BOONSVILLE(From an article compiled by Mrs. J.H. Thedford, published in History of Wise County)

Boonsville

In the year 1875, there were about thirty families living in a community situated in the southwest corner of Wise County, about five miles from the Parker County line, four miles from the Jack County line and about 25 miles from three county seats---Weatherford, Decatur, and Jacksboro. This was a rich farming section with a heavy undergrowth of grass and blackjack forest. Most of the families had built log houses for themselves along the creek banks.

About this time, in the year 1878, twelve families signed a petition asking the U.S, Government for a post office to be established on Boon's Creek. The petition was honored and the post office was established in the home of Mr. Joseph Roth who became the first postmaster...

At that time, there was a mail line running from Fort Worth to Jacksboro, and the carrier was ordered to stop at the new post office.

Some of the earliest families of Boonsville were the John Armes, the Bill Kings, the D.P. Newsoms, the Kincannons and the Joseph Roths. All of these people lived in small log cabins along the creeks.

About the year 1880, Charlie Miller of South Willow Creek put in a cotton gin on his farm which was the beginning of a thriving business.

In a year or so, a man by the name of McClusky came into the settlement looking for a location for a store. After meeting Mr. Miller and others, he was convinved that he had found the right place, right there near the Miller Gin. So, he put in a small line of groceries and general merchandise. In 1879, a Mr. Jenkins dug a public well and put in a blacksmith shop near where the town site was established.

About the year 1881 a Mr. George Ellis and a Mr. Crane put in a general store. Andy Bailey built a dwelling in 1882 and soon afterwards put in a store. The village was growing! The present (1970) home of E.E. Worley stands in the place where Andy Bailey built his store. In the fall of 1883 Tom Alexander moved his nearer into the village and put in a drug store.

In 1882 the townsite was moved from Boon's Creek to the present site and given the name of Boonsville.

The first school house was a small log house, daubed with red clay, and built on a ridge about a mile west of the town. Captain Morse was the first teacher, succeeded by a Mrs. Waxin. In 1882 this school was moved to its present site with Mr. Joe Stephens the first teacher in the new building.

Boonsville has always had two churches. Rev. Mr. Swinford organized the Baptist Church in Boonsville about 1885. It met in the school house and there were nine charter members, namely, Mr. Hefley and daughters, Andy Bailey and wife, and S.W. Holley and wife....About sixteen years after the organization in the school house, a nice new church was built.

The Methodist Church was organized with thirteen charter members by a Rev. Mr. J. W. Carson at about the same time as the Baptist organization. The Methodists also held services in the school house until 1905 when they build the present church.

After consolidation of the rural school with Bridgeport in 1950, Boonsville was left a lifeless community with 95 residents. There were only about thirty homes in the community and they were served by two churches, two stores, a blacksmith shop, an empty school building, and a postoffice.

There was very little community activity until June 1965, when Boonsville started their community improvement program that has resulted in a rebirth of the community.

ADDITIONAL NOTES:

The very first mail route through Boonsville extended from Decatur, (Wise County seat) to Jacksboro (Jack County seat). W.W. Brady, the first carrier, covered this long route on horseback. Old-timers remember hearing their parents tell of the big Indian massacre, most disasterous in the county's history, which took place seven miles east of Boonsville.

Boonsville's school, like its post office, was twice moved during the development of the town. According to Mrs. Mattie Newsom Carter, a daughter of "Uncle Dan Newsom" who was a Boonsville pioneer, the first little school house was built from lumber hauled from Fort Worth, and was located in the Stewart pasture. Then about 1886, a school was built on the Newsom place itself. Its scholars included Oscar Cheaves, David and Willie Kincannon, Wesley Holley, Lucetta and Jake Newsom.

The two-story building which became the third Boonsville school, the first to be located within the townsite, was also used as a lodge hall and church. (** I (La Darla Walker Keith) started school in this building in 1942...soon after I started, the school gave up, to be bussed to Bridgeport, all except grades one thru four, and became a one-room school. I received an excellent primary education in this one-room setting, with lots of individual attention. Best of all was the opportunity to do work of the older kids, when I could meet the challenge. My teachers in the forties include Katie Lou "Topsy" Lawrence Cox, Haseltine Stewart Smith and Lois Woolridge.)**

The second floor served as the Masonic Lodge Hall. Boonsville Masons received a charter for the lodge in December, 1884. Earlier, in 1879, a charter had been granted to the lodge at Gibtown, and early-day Boonsville Masons, including I.S. Slover, Doc Kincannon, Dan Newsom and S.W. Holly, went to Gibtown to lodge affairs.

When the school building was used for for church services, it was of irregular nature, since anyone who wanted to was welcome to preach there...Near the present (gone in 1996) Baptist Church is the old Hefley Cemetery (still there in 1996), no longer in use, where pioneer names of Boonsville's early settlers are recorded on the headstones. The cemetery presently used (Boonsville Cemetery) is just behind the community building (was the old school, reconstructed with only one story).

The spring at Oxford Water furnished water for cattle from a wide area around Boonsville in the drought of 1886-87. It was the only source of water except for a few dug wells and rock holes in Boons Creek. That drought period made the fortune of one of Boonsville's merchants named Alexander, who staked the disparing farmers and cattlemen through it, furnishing food for almost everyone. The next year there were rains and good crops and Alexander became a wealthy man.

A. L. Roberts is believed to have built the first horsedrawn cotton gin, in the early 1880's. By the time Boonsville reached its peak of prosperity, in the early part of this century, its business section covered several blocks, and residential streets stretched out in all directions. There was a bank, a cafe, a hotel and barber shop. Merchants of the day included Sam Lawrence, Arlington Stewart, Andy Bailey, Stark Lewis, John Culwell, Doak Henry Stillwell, George Bond, Ike Curtis. Among the early doctors were Garvin, Wilson, Lacky, Holcomb, Garner and Foster.

Boonsville is believed to have been named for a Stephen Boon, pioneer settler, for whom Boon Creek was named. The post office was discontinued sometime in 1969, and mail is received on a route from Bridgeport. Mr. Cecil W. Carson, Sr. was the last postmaster, and the Wise County Historical Society was presented with the last flag to fly over the site.

The 1969 population of Boonsville was 131.

As I type this, in October 1996, the Boonsville area is enjoying a revitalization, as more and more of the Metroplex area, which includes Dallas and Fort Worth, moves away from the traffic and stress back to the country. Return to Towns