Every Thursday on the Buena Vista Facebook page, we publish "Throwback Thursday," providing the history and photos of Evant, the origins of Buena Vista, and more. We collect those stories here...
Mr. Evan T. Brooks is the founder of the eponymous "EVANT." The Brooks family arrived in the area in 1876. In 1881, Brooks platted a townsite that was filed in Hamilton County as Brooksville. The same plat appeared in Coryell County records in 1884 as Evant, and so the town was born.
To provide the history of Evant, you have to include Asa and Elizabeth Langford. Evant didn’t become a town until 1884, but the Langford family arrived in the area nearly 30 years before that. Theirs was the first Anglo child born in the area. They donated land for the first school and the first post office. They sold 160 acres to Evan T. Brooks when came to the area in 1876, of which he set apart 60 acres for the settlement of the town of Evant.
Pompy Burney, the great-great grandfather of Buena Vista’s owner, knew Asa. “Old Asa” used to stay at Pompy’s house. Family history records that: “Asa would come and visit with my grandfather and they'd be sitting in a chair talking. Old Asa would have his gun beside him. If he moved to another chair he'd take his gun with him, and if he went to the table eating [he’d take it]. He'd tell my grandfather, 'Now, Pompy, you hear any commotion out there in the night, don't you interfere, cause ol' Asa can take care of himself.' So he (my grandfather) made it a point to remain neutral. It was the wise thing to do.”
For more fascinating snippets about that time and place, you can read here:
Another early settler in Evant was Benjamin Franklin Gholson and his wife Adeline (daughter of Asa Langford). “Frank” served as a Texas Ranger, and was a member of the company that recaptured Cynthia Ann Parker. During the Civil War, he participated in the retaking of Galveston. After the war, the Gholsons built a rock house in the valley just a mile south of Buena Vista, in an area now known as Gholson’s Gap. They raised nine children, with Frank passing away in 1932 at the age of 89 (just a few months before he and Adeline would have celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary). Adeline lived for eight more years. (Frank and Adeline, second seated couple from right, with other Texas Rangers and wives, 1921.)
To learn more about the preservation of the Gholson house, read here:
https://rockandvinemag.com/2019/03/the-gholson-house/. Want more history on the Gholson family? Read this book by his great-granddaughter, Donna Gholson Cook: https://www.amazon.com/Gholson-Brothers-Tdonna%20hick-Stories-Early/dp/1631320734/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=donna+gholson+cook&qid=1591845347&s=books&sr=1-1
Evant has had a school nearly as long as there has been a town. In 1875, Asa Langford donated four acres of land “solely for literary purposes.” By 1892, the community had erected a two-story, native stone, 30x60’ building, with a one-story, 30x40’ annex. The school district consisted of a four-mile area. In 1936, Evant built the rock gym that still stands today.
By 1909, Evant had a thriving commercial center, including: a corn mill, a gin, a livery stable and hotel, two blacksmith shops, two physicians, a drug store, a grocery store, a hardware store, and a meat processing facility. This photo shows the west side of the square in 1909. For a fascinating article (one that reads more like an advertisement for Evant than a journalistic piece), check out this excerpt from the Special Edition of the Gatesville Messenger and Star Forum, dated June of 1909.
If your teenagers think it's tough to date in this day and age, how about this alternative?! Ronnie Smith shared this photo with us from her Grandmother Smith's family photo album. Grandmother Smith thought the couple in the buggy on the right were a brother and future sister-in-law to Grandfather Smith. What she did know for certain, though, is that this is how young people "courted" at the turn of the 20th century. Look at those HATS!