William R. Standefer

William R. Standefer was barely two years old when he came with his parents, Henry Standefer and his wife in the spring of 1855, from McLennan County and located in Hamilton. His whole life was spent in Hamilton County. William's father, Henry erected the first house ever built in Hamilton and brought the first stock of goods to the town. There were no schools in Hamilton for several years and the first school he remembered attending was one being taught by J. J. Durham in 1859. It was in a little log school house in back of C.E. Horton's hardware about where W.B. West's blacksmith shop stands. The Indians were stealing horses, coming in generally in the light of the moon, so they could get away with their stolen property, as they always traveled at night. William was running stock almost altogether, that being the principal business in this country. He followed the trail with cattle across the country to Kansas where they were marketed. There were no pastures in Texas and the western part of Kansas was uninhabited. Oklahoma was then Indian Territory and was infested with wild Indians and it was not safe for one herd to try to go through alone. From the Texas line until they reached Abilene, Kansas he never saw a house. As many as 50,000 herd of cattle could be sent at one time in one of those drives. There was hardly a railroad in Texas, and Salina, KS was the terminus of the Union Pacific. Buffalo Bill was then killing buffaloes to feed the railroad hands. Mr. Standefer, SR, in moving to Hamilton in 1855 was telling his family of the "town" and William was looking out of the ox wagon in which they traveled, for the home he was to find as he came over the hill east of Hamilton. When his father pointed out the only house here, the one that he had just built, the rest of the ground where the town now stands being a wilderness and the present public square was only a thicket, his young heart was filled with bitter disappointment, as he was expecting to see a fine city here. His father located at Livingston, six miles east of the town in 1859; the latter had a big bunch of cattle and was looking for lasting water, and Mr. Standifer induced him to locate here. He never saw a team of horses here until after the war, and they had to go to Waco for flour or meal. There was no farming here until about 1867. His life has been one of startling interest as he has seen the country transformed from a wild frontier to a peaceful progressive and highly refined community.

From: The Hamilton Herald, Historical Edition, February 20, 1907.

Note: William R. was the son of Henry Cyrus Standefer and the grandson of Isaac and Elizabeth B. Standefer.  William R. was married to Nancy Anne Woodward September 19, 1872 in McLennan Co, TX.

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