Hubbard, Texas – Where Did The Name Come From?

Hubbard, Texas . . . where did the name come from? For those of you who don’t know, Hubbard was named in honor of Richard Bennett Hubbard, former Governor of Texas (1876-1879) and also the Ambassador to Japan. He lived in Tyler and was originally from Georgia, but like many Southerners, he came to Texas. He was a very large man and was a great speech maker. As far as I can tell, Hubbard is the only city in the US to be named after the former Governor.

There are many stories about Governor Hubbard which will be shared later. #themoreyouknow (Governor’s Mansion Collection) Richard B. Hubbard, 1876-1879Silver cake server presented to the Governor by the government of Japan, engraved J.R.H. for First Lady Janie Roberts Hubbard. Richard Hubbard was appointed Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary to Japan. The Hubbard’s had been living in Tokyo, Japan, for almost two years when Janie Roberts Hubbard became ill and died. Her remains were returned to her Tyler, Texas, home for burial.

Desperados in and Around Hubbard City, Texas

Desperados – The Life of Tom Varnell – and yes, he killed a man here in Hubbard.

The ARLINGTON JOURNAL, Arlington, Texas. Thursday July 30, 1903 –

Tom P. Varnell a somewhat notorious character was shot and killed at Abbott, Hill County, on the 26 of July, 1903, by Oscar Ferguson. Varnell had heretofore killed two men and served one term in the penitentiary. For years he has been one of the Hill county‘s bad men. Son of Isaac (Ike) A Varnell and Francis LaDocia Crawford.In 1880 at age 18 Tom P shot and killed A P Fisher in revenge for his father’s death in 1876. He shot and killed Jonas Hagar Land at age 21 in Hubbard City in 1883 after being caught by Land with his 16 year old daughter. After two years on the run he was captured in New Mexico and several trials later was convicted and spent 9 years in the Texas State Pen. He was released on Jan 19, 1902 and was pardoned at the recommendation of State Senator S C Upshaw, who had been his criminal attorney when he was convicted.

Six months later he killed a Mexican, Frenchy Rauls, in the Oklahoma Territory, and was sentenced to 10 years. The conviction was appealed, bail was set and Tom P returned to Texas.On July 26, 1903 he was shot and killed by Oscar Ferguson in Abbott, Texas, to “protect the honor” of Oscar’s sister. Oscar was tried for murder, but found not guilty. His father Isaac Alexander Varnell was murdered on New Years Day in 1876. His brother Isaac Napoleon Varnell was gunned down in 1867 at the age of 17 by a 16 year old. Death and misery followed Tom during his short life of 41 years.

Thomas Powhattan “Tom P” Varnell

BIRTH 13 Feb 1862 Hill County, Texas, USA

DEATH 26 Jul 1903 (aged 41)Abbott, Hill County, Texas, USA

BURIAL Hillsboro City Cemetery Hillsboro, Hill County, Texas, USA

PLOT Section 11

For the book about his life – https://www.amazon.com/Tom-Ps-Fiddle-True…/dp/0984185739

Jonas Hagar Land is buried here in Hubbard in Fairview Cemetery.

A Typical Hubbard Home in 1915

HUBBARD HISTORY — This was the home of Ward R. Dean in 1915. It was on a postcard that “Kittie” wrote home to Massachusetts August of 1915. “Kittie” appeared to be studying music (there was a music college here in Hubbard at the time). She was sailing out of Galveston and appeared to be going back home. From what I can tell from census records, this house was located at 208 Bois D’ Arc here in Hubbard. It appears to no longer be here. (If any one knows any different, please let us know). Mr. Dean was a cotton buyer and is buried here in Hubbard at Fairview Cemetery. He passed away when he contracted pneumonia in 1918. He was 43.

The “Real Postcard” thing was a huge deal from 1905 to about 1917 (ish), and lingered on until about 1930. Many of the inks and chemicals used in the postcards came from Germany, which explains the decline in interest about 1917.

[House of W. R. Dean], postcard, 1915; (https://texashistory.unt.edu/…/metapth1212784/m1/2/…: accessed October 14, 2020), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, https://texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Private Collection of T. B. Willis.

308 Bois D’ Arc – Hubbard, TX?
Fairview Cemetery, Hubbard, TX

The 1976 Bicentennial Madness (Even in Hubbard, Texas!)

In the USA, The Bicentennial was a big event! 1976 and our wonderful Country was 200 Years old. I was in elementary school at the time (in SC not Hubbard), but I am sure the excitement was shared all over the USA! National pride and the history of our country was at the forefront even in Hubbard! The articles I found in the Waco paper suggested there was a big celebration. The Hubbard Garden Club planted trees and at the celebration, Justice Sam Johnson was to speak recognizing that Hubbard was a “Bicentennial City.” Does anyone remember the celebrations here in Hubbard or wherever you were at the time? As I recall we began preparing in 1975 through 1976. They called it the “Bicentennial Madness”. I guess it was – everything was red, white and blue. Even Ford put out a special edition truck – don’t you wish you had one now! Where were you and do you remember?

The Hubbard Garden Club planted trees!
Justice Sam Johnson was to speak!
T-Shirts like this were everywhere!
Ford had a special edition truck – Bicentennial Madness was everywhere! It was wonderful!

1886 Men of Hubbard, Texas

Step back in time to January 24, 1886, in Hubbard. These are the boys and men you would see working and walking the streets, going in the shops and possibly the several saloons! This was an important day for them as you can see they dressed up and they all have their fancy watches and chains (a fashion at the time). They all probably worked hard, but took a Saturday afternoon off to take their photograph at the studio of J. E. Taulman. (Joseph E. Taulman Collection, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin)

Handwritten on back “Ottie Taulman, Percy Bryan, Zac Wilson, Geo. W. Bishop, Eddie Taulman, John Dunn. Hubbard City, Texas. Jan. 24th 1886”.

January 1886 – Hubbard, Texas

Another Hubbard – Hollywood Connection

We talk a lot about Joseph Taulman and his wife, Arminta McClellan Taulman. Now, we can share about Arminta’s sister, Livonia Mildred McClellan Roach and her daughter, a Hollywood movie star! While Arminta stayed in Hubbard (and is buried here), her sister Mildred moved to Los Angeles and she married to a Edward Roach. They had a daughter, and if you have watched Westerns of the 1940’s, you have seen Nell (Roach) O’Day!

She began acting as a child in the 1920’s (while her mother worked in photography studios – no doubt skills taught to her by her brother-in-law, our Mr. Taulman). By the 1940s, O’Day was becoming a regular in Western films and started to receive starring roles in them, typically opposite the likes of Johnny Mack Brown, Ray “Crash” Corrigan, Max Terhune, and John ‘Dusty’ King. Thanks to her experience as a talented equestrian, she signed a contract with Universal and fulfilled a recurring cowgirl role in a series of horse operas opposite star Brown and his sidekick, Fuzzy Knight. She would also appear in Westerns for other studios, including Republic and Monogram. Her last starring Western role would be in Boss of Rawhide (1943).

Though O’Day occasionally performed on stage, she retired in 1945 after performing in the Broadway’s Many Happy Returns. She made one more movie, a non-Western, entitled The Story of Kenneth W. Randall M.D. (1946). O’Day then devoted her time to writing. One of her successes was the play The Bride of Denmark Hill, which was later turned into a BBC-TV production.O’Day would write and grant interviews until the end of her life at age 79.

She died from a heart attack on January 3, 1989, in Los Angeles, California. Her burial location is unknown. Today, there are few tributes to O’Day that remain. We can remember, here in Hubbard, that her Aunt and Uncle are buried here. Another Hubbard Hollywood connection!

Nell O’Day
Cabinet card with photograph of a woman (Livonia Mildred McClellan) holding artist’s palette and paint brushes and sitting on a wicker chair beside a framed painting. Photograph is on white cardboard with photographer’s name at the bottom. Handwritten note on back of photograph “Livonia Mildred McClellan, (daughter of James W.) Original photo taken by Chalmers, of Ennis, Texas, Oct. 24, 1897.”
Nell O’Day
Nell O’Day

Cotton Time!

Here in Hill County it is cotton time and the bales are lining the roads on the way from Hubbard to Hillsboro today. A lot of hard work for these farmers and you are probably wearing some Texas cotton or sleeping in Texas cotton sheets. Thanks to the Farmers! Texas is already the best in the nation at growing cotton, producing roughly one-third of the U.S. cotton crop.