Mason County News
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At the Top of Erna Hill
Wednesday, August 21, 2013 • Posted August 21, 2013

While we are in the vicinity of the Independence Post Office and Stage Stop, there is more that needs to be disclosed about events of the time around 1890. I believe that a former Union Soldier, Cornelius Moses Jackson, who served in the 22nd Ohio Reg., was the original owner of the land where the stop was located as he settled just to the east about a half mile on what was later to be named Jackson Draw, which heads north of the cemetery and runs southwest, across Hwy. 377, toward the Leon Creek. He married Martha Brewer in Comanche, TX., and is buried in the Long Mt. cemetery as the first identifiable grave in 1889. I suspect that each draw had running water at that time, as I can remember going swimming in the creek. The water was sort of shallow, but since my folks always told me to stay out of water until I learned to swim, so it was my type of a swimming pool.

While visiting the site, we ventured further down Jackson to what was pointed out to Aiden, to be a place where the Indians apparently transported flint rock and chipped into arrowheads as there some fragments of flint lying around and on the edge of Jackson Draw, Aiden picked up a few pieces of flint for posterity. Below the stage site, the Draw widened out to form a nice wide bottom, rather flat and the mound chosen for the making of the arrowheads, was on a slight ridge between the Draw and Creek. No heads were found but some pieces resembled what was to become an arrowhead. This discovery was interesting but we found no evidence of a campsite ever having been established nearby. There is a large ash mound at the mouth of the Leon indicating a major campsite at one time and this site was pilfered on many occasion, but to my knowledge, nothing of value was found.

After kicking around at the chip site, we drove back up stream and down to the creek itself to what the owner believed to have been a crossing at one time. Upon investigation, the east bank of the creek had a stand of live oak and it was apparent that at one time, someone cut back some overhanging limbs for passage. The creek bottom was a flat, smooth rock and on the west side, there is evidence of a wagon trail as the ruts are still rather deep and visible. I was told that the previous owners used the crossing to haul fence materials to a site on the creek but I believe this to have been the wagon and stage trails of long ago. The banks on both sides are gentle slopes allowing easy crossing and the stage stop was about 200 yards northeast of this area. This route was a wagon route for a number of years, until the auto forced the wagon out of fashion.

After we had completed our tour, I related another incident that took place in the vicinity of Jackson Draw and Leon Creek. In the early 1900’s, my Uncle Jeff Woodward and a trapper companion of my uncle, Cripple Jim Andrews, John Brewer, who was Eunice Brewer Dayton’s grandfather, were deer hunting on a point just south of the confluence of Jackson Draw and Leon in the area known as the Bend in the Leon and in those days, game was not plentiful. They were fortunate enough to have killed a white tail deer on the ridge, and upon examination, the buck’s point count was 75 points. The spot was marked with a stack of rocks on the point for posterity but now, all have passed on, who might have know the spot. I have always wondered what type rifle was used and I believe it to have been a 30-40 Krag, as my Uncle John Woodward owned one when I was a kid and I am sure it was handed down from his father, Henry Woodward, to the sons.

There is some question as to who and where the deer was killed as a claim was made that McCulloch County holds the rights but I have statements from those who still remain that can verify the account. Currently, this property is owned by members of the L. B. Eckert family and during his lifetime, the site was located in the horse pasture and I was shown the general area in the early 1990’s, by his grandson, Louis Eckert and this scene was related by him to his son, Kris Eckert. Further, the granddaughter of John Brewer, Eunice Brewer Dayton, also verifies that the deer was killed as stated above near Leon Creek. She cannot state actual spot but she places the event near the Leon Creek and that her grandfather, John Brewer, was one of the pair.

The two were after meat and were happy to have killed such a deer. The two preserved the rack to display and a man from Brady offered them $ 5 for the set of horns and they sold the horns. As you drive into Brady on south 87, take a good look at the rack of horns displayed on the Welcome to Brady Texas sign. This display is a replica of the horns of the deer that was killed on Leon Creek. The horns were displayed at the Buckhorn Saloon in San Antonio for a period of years and as it was demolished for further building of the downtown area, the horns were moved to the Lone Star Brewery, where they remain at present on display. During the time on display in San Antonio, credit was always given to the person who bought the horns for $5 and the credit for the kill and never any mention of what had actually transpired. I am sure that this person has received credits form the City, but it made no difference to Uncle Jeff and John Brewer, as they got the meat and 5 dollars. The above disclosure is not meant to take away anything from the ownership, because had it not been for the purchase, the head would never have been donated for preservation.

The sun was setting as we were leaving the valley and a golden glow of sunlight actually pinpointed the ridge facing west into the sunset where I believe the event occurred. The point was void of trees or low brush and only the brown grass and white rocks painted a beautiful scene of white and gold to end a perfect day. Aiden, my grandson, and I thank the owner for a tour to visit sites that I had heard about for years and finally was able to witness as scenes from the past. I think that the owner will fence off the area of the station where the chimney stands for preservation. The chimney is still rather sound, construction wise.

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