Surnames Page - Taylor County TXGenWeb
Taylor County

South Taylor County, Texas

I am the plain, barren since time began.
Yet do I dream of motherhood, when man
One day at last shall look upon my charms
And give me towns, like children, for my arms.

Old Audra

Taken at Old Audra, Taylor Co. Tx c.1899First established two and a half miles west of Bradshaw, Texas past the Bradshaw Cemetery which is located on the hill west of the town. When the railroad came two miles to the east of Audra in 1909, the little town was doomed. The entire town picked up and moved to the railroad and built a new town which became Bradshaw. The Post Office moved to Bradshaw 19 November, 1909. Several families lived at Audra in the early years. The Zachery’s were there along with Dr. Spickand. The Lintz had a dry goods store.   Mr. and Mrs. Lintz moved to Bradshaw and had a wagon yard about the same time the rest of the town moved. There was a blacksmith shop.  Fred Robinson, Fred Sheppard and Meno Hunt were in partnership with "Audra Merc". The store and town were named after Audra Sheppard, Frank and Lena Sheppard’s oldest daughter. Mr. Meno Hunt bought out the other interests in the big mercantile store which carried everything--farm needs, wire, rope, dry goods, groceries, etc. Then they rebuilt the present building in Bradshaw. Wilf and Myrtie Harrington lived there for a time as the village was building and Wilf did carpenter work and their daughter Mary Belle was born at Audra, 13 April, 1903. They had a small house and one acre of land there. Also there was a Methodist Church. Hermon F. Robinson was born at Audra 25 September 1902

From left to right: George, Audra and Texas Sheppard. Inez Harrington and Mary Francis Fry Robinson Harrington.  Frank, Neuma (standing on stool) and Lena Shepphard nee Harrington.
TX Handbook


The bank is on the same side of Main Street as the Audra Merc.Can you imagine Bradshaw with three churches, three cafes, a small movie theater, three cotton gins, two or three good groceries, one mercantile, post office, a good high school?  In 1912 Bradshaw’s school was a two room building located where the Bradshaw cemetery is now. The fire in the 1920s started in the telephone office and the whole block burned, the telephone office, barber shop, Dr.’s. office, one general merchandise store and one grocery store.  Bradshaw was growing and a complete second new block of building was put up on the side that had been burned, a new dry goods and merchandise building, a hardware store went in, rebuilt by the George Dankworth’s. Bill Dankworth skipped one street and built a large grocery store with an upper story that was used for years. Across the street the old Audra Merchandise was replaced with a brick building, only thing left of the prosperous, busy, early day town, next door to it is Bob Middleton’s rebuilt much larger and better drug store, then the new barber shop was built - but between the drug store and barber shop was the stairway that led up twenty steps to the new telephone exchange.  At that time the mail was carried by horse and "buggy" carriage.  The post office didn't have any telephone.  Also at that time cotton had all bales "sampled" and we had cotton buyers for Abilene and Ft. Worth buying bales of cotton to be shipped, so if one had a call a messenger boy to hunt them up.  The Bradshaw Post Office is now located in the Buffalo Gap Historical Village.

 1923 ad One enterprising girl at the age of twelve a girl rode her pony over town, the town’s livestock herder, gathered all the milk cows together and took them to the outskirts of town to graze them.  For herding the cows in 1918 one dollar a head was charged. She did this for four years.  The old Bradshaw hotel an eight-room two story frame building with a cellar became a private residence for many years before it was destroyed by fire Jan 11 1953, only a perimeter of Chinaberry trees remain. The two story building was located south of the 'Audra Merc' and directly in line with the front of Opal Hunt’s home with a street and pasture in between.  An article in the Abilene Reporter shows a photo of the ruins with Opal Hunt's home in the background. The rock for the school gym school gym that had been quarried from a ranch east of Grassbur.  Bradshaw school, which was located about three blocks west of Main Street, when the schools consolidated about 1946. The school buses from Winters, Runnels County and Tuscola came through Bradshaw so the children had a choice of which school to go to.

Bradshaw still exists even though in 1997 only sixteen people where registered to vote.   Located near U.S. Highway 83 some 1˝ miles from the Runnels county line in southern Taylor County. Twenty-miles to the north is Abilene.  The Abilene & Southern Railroad, going from Abilene to San Angelo, came through what is now Bradshaw in 1909. Residents living near the town site primarily were farmers and ranchers. One was C.M. Bradshaw, for whom the town was named. The site of the proposed railway stop and town was Bradshaw ranch land. Meno Hunt moved his general mercantile store to Bradshaw and placed it on Main Street, where the store is still open and maintained by his daughter, Opal Hunt. Abilene Reporter-News Articles.

Stop and visit Opal Hunt.Opal Hunt's home pre 1930. Still standing.Opal was 94 years old when I met her at the store February 1997 and very bright. She use to publish the names of people who visit the store are published in a local newspaper, the Tuscola Journal.  Opal has just recently moved to Winters but tries and opens the Audra Merc "museum" daily except Sunday.  The store has a wooden floor with a ceiling decorated with square metal patterns. Old quilts, china, kitchen utensils can be found in the store along with a collection of photographs. The merchandise is not for sale. Her house in Bradshaw, where she still pumps water, gathers rain water off the roof into a tank, with an outhouse, is within walking distance of the store.

1923 ad.Many former residents pays annual dues to the Bradshaw Homecoming Association which maintains a building west of the Audra Merc on the south side that use to be a Methodist Church. It is about the only building maintained in the "ghost town". When Bradshaw had a barber shop each man had his own ceramic shaving mug with his name on it in gold lettering.  Many remember riding the train from Bradshaw to Tuscola to visit relatives and obtain supplies. For entertainment there was fishing with W.R. Holland, Dave Bradshaw, Mr. Charlie, Uncle Henry Steen, baseball games, 42 or dominoes or cards (poker), picnics, Old Settlers Reunion at Buffalo Gap, rabbit drives, school picnics, square dance club and being with all the kith and kin.  The community help others in need. e.g. grave digging.

On the north and east side of Lemons Gap, that makes it near Tuscola on the map, lived the Knaus family.  Zillah Knaus married Dave Bradshaw. Dave and Zillah daughter married Clarence Ledbetter.  The McClaslands had their holdings just out of Bradshaw townsite and were a large family. The Reddells are another pioneer family. Local Bradshaw cattle buyers would be seen coming over the hill west of Bradshaw driving a load of cattle in to ship to Ft. Worth. They bought cattle by the car load and shipped them to Daggett-Keen Commission, Co. in Ft. Worth. (Charlie Daggett). 

Guion Countryside Guion area.Guion was on what is now U.S. Highway 83 twenty-five miles southwest of Abilene in south central Taylor County. Settlers were at the site in 1879, and as early as 1882 the settlement served as a stagecoach station and mail stop for a line that ran from Abilene to San Angelo. The Guion post office opened in 1884 with Champion T. Traylor as postmaster. It closed sometime after 1930, and mail was rerouted through nearby Ovalo. In the mid-1880s a small church and school building was used by all communions in the area. The local Baptist church, which was organized at nearby Lemon's Gap in 1883, moved to Guion and held its first service in the union church on September 12, 1886. Settlers from the Guion area   buried there folks at Lemons Gap, Bradshaw, McBee or Cedar Gap cemeteries. School history

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Juanita Daniel Zachry, A History of Rural Taylor County

Shep is located in the southwest corner of Taylor County. Andrew Martin Sheppard who owned a ranch and a store was the first postmaster of Shep, TX which was named for him. He later lived in Sweetwater and Andrew and his wife Sarah were still alive in 1920.  The post office operated from 1903 to 1923. The first school, which also served as a church, was a one-room log cabin on the bank of Spring Creek.

Old Settlers Reunion

Buffalo Gap. Three Historical Commission markes are found here.The Old Settlers Reunion at Buffalo Gap started in 1921 with C.P. Booker as the president and S.L. Neely as secretary and was one of the big days of the year.  It use to be a day event with speeches, older judges, parade (now starts with a parade) and food. Also there were games. There were horseshoe and fiddlers competitions for the men, played dominos and now it two days with crafts, ball game, etc. Each official and most early settlers got ribbons. Officials would have larger ribbons. In July 18, 1952 when there were about two thousand gathered at the old camp grounds. The Abilene Reporter had a photograph with Brick Bradshaw of Guion, Will Butman of Nolan and Andy Hancock of Bradshaw. Usually a beef was bar-b-qued for the noon meal, half a side on each pit. The meat was free and everyone bought pot luck. The girls would try and get a new dress for each picnic. Families would spread a quilt and get together for lunch under the shade of the old live oak trees. There was a prayer at lunch time. People came back at that time to visit and enjoy the day visiting. They had booths where they displayed also stand that sold cold drinks, candy etc. and pink snow cones were popular with the children. People who traveled from a long way usually had friends or kin to stay with. The committe for the third reunion was elected at the 2nd Reunion.
President: Rev. W.P. Crow of Abilene
Vice President: C.M. Hunt
Secretary: W.Fred Jones
Treasurer: Elmon Kerby

July 19-20 1996 was the 76th Taylor County Old Settlers Reunion with a dance Friday evening and parade, fiddlers contest and festivities Saturday ending with a another dance. The Old Settlers Reunion is still held annually in July on the grounds.

Abilene Reporter-News Article
Three markers are found here. # 13, 14, 15

1940 Town Populations.

Buffalo Gap 296

Tuscola 418

Bradshaw 166

Merkel 306

Future Great - Pioneer Dream

Gone are the prairie dog, the buffalo, the antelope
That used to graze in the twilight haze
On the tender grass along the narrow creek bed;
The blue quail and shy prairie chicken
That rested and nested in the high grass-
All are now a story old, only part of a story told:
There were wild turkeys, with heads blue as a mountain lake
Occasionally moving in from the cedar-brake
to pick acorns from a gnarled oak tree
(a slender link from now to what used to be).
But the little stream as it did one hundred years ago.
Moves happily on with a steady flow
To the Clear Fork of the Brazos

The cabin by the trail weathered flood and gale
Until at last there rose by lake and mountain side
Ample dwellings, stately over all the wide prairie wide.
Railroads brought in hardy settlers with every daily train,
Some were seeking peace and comfort; others wanting merely gain;
Universities proffered learning to students near and far.


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Cody Summerlin

Texas State Coordinator:
Shirley Cullum

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