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The McDow Hole
Page 2

by Bob Hopkins

< Page 1
The 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 page


© Bob Hopkins
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