Mountain City

By Miss Fannie Manlove

Kyle News, April 20, 1928

The original Mountain City community extended over a territory of about seven miles north and south and three or four miles in width. It might be said to have begun at the old Yarbrough place, two miles west of where Kyle now stands, and extended north to Allen's Prairie, a mile and a half west of the present location of Buda. The line of the present post road about marked the eastern boundary, while the west line was governed by the topography of the country.

The community, in its first settlement, consisted of about twenty families: Allen, Barton, Bunton (three families), Breedlove, Black, Brown, Carr, Day, Golden, Haupt, Manlove, Moore, Rector (two families), Stephenson, Turner, and Vaughan. They furnished the foundation stock for the present Kyle and Buda citizenship, which have made these towns outstandingly superior to most small towns.

The first school building in the community was probably built about 1855. Prof. Gibson was the first teacher, followed by Prof. Francis.

But the man who really made the school was Prof. John Edgar, a teacher of renown from Nashville, Tennessee. A large one-story school house, and a five-room residence for the teacher, and family, were built. (In 1865, the Masons added another story.)

This was the best school in this section of the state. Pupils came from different parts of the country and almost every home was a boarding house -- the community spirit was strong, and intellectuality ran high.

This school turned out good ranchmen, farmers, doctors, lawyers, and men of other vocations. It seems to me we have retrograded in our methods of teaching. That was an age of perfection in the "three R's," and the advanced pupils were experts in math and Latin.

The close of school was a great event in the community. All brought dinner, spent the day and stayed to the night concert. Pupils were examined before the audience from the primer to the university courses -- no graded schools there.

Jesse Day who settled here in the stock business; with his son, William, was once driving a herd of cattle to North Texas and in crossing the Brazos River while out of banks from heavy rains, Mr. Day lost his life. William was rescued seemingly dead, but was revived by comrades. Mr. Day's widow, two daughters, and five sons lived at Mountain City until after the war.

There were many negro slaves in the community, and the masters, as a rule, were kind and the negroes happy. The night patrol seldom caught a culprit. On one occasion, "Uncle Steve," owned by Dr. Manlove, went to stake a horse near the timber for protection, as a norther was blowing, increasing as night came on. Uncle Steve lost his bearings, as a blinding snow storm swept the country. Next morning, his body was found a half mile from home by Bob Barton, then about twelve years old. The body was completely covered with snow with the exception of one hand.

The post office of the community was first at the home of James Bunton, but I do not know what the name was. In 1858, it was moved to Col. Haupt's store, and he named it Mountain City. And by that way, that was when the community got its name.

During the Civil War, the greatest thrill was the coming of the stage coach, driven by four to six large horses. As it passed the school building, the driver blew his horn vigorously. Men from all directions gathered at Haupt's store to hear the war news. Col. D. E. Moore, having a strong voice, generally did the reading of the newspaper for the crowd. You can imagine the anxiety and excitement, for there were no telegraphs, telephones and no daily paper at the time.

One day came the sad news of the death of Gillie Barton, the first young man of our neighborhood to go to war, and the first to fall in battle. He was much loved and was always the peacemaker in school, Mr. Edgar always calling on him to settle disputes among the larger boys.

All young men of the age of eighteen were in the war, some going in at the age of sixteen and seventeen. At any rate all were enlisted as they reached eighteen, leaving only the younger boys, middle-aged and old men at home. Mr. Ira Breedlove was the neighborhood squire, and attended to all legal business. Dr. R. C. Manlove looked after the widows and orphans and did a general practice. He had varied experiences. His house was the home for wounded and sick soldiers and for anyone who was in need. One night he called to see a dying man, Mr. Powell, at or near Dripping Springs, who had been shot by Jayhawkers. Dr. Manlove met the Jayhawkers in the middle of Onion Creek, could hear their swords click. As he met them, he said, "Good evening, gentlemen," and all was well. He recognized some of them men, but it was not safe in those days to tell all you knew.

The Indians made a raid after the Civil War, coming as far down as the "Cross House" on the Kuykendall Ranch. One woman was scalped, but the Indians failed to use the tomahawk. Dr. Manlove dressed her wound every other day until she was entirely recovered. I believe this was the last raid made by the Indians.

But the lawlessness reigned for a long time after the war. At one time, a widow, Mrs. Kate Black, was choked nearly to death by robbers trying to get her money. The house still stands with little change, between Mountain City and Buda.

On another occasion, John Day was taken out of his home in the night and hanged three times from a large live oak tree that once grew at the present home of Will Stephenson, Jr. Mr. Day was thought to have considerable money, and did have it, and they were trying to get him to tell where it was. He told them, but they would not believe his stories.

Once, sometime in the seventies, Dr. Manlove's buggy horse was stolen. The thief and horse were discovered by neighbors and chase given, and both were shot near where Kyle now stands. The thief died, but the horse recovered.

Finally, things became normal. The negroes were freed, the carpetbaggers gone, and sanity reigned once more. Telegraph poles appeared, the Iron Horse came, and the early community was gone.

The Presbyterians held a camp meeting on the Blanco River, near the Joe Brown home soon after the war. The campers ran short of meat and some of the young men went out to kill a beef. In chasing the beef, it fell, and Addison Day's horse ran over the beef and fell, killing Mr. Day. He was the son of Jesse Day, and had but recently returned from the war. He was much loved by the community.

One night shortly after the close of the Civil War, three traveling men camped for the night. One of the men had a fine horse which he staked near the camp. Feeling uneasy about the horse, he could not sleep, so during the night he decided that he would go and see about him. His comrades concluded they would play a trick on him, so when the owner reached the horse the men cried out "Indians!" as they were pulling at the stake. The man rushed up and stabbed one of them, thinking he was an Indian. Dr. Manlove was called, but too late. The man died and was buried somewhere near Mountain City on the stage road.