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[Taken from the articles in the November 12, 1936, Coleman Democrat-Voice by Mrs. T. A. Burns
and the July 3, 1958 Coleman County Chronicle by Mrs. Merrel Burkett.]

from ďThe History of Coleman County and Its People,Ē 1985

The story of Burkett is one of prosperity and progressiveness in its time.  Its history goes back over a hundred years when a few farmers and ranchers, with their families in covered wagons, settled on the Pecan Bayou.

This little town is located on Highway 206 between Coleman and Cross Plains, and is one of the beauty spots in Coleman County, lying as it does on the Pecan Bayou and adorned by the beautiful grove of native pecan trees under the bridge which spans the stream within the city limits.  This grove, which has been the scene of picnics, family gatherings and church dinners during the past three decades is unsurpassable in its loveliness during the hot summer months.

One of the earliest merchants in Burkett was J. L. (Uncle Jim) Allen, a brother of Alec Allen. J. L. Allen came to this section in the early 1870ís and settled as a squatter about half a mile south of the present town of Burkett on what is now Golson land.  He opened a forty acre farm, which he worked until 1879.  In that year James Golson came out from McLennan County and took possession of the property he had inherited as a land patent bought up by his half brother, W. R. Standifer of California.  This land, by the way, has never since been out of the Golson family.  J. L. Allen continued to farm and ran a peddling wagon, going far and near gathering poultry and eggs.  He finally succeeded in a small stock of drygoods and groceries which he kept in a covered passage between two log cribs with two bobtailed bulldogs to guard it.  From this beginning he finally had a store built about 1884 on land which he purchased from Col. T. A. Burns who had made a tax sale purchase of 320 acres where Burkett now stands.

The second store was operated by J. W. Golson and E. C. Hankins.  This was a small building where the tabernacle stood and was put in about 1890.  W. M. Burkett had been operating a small business for several years.  Henry Sackett opened a store in 1893.  This store was enlarged and changed several times.  Will Burkett continued to increase his business and in 1889 the post office was established, thus giving Burkett its official name.

Willie E. and Johnny Audas came to Burkett from Brown County in 1878 and began their business in 1895, Johnny died in 1930, leaving the business to W. E. and in 1947 his son, Lloyd took over his fatherís business and two years later, W. E. Audas passed away.  I. L. Wright operated a blacksmith shop and garage from 1909 to 1918 and was in the grocery business from 1918 to 1926.  During this time the post office was located in his store and the postmaster, Miss Elsie Cochran, clerked for Mr. Wright as a side line.

E. L. Harris might be mentioned along with these early day business men since he began to clerk in the Audas grocery store when he was still in his teens and continued for 44 years, retiring in 1953 because of ill health.  During the last few years of that time he was employed by Lloyd Audas who had a thriving business and erected a large, modern general merchandise store in 1951 and later in 1956 he retired to his farm and ranching, this building being abandoned and Burkett without a general store.

Doctors that have practiced in this community were Drs. Lindley, Mannering, John C. Cochran, Allison, G. M. Walker and lastly Boyd F. Pearce.  The first law offices were erected in the early 1880ís, J. R. Brown being the first justice of the peace.  Other early magistrates were a Mr. Priest, J. W. Golson and D. W. Howe.  For many years Burkett had a thriving drug store, Dr. Lindley and Dr. Mannering were the owners of a drug business during the early part of 1900 and sold their business to L. L. Morgan.  J. W. Colvin was Burkettís outstanding barber for some 50 years, beginning about 1900.  The prices for his hair cuts ranged from 5 cents to 30 cents and shaves accordingly.

The early day cotton gins were operated by J. T. Audas, W. M. Burkett, J. W. Wesley and W. L. Gould.  Later ones were L. F. Mayfield, L. C. Scott and M. Simons. The last one being operated until about 1942.  Bob Cross was an early cafe operator here, then for many years Mr. and Mrs. Paul Thate owned the cafe.  After they retired the business passed through several hands until it was closed up permanently in 1956.  During this time other businesses were also changing owners.  W. M. Burkett sold his grocery business to his son, J. E. Burkett and F. B. Porter, and by 1955 this business was closed permanently.

The first oil wells around Burkett were brought in on the G. M. Gray place in 1918.  Later the extensive field on the W. T. Burns land was drilled and finally on September 3, 1930, the closest field to the village, on the Frank Golson land was brought in.  The oil fields have helped to improve the roads in this section.  The present paved highway was completed hard surfaced in 1928, although it had been surveyed and built in 1922 with the present bridge completed in 1923.

Burkett has had several lodges organized here, including the Odd Fellows, the Modern Woodmen and the Woodmen of the World.  This last lodge was organized in 1899 with such old timers as Will Burns, W. C. Thames, W. C. Henderson and John Gaines as charter members. The I.O.O.F. was organized in Burkett in 1909 with Dr. J. C. Cochran, Jim and Calvin Baker, J. W. Golson and M. Manering and others as charter members.  The first telephone exchange here probably goes back before the turn of the century, the switchboard being operated by several old timers including W. M. Burkett, Will Sackett, Tom Audas and from 1918 to 1946, A. K. Wesley owned the business and sold to Mrs. Rita Adams who was the owner in 1958.

In 1928 the road through Burkett was completed and surfaced and in 1958 a new highway was put in which went west, missing the business district.  In 1958 the town consisted of three churches, two service stations operated by E. A. Jennings who carries a line of groceries and ice, and B. C. Evans, the Troy Tomlinson Garage, Gray and Godwin Grocery, operated by Mrs. Louella Gray and Mrs.
A. L. Godwin.  The city water works is owned by V. C. Adams. Burkett Gas Company with Merrel Burkett in charge, the Burkett Elementary School, Post Office and Telephone Exchange.

Today, the churches and post office is still there, along with Porterís gas station and grocery store on the highway to Cross Plains.  The area population in 1980 was 30.

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This page updated July 5, 2004
Copyright © 1982 - 2004 by Ralph Terry