|Our journey today starts at the local truck wash to get the Motorhome looking good again, then on to the gas station to feed the beast. We will be driving the back road of West Texas to take in the local flair. We drive US 84 west from Waco until we intersect with US 35 thru the back country. We see vast fields, acres and acres of land that some rancher owns. We see beef cattle and goats, goats are raised for the Mexicans to eat, they are the big buyer of goat meat.
We drive thru little town like Comanche Texas, population of 4300 people but a history dating back to 1856. A military road known as the "Corn Trail" came through in 1850 to supply area forts and encourage settlement.
Then you pass thru Rising Star, population 833. The first settlers arrived in the area that is now Rising Star on January 10, 1875. The original seven families were the families of William "Allie" Wylie Smith, G. A., Andrew "Big Andy" Smith, Andrew "Little Andy" Agnew, William "Billy" Agnew, Fletcher Fields, and D. M. (Dave) McKinley. The seven families were all related to each other through the Agnew line.
It was found that large amounts of land were available for purchase in the area, because the state of Texas kept all unappropriated and vacant land after joining the Union thirty years prior. This land belonged to the state, which sold it to finance the construction of the public school system and state universities. The state gave a portion of its land to railroad companies to sell. This encouraged and helped railroad lines to be developed throughout Texas. Because of this, almost all of the land in Eastland County was either 'school land' or 'railroad land.' Settlers could buy railroad land for $3.00 per acre and school land for as low as $1.00 per acre with no down payment and about 20–40 years to pay off the land. Most of these east Texas families purchased land from the railroad companies.
Other families soon began to move into the area and purchase land. Some of the families that settled later were the Anderson, Irby, Roach, Cox, Hull, Leach, Haynes, Wynn, Mayfield, and Swindle families.
No mail routes existed initially in this newly settled frontier, but by about 1880 the community became a stop on a mail route between Cisco and Brownwood. Prior to the establishment of this mail route, the families received mail from Sipe Springs. In 1881 the town sent a petition to the U.S. Government asking for a new post office in the area. The community leaders were required to suggest a name for the post office and decided upon the name 'Star,' which was then sent for approval to the Postal Service. The Postal Service sent word back that a post office under the name 'Star' was already located in Texas (in Mills County). The citizens called a meeting to select another name and, after many long hours of deliberation, Little Andy Agnew proposed that, "Since we are a rising young community, why don't we just call ourselves 'Rising Star.'" The name was agreed to and accepted by the Postal Service. From 1910 through 1911 a spur of the Texas Central line was constructed to the west 40 miles from through Rising Star. The spur was abandoned in the 1940s.
These are the small towns you past thru in the back country of Texas. The state of big trucks and big gates at the entrance to driveways.
We are in Sweetwater Texas for the night, interesting town. Population 10,000 people. Sweetwater received a U.S. post office in 1879.
Gulf Refinery operated there from 1929 to 1954, and at one time the town was a large telegraph center. The International Harvester Company operated a factory in Sweetwater from 1920 to 1950. Gypsum plants, apparel manufacturers, cement plants, cotton compresses, a cottonseed oil mill, and packing companies were among the nearly 250 businesses operating there from the 1970s. Many still operate today. Sweetwater remains a production hub for cotton, oil, and cattle. The population of Sweetwater has remained steady between 11,000 and 13,000 since 1940.
The Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASPs) were trained under the direction of the famed aviator Jacqueline Cochran at Sweetwater's Avenger Field. These WASPs were the first women to fly American military aircraft. The military airstrip closed abruptly at the end of the war, but pilots flying over Sweetwater can still land at Avenger Field – the Sweetwater Airport (SWW). The National WASP WWII Museum is located at Avenger Field. The WASP women were not recognized for having served in the armed forces until 1977. Sweetwater also has a Pioneer Museum, with display rooms depicting the lives of early settlers with extensive photograph files, farm and ranch exhibits, Indian artifacts, and WASP exhibits.
The world's largest rattlesnake round-up has been held annually by the Sweetwater Jaycees on the second weekend in March since 1958, along with a gun and coin show hosted by the Sweetwater Rifle and Pistol Club, which was founded in the 1940s.
That’s it for history and time for us to sit back and get ready for our trip to Roswell NM to see the UFO’s.