Travels with Grandma…

Preserving the stories, legends & history of Texas for generations to come…

Hi! Welcome back!

Sunday was a beautiful day, so the wide open road called my name. After a trip to church, I packed the camera and headed out. Travel direction: South on Hwy 144, then east on Hwy 67. About halfway between Glen Rose and Cleburne, I remembered the Chisholm Trail Park just outside of Cleburne. That would be my first stop.

I was in for a surprise. The gate was locked!

While I was unable to get in, that didn’t stop me from pulling up on the side of the road and getting a glimpse of what life might have been like during the Chisholm Trail days. Those were the days when cowboys drove cattle to market in Kansas. Of course, that sounds like another adventure. We’ll have to follow some of the old cattle drive trails when the weather is a little warmer. Who knows what we might find?

Welcome to Wardville

Cleburne, Texas

Wardville is the sight of the first county Johnson County seat. Charles and George Barnard settled the area in the mid-1840s when they opened a trading post near Comanche Peak. We learned about them when we went to Glen Rose and visited the mill. Remember?

From looking at the park and the surrounding area, we can see how the original townsite has been recreated. Nolan River used to be where the lake is now.

As the story goes, Nolan River was named for a soldier of fortune. In the 1820s, members of his own party killed Philip Nola. You can see the teepees representing the nearby Indian settlement. From what the stories say, there weren’t any permanent Indian settlements in the area, although the Tonkawas, Kicapoos, Anadarkos, Caddos and Wacos hunted there. In 1851, they lead an uprising, which forced early settlers from their homes.

tepees in Wardville

From Wardville, I continued down the road to Cleburne and hit another roadblock. I was going to take a picture of the courthouse to add to my collection, but it was under construction. UGGH!!! Rather than snap a photo of the courthouse steeple against a backdrop of bright blue sky, I got this picture instead.

Johnson County courthouse in Cleburne

Sights to See in Cleburne

Cleburne has a beautiful building that now houses the Layland Museum. I discovered it years ago when I took a trip to Cleburne with Aunt Alicia and the Girl Scouts.

Thought I didn’t get to go inside, I still remember the wonderful exhibits the museum features. However, I did learn something interesting about it. It was once a Carnegie Library. For those of you who don’t know, industrialist and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie lived from 1835-1919. He began his career as a bobbin boy, earning $1.20 a week. He worked in a telegraph office (who remembers or even knows now what a telegraph was???). After learning the trade, he went to work for a railroad. After a series of promotions, he took an interest in the Pullman Company (remember Pullman train cars?). At the age of 33, Carnegie had an annual income of $50,000. He’d come a long way from his bobbin boy days.

One of my favorite Carnegie quotes is this:

Beyond this never earn, make no effort to increase fortune, but spend the surplus each year for benevolent purposes.

Andrew Carnegie

As his fortune grew, Carnegie followed that belief by donating more than $350 million to various educational, cultural and peace institutions. Some of the women in Cleburne, Texas petitioned the Carnegie Foundation and the library became a recipient of one of his grants. Because of the local women’s dedication, and the generosity of one man, in 1904, we still have this beautiful old building to admire and enjoy.

the Cleburne Carnegie Library

Cleburne also has some other interesting sights. Some of my favorites are the building murals. This one is still being painted, so I can’t wait to go back and visit it when it is finished.

A Cleburne mural

It was soon time to head back home, but not without taking a detour or two. You know me. There is no historical marker safe from my reading, and few roads not worth exploring.

There Are Way Too Many Stories to Tell In Cleburne

I headed back west on Hwy 67 and, of course, I couldn’t just go straight home. There was a historical maker! I had to know what it said. And that one, lone, historical marker led me down other roads and on to other stories.

As I wandered down one road, I wondered what the original owners of these old farms would have thought about the new neighbor on the horizon. Would they have been as frightened of it as the Indians were of the first “iron horses” crossing the countryside?

Cleburne, Texas
farms in Johnson County, Texas
Johnson County, Texas

A Little Excursion Into Bono, Texas

A little farther down the road, there is a sign pointing the way to Bono. Well, I had to know what is in Bono, so I took a right on FM2331. About a mile down the road, I found a wide open agricultural community.

Bono was settled in the 1870’s when Calvin Jones and BH Williamson donated 20 acres for a townsite. At one time, the town had a gin, two stores, two churches, and a school. All I found on a Sunday afternoon was a church and community building (along with a lot of cows, of course).

After wandering around a while, I headed back to Hwy 67. A little farther along the road I found another historical marker. This one told the story of how brothers Charles and George Bernard formed one of the Torey Trading Posts not too far from there. Remember, I told you about that when we went to Glen Rose? If you don’t remember, you can go to and you can read all about them.

Bono, Texas

A Little Trip Back In Time

I wandered down the road some more, down to George’s Creek Cemetery (take the road just behind the historic marker) and wandered through the countryside first discovered in the late 1840’s. I imagined it looked much like it does today, minus the power lines and fences. Instead of the occasional house, log cabins scattered across the land. And I also found a Shawnee-Delaware Indian Village nearby.

Of course, I found a few more roads to wander and a few more sites to see. I was sad when I passed some beautiful deer. They should have been wandering free. Ahhh, well, another day is coming to a close. It’s time to head back to the highway and head for home.

deer in Johnson County, Texas

I hope you’ve enjoyed our trip today.

Til’ next time …

Love, Grandma

P.S. Do you have a story to share or a place you would like me to visit? Would you like to sponsor one of Grandma’s trips to your special place? E-mail

Visit to read more about Grandma’s travels.

Story and all pictures are copyright of Sharon L. Curry. No portion of this story or pictures may be reproduced in whole or part without the express written permission of Sharon L. Curry.

Mike Sharp
Author: Mike Sharp

I have a passion for travel and outdoor activities, and now I'm enjoying retired life. I will continue my traveling, golfing, boating, and enjoying life all across the great state of Texas.

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