surveyor, engineer, and Texas Ranger, came to Hamilton County
in 1858 and settled near what was to become the town of Carlton sixteen
miles northwest of Hamilton. William H. Secrest helped draw
the boundary lines of the county and to lay out the town of Hamilton. Returning
from a scouting expedition in 1872, Secrest found that his
community was besieged with scarlet fever. Mr. Secrest made a
dashing trip to Waco for medicine. Stopping only to change horses
at ranches, the exhausted Mr. Secrest, who had also contracted the
disease, succumbed to scarlet fever after he returned home.
Carlton was named in honor Dr. Francis Marion
Carlton, who was born 5 April, 1831, in Coweta County, GA. The
earliest settlers west of Hico on Honey Creek were the
families of W. S. Fisher, J. M. Evans, A. G. Brittain,
J. H. Everett, E. L. Deaton, and L. E. Sheridan.
Carlton came to Texas in 1876, and in November, 1876, purchased 160
acres of land from Zachariah Taylor. There was a log cabin on the
place, and ten acres of land had been broken for cultivation. The town of Carlton
is situated on land owned by Dr. Carlton and by J. M. Evans.
In 1879 when the Honey Creek
Post Office was moved from the Malone
Gin to the new town site, the town was named for Dr. Carlton.
Carlton was on a direct east-west stage and freight
route. Beginning in Waco this route and proceeded through Bosque
County, Hico, Carlton, Comanche, and Brownwood to San
Angelo. R. V. Cox moved to Carlton about 1877 and
entered into the sheep business before moving to Hico.
Other pioneers moved in after the establishment of the
town of Carlton. These included: F. M. Richbourg, J. F.
Pinkerston, W. D. Thornton, James Wilson McKenzie, J. D. Clark, Randolph
Hunter "Randall" Gibson, Ira Jackson Gibson, J. C. Finley, J. W.
Porter, Dr. N. B. Bowie, J. T. Curbo, J. W. Hill, J. H. Tull, J. A.
Rowland, Captain C. E. Walker and J. B. Curry.
James Wilson McKenzie, born 19 November, 1839, in
Lawrence County, MS, came to Hamilton County on 6
December, 1889, and bought a farm near Carlton. He was a postmaster
at Carlton from 22 May, 1893, until 3 December, 1897; Justice of
the Peace for two terms, and actively participated in Carlton Baptist
Church and the Hamilton County Baptist Association. J. W.
McKenzie died 18 August, 1911.
North and South Railroad
came to Carlton in 1907 and that increased both business and commercial
growth. The Carlton State Bank and the Merchants
National Bank were organized in Carlton in 1908. Business included: Carlton
State Bank, Farmers and Merchants State Bank, Carlton Brothers Department
Store, Curbo Mercantile, Fisher Grocery, McKenzie Drug Store, Tull Drug
Store, Barnes Lumber Company, Tin Shop, and two gins.
Dr. J. H. Tull and Dr. N. B. Bowie owned the
first two automobiles in Carlton.
The Masons and the Oddfellows had lodges
Grady Laws managed the Barnes Lumber Company in Carlton
On the night of December 16, 1932, robbers broke
into the Griffin & Pierce Drug Store in Carlton. Audie Lee
Gibson, a farmer and deputy sheriff went to investigate. As
the thieves rushed to leave, they encountered Audie and murdered him with
his own gun. For more details, please
see the story written by Audie's grandson, Bryan Wooley when Audie's name
was added to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington,