Texas Bird's Eye View
1884 Old Map by August Koch
Gatesville Public Library
Historical Marker (In front of Gatesville City Hall):
County seat of
Gatesville began in 1854 after the county was created. Richard Grant,
an Indian trader and local landowner, donated the townsite. It was
named for Old Fort Gates
(1849-1852), which had been established 5 miles east for Indian protection.
The Fort, named for U.S.
Army major G. R. Gates, was the first settlement in the county. For
a few months Fort Gates
served as county seat, but then Gatesville was chosen.
The County's first mail line -- from Gatesville to Belton
-- was set up in 1855. The town grew slowly at first, suffering from
intermittent Indian raids, but the period from 1870 to 1882 saw great
progress. In 1870 the town was incorporated and in 1872 a courthouse
was built. When St. Louis & Southwestern railroad ran a spur line
to Gatesville in 1882, the citizens held a gala welcoming celebration.
With the railroad came prosperity and many new homes and businesses.
A fine opera house, frontier symbol of culture, was erected and numerous
civic improvements were initiated. Today the town is the home of the
Gatesville and Mountain View State schools for boys. The economy of
the area is based on ranching and agriculture.
Photo courtesy of TXDoT
|Pecan Grove and
Baptist Church SE of Gatesville
Photo courtesy Barclay
A Coryell County
116: In The Shadow of Fort Hood
by Clay Coppedge
Driving north from Copperas Cove
to Gatesville on FM 116 you're never far from Fort Hood.... Copperas
Cove is ringed by five hills, a pattern drivers will see repeated
on the way to Gatesville. A few miles out of town you come to FM
580, and if you just feel like it you can detour to the town of
If, instead of heading to Topsey
you get on 116 you will drive up on a green, bowl-shaped valley
cut by scenic creeks. Nestled between the hills and creeks is the
community of Pidcoke, named for
the Pidcocke family, early English colonists to the area. It's not
hard to see what drew the Pidcockes here. The creeks would have
been as good a reason to settle here as anything. This is good ranch
country; the best side of the grass is already topside.
A detour in Pidcoke to see the local cemetery is a good one, but
follow the road past the cemetery to catch some fine glimpses of
Bee House Creek and a couple of panoramas of the valley. Bee
House was once the home of a communal house called Bee House
Hall. Residents wanted to name the community Bee Hive but the post
office decided it would be Bee House instead....
Six miles southeast of Pidcoke used to be the community of Stampede
in Gatesville 1894 by Mike Cox
"...Newspaper owners knew they needed as many readers as possible
to attract advertisers, since business owners naturally wanted their
ads to get as much attention as possible. Editors well understood
that sensationalism sold newspapers. ...[B]eyond generating revenue
and espousing one's viewpoint, most publishers and their editors
honestly saw themselves as the public's watchdog, the inky guardian
of the First Amendment. Of course, this could be dangerous, especially
in early day Texas. Whipping a newspaper editor, or even killing
him for what he published was not unheard of.
But what happened in Gatesville in the summer of 1894 was far less
Life and Times of Big Bill Babb by Clay Coppedge
"...This happened in the early days of Coryell County, when
Central Texas ranches functioned a lot like the feudal system in
England in the Middle Ages. Ranches were kingdoms, each with its
own ruler and an army of knights to enforce the ruler's will. Crockett
King, William Oglesby and Big Bill Babb were the kings of Coryell
Old Book Shelf by Mike Cox. ("Texas Tales" column)
This shelf, standing in a back corner of the Coryell County Museum
in Gatesville, has a story as interesting as any of the books it
ever held. A novel-in-wood, it represents a Texas family saga extending
from before the Civil War through the Great Depression and into
the modern era.
Most Famous Bathtub in Coryell County by Clay Coppedge
"Thomas and Laquita Barton's house outside of town has the
first bathtub in Coryell County, a hand-carved limestone classic...."
by Mike Cox. ("Texas Tales" column)
For about the last quarter of the 19th century, and the first two
decades of the 20th century, being a "wet" or a "dry" defined a
Texan politically much more accurately than being Democrat or Republican.
Both sides of the issue passionately believed they were in the right.
Often, they were willing to fight over their belief, sometimes to
the death. That's what J.B. Cranfill was up to in 1882 when he started
a newspaper in Gatesville, the Advance...... more
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