J. P. (Uncle Perry)
Hargrave, who has linked his name permanently with the history of
Hopkins County, was born in the state of Indiana in the year of 182
I. He moved to Texas in the section in which he now lives in the
year of 1842 with his father William Hargrave and his brother
Harvey. J. P. Hargrave married Casanda Clark, a lady who had lived
in Texas since the year of 1834 in Red River County, in 1848. They
have raised only two children, John C. and Charles J. They are both
good and useful citizens, and live near their aged parents. When Mr.
Hargrave came into the territory there was only one family living in
what is now Hopkins County, a Mr. Bivens, who soon disappeared and
nothing was ever heard of him or his family. It was supposed that
they were all massacred by the wild tribes of Indians. The territory
soon began to be settled by good but adventurous citizens. The last
election of the Republic of Texas was held at old Sulphur Bluff. Ned
Burleson and Ausen Jones were the candidates. Ausen Jones was the
successful candidate. During this time other settlers came into the
territory. Billy Barker, Robert E. Mansell and Billy Mathis. Johnson
Wren located in the northwestern part of the county and was the
first representative in the State Legislature. Capt. M. Brannon came
into the district about this time.
Nash Cole was the first to locate at Black Jack Grove. The Jordan
family moved in about the same time. The county was created in the
year 1a45. ,an organized in 1846. Unfortunately there appears to be
some misunderstanding in reference to the name given the county.
Some of the old timers claim that the county was named in honor of
Eldridge Hopkins, while J. P. Hargrave declares that the county was
named in honor of the Hopkins family. When the county had been
surveyed, which was done by Robert Hargraves, the Legislature of
Texas appointed a committee, consisting of Robert Hargrave, Capt.
Eli Hopkins, Billy Barker, James Ward and Billy Wilkins, to locate
the center of the county for a county site. They began on the
southwest corner of Lamar County and ran a line by mathematical
calculation, with their surveying equipage to within a few hundred
yards of where the old town of Tarrant once stood, and drove in a
post. It was therefore finally decided to locate the county site at
Tarrant. The day the county site was located which was accomplished
by vote, the county officials were chosen. In the year 1843 the wild
Indians made a raid on the Birdwell neighborhood, on the south side
of North Sulphur creek. Upon information of the Indians being in the
county, the male portion of every family in the county left their
homes and went in search of the enemy. They simply passed through
without doing any serious damage save stealing a horse now and then.
On the return from the Indian hunt the men came upon a large black
bear near where the ladies, wives and daughters of the gentlemen,
were corralled in one small log cabin. When they fired upon the
bear, the ladies stampeded and were frightened almost out of their
The first hewed log house was built by Glen Hargrave, all the
neighbors were invited to aid in erecting this building. On this
occasion Eldridge Hopkins came in too late to put in a day's work.
They all combined to court martial Mr. Hopkins, he replied, "I have
a good excuse." He was asked to give it at once; he went to his
horse and brought up three panther skins; he had shot and killed
three panthers on his trip that morning. He was excused of course.
In the winter of 1845, in riding from Joe Leright's place on
Clarksville road to where J. C. Brewer now lives, a distance of
eight miles, Uncle Perry Hargrave counted one hundred and sixty
deer. The same year he stood upon the spot where Harmon Gregg now
lives, and counted fifty deer at a sight. Wild horses were to be
seen often in droves. They were called mustangs, and were worthless
and troublesome. The bear, which were black, lay in the brush, never
coming out, except to pass from one point to another. They were the
hog's greatest enemy. Wolves were very numerous and annoyed the
settlers by howling in large groups and in many other ways. The
panther was dreaded perhaps more than any other animal of the
forest. They were viscious and very destructive to everything within
their power. They would, with the silent tread of a cat, steal upon
their prey and destroy it with great ferociousness.
The first marriage that took place in Hopkins County was consummated
in October, 1843. The contracting parties were Thos: C. Clark and
Elizabeth B. Hargrave. The marriage ceremony was performed by Abner
McKinzie, justice of the peace of Clarksville.
The first death in the territory was W. W. Hargrave, he was buried
at the McFall burying ground. He was the first person buried in this
now famous grave yard. Uncle Perry was the first person in the
county to arrive at his majority. He attended the first camp
meeting, which was held in the brush, and was a great success.
Rev. Joe Bishop was the first man to preach in the county. He was a
primitive Baptist and could not read print, but his text could
always be found "twixt" lids of the Bible, somewhere "twixt"
Generations and Revolutions. He was honest and sincere and faithful
in the discharge of his duty.
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