Weakley-Watson recognized as Texas Treasure Business

Staff Writer
Brownwood Bulletin
Weakley-Watson cashier Meli Moreno rings up customer Juan Garcia’s purchase Thursday morning.

State Rep. Jim Keffer recently recognized Weakley-Watson Hardware with a Texas Treasure Business Award from the Texas Historical Commission.

The Texas Treasure Business Award program pays tribute to businesses that have provided jobs and support to the state's economy for 50 years or more. Created in 2005 through legislation authored by Sen. Leticia Van De Putte and sponsored by Rep. Charles Anderson, the program recognizes well-established Texas businesses and their exceptional historical contributions to the state's economic growth and prosperity.

“My business was started 140 years ago by my great-great-grandfather, Mr. J.C. Weakley,” current owner Mike Blagg said. “We’re proud to be part of the Brownwood community all these years and appreciate the support we’ve received from the community.”

A special decal identifying the business as a Texas Treasure will be publicly displayed in Weakley-Watson Hardware, 1414 Austin Ave. in Brownwood. Consumers will know when they spot the familiar Texas Treasure Business icon, they are doing business with a well-established, Texas-owned-and-operated business that has long contributed to job growth, stimulated the local economy, and generated state and local tax revenues.

Weakley-Watson Hardware was founded July 4, 1876.

The business was founded by Joseph C. Weakley, who grew up in Indianapolis, Indiana, and served in the Union army in the Civil War.

Upon being discharged from the army, he returned home to Indianapolis, and utilized his craft as a tinsmith to make canteens for the army.

Weakley and his good friend from Indianapolis, former Union Army Gen. Lew Wallace, road a train west, to St. Joseph, Missouri. Wallace wanted to continue west, and Weakley headed south. He rode a steamboat down the Mississippi River to New Orleans handmade his way to Galveston, where he worked for awhile as a tinsmith.

Weakley later moved to Waco and then to Comanche, still working as a tinsmith. In Comanche, Weakley was hired to put a tin roof on a building in Brownwood. Weakley liked Brownwood so much that he decided to stay and opened a tin shop there in 1876, which quickly evolved into a general hardware store.

Weakley partnered with Lee Watson in 1893. The business has grown from handling wagons, wood stoves, sheet iron and copper ware to hardware, tools, home necessities, yard and garden tools and paint.

In 1979 the business affiliated with True Value, enabling better lines of merchandise and better prices to serve the public.

The business is now owned and operated by fifth generation descendants of J.C. Weakley: Bill, John and Mike Blagg.