On the crest of a small hill in the southwest of Bosque County, there once stood a tree whose dense crown provided a nice bit of shade and protection for early settlers of the area to vote in the county’s first election. This ancient tree was still around more a century ago when that election happened. The date was February 4, 1854 and the Texas State Legislature created Bosque County out of McLennan County. They names a six-man commission to locate and purchase, or accept by donation, up to 320 acres of land as “near the centre of the county as practicable.”
Half of that land that was acquired was to be laid off in lots and sold at public auction to pay for the construction of county buildings. On June 27 of that year, the commission accepted two grants of land, both located at the present site of Meridian. They named the county seat for its nearness to Meridian Knobs and Meridian Creek.
Meridian was thus established on July 4, 1854. Those charged with getting the county up and running set the date for organizing the county and setting the election of county officials as August 7, 1854. Three voting boxes were designated. One was at the junction of Steele Creek and the Brazos River. The second was located in Meridian. The third was under the beautiful Bosque County Oak, which lay between the current towns of Clifton and Valley Mills.
Known locally as the “Election Oak”, the Bosque County Oak died in the 1990s. There’s a state historical marker located at the entrance to Tom Pool Park on Highway 6 for this beautiful and historical tree. On that day in August 1854, people voted under the tree to help elect L. H. Scrutchfield, judge, P. Bryant, sheriff, J. N. Mabray, clerk, Isaac Gary, assessor and collector, Archabal Kell, treasurer. The voters includes L. H. Scrutchfield, J. K. Helton, J. N. Mabray, Capt. Underhill, James Mabray, William Gary, Gafey Gary, Isaac Gary, Matt Gary, John Robertson, John Thomas, F. M. Kell, Archie Kell, William McCurry, Jack McCurry, Lum McCurry, Samuel Locker, Nathaniel Morgan, R. S. Barnes, J. P. Locker.
For more information on the Famous Trees of Texas, just check out our ongoing series. We, at Austin Tree, want to keep your trees, historical or not, healthy and alive. Give us a call at 512-341-8888 and we’ll be happy to help you keep your trees in great shape.