Janice Williams Loves Austin And sometimes I write about it.

August 13, 2011

On the Comanche Trail

Filed under: Genealogy,Travel — Janice @ 12:08 am

I’m in Comanche, Texas, tonight. If you say, “Where?” you are not alone. It’s in Central Texas somewhere between Stephenville, Brownwood, and Lampasas. Of course, many people I’ve excitedly told about my trip didn’t know where those towns were either.

It takes about 45 minutes to get from my house to the North San Gabriel River on 183. At that point I feel like I’m finally on my way to Comanche. On to Lampasas and then… glorious rain! It was so great to see what rain was like again. There were scattered showers on to Goldthwaite and they brought the temperatures down considerably.

I stopped today at the Mills County Museum. I’ve passed it many times and wanted to stop, but it is closed or I don’t have time. Today all the planets aligned and I stopped in.

Some museums might have nice displays of what the town dentist’s office looked like in the old days, but they don’t really have much good history. This one was a great combo. Nice displays for people just curious about the past and some solid information for people like me, too. There was a very nice volunteer who helped me find obituaries and told me a lot about a cousin in our family who had been a POW in WWII.

I flipped through a big register of people who had stayed in the Mills County jail in 1945. Pretty interesting to see what people were arrested for then (mostly “drunk,” but also a murder, child abandonment, and “hot check” that I read as “hot chick” and didn’t know that was illegal). There also weren’t as many records kept as today. In some instances the “name” listed was just “old man” or “Negro.”

My great-great-grandfather’s brother George Washington Cunningham was the first sheriff of Mills County. He and his wife Eliza and their children lived at the jail and she cooked for the prisoners along with her family. An interesting way of life. I wonder what the prisoners were in for at that time (around 1890)?

After keeping the volunteer a half hour past their closing time, I went on to Brownwood and Grosvenor. My mom grew up in Grosvenor and my grandfather was the school superintendent there in the 1930s. Mom and I made a trip to the Cunningham Reunion in 1987 and had gone through there and she told me stories of those days. I hadn’t been back since.

Back to Brownwood and dinner at the best restaurant in Texas: Underwood’s BBQ. If I lived in Brownwood, I might get to try their chicken fried steak or a fried chicken dinner, but since I only eat there once a year, I always have the delicious barbecued steak.

I had cherry cobbler tonight. A few years ago I decided to try the peach cobbler instead. I called Mother that night and told her I had tried the peach instead of the cherry. She solemnly said, “That was a mistake.” She was right so it will always be cherry from now on (unless I have enough appetite to have both).

I had hoped to make it by a cemetery (or 3) before the sun set, but I didn’t make it. It got dark so I came on back to Comanche and checked into this wonderful hotel. It is mainly wonderful because it is nice and new and clean and IN Comanche. I spent a lot of years staying at run-down motels in Comanche or run-down motels in Brownwood or occasionally a nice place in Brownwood (40 miles from the reunion). I’ve also imposed on a cousin a few times, too. None of those are nearly as nice as this great hotel and I’m here for 2 great nights.

Tomorrow will be a full day with a trip to the cemetery to put out flowers on the graves, do some research at the library, drop by the Comanche museum, and then on to the reunion for visiting and hotdogs.


  1. Glad it is not just me who finds that building “closed” when driving through 🙂 Hope you have an enjoyable visit with your family..

    Comment by Gary S. — August 13, 2011 @ 5:05 pm

  2. Great memories! I’ll expect to hear more details later.

    Comment by Pat — August 14, 2011 @ 6:01 pm

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