For the benefit of the many of you who are researching Bilberry & allied lines, I'm posting the entries on the family from the Stonewall & Kent county history books.
From Stonewall County, Between the Forks of the Brazos
c.1979 Stonewall County Historical Commission
BILBERRYS & WALDROPS
The Bilberrys, Waldrops and McKenzies, and many of their neighbors came from San Saba and Mason Counties in 1896.
Some settled in Stonewall and some in Kent County, There were five Bilberry Brothers: Esau, Henry, Meyers, Vincent and Willie. Probably all would have remained there but for the "mob", The mob had been organized to put down cattle rustling. It was a secret organization, and its membership extended over four counties. What had begun as a needful force degenerated into an evil thing. Later the Texas Rangers were called in to put down this mob. The mob preyed on the farmers. If a member desired a farmer's land, he was ordered to leave the country. If he did not leave, he was ambushed and killed. My mother, who is 97 years old, was a little girl then. She can still remember those frightening times. Her father did not carry a weapon nor permit his sons to, but the Bilberrys went armed. If the mob (a group of twenty or thirty men) came to their home with "orders",
they meant to shoot on sight. They had been children during Civil War times, and knew the hardships and sorrows of war. They valued peace. When their brother-in-law was ambushed and killed and two weeks later, their neighbor Will James' body was found shot in the back, they decided to move to a place where they could live in peace and obtain good land. They found both. Many years later my Aunt was to write in her memoirs, "I had never seen such grass, or such helpful neighbors.
The Bilberrys began moving in the fall. Four of the brothers settled near Oriano. The rock house Esau built still stands. Henry was the only one to settle in Kent County. His brother-in-law was already living there. The day after Christmas, Billy Waldrop began the move to Stonewall. He also settled near Oriano. The Waldrops' first home was a half dugout. Here on October 3, 1897 my mother, Nettie Waldrop and S. C. Bilberry were united in marriage. They spent most of their lives either on one side or the other of Salt Fork of Brazos River.
Esau, Vincent and Willie were Baptist preachers and Billy Waldrop was a Methodist preacher. I often think of them. Grandpa Waldrop was also a carpenter. Many who lie in the cemeteries, coffins were made by him.
My Mother remembers the Sundays of early days. First, neighbors met in homes and later in the little school houses. Summers, they built brush arbors and had all day preaching with dinner on the ground. The denominations did not matter, they all joined hands in Christian fellowship. She remembers it as a happy time.
I remember Brother Featherstone, Preacher White others who took time to preach in the little country schools. The roads were rough, the distances far, and the pay small, but they came and enriched our lives and our memories.
Edna Bilberry Walker
J. R. & KATE BILBERRY
John C. Bilberry, my great granddad, was born April 12, 1829 in Germany. Later he came to the U.S. and settled in Tennessee. He was married to Margaret in 1849. She was a Choctaw Indian. Six children were born to this union. Martha was born in 1850; H. H. (my granddad) in 1853; Esau in 1851, who was a baptist preacher; Luther in 1856, Candice Adelias in 1858; Vinson in 1860, who was a Baptist preacher; and William in 1863, a Baptist preacher also. John C. and his family moved to Texas in the early 1860's. They settled in San Saba County, later moved to Cook County where his wife died in 1863. He and his children moved to Stonewall County, Texas at Oriana except his son H. H. who settled in Kent County near Jayton on a farm. H. H. was married to Mary McKenzie. John C. and family moved from Oriana to Jayton in the 1890's. There were five children born to H. H, and Mary. They were S. C., J. R. (my dad), Mattie, Sallie, Molly, his wife Mary died in 1899. About 1901 H. H. married Mellie Sumner. To this union three children were born: Verda Mae, Henry, Nina, H. H. died in 1938.
J. R. and Kate Stoneman married in 1901. Kate's granddad, George Stoneman, was born In Lakewood, New York. He was the fifteenth Governor of California and served from 1883 to 1887. When he died in Buffalo, New York in 1894 he was a retired Union General. Kate's dad George C. Stoneman was born in Columbus, Ohio, in 1852. He moved to Dallas County, Texas in 1867. That same year he married Nancy Jane Rayburn in Dallas Co. They moved to Jack Co. then to Cook Co. and Montague Co.; later to ~loyd Co. then to Clairemont where he settled. Ranching was his business and that was an open ranching country. Kate was born in 1882. Her mother died in Clairemont in 1938. To the marriage of J. R. and Kate six children were born. Marvin 1902; George 1904; Bessie 1906; Frank 1908; Myrtle in 1910; Imare in 1914. 1 was raised and went to school in Jayton until I was 14 years of age. My first teacher was Mrs. Jay. My brother George and sisters Myrtle and Bessie started to school there in 1916. My parents sold their ranch of five sections and cattle and moved to Taylor Co. at Maro in 1917. My dad and granddad bought twelve sections of ranch and seven hundred cows. My parents moved to Buffalo Gap that same year. My sister Imare entered school there. The drought hit them hard. They sold out in 1921 and moved to Stonewall Co. in Mt. Olive Community overlooking the Salt fork of the Brazos. Granddad moved to Jayton, Texas in 1922. My parents moved in 1924. He moved on the ole farm near Jayton, lived there until he retired. We lost our mother in 1939, dad in 1958. Son Marvin and Daughter Bessie
MARVIN & RUBY BILBERRY
Dad was born in Kent County in 1902. When he was six or seven he helped his dad (J. R. Bilberry) work cattle and rode on cattle drives from one lease to the other. He and his family moved to Stonewall County in 1920. Dad's first love is working cattle.
Dad and mother eloped in 1923; dad borrowed seventy five dollars and a car from his brother, George. Mother's parents, the Lee Dools, were really upset, but soon they realized he couldn't be beat for a son-in-law.
They began farming in Mt. Olive community. Dad had to seek part time work, and being a farm girl, mother was able to take care of the farm when he was away.
Marvin Ray was born in 1927. Mother was soon back at work with my grandmother, Mrs. Farmer Dool, keeping him
For three falls, dad cut feed for the public. One winter dad and a friend, Lum Rimes, cleared thirty acres of land for Jack Paramore. They also worked together on a W.P.A. project. Each had a team and a fresno and made five dollars a day.
In 1933 Marvin Ray began his first school year at Mt. Olive. I was born in 1934.
In 1935 they worked on the Alexander ranch for thirty dollars a month, 33-1/3 cents a meal for the help and kept 17 hens and three milk cows.
After we left there, dad built tanks for several ranches with nine mules and two fresnos for three winters. He cooked for his help and his specialty was sourdough bread and chocolate cake. We would go eat lunch with him occasionally. He said my brother and I ate like we were starved; we probably were.
In about 1940 1 began my first year in school at Guthrie.
Dad worked for Jim Paramore for two years. We then moved to Guthrie where dad worked on the highway and mother
kept roomers and sold milk. About the end of that year a friend, Mrs. Anderson, came and wanted dad to work on her ranch in Stonewall County. We worked for her three years till she sold to Gib Calloway and they worked two years for him. When we were at Anderson's, mother sent my brother and I after the mail. (He was fourteen and I was seven.) Coming back my horse ran away with me. Marvln Ray tried to catch him, but to no avail. As I was approaching the gate, I could see disaster, but somehow he turned off, lucky for me. Mother never let us go get mail together again.
In the 1940's we bought some land in Mt. Olive community, so we moved on one of the places and started farming. Dad worked out when he could get work.
My brother graduated at Aspermont High in 1945, and volunteered for one year in the Navy. He then made a career out of the Army.
I was old enough to help mother. We went to feed the cattle and there was ice on the ground. Mother slipped and fell. It scared her to death, but lucky it scared the cows. For a while I cooked lunch when dad and mother worked. The first time I cooked steak I ended up with a skillet full of gravy. I soon went to work with mother chopping cotton and pulling boles for the public. Of course, the only time I pulled boles was on Saturday.
In 1947 dad bought a tract of land on Highway 83, nine miles north of Asper mont. Mother and dad still live there now. Dad worked as a grease monkey for a dirt contractor for two years. He then went to Arkansas and calved a lot of cows one spring. Dad has been Vice-President of the Federal Land Bank of Spur since 1951 .
I graduated in Aspermont in 1951, attended college for two years, and married Jess Whitman in 1952. We had four
children and were divorced in 1967.
We lost my brother in 1960, which saddened our lives.
In 1963 mother was on her way to Ft. Worth. Near Mineral Wells she hit mud on the pavement and rolled off of a thirty foot embankment. She received several cuts and bruises and it totaled her car. After their 50th wedding anniversary in 1973 she wasn't so lucky. Five miles north of Aspermont on Highway 83 she was hit from the back that also totaled her car. She stayed in the hospital sixteen days, had sixty stitches on her head and face, and lost seven teeth.
In 1978 1 returned to Angelo State to get my degree. My oldest daughter Kay married Bob Holcomb in 1975. She
graduated from Angelo State in 1977. My son Mark graduated from T.S.T.I. at Sweetwater in 1978. My daughter Pamela is a
freshman at Southwestern at Georgetown. My son Ray is a Junior at Cooper High in Abilene. He lives to play football.
We have all been baptized into Christ. My children continue to be a joy to my parents. Sue Bilberry Whitman
THE OSCAR - ZADIE BILBREYS
Oscar Bilbrey married Zadie Lewis August 25, 1912 at Oriana in Stonewall County, Texas and lived there most all of their life except for 3 years about 1929 to 1931 when they lived at the Lost Lake Community at Girard, Texas. About 1931 or '32 they bought the little white house on the hill from Grandpa Bilbrey at Oriana that became the permanent home. To this union came five chilchen Ellis, Curtis, Artie, Elene and Bobbie Fay who attended school and church at Center View, Lost Lake, Oriana and Peacock. I suppose that our father - Oscar -- was more opposed to the consolidation of the schools of Oriana and Peacock than anyone in the community. His argument was "when our school goes then our church will soon be gone too." How right he was.
Our darling Zadie -- how she loved her family and friends and I wonder how many children in Center View and Oriana she assisted in getting them into this world. Our dear old Dr. Alexander called her out many times to assist him in sickness, births and deaths and she always was happy to assist anyone she could regardless of how she may have felt herself.
Our parents and all five children became "Born again Christians" at the Baptist Churches at Center View and Oriana. What greater heritage could we have than this?
Our home was always a welcome place for friends -- and yes strangers too many a night our cotton seed barn was a haven for some wayfarer to sleep in and he was welcome to eat at our table however meager the means. The young people in the community were always welcome to come and have parties and dance at our house any time -- which was often -- and always well chaperoned by our parents. On Saturday night the kids could dance up a storm in our "front room" that served as a living room and our parents bedroom and they have gladly given up their bed to have it as well as all the other furniture moved out so we could have room to dance. But come twelve o'clock -- here would come our Dad to the door and very pleasantly announce "Alright kids it is 12 o'clock now you don't dance here on Sunday go on home now and go to church tomorrow."
There is so much more I could say about this wonderful family of mine but space islimited -- but those sand beds at the Oriana cemetery are going to burst forth on the Resurrection Day when our Lord commands it and then we will all be reunited never to part again -- because Praise God we are all "Born Again Christians!" Bobby Fay (Bilbrey) Taylor
OUR FAMILY TREE by Artie
There once was a family tree
By the name of BILBREY
Rooted and grown in the sandbeds of
Dear old Stonewall Counteeee----
The TRUNK -- and the HEART of this tree
-- were OSCAR and ZADIE---
Whose love brought we---
The limbs you see.
First came a curly headed little Laddieeee
whose nickname was "Son" by the
but to all others he was ELLIS ELVIN BILBREY.
Secondly came --ah -- another laddie---
whose names were many we see---
By Dad and some friends he was known
as "Whistle" -- Oh me
But wait let me tell you frankly---
It was CLARENCE CURTIS WARD BILBREY.
Then came the Lassies -- all three
First there was me --
Artie who was called by Dad as "Toodle"
But the paper what it says
sometimes i tho't would kill me----
ARTIE FRANKLIN BILBREY---
Who is now Mrs. Jesse Mansee.
Now this next Lassie---
To closest of kin forever will be
pure old "Puggie"---
Really tho she is ILA ELENE BILBREY
But now she's the one
known as Mrs. Bill Boydstun.
Then came our Babiee---
who most folks call Bobbie---
But nicknames -- yes -- had she---
"JO Puss", "Bob Cat" -- JoAb, or to
just plain Bob -- answered she---
but actually she was BOBBIE FAY BILBREY
who is now Mrs. Melvin Taylor you see.
This tree with these limbs was a thing to
but Gee -- when came the BRANCHES
of the five of we-----WH EE EE ! ! ! !
First Elene gave us our darling EDDIEEEE
Then she came up with our darling
Next ARTIE CAME up with her JERREEEE
Followed shortly by ELENE's JIMMIEEEE
and soon Curtis gave us our great big
That's not all you see---'
Cause soon here CURTIS came with one
called BILLIEE --
but wait BOBBIE FAY brought her
then shortly CURTIS GAVE us a lassie
and then here BOBBIE gave us our
--AH -- but this tree
needed a few more branches to be in full
and ELLIS gave us LITTLE WILLIEEEE
and to complete the span he also brought
beautiful SHELIA ANN.
What a lot of NUTS---
Yep -- that's us
This thing -- THE BILBREY TREE.
Artie Bilbrey Mansee
From Kent County and Its People
by Jewel G. Pritchett and Emma Barfoot Black
Lena Goodrich Hamilton Granddaughter
In the spring of 1895, the Bilberry clan left San Saba County and headed west to make homes in a sparsely settled area of the state where land was fertile, plentiful and cheap. Some of the men had previously made a prospecting trip to the area and liked what they saw.
The Bilberrys, of Scotch-Irish ancestry, were accustomed to "clan" migration. When one Bilberry sought greener pastures he usually was accompanied by, or was soon followed, by the rest of his kin.
Bilberrys are thought to have reached the United States by the late 1700's. They are on record as having lived in several states along the Atlantic Seaboard, in Tennessee, Missouri, and Oklahoma Territory. John C. Bilberry lived in Lampasas, and during the war, he and his sons, too young for military service, made shoes for the Confederate army. The sons grew to manhood in this area, married and had families of their own. When a range war developed between ranchers and farmers the Bilberry families decided to move on.
About 1885, the Bilberrys packed their wagons with food and a few household items, herded their cattle, sheep and goats, tied on a few chicken coops, and headed for New Mexico, which was not then a state. Times were very hard. The men found working in saw mills not remunerative enough for family support. Arable land was scarce. The live stock had to be protected against predatory animals and Indians. Schools were far from home and timber wolves, cougars, and even a few bears, in the mountains, made school hazardous for the Bilberry children.
They stayed a year in New Mexico, then returned to Texas, this time settling in San Saba County, where they lived several years, until they were again threatened by the "Mob War". Being law abiding and peace loving people, they did not hesitate to take their stand on the side of the law. This was a dangerous position for them, so they decided to move west. Making the move to Kent County was John C. Bilberry and his six sons and their families. Some of the families stopped in Stonewall County, in the Oriana Community, some went on to Dickens County. My grandfather, H. H. (Henry) Bilberry and his family bought land on the south side of what is now the Jayton town site.
The H. H. Bilberry family consisted of the father, Henry, his wife, Mary, sons S. C. (Columbus) and J. R. (Rollie), and daughters Sallie, Mattie and Mollie. Mary died, in 1899, and Henry later married Mellie Sumner. They had three children, Verda Mae (Bilberry) McCombs, H. H. (Henry Jr.) and Nina (Bilberry) Barfoot Martin.
Enough land was cleared the first spring to plant a crop. Kent County land was fertile, rainfall abundant, so with hard work the Bilberry family prospered. By late summer, lumber was hauled from Abilene and a house was built. This was a real luxury for the family after having lived in a tent and their covered wagons for many months.
Bilberrys were progressive people, so were instrumental in getting a school started. The school was also to serve as a church, of which the Henry Bilberry family were charter members. Henry served as one of the first deacons.
Mrs. Columbus Bilberry celebrated her one hundred and first birthday on April 15, 1981, being the surviving member of the original Bilberry family.