History of Honey Grove Hotels and Boarding Houses
By Alma Braudrick, 1983
A few weeks past I told you about our first hotel in 1858. We cannot begin to realize what and how a hotel could operate in those days. We had no cooking stoves here till around 1857 or '58. Sinclair Stapp has a large frame merchandise store just where our Library is and he ordered 5 stoves from Louisville, Kentucky, to be shipped by river steamer, but the boat hit a stump in Red River and sank. It was not until the following summer that they could retrieve the stoves. They were sold "as was" and the purchaser had to get the rust off them and the cooking utensils. Maybe the first hotel, the Smiths, brought their own stove from Tenn. But most people cooked on fireplaces in cast iron skillets with lids, in frying pans or in ovens built into the chimneys. But there was no running water, no ready made bread, no bathrooms as we have, you were limited on bedclothes - you made your own covers or quilts, no maids, and you did your own cooking. Maybe you could find garden vegetables and maybe you had to grow your own. There were no chairs to sit in to eat, just a long seat or log with no backs. There was n ice tea, juices or milk cooled by ice, just plain as it was. If you had a cow you churned your own butter or used lard. Oh! yes, it was different.
The 2nd hotel was built by James A. Tucker about 1858. Mr. Tucker lived about 2 1/2 miles south of Honey Grove and he owned a grinding mill that was operated by horse power. He sold all his property, moved to town and put in the town's first saloon on the south side of the square. The south side then was where the front of the post office is today, 1983. He also built a two story frame hotel on West Main Street where the old tabernacle use to stand. To those of you that know nothing about the old tabernacle - you can never know what you missed - it covered the lots where Mr. Manuels used car lot is and Wyatt Bell's rent property. Mr. Tucker's friends did not patronize his saloon, and the town could not support two hotels, so Mr. Tucker sold his holdings and moved on into the West.
The 3rd hotel was built by Dr. Pete Pulliam, a druggist that came here early, married, but in 1861 he moved to Collin County. This frame house was east of Tucker's saloon that was about where Clyde Hall's store is today - 1983. The saloon faced Main St.
The next I found was in about 1882 or '83. Mr. R. A. Price was proprietor, it was on east Main Street. Mr. Price was also co-owner of a grocery store with Mr. G. W. Wells, Miss Mary Wells' father, who was a lawyer.
The next hotels I find are "The Yeager House", "The Commercial", and "The City" or "Vaughn" hotel.
Some of the early "Boarding Houses": - when Mr. Henry Skinner was a young lad he worked as delivery boy at a Mr. Caton's grocery store, and he remembered delivering a big white house south of the railroad tracks close to the Rail depot. This was the boarding house of Melvin R. and Sara Francis Gambill Brigance. Mr. Brigance was construction boss of the railroad crew. They had give daughters and I can only find on son, Will. Miss Olivia Brigance was born 1871, married Dr. M. E. Daniels in 1893 in this house. The Dr., a physician, was held in high esteem by the people of our town. He was a man of great civic interest, and served our town as Mayor at one time. In 1903 he was appointed to the Board of State Medical Examiners by Gov. Lanham. (From Signal) Mrs. Daniels was a customer of mine, she always came on Saturday afternoon and we had such memorable conversations. We were not of the same Christan denomination - but our faith was the same. Her christian life touched many in her time here. She died in 1964. In 1906 she was a a teacher in the Honey Grove Schools.
Mrs. Daniel's sister, Miss Daisy, March 19, 1883, went to work in the millinery department of J. W. Ware's general store on the southside of the square. She lived many years in California, but returned to Honey Grove in the later years of her life. She became a wheelchair victim and her sight was almost gone, but she never lost her pride of being well groomer. She was the only person that I ever worked on that you could not tell that her hair was tinted. She was a big framed, kind lady. She died in 1952.
In 1892 when the "Long Distance Telephone" office was over the First National Bank, Miss Pluma Brigance and Miss Goldie Brigance worked as operators there. Pluma married a Mr. Dial, lived in California, and died in 1969.
Miss Goldie married a Wood, lived in California for many years worked in the office of the Secretary of State at Sacramento, California. She died in 1957. Veta Brigance was born in 1889, died in 1966. Mr. Will went to study business at Poughkedpsie Business College in New York. The old Brigance house was years later moved to what was known as West Railroad and Third Street. Today it is the corner of South Third and Commerce and has been vacant for years and is now falling in.
1889 from "The Fannin Guard" - J. H. Hancock Dining Room and Boarders, S. 6th Street.
Honey Grove's Last Hotels
By Alma Braudrick
Honey Grove Signal-Citizen, April 20, 1984
I do not know just when the Commercial Hotel was built - but in 1896 George J. Boyle purchased it. It was located at South 5th and East Railroad Street (5th and Commerce today) and faced the T & P depot.
This clip from an old Dallas News: - "October 4, 1901 "Goat Day" at the Dallas Fair - Miss Grace Boyle "Supreme Sponsor" for the Order was shown lavish attention in the parade, and Mr. S. H. Gardner of Honey Grove was speaker for the evening banquet." (Mr. Gardner is the father of Mrs. Charles (Mary) Eversole.)
From a 1902 Honey Grove Signal: "Office of the Commercial Hotel redone."
1903 - May 22, Saturday afternoon at 5 o'clock Miss Edda Boyle and Dr. F. W. Hill were married at the Commercial Hotel, Rev. J. E. Vinson, Methodist minister read the ceremony.
1904 - The Old Union Church building built in 1856 was moved to the Commercial Hotel and used as part of their dining room.
Mr. Philip Whitcomb, war correspondant of World War II, and living in Paris, France in 1950, wrote this letter to a friend he met from Honey Grove. "In June and July of 1907, I was a college student on a summer job, I was stranded in Honey Grove by huge floods on Red River. We were stringing line thru the country and I was cut off from my company. I stayed at the Commercial Hotel and Edgar Boyle (son of the Hotel owner) saw that I was introduced socially, my date was Miss Margaret Sadler." (Miss Sadler was among the popular young ladies of that day).
About 1915 or 16 my daddy managed a Market on South 6th Street near the Theatre. When Mamma sent us to this Market she sent Jeff and I straight up Railroad street from our house, passed the Commercial hotel and up 6th Street to the Market, telling us to stop nowhere just straight to the Market. But on this particular morning when we passed the hotel everything was a buzzing - people going everywhere, the windows open and the curtains flying out (the hotel was right at the sidewalk, you could step onto the veranda from the sidewalk). We learned later a young girl had killed herself there that night.
Dr. F. W. Hill that married Edda Boyle was a dentist. They had one son - George. George played a trumpet. He and Lester Cappleman were close friends when they were in school. Dr. and Mrs. Hill lived in "the flats" by the Crocket park. Goss has machinery there now. We called Mrs. Hill, Mrs. Ted". She as good to us kinds as we roamd around and played near her house - she would invite us in and give us cookies and of course we really liked that. She lived for many years in Paris, Texas, and died there.
That's what i know about the Commercial Hotel!
"The Vaughn Hotel" - south 5th and Railroad. This at one time was called "The City Hotel." I do not know the date Mr. Vaughn bought the hotel, but my daddy ran his Market for his. It was just north of the hotel. Mr. Vaughn was a brick mason, as was his oldest son, Tom, and they both worked at this trade. Jim, the next son was a big League Baseball pitcher for the Chicago Cubs. Cleo, the 3rd son had only one arm. The other he lost in a wrestling match, but he was an imaculate dresser and his manners were impeccable. You should have seen how fast he could tie the lace of his shoe with just one hand!
Mrs. Vaughn, his mother, was a "dresser". You never say her without her corset on, her hair dressed, nice clothes, and always jewelry - and plenty of it. The Vaughns had four daughters - I only knew one - her name was Nell. She was the most beautiful I ever saw. She married a Mr. Drake and lived in Illinois. At the hotel she had such pretty things in her room and such pretty clothes. Mamma did not like for us kids to go into the hotel, but we did sometimes anyway, and Nell put up with us. The other girls' names were May, Essie and Gussie.
The hotel was right on the sidewalk, and the kitchen door opened on the south where we could see in each time we passed there and it was always so [est of article not available]
P. B. Johnson Tells of Early Days in Honey Grove
P. B. Johnson, who lives five miles northwest of Honey Grove, was in town Monday morning and this highly respected citizen was in a reminiscent mood. He told of the early days of this community, before railroads had been built, and of the arrival of the stage coach. He stated that the stagecoach made its stops at the Smith Hotel, a small wooden structure that was located where is no the Perry Bros. Store on the west side of the square.
The hotel faced east, and Mr. Johnson related the fact that upon the arrival of the coach, practically all of the population would be at the hotel to see who was traveling and also to view the fright brought in. Daily trips were made by stagecoach from Marshall to Fort Worth, and six mustang ponies furnished the motive power for transporting the bus, which was a two-seated contraption and the passengers faced each other.
By Alma Braudrick
The Watts Hotel was a family hotel, it was on E. Railroad St., about a block off S. 6th St. Farmers that had to be in town over night put their teams in the wagon yard that was close and stayed at this hotel. Emma, one of the young daughters was in grade school with me. As a young lady she was the most beautiful peach and cream natural blonde you ever saw. When she died of T. B. they brought her back, and she sleeps in historical old Oakwood. Her brother, Bedford, game his life for his country in World War I. He was of small statue, and he tried many times to volunteer but they would not take him. He kept going back trying to get into different divisions, at last he was accepted and he was only overseas a short time when word came of this death. To me he was more than just a soldier killed - he was a hero!
The Blue Goose was south of the railroad and a wonderful negro hotel. They at least then had a place for traveliers to stay. Now they either go on to Paris or Bonham, or stay with a friend. One of the most horrible things that every took place here was from limb of a tree in the yard of the Blue Goose a man was hanged and burned. Mob violence was never an answer . . .
From The [Scollard's] Directory of Honey Grove 1899-1900, 3 hotels were listed: Yeager House - 110 S. 5th St., W. D. Yeager, proprietor. Commercial Hotel - opposite T & P depot - Mrs. George J. Boyle - proprietor. City Hotel - corner of S. 5th and Railroad, C. H. Scales, owner. 1st manger R. W. Snipes - at another time J. E. Jones.
These 3 hotels were within a block of the T & P railway station, and in those days we had many trains in and out. Numbers of times they fed as many as 200 people. News of these hotels good food traveled fast.
This from a 1902 Dallas News - Fire at the Yeager House in Honey Grove was fought by the volunteer bucket brigade! This hotel was located just about where the Merrells garage is today, 1984. It faced west with a long porch across the front N. & S. You may wonder whey it was Yeager House instead of Hotel. To Mr. Yeager, the owner, House seemed to have classy ring, and also it had a warm homey aire to it, and suggested good home cooked food, and a friendly welcome - so Yeager House it was. Mr. Yeager had 3 children - Willie, Lula, and Nellie.
I do not know the date Mr. Yeager gave up the hotel, but about 1912 or 1913. Mrs. Poston's boarding on E. Main St. burned and she leased this hotel from the Honey Grove Stock Association, and it became the Poston House. She had run many boarding houses but never a hotel - but she was on her way. Mattie Ella Perkins was born near Nashville, Tenn. 1867. She married Andrew Poston 1887 - three children born to them 2 sons and 1 daughter. One son died as an infant, Brian, the other son born 1901 and Catherine was the daughter. Mrs. Poston was left a widow with 2 children to rear when she took the Yeager House, Mr. Poston having left them years before. She was a hard working woman with a jovial aire that when you were around her was catching. She was a great customer of my Daddy's meat market - she was the only woman that he allowed to come behind the counter and choose their meat, but she liked good meat to serve her people (one of the secrets of her longevity). She was loved by the townspeople as well as her boarders, and in 1941 at the Honey Grove Fair and Stock Show - she, escorted by Mr. Jack Adamson, placed the crown on the Queen at the afir. In earlier time Mrs. Robert (Poston) was the queen. Some of the Queens court were Thelma Ballew and Dava Robinson. Their escorts were Bill Hartson and R. L. Fein.
Her place stayed the Poston House till a widower with 2 sons came to live in her hotel. Mr. Ed Roberts was his name and on July 9, 1915 Mrs. Poston married Mr. Roberts and it then became the Roberts House. It was the year that ex-president Taft came to our town and spoke at the school auditorium. I was 8 or 9 years old. School was turned out and we marched on a body thru town down south 5th street to see the ex-president. I stood in front of the blacksmith shop right north of the hotel, and Taft came in on a train and rode in a big black car up 5th street on to the auditorium. On the program Alcyia Leach, a girl my age, read "The Psalm of Life". If you have never red it you should - its not easy to memorize - but beautiful.
In 1921 Mrs. Roberts (Poston) entertained our famous football boys of Honey Grove High School. Our beloved Mule Wilson was one of these, he was never hurt in all his football career - not even as a pro with the Greenbay Packers.
Then in 1925, Tom Roberts, one of Mrs. Ella's step-sons, graduated as did your truly - and Mrs. Ella also gave us a banquet at the Robert House.
About 1929 Mr. and Mrs. Roberts bought the old Gamble house, corner of 2nd and West Market and made it into a hotel. They ran this for several years then moved to East Texas to take over the interest of her son, Brian Poston.
Catharine Poston Scott, Mrs. Roberts' daughter took over the hotel and ran it till Mr. and Mrs. Roberts returned to Honey Grove. Mrs. Roberts did not live too many years as she died June 18, 1943. She was 76 years of age. Mr. Roberts stayed on here till about 944 when he moved to Richardson. He lived to be 104 years old. Died Feb. 1, 1979 in Lindale Rest Home. Catherine continued to operate the hotel after Mr. Roberts left, and in 1979, she closed its doors and retired, which brought to an end to a historical ink in Honey Grove's history - that of the "Old Family Style" of serving meals. In 1952 she was presented with an autographed copy of "East Texas Cooking" by Hubert M. Harrison, manager of the East Texas Chamber of Commerce, because she was one of the few remaining places that served family style meals. It was presented by Joe Ridway, manager of the Southwestern Bell Telephone Company, and also director of the East Texas Chamber of Commerce.
Catherine and her mother Mrs. Roberts for almost 75 years served the people in this capacity. People from all walks of life have eaten from their tables - doctors, preachers, bank examiners, T.P.&L. crews, show people, road crews, VIP's of government, artists and townspeople, you name them and they have been there because the Poston House and The Roberts House dining rooms operated in the days when Honey Grove had 3 and 4 passenger trains that each day stopped here for their meals. These meals were home cooked and served family style. But this chapter was finished, and the book was closed and the era of the "family style" meal was over when Catherine Poston Scott the last of the "family style" hotel owners, died June 25, 1979.
Her hotel was a wonderful place to eat, a grand place for fellowship, and she made it a "drawing card" for the business of Honey Grove.
Thank you Ella Perkins Roberts and Catherine Poston Scott for serving us so many years. The Poston House, The Roberts House and the Scott Hotel.