Papworth story began sometime in the late 1850’s. There was an outbreak
of malaria throughout the southern states. A young Charles Papworth
decided to take his chances and move his family to Texas,
avoiding the disease and talk of possible war.
Charlie was the nephew of Jim McDow who encouraged Charlie to come
to Texas. It is not known how long
Jim McDow was in Texas before Charlie
made the trip.
Charlie Papworth and his lovely wife Jenny made the treacherous
journey with their infant son, Temple. Charlie found a beautiful
spot on the banks of Green’s creek opposite his Uncle who died shortly
before his arrival in May 1860. Jim McDow’s son, also named Jim,
and family remained on the land and helped the Papworths get settled.
Charlie and Jenny purchased a spread from a squatter near the McDow,
insuring them easy access to water year around. They built their
cabin on the east side of the creek about two hundred yards off
the bed to insure that the house wouldn’t flood during heavy rains.
The creeks in the area had a bad habit of drying up during the long
hot Texas summers and overflowing their
banks during periods of heavy rain.
The lawn of the Papworth cabin went right down to the waters edge
and near the home, on the bed of the creek, grew a large pecan tree.
The tree not only gave the family ample amounts of pecans but would
play a part in the future of Charlie Papworth.
The Papworths worked long and hard to survive in the lonely place.
They lived out of a wagon for over a year until they were able to
complete a small modest cabin with the help of Jim McDow and Biege
Keith, who lived nearby. They soon had a home of their own.
The land was very unsettled and rugged. A few tough pioneer families
were scattered about within a few hours ride and since they were
settlers just like the Papworths, they became immediate friends.
Five years passed and the family learned to survive and make many
friends in the area. During that time Charlie and Jenny had another
child and in 1865, shortly after the birth of the second child,
Charlie received sad news that his parents had died. He also received
word that he was left all of their furniture. The only way to receive
the furniture would be by train; however, at that time, Texarkana
was the end of the line out west.
Charlie had the things shipped that far but would have to go by
wagon over 200 miles to pick them up. After Charlie was gone, Jenny
stayed in the little cabin by day where she prepared for the coming
of winter and cared for the two children. Jenny was a brave woman
but Charlie had not wanted her to stay the nights alone in the cabin
because there had been a rash of cattle rustling going on in the
territory and things were getting a bit dangerous so late each evening
she would bundle up the children and ride to the McDow’s place or
the Keith’s place to spend the night.
About a month after Charlie departed for Texarkana,
Jenny and the children didn’t show up at the McDow’s as expected.
The McDows thought that Jenny may have decided to go to the Keith’s
that night instead but the next morning Mrs. McDow saw Mrs. Keith
and both discovered that Jenny had not gone to either home. The
Keiths and McDows headed for the Papworth cabin. ... next