From Fayette County, Her History and Her People by F. Lotto, 1902:


Ledbetter lies in the northern part of the county on the Houston & Texas Central about one mile north of Cummings Creek on the watershed between the Colorado and Brazos Rivers. The surrounding country is postoak. In its neighborhood are gravel pits and rock quarries the rock of which was used for the construction of the Galveston jetties.

To the traveler, coming from La Grange, Ledbetter presents a pretty appearance. A small prairie lies in front of it, forming a lawn for the town. The pretty red-roofed residences are pleasantly set off by the green of the postoak.

The town has a Union Church, in which Rev. B. W. Allen of Giddings preaches to a Methodist and Rev. Coupland of Rockdale to a Presbyterian congregation. The Baptists also own a church building. Rev. F. H. Morgan is the preacher of their church.

The town is incorporated for school purposes. The principal of the school for this year will be Prof. Saunders, who formerly taught at Walhalla.

Ledbetter is a postoffice and a voting precinct of the county. It consists of four general merchandising stores, two lumber yards, two drugstores, two saloons, one blacksmith shop. There are two resident physicians in the town. While in Ledbetter, the writer became acquainted with T. M. Vernon, the leading druggist in Ledbetter, Wm. Kruse, a popular merchant of that place and he was also patronized by his friend L. C. Rummel, the efficient and successful manager of the Ledbetter Co-operative Lumber Association, an association of substantial farmers who invested their surplus capital in this lumber business. it was organized in 19888. The officers of the company are J. C. Speckels, president, B. E. Siegmund, secretary, and W. B. Barnes, Wm. Peters, Fritz Knoche, Paul Schuhmann and J. H. Rushing, directors.

The population of the town and neighborhood is American, German and Wendish. Amongst the oldest settlers of the town may be mentioned J. C. Hillmann, L. C. Rummel and E. Albers; of the neighborhood, John Rost, Geo. Eschenberg, Friedrich Mueller, Fritz Rethke, ___ Tabken, and ___ Kruse.

NOTES. - the Houston & Texas Central Railroad came to Ledbetter in 1870. A few miles south of Ledbetter is Alexander Branch, thus named after a white trapper who was killed there by Indians.

Historical Marker

Gotcher Trace

(also written Goacher, Cocher, Gotier, Goucher)

FM 1291 Near Ledbetter

Opened about 1828 by James Gotcher from Alabama, a settler on Rabb's Creek in present Lee County, as route from San Felipe, in Stphen F. Austin's original colony, to Bastrop in second or "little" colony. A short, exposed route to the upper settlements, this trace shared with nearby Wilbarger Trace the title of "Via Dolorosa" of early Texas, as both were marked by tragedies.

Gotcher moved to this area, and in 1936, six people of his family were killed and several captured during an Indian attack.

At this point the trace is crossed by a 20th century road. (1973)


A Footprints of Fayette article by David L. Collins, Sr:

Elijah Campbell - Rural Route Postman

Ledbetter (Fayette County), Texas

In the summer of 1990, I was fortunate to be one of the speakers at the 100th year Centennial Celebration of the Sweet Home Baptist Church.  The celebration was commemorated with the publication of The Centennial Album of the Sweet Home Baptist Church - 1890-1990.  This album documented the founders and community leaders of the Sweet Home Community, one of the 13 Freedom Colonies in Lee County.  The Sweet Home Church is located 7.5 miles from Ledbetter on CR 120, and my Great-Great Grandfather Wesley Taylor was one of the founders.

Elijah Campbell
Elijah Campbell on his mail route

Elijah Campbell, the subject of this story, was born in 1885 and lived in the Sweet Home Community, located in Justice Precinct 5, Lee County, Texas. He attended the Sweet Home Baptist church prior to moving to Justice Precinct 3, Fayette County, Texas (Ledbetter area).

According to the 1900 Census, Elijah Campbell was 15 years and was living with John Singleton (listed as head of Household) and Abbie Campbell (listed as mother). 

Sometime prior to 1906, Elijah moved to Ledbetter, Texas, which was already a stop on the Bastrop-Winedale stagecoach route in 1846.  It was named for the Hamilton Ledbetter family, early settlers in Fayette County who were active in local and state politics.  When the Texas and New Orleans Railroad was built to Ledbetter in 1870, the town for a short time became the business hub of the county until La Grange replaced it as the county’s railroad center; accordingly, a United States Post Office was established there on June 27, 1871.

One of the first Rural Free Delivery routes in Texas was established in Ledbetter on February 16, 1906.  Elijah Campbell served as the rural carrier for Ledbetter from February 16, 1906 to December 16, 1937; Kermit Blume took over the route and served as the second rural carrier for more than thirty-seven years of service.  Ledbetter had only two rural carriers in sixty-nine years of rural service.  Mail was also sent out of Ledbetter on the Star Route that served Waldeck, Nechanitz, Warda and Winchester.

Esther Campbell
Esther Campbell

The 1910 Federal Census shows that Elijah Campbell had married and was living in Ledbetter, Texas with his wife Esther and their children: Bettie, Richard, Jessie and Elijah, Jr.  By 1920, the Campbell family was growing, and Bettie, the oldest child, had apparently moved away or gotten married.  Only Jessie, Richard and Elijah, Jr. remained at home with their father and mother. Their neighbors were the Rusts, Gaults, Vanderwerths, Stuermers, Hodges, Knittels, Albers, Mosses, Storks, Faskes, Gneders, Hillsmans, Folkes, Wards, Rummels, Maxwells. The 1930 Census indicated that only Elijah, Sr., his wife, Esther, and son, Jessie, were living in the home, with their granddaughter, Lulu May Rhone, age 7. 

A review of Elijah Campbell’s U.S. World War I Draft Registration Card 1917-1918 shows that he was born February 6, 1885 in Lee County, Texas, and registered with the Local Board for Fayette County, State of Texas, La Grange, Texas on September 12, 1910.  The card was signed by C. W. Sanders.  Elijah’s occupation was listed as a R. F. D. Letter Carrier for the U.S. P. O. Dept.

Recently, I was reading the 1976 Bicentennial Issue of Postmasters and Post Offices of the Tenth Congressional District of Texas, which was given to Georgia Tubbs of the Round Top Area Historical Society by Clarence Wagner.  This report was prepared by Benjamin F. Bailar, the Postmaster General of the United States for Congressman J. J. Pickle of the Tenth Congressional District on March 29, 1976.  This report, which covered all of the Post Offices in the Tenth Congressional District, listed those in Fayette County prior to March 29, 1976:  Carmine, Ellinger, Fayetteville, Flatonia, La Grange, Ledbetter, Muldoon, Plum, Round Top, Schulenburg, Warda, West Point, Winchester, Black Jack Springs, Cedar, Cistern, Engle, Haw Creek, High Hill, Nechanitz, Oldenburg, OSO, and Warrenton, Texas.  Of course, many of these were post offices were discontinued years ago.

From 1969-1970, the Post Office Department scheduled the Ledbetter Post Office for closing.  Residents of the town considered the Post Office vital to the future of their community and opposed its closing one hundred percent.  The Post Office Department, impressed with this demonstration of civic responsibility, allowed a new facility to be built in conjunction with the Lehman store.

Based on the 1976 Postmaster General’s report, the last U. S. Postmaster of Ledbetter at that time was Anton J. Pesick, who was installed on April 13, 1974. Mr. Pesick served only for a short while, after which Gerard Menge served until recently.  Ledbetter currently have an Interim Postmaster, while they search for a new Postmaster, according to Christine Dyer-Jervis.

On June 1, 2013, I met Edna Estes-McNeil at a reunion of the Doaks Spring Community in Lincoln, Texas.  Edna, born on July 26, 1928, is the daughter of Ira Estes and Ethel Man Donovan of the Post Oak Area just northwest of Ledbetter, Texas.  Edna indicated that their family was on the Elijah Campbell mail route when she was a child growing up in Post Oak area.

Edna Mae Estes-McNeil is a retired Educator who married Isiah McNeil of Caldwell (Burleson County), Texas.  This requires another article on the Collins, Huff, Estes, McNeil, Taylor & Griffin families.

I dedicate this article to Elijah Campbell, an African American pioneer rural route postman, who faithfully served his community for thirty-one (31) years, and look forward to writing the final chapter of his life and the lives he touched along each mail route as the first Rural Free Delivery Postman of Ledbetter, Texas.

For all of the families who knew him, I would appreciate any history you may have.

David L. Collins, Sr. Oral History notes.
Postmasters and Post Offices of the Tenth Congressional District of Texas, Bicentennial Issue - 1976
“The Centennial Album of Sweet Home Baptist Church”, Vivian L. Francis, Chairperson and Editor
U.S. Federal Census for 1900, 1910, 1920, & 1930

A Footprints of Fayette article by David L. Collins, Sr:

William Roderick Little

Blacksmith-Ledbetter (Fayette County), Texas

As a child growing up in Lee County, Texas, I was fortunate to have family members who shared their family history - good or bad.  My Grandmother Josephine Little-Taylor often talked about her side of the family - the Little’s of Washington County, where her family lived in the late 1800s.  They all eventually migrated to Fayette and Lee Counties.

Her brothers and sisters - Susan Little (1875), Annie (Adda) Little (1879), David Little (1890), Major Little (1877) and William Roderick Little (1873), were all born in Precinct 6, Washington County, Texas.  She was born on October 30, 1886 in Ledbetter (Fayette County), Texas.  On January 11, 1911, she married Wesley Taylor, my grandfather, who was born April 16, 1886 in La Grange (Fayette County), Texas.

On one of the many days I would sit and watch her cook one of her great dinners, she would just began to tell me about her family.  She indicated that she had a half sister named Stella McGregor-McBride.  Other names she would mention were Mac McGregor; Britt McGregor; Sarah Nunn Simpson, a cousin; Curtis Kurt Nunn, a cousin; Clela or Clara Ward Nunn; and James Ward, who I assume was Clara’s husband.  She mentioned that Hamp Mayes married her sister, Suzy Nunn Little.

In my notes there was a mention of June 19th being celebrated in Beat 5 near the Oscar Seigmund Place.  I assumed this is Mayes Park where many of the African American families celebrated Juneteenth.  This is how we referred to June 19th, 1863, when the Emancipation Proclamation by President Abraham Lincoln was finally announced to the citizens of Texas.

After spending many years of research, I recently began to pull together pieces of information on William Roderick Little when I visited with Christine Dyer-Jervis, the great granddaughter of E. P. Stuermer.  She gave me information on his living relatives in Houston, Texas.

The first family member I visited with was Margaret Edwards-Walters and later with her brother, Theodore Homer Edwards, Jr. (June), who are William Roderick Little’s grandchildren.  Their father and mother were Theodore Homer Edwards, Sr. and Doris Nell Little, all of whom made their home in Houston, Texas.


Ledbetter in 1900
Click on map to see enlarged view of the locations of Ledbetter landmarks
William Roderick Little was born on June 23, 1873 in Precinct 6, Washington County, Texas USA and owned a blacksmith shop in Ledbetter (Fayette County), Texas.  His first marriage was to Nala Shipman, who was born in November of 1877 in Texas.  To this marriage were born two children - Ed Little, born October 1887 in Justice Precinct 3, and Mable Little, born September 1899 in Justice Precinct 3,  Ledbetter (Fayette County), Texas.  His neighbors in 1900 included the Stuermers, Schuerders, Franees, Dinwittees, Willards, Sheilds, Curtises, Drawes, Heillers, Racks and Hermans.

Based on my review of the 1910 Census, William Roderick Little was divorced from Nala Shipman and lived in Ledbetter, Texas with his household members, David Little, his brother, and Clinton Fransen, a lodger.  His neighbors were the Krauses, Sanders, Hackworths, Hills, Knotts, Powells, Nicklesons, Heiders, Schultzs, Racks, Durenbergers and Drawes.

Prior to recording the above information, a review of the 1880 Census of Washington County shows Roderick Little’s father as Joe Little and mother as Narcine Little, all of Precinct 6, Washington, Texas.  Their children were Roderick, Susan, Major and Adda Little.  My Grandmother Josephine was not yet born.  Living in the household were Frank Robinson and William Caruthers.  Their neighbors were the Hoggans, Rachuls, Hoffmanns, Boyds, Fergusons, Youngs, Wades, Twiggs and McCoys.

In the 1920 Census, the Little household included William Roderick, Lovie Ann, and Doris, who was five years old.  The Census also listed a Adalean Nobles, who was born in 1876 and listed as William Roderick Little’s brother and a Mr. Bob Dampson, born in 1865, as a boarder.  His neighbors were the Stevensons, McNeesses, Morrrisons, Dunklers, Dullyes, Monietts, Harrises, Schields, Lewises, Morletts. Krauses, Sturrmens and Levacys.

The marriage of William Roderick Little and Lovie Ann Truitt brought into the world two children.  The first child was a daughter named Doris Nell Little, born January 15, 1915 in Ledbetter, Texas.  She died on January 19, 1982 in Houston (Harris County), Texas.  As mentioned earlier, she married Theodore Homer Edwards, Sr.  He was born in 1907 and passed away July 19, 1975 in Houston, Texas.  Their second child was a son named William Little, born in 1922 in Precinct 1, Lee County, Texas.

Based on the 1940 Census, Willian Roderick Little and Lovie A. Truitt lived in Ledbetter, Texas.  Household members included William R. Little, 18; Josephine Truitt, grandmother, age 74; and Dorothy Ann Truitt, age 6.  Their neighbors included the Kerths, Thomases, Guytons, Vanderwerths, Krauses, Sanders, Weishuhns, Purrys, Daniels, Elliots, Webbs and Shields.

Wm Little Grandchildren
Grandchildren of William Roderick Little
William Roderick Little and Lovie Ann Truitt’s oldest child, Doris Nell Little, as I mentioned earlier, married Theodore Homer Edwards, Sr.; they had two children, Margaret Edwards-Walters and Theodore Homer Edwards, Jr.

In February of 2013, I visited the home of Margaret Edwards-Walters and reviewed documentation she had on her grandfather.  She remembers her mother talking about him and visiting Ledbetter when she was a child.

Our next meeting was with her and her brother Theodore Homer Edwards, Jr. (June), who lives in Galveston.  In our phone conversation before our meeting with he and Margaret, he indicated that he use to visit his Grandfather William Roderick Little and Grandmother Lovie Ann Truitt for the summers.  It was a new experience and fun time for him as a six year old.

He indicated that his grandmother would send him shopping to Carmine, Texas or Burton, Texas with a lengthy shopping list.  His grandfather’s blacksmith shop was adjacent to the railroad track and his grandmother would flag the train down for him, and he would proceed on his shopping journey.

Ledbetter Train Passengers
Passengers loading on the eastbound train from Ledbetter, Tx. 1928
The train would drop him off in Carmine or Burton, and he would complete his shopping list and walk back to where the train dropped him off.  The return train would stop and pick him up and drop him back off in Ledbetter in front of his grandfather’s shop.  He indicated that all of the stores knew the Little Family very well, and they would fill his shopping list without any questions and add to their credit/account.

On Wednesday, March 6, 2013, I was able to personally meet William Roderick Little’s grandson, Theodore Homer Edwards, Jr., and his sister Margaret Edwards-Walters over lunch.  We had a great conversation about his life and his growing up in Houston and graduating from Worthing High school in Sunnyside.

What is amazing is the profession he made a living in.  He worked for Baker-Hughes, formerly Hughes Tool.  He was a B & A Machinist, building drilling bits.  He eventually became a First Class Machinist.

I immediately told him that he took after his grandfather, who was a first class blacksmith, who serviced all of the farms around Ledbetter, Texas.  What a great story!

He also mentioned that every summer he went to Globe Hill Community to visit his cousin, Ellen (Ellen Ruffin).  His grandmother, Lovie Truitt-Little, was from Globe Hill and is buried in the Globe Hill Cemetery (located west of FM 180 along County Road 133 in Lee County).  He mentioned that Lovie’s brothers, Leveston Truitt, lived in Texas City, Texas, and Robert Truitt lived in Galveston, Texas.

Blume, Kermit. “Ledbetter, Texas”, Fayette County , Texas Heritage, Vol. I; Curtis Media, 1996
Census records for 1870, 1880, 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930 &1940, from Ancestry.com
Deed Records - County Clerk’s Offices:  Fayette County, Texas, & Lee County, Texas
Lee County Cemetery Records, Lee County Historical Society
Personal interviews, Research & Family History
The Stuermer Store and Museum, Ledbetter, Texas

A Footprints of Fayette article by David L. Collins, Sr:

The Stuermer Store - Ledbetter (Fayette County), Texas

The Stuermer StoreGrowing up in Doaks Spring (Lee County), Texas, my Grandfather Wesley Taylor told me stories about the Stuermer Store in Ledbetter, Texas and that this was the place where all of the farmers would get their food, seed for planting, and farm implements.  Whatever your needs were, the Stuermer Store would have it, or they could order it.

However, before I get into all of the stories, let’s review a little history on Ledbetter, Texas, which was named for a family of Ledbetters who first settled in the area.  In 1870, the first railroad tracks were completed through the northern part of the county, and Ledbetter quickly grew as a railroad town, drawing trade from near and far.

1870 Federal Census-Ledbetter (Fayette County) Texas (Beat No. 3)

The 1870 Census was taken at the Post Office - Ledbetter Station by F.W. Lahaffnet on March 10, 1870.  There were 12 dwellings, 12 families, 15 white males, 6 white females and 1 colored male.  The family names included A. J. Robinson, Ohio; Otto Schulze, Prussia; Eli Legion, Louisiana; J. L. Reed, Mississippi; L. L. Moselar, Prussia; James Brady, Ireland; Col. Caldwell, Georgia; John Scheitel, Hesse-Kassel (Germany); J. Richardson, Baden (Germany); Hugo Heikl, Louisiana; F. Emaneiak;   Hungary; and August Schabel, Wurtenberg (Germany).

Soon, there were two lumber yards, two cotton gins, a drug store, two doctors and a hotel that served meals to the people who arrived by train.  Ledbetter also has the distinction of having the first independent school district in the county.

Like most German families who had already began coming to Texas in the 1840s with the Adelsverein, the Stuermer family migrated to America, along with the largest influx of German immigrants from Germany in the 1850s; they first settled in Rutersville, Texas.  According to his great-great granddaughter, Christine Dyer-Jervis, E.P. Stuermer (b. April 12, 1866; d. March 2, 1945) founded a saloon in Rutersville in 1890.  The following year, he established the Stuermer Store in Ledbetter.

The two largest landowners in Ledbetter were E.P. Stuermer, who purchased multiple farms and ranches, and Dr. O’Barr, a well-known and respected physician, whose original homestead is now a multi-million dollar horse ranch located approximately one-half mile north of Ledbetter.

Based on the 1900 Census, E. P. Stuermer, age 34, lived in Justice Precinct 3, Fayette County, Texas with his wife, Fredrike Stuermer, age 30.  They had three children, William P. age 6; Ernest M.; age 5; and Millienea, age 7 months.  Their neighbors included the Drawes, Hellers, Racks, Schuerders, Littles, Shipmans, Franees, Dinwittes, Williards, Shields, and Curtises.

The 1910 Census indicated that E. P. Stuermer, age 44, was widowed and living with his children - Willie, Ernest, Mellienea, Eylan, Lillie and servant, Lena Kicke.  Their neighbors included the Vernons, Hodges, Gillilands, Albers, Varneys, Mosses, Randolphs, McClellans, Daniels, and Campbells.

In 1920, the Census indicated that E. P. Stuermer, age 53, was living in Carmine (Fayette County), Texas with his children - Ernest M., age 24, Millienea, age 20, Eylan, age 18, and Lillie, age16.   Their neighbors included the Ponficks, Bergmanns, Liebschers, Henricks, Muellers, Schroeders, Viertels, Hokins, Rivers, McCoys, Knotts, Rusts and Townsends.

By the time the 1930’s rolled around, the 1930 Census indicated that E. P. Stuermer lived in  Precinct 3, Fayette County,  Texas, still widowed and living with Ernest his son, age 35, and Santo Guerez, a boarder from Mexico, age 48.  His neighbors were the Heiders, Lewises, Shepards, Martins, Rivers, Maxwells, Lovings, Vanderwerths, Burns, Campbells, Rummels, and Ramireses.

E. P. Stuermer continued to operate his grocery store as the 1940 Census rolled around.  He was 73 and lived with his son, Ernest M., age 45.  His neighbors included the Storks, Schultzs, the Herman Stuermer family, the Hannes, Vanderwerths, Pohls, Weishuhns, Robinsons, Simpsons, Johnsons, and Webers.

Ledbetter had its heydey from 1900 through the 1920s.  As highways were being built and improved cars and trucks were available, the demand for train services was reduced.  When the train services stopped, the various businesses in Ledbetter suffered.  In 1934, the town also suffered a big loss when a fire burned a block of buildings on the north side of the railroad, including a general store, drug store, pool hall and other businesses.  Stuermer’s Store continued to thrive, however. 

The year 2013 marks the 122nd year that the Stuermer Store has been in operation, and it also doubles as a museum with some artifacts that are 100 years old and older.  At the turn of the century (1900), the Stuermer Store served as the “Center of Commerce” in northern Fayette County, Texas.  Other competing businesses, according to Christine Dyer-Jervis, included the Lehman Store, the Little Blacksmith Shop, the Rust Egg, the Honey and Watkins product store, and the Pharmacy operated by the first woman pharmacist in Texas. I was told that she was a Schoenberg.

Christine Dyer-Jervis, the great granddaughter of E. P. Stuermer, along with her mother, Lillian Lenora Stuermer-Dyer, E. P. Stuermer’s granddaughter, still come to the store to work every weekday.

African American Migration from Fayette County to southern Lee County, Texas

After the Civil War, many African Americans in Fayette County, especially in the northern part of the county, began to migrate to Lee County searching for new land and new opportunities for building their own homes, raising their families and starting a new life.  Most of my ancestors were among the African American families who moved to Lee County and purchased land beginning in 1880.  My ancestors included the Taylors, Huffs, Clemons, Collins, Rivers, Maxwells, Shields, Littles, Garcias, Fletchers, Griffins, Estes, Jacksons, Shepards, Crenshaws, Davises, Whites, Nunns and McGregors.

As the new African Americans settled and built their farms, they needed equipment and supplies.  The Stuermer Store was the key to their success, because the store gave them access to credit for all of their needs.

Freedom Colony Settlements by the Turn of the Century in 1900

By January 1901, there were several African American Settlements known as Freedom Colonies just north of Ledbetter, Texas, with the Stuermer Store just south of the Lee County line by about 1/2 mile.  The distance of these Freedom Colonies from Ledbetter by the way the crow flies are as follows:  Jones Colony - 2.2 miles (FM 180), Globe Hill - 4 miles (County Road 133), Pilgrim Community - 6.8 miles (Hwy 290), Post Oak Community - 6 miles (FM 180), Antioch Community - 8.7 miles (County Road 123), and the Sweet Home Community - 7.5 miles (County Road 120).  Many of the families who settled in these communities in the late 1800s and early 1900s still owned land in the area in 1950s and still do today.

The old 1901 Stuermer Store General Ledger and Cash Account Ledger list the many African Americans from these communities who traded at their store 112 years ago. These ledgers can be seen in the magnificient museum that the Stuermers have created in their old store, which also includes a sampling of items that they sold, all of which helped to keep them in business for all of these years.  These items include a variety of kitchen utensils, stoves and stove pipes, farm tools, a variety of work clothes, shoes, wash tubs, wagon wheels, canned goods, cotton seeds and vegetables seeds, to name a few.

A partial list of these land owners who migrated from Fayette County and still owned land in these Freedom Colonies are as follows:  1. Jones Colony - Jones, King, Felder, Mays, and Seale); 2. Globe Hill Community - Thompson, Cheeks, Hodge, Ferguson, Enlow, Lewis, Ruffin, Hickey, Truitt, Felder, McDade, Anderson, Newton, Dockery, Wade, Jackson, Daniels, Shields, Larkin, King, Rivers, and Bradshaw; 3. Pilgrim Community  - Davis, Palmer, Cummings, Kelley, Ray, Thomas, Henley, Lewis, Chandler, McNeil, Patrick, Parker, Wilson, Baker, & Walker); 4. Sweet Home  - Stephey, Williams, Jones, Oliver, McNeil, McCoy, Sheppard, Rivers, Francis, Haywood, Wilson, Booker, Griffin, Williams, & Daniels); 5.  Antioch Community  - Daniels, Griffin, Estes, Punchard, Huff, Oliver, Lewis, Blue, Jackson, Davis, Nunn, Higgins, Mayfield, Martin, McFarland, Bethany, Donovan, Wilson, Alcorn & Branch; 6.  Post Oak Community - Brown, Griffin, Estes, Swain, McFarland, Scott, Patrick, Tarver, Kennedy, Guyton, Sheppard, Shipman, King, Hancock, Ray, Turner, Clemons, Simpson, Moore, Wise and Swain.

The oldest deaths recorded in these communities include: Abraham Jones-1880, Jones Colony Cemetery; Kisiah Truitt-1902, Globe Hill Cemetery; Julia Crenshaw-1893, Post Oak Cemetery; Caroline Nash-October 4, 1892, Sweet Home Cemetery; Bill Moody’s mother-1880, Providence Cemetery; Willie Lee Brown, November 15, 1879, Salem Cemetery; and Nina Nunn, January, 15, 1883 and Lucy Gentry, March 24, 1883, Antioch Cemetery.

As I reviewed the ledgers, I noticed that all of my ancestors, including grandfathers, great-grandfathers, aunts and uncles purchased their goods at Stuermer’s Store on a running credit account of monthly charges and monthly payments.

This brief history of the Stuermer Store is part of an ongoing search of my family history.  In 1996, I just happen to stop by the store.  In doing so, I interviewed Mrs. Lillian Lenora Stuermer-Dyer in an effort to find out where my Great Grandmother Katie Rivers-Taylor was buried.  Katie Rivers-Taylor was married to John Wesley Taylor, and this marriage resulted in four children.  Just prior to 1900, they separated, and I was told by my Aunt Katie Taylor-Griffin that Katie Rivers-Taylor was remarried to Henry Shields.  From this marriage one child was born, named Lena Shields-Byrd, who grew up in Ledbetter until her late teens, and then married and moved to Houston’s 4th Ward, and finally settled in Oakland, California, where she passed away in 1994.

In relating this story to Mrs. Stuermer-Dyer, she indicated that Henry Shields was a longtime employee of the Stuermer’s Cotton Gin operations and transported several bales of cotton each year by wagon train to La Grange, Texas for shipment to U.S. and overseas markets.  She did not know where he lived when he retired; however, she did mention to me with emphasis, that he spoke perfect German.

This short story is part of an ongong search for my ancestors, and my family would appreciate any information from those who may have additional knowledge or documents to share on my family.

The next segment will be on my Great-Uncle William Roderick Little, the local blacksmith, and probably the only blacksmith in the city of Ledbetter, Texas. He was married to Lovie A. Truitt of the Globe Hill Community.

Blume, Kermit. “Ledbetter, Texas”, Fayette County , Texas Heritage, Vol. I; Curtis Media, 1996
Census records for 1870, 1880, 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930 &1940, from Ancestry.com
Deed Records - County Clerk’s Offices:  Fayette County, Texas, & Lee County, Texas
Lee County Cemetery Records, Lee County Historical Society
Personal interviews, Research & Family History
The Stuermer Store and Museum, Ledbetter, Texas
Editing by: Carolyn Heinsohn


Related Links

Ledbetter Cemetery

Ledbetter, Texas
Handbook of Texas Online