Owlet Green Community

Taken from Van Zandt County Texas Biographies 1848-1991 Vol. II. Thanks to Kitty Wheeler for the original information and for permission to use it on the web site. The information that is included in this document is transcribed portions of information that appear in the above referenced book. Additions, corrections, comments, complaints and compliments concerning this page should be submitted to Betty Miller and Patsy Vinson.

Owlet Green

Information relating to Owlet Green heretofore has been hearsay, handed down by old timers. It was not until 1962 when Truman Tunnell of Van, Texas uncovered an old ledger in a trunk at the home of his aunt, Mrs. Sam Wilson, nee Birdie Tunnell, that it became possible to establish factually and accurately the scope of activity in the community of Owlet Green. The ledger was kept by the various Justices of the Peace and Notaries Public as the official record of the community.

The Justices of the Peace were W. H. Richardson (1883), E. L. Shirley (1886), F. P. Lybrand (1886), John C. Rusk (1901), W. H. Black (1895), and H. C. Berry (1896). H. C. Berry made the last entry in the register on 20 Oct 1898. W. W. Peel registered some documents as notary public.

Owlet Green was a prosperous active town. It had general merchandise stores, drug stores, cotton gins, three churches, physician, carpenters, saw mill, grist mill, syrup mill, machinist, two blacksmiths, and a saloon.

Richardson and Payne were the principal cotton and animal buyers in the community and Joshua Hallman was a lender of money back in the days when the Texas Almanac reported that the people of Van Zandt County dealt mostly in cash because they didn't believe in banks.

In the records of the Van Zandt County Abstract Company, it is found that W. H. Rose gave the land on which the Marvin's Chapel Methodist Episcopal Church South was located. F. P. Lybrand donated land for the Baptist Church in Owlet Green, and R. R. Goode gave the land for the Owlet Green School.

James Addison Clark, born in South Carolina 20 April 1830, and educated in Alabama, moved to Freestone County, Texas in 1851 and in 1860 came to Van Zandt County. He settled on land near what was to become Owlet Green and described it as a most complete paradise. The large timber was beautiful with no underbrush, the open lands rich with grass half side deep to the cattle and horses, game abundant and the streams filled with fish.

At this time, the country around Owlet Green was fast settling up with enterprising citizens.

One morning around 2 o'clock in June 1886, the town of Owlet Green was aroused by the alarm of fire. The fire originated in the rear of Payne and Stewart's store house. Losses were suffered by them, A. C. Henderson, F. P. Lybrand, M. A. James and J. L. Lybrand. It was believed to be the work of an incendiary, as the house of Payne and Stewart was broken open. The thief entered through the window, it was believed, and robbed the house before setting fire to it. No clues were immediately found, but, needless to say, a diligent search was made to find the culprit.

The spring of 1886 saw a most successful term held at the Owlet Green school. Professor Craft's fourth term that year began with 13 students and at closing had 65. It was reported that he had done a splendid job.

In September of 1887, it was reported that the corn crop was very good, but that cotton was not as good. The thought was that 400 to 500 pounds to the acre would be the average yield.

The big mill and gin at that time was at work with Smith and Jackson the proprietors.

There was talk in the community of them soon getting the 'Air Line' and the Texas and St. Louis Railroad. Some felt quite certain it would come their way.

Owlet Green did not mushroom into a full-grown city overnight. Nor did it disappear suddenly. First, a few families pulled away as did a business or two.This trend continued until finally in the 1940's the last one closed his shop and moved. The land that once was occupied by the businesses and the town lots now is in pasture, with a chunk of concrete protruding among the grass as a ghostly reminder of the long ago.

To drive through the area that was Owlet Green today, you would take Hwy 314 south out of Van and turn west on Fm. Rd. 1995. You won't go very far until you pass the Marvin's Chapel cemetery. This was once the community of Owlet Green.

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Betty Teal Miller Patsy Finley Vinson