BROWN COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY SCRAPBOOK

Some early pioneers of Brown County settled along Mukewater Creek that runs through Coleman County and into Brown County. They came to build homes and establish communities. The communities in that area were known as Trickham and Mukewater. There was a large ranch at Mukewater.

Trickham in Coleman County became a frontier town, but Mukewater in Brown County was a small place with a school, church and a cemetery. There was a county line that divided the two communities, but the people paid little attention to the county line boundaries because they were neighboring people who worked together and were friends with each other. The county line goes through the center of a barn in that area now.

In 1875, Lot Ellington, a cowboy, arrived in the Trickham community and worked for ranchers in the area. He was a good worker and proved to be a dependable young man at the age of 21.

Native Americans had been transferred to reservations by 1870, and the Texas Rangers had cleared outlaws out of the area. Few Texas Rangers were needed in Coleman and Brown counties then to keep the peace until the fence cutting wars. There was an excess of good horses and no market to sell them.

Owners decided to drive a horse herd to Kansas to sell. Because he had shown that he was responsible and trustworthy, Lot Ellington was selected to be the foreman of the drive in the winter of 1875-76. The horse sellers had to go before the cattle drives; otherwise, the large cattle drives would take up the trail and eat the available grass. The horse drive had to be during the winter months. It was a strenuous trip, because of cold weather, but they arrived in Abilene, Kan. and were able to sell the horses.

When Lot arrived back in Trickham, he delivered the money to each man who had sent horses. He made his last stop at the Enoch Fiveash home, where he was living and working.

Lot was sick. He had contracted smallpox, somewhere on his way back home from Kansas. It was a dreaded disease that was very contagious so the Fiveash home was quarantined.

Someone went for a doctor in Brownwood. The doctor arrived and would not go into the house because he did not want to catch smallpox.

Dr. Page came and stayed for about a month helping the family with the illness. Lot died on Feb. 29, 1876. All the members of the household contracted smallpox. Dr. Page became the only well person to take care of the five people in the home.

The neighbors left food at the front gate and tended to the livestock, but would not go near the house. They dug graves on the Fiveash land but would not cover the graves. They were afraid of contracting the disease.

There was no one to help the young doctor. One by one he wrapped quilts around the bodies, drug them to the grave, pushed them into the graves and filled the graves by himself. Lot Ellington was the first to die, then Tom Moss, Lucinda and Enoch. By March 26, Tom, the young son, was the only one left.

Tom Fiveash was seriously ill when his father died. One of the fellows, who was helping dig Enoch’s grave suggested that they go ahead and dig one for the boy. The men said it would be a bad idea to dig a grave when the boy was still alive. It turned out that Tom Fiveash did not die, but came through.

To keep smallpox from spreading, the house, smokehouse and all the contents were burned.

More information about Trickham can be found in the book “Trickham Texas,” written by Leona Banister Bruce.