Monday, August 13, 2012

Early Kerr stage coaches were painted yellow.

The booklet.
Over the past few weeks I've been enjoying the tales found in a history of Kerr County published in 1931 to celebrate Kerr County's 75th birthday. The little booklet was loaned to me by Steven Meeker.
Mrs. Kate Franklin, who taught Texas history at Kerrville's Franklin Junior High School encouraged her students to interview pioneer families; the little booklet is made up of their reports. Its 52 pages include familiar stories, such as the story of Kerrville's founding as a shingle camp by Joshua D. Brown, but also many stories I've never read anywhere else.
For example, Ella Jarmon remembered this about the freight wagons that served Kerrville before the railroad arrived here in 1887:
"Freight was brought to Kerrville from San Antonio by freighters who brought it in wagons drawn mostly by ox teams or sometimes horses and mules. The mail and passengers came by stage coach. There were old fashioned, with the driver's seat up in front and outside. The one in use in this country was painted yellow and was drawn by four horses. Well do I remember that old stage coach!  When it neared the house, the driver blew a bugle, in case there might be a passenger to go or a message to be sent. How I loved to hear that bugle when I was a little girl. This was the way of transportation in Kerrville until the railroad came..."
The Jarmons lived in a "four-room white house with a porch facing the Kerrville-San Antonio Road," near where Schreiner University stands today. Later their farm was owned by the Mosty family.
Nearby was a hill they called Round Mountain. I think this is the same hill which is above the city's Municipal Pool and which is now a city park. Ella Jarmon remembered "Every month, about the full of the moon, the Indians came into the settlement and drove off the horses and the mules. They used a certain hill, called Round Mountain, in front of the house and back of the fields for a lookout mountain. From this point they could look over the valley in the daytime, locating where they could find horses at night."
I've sat on the side of that hill myself and noted what a clear view of town it affords.
Ms. Jarmon's father, R. B. Jarmon, had a "splendid team of black horses that he had brought with him to the county, they were matched and were named Prince and Selem. Prince could trail Indians and would let it be known by sniffing when the Indians had passed the trail on foot."
Now that was quite a unique horse.
"When the Indians came on a plundering raid and made away with horses and mules, the next day the men usually gathered to take the trail in an effort to overtake and regain the stolen property. My father would go with them and ride Prince. These horses were locked to the trees in the back yard at night, close to the house, with ropes and padlocks. If the Indians came near Prince would snort and be so restless that the Indians would pass on.
"One night there was quite a lot of stock stolen. The next morning the men started out, my father with them, as they supposed to trail Indians. The citizens went by the Peril Ranch. Mrs. Peril told them that a man had asked her that morning to bake a quantity of bread, paying her well for it. Of course, as there were no telephones in those days the Perils had not heard of the robbery until the citizens arrived.
"The men in the Peril family joined the party. Some miles farther the posse came upon the robbers, camped in a thick wood. It proved to be a band of white men instead of Indians. They had a drove of horses that had been stolen in the village. The robbers put up a good fight and escaped, leaving the stolen property and one of the men mortally wounded. The men took the animals and the wounded robber and started back to Kerrville. On the way the man died and was buried. He could not be persuaded to tell his or who his companions' names were. He said he did not want his people to know of his life or fate."
In the grand scheme of things, these events took place only a very few years ago -- but wasn't Kerrville a very different place then?
Until next week, all the best.
Joe Herring Jr. is a Kerrville native who shares many historic Kerr County photographs on his blog,


  1. A friend sent me this additional information by email: Round Mt. is an recorded archeological site. There are many many chips of flint on top and some have been washed down the slope. What is interesting is the hill is all Glenrose Limestone. This layer of rock does not have flint in it. To get flint one must go to the tops of the larger hill where Edwards limstone is found. This is a chert bearing limestone. The prehistoric residents had to go to the higher hills, remove some of the rock and flint from the cobbles and then carry it to Round Mt. to finish the flaking. A Pedernales dart point was found on top. It dates from about 2500 BC to 1000 BC. I'd say that the hill was used for thousands of years prior to these dates and up to historic times as you mentioned in your article.

  2. Great article and very interesting information!

  3. Joe,

    Over time, please post all the information in the booklet.

    It is fascinating!

    Thank you.


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