist and a Baptist Church.
There are now in process of construction ten new stone houses made from the beautiful cream-colored magnesia limestone, which bids defiance to fire, in fact fire improves it.
Saddlery and harness, from the commonest farm gearing to the finest carriage harness, mounted with gold and silver, is made by three houses. Two establishments are engaged in the sale of furniture and do and do an
All the various. kinds of business are conducted by enterprising men, and none of them lack patronage. Two newspapers, each with a large circulation, are published, the Herald, a weekly, and the Texas Citizen, a semi-weekly, both Demoratic. Among the handsome buildings on the square is the opera house, which has been built with a due regard to the purposes for which it is used. The stage and scenery are first-class, and parquet, dress-circle and galleries are all that is necessary to comfort and convenience.
The following is a correct statement of the business done by the Texas and Pacific Railroad at this place during the past year to Jan. 1, 1887: Carloads of freight received, lumber 313, flour 63, coal 12, wire 17, stoves 10, ice 18, beer 2, bacon 10, lime 6, produce 16, agricultural implements 7, brick 6, wagons 11, machinery 15, railroad ties and steel 52, merchandise 3. oil & sugar 3, molasses 6, salt 21, sawdust 8, seed oats 1, bottles 1, cement 1, nails 6, tin plate 1, stock 3, material 9, iron 1, stamped ware 1, bagging and ties 11, household goods 3, wood 2. This only includes carloads, while an enormous amount of merchandise has been otherwise received.
The following is a list of carload lots that have been shipped from this point: Cotton seed 79, hay 72, grain 29, corn 67, cattle 53, empty beer kegs 2, horses 2, piling 19, stone 39, machinery 2, cotton in seed 59, old iron 27, salt 1, hogs 1. Wool, hides, tallow and an enormous amount of farm products and other material have been shipped in less than carload lots. Sale of tickets $21,103.40; weight received $37,857.55, making a total of $109,120.95. There has also been shipped from Jan. 1, 1886, to Dec. 30, 1886, 21,609 bales of cotton. From the above figures the importance of Honey Grove as a business center can
EASILY BE SEEN.
Last year was the dryest ever known in this section. This season promises to add 25 per cent at least to the number of bales of cotton shipped and to other produce of the farm. There have been copious rains and the crops never were in better condition.
The statement following of the business done by the postofiice is another fair index to the commercial importance of the town: Sale of stamps $3083.32, money orders $43.200.
is, in the language of one of the real estate men, “stiff," and city property is constantly advancing in prices, and there has been an increase of more than 400 per cent in values in the last five years. With the increased facilities for shipment to markets North and South, by the Santa Fe Railroad, which will soon give another outlet St. Louis, and with the opportunities furnished by the Tcxas and Pacific, real estate in the last few months has taken a bound upward, from which there is no probability that it will recode. Every indication goes to show that Honey Grove posses all the natural advantages for becoming a great business center. From the magnificent homes that now adorn it, it will be and is one of the best places in which a home can be made. Not far distant is the day when in the center of the public square an artesian well will be sunk, which will afford all the water that the people need for every purpose. The artesian well solves the water problem for North Texas. In the suburbs of Honey Grove are three Jersey farms that supply milk and butter for the place. It has been thoroughly demonstrated by parties here that the English blue grass will become
SET IN THIS BLACK SOIL.
It is of a rougher fibre than Kentucky blue grass, but has the power to produce milk and butter and flesh as well as the latter. In fact, in Mason County, Ketucky it is grown in preference to the native blue grass, and the English blue grass seed commands the higher price in the markets. The grass is growing luxurintly here in certain places. With blue grass and the rearing of Jersey cattle is also joined the production of fine horses. Near this place in a farm upon which are some of the best bred mares in the State. At the Dallas races this spring the blue ribbon was captured by a Honey Grove horse. Many farmers are beginning to accept it as a fact, that on much money can be made, and at less trouble, by the rearing of fine stock, cattle and horses, than by the cultivation of wheat, cotton and corn. Not only are prices advancing on the realty of the town, but farm lands increase every year in valuation. Unimproved land within ten miles of Honey Grove are worth from $5 to $15 per acre, while improved farms sell from $20 to $50 per acre. No lands in the United States are capable of producing more wheat, corn or cotton per acre than the lands that lie in this portion of Fannin County. The great peculiarity about these lands is that a continued drouth of many months does not proven them from producing excellent and paying crops. But
DROUTHS ARE NOT FREQUENT
occurrences, and to take it all in all there is no country with a healthier and a pleasant climate than this.
The people of this town have everything to induce the investment of capital or to make the stay of those who are examining the resources of this section pleasant. There are five excellent hotels here, aud each one receives a fair patronage fron the numerous travelers that seek this point each of them can afford to keen good house. Several livery stables have all kinds of vehicles for hire and good strong horses that are native to the soil . Climate and grass here are just as well adapted, as has been said, to the raising of horses and mules as are those of Illinois and Kentucky.
The class of people who makte up the citizenship of Honey Grove and surrounding country are among the most intelligent in the country. People north of the Ohio and Potomac Rivers have a very erroneous idea of the society of Texas. The novels describing the period that followed Texas independence and the war with Mexico and the newspaper descriptions of cowboy life on the plains have filled them with the idea that the men go with breeches in boots and pistols buckled about their waists, while the facts are that society here is as cultured as in the East. Schools of the highest order are established here and all over the State, and churches with modern improvements, intellectual ministers and a large and devoted membership exist on every hand,
TIMBER OF THE FINEST QUALITY
for houseses and furniture is near at hand. Within three miles is a fine quarry of stone, which is not excelled for all the purposes to which stone can be applied. For miles in every direction is the richest land that a plow was ever run through, capable of producing all kinds of grain and fruits. Apples, peaches, plums, apricots, pear and the smaller fruits almost grow spontaneously. The rich lands of Dakota, in the Missouri Valley or the plains of Minnesota do not excel the black waxey in the production of wheat, in quantity or quality. Grapes as sweet as grow upon the sunny hillsides of France or the islands of Lake Erie grow wild in the woods, and those that are introduced do well. No climate excels this. The farmers who naturally come to this market are among the most industrious in the world. Figures and facts given above show what is the outgrowth of a few years.
The love of home, of the place of ones birth is one of the most forceful sentiments that dominate the human breast. But it is strange that men will remain upon a soil where each year it is a hard contest with nature to secure a subsistence, when they can come to a country like this, and for a small outlay secure lands that always give a good yield and which are ever increasing in value. They do not have to become pioneers. Good society holds out a welcoming hand to them. Churches and schools are here for the training of their children. Book stores furnished with all kinds of literature, newspapers of as high a grade as those of the East are here to contribute to
Masonic, Odd Fellows, Knights of Pythias, Knights of Honor and other secret societies are established and have fine furnished halls. All the arts and appliances of the highest civilization, everything that makes life enjoyable, are here. Could one of the early settlers of Texas awake from his long sleep and be placed on the streets of Honey Grove he would be more surprised than was Rip Van Winkle when he awoke from his nap upon the mountain.
Little did Davy Crockett dream when he halted in the grove north of the town, where the bees had stored their honey in the grass and upon the branches of the tree, that the day was not far distant when a city would spring up on the site, inhabited by people possessing all the elegance and conveniences of life. On every hand are the signs of growth. The song of the stone-chisel, hammer and saw are heard from Monday more till Saturday evening. From 3000, at the present rate of increase, Honey Grove will go to 10,000 people in less than five years. There is everything to invite immigration, and nothing to repel.