J. J. CARPENTER

-Undated news clipping from the
Mrs. J. Eugene (Ruby) Williams
Historical Collection

   Probably the only living man who remembers Brady when it was born is James Jessie Carpenter of 233, East Fourth Street, San Angelo.  Less than one month ago, Mr. Carpenter celebrated his 88th birthday.  The San Angelo Standard Times regarding this event says:
    "Mr. Carpenter is from a family of eight children, seven of whom are living.  He is the father of five children, Mrs. Carl Burley, Mrs. J. S. Clements and R. C. Carpenter of San Angelo, Roy Carpenter of Houston and Taylor Carpenter of El Paso.
    "A Texan since 1870, Mr. Carpenter was born in Troy, Ala., and moved to Bell County with his family in 1871.  In 1875 they came to Brady City where his father, A. J. Carpenter, was the first Justice of the Peace.  Mr. Carpenter's trade is synonymous with his name.  He built many of the early houses in San Angelo.  His history includes a move to Paint Rock in 1878, to Bowie, Montague County in 1883 and to San Angelo in 1884.  He has lived for the past 62 years at the address given above where he moved July 5, 1887.
    "The majority of Mr. Carpenter's early life was spent in Brady.  His father, being Justice of the Peace, often had to hold inquests.  In 1877 in the last Comanche raid, Simon Parmer had been killed four miles west of Brady on Bear Creek.  Accompanying his father, the then 17-year-old Jessie found an Indian saddle that had been discarded when the Indians took the white man's belongings.  A drummer (traveling salesman) gave him $17.50 for the saddle and he thought he was the world's richest boy.  At that time $15 per month was a fabulous wage."
    Says Mr. Carpenter: "One day a fellow by the name of Harrison rode up and asked my father if he could preach a sermon there on Sunday.  My father said he guessed so, they never had had one.  the people lived in camps.  Sunday they put a table out in an open space and the preacher rode up and tied his horse, laid his Winchester down and unbuckled his six shooter and placed the Holy Bible beside the two.  The sermon, Jessie, then 16, does not remember, but at its conclusion he remembers the repeat performance of buckling on the six-shooter, picking up the Winchester and riding away."
    To build the family house in Brady, the Carpenters had to go to Austin to get the lumber.  The white pine was brought by ox cart through Llano County via Burnet and across the San Saba near where Voca now stands, from which place there was no road.  They just struck a course the way they thought Brady lay.
    On visiting Mr. Carpenter at his home recently, he was found to be gay and chipper as a much younger man.
He owns several rent houses near his home, and also a store building. "Judy" Moore, remembered by all old timers of Brady, was Mr. Carpenter's uncle.  Mr. Carpenter's home stood in the west part of Brady and their neighbor just north of them was a party by the name of Payne.  Mr. Carpenter's father built the old Exchange Hotel which stood on the present J. C. Penny store site.
    Among the things that Mr. Carpenter remembers distinctly is that there used to be lots of beaver in Brady Creek.  He recalls that they would very often hear them splashing in the creek at night from his home.  Turkey and deer were also quite numerous.  He recalls that a man named "Boffman" had a farm west of town where Richards Park is now located, he thinks the first in McCulloch County.  He said that in 1877 Mr. Boffman had a very fine field of corn just coming into tassel when it was killed by frost on the night of June 9.
    Mr. Carpenter at one time worked for A. J. Storm who surveyed the original townsite of Brady, but at that time he had a ranch about 16 miles west from Brady.  It was Mr. Carpenter's duty to look after Mr. Storm's sheep.  His employment with Mr. Storm was terminated in a rather unusual manner.  On one occasion, Mr. Storm came to Brady and left him on the ranch alone for several days.  A bunch of wild horses were in the habit of watering at Mr. Storm's watering pond and among these animals was a very beautiful horse which Mr. Carpenter took a fancy to and the idea occurred to him to "crease" the horse, that is shoot him in the upper part of the neck just enough to stun him temporarily, so that he could catch him.  This he proceeded to do, but he "creased" him a little too deep and the horse fell dead in the water hole.  Having no means to move him, he allowed the horse to remain in the watering place for three or four days and upon Mr. Storm's return, he was quite annoyed and Jessie soon came home, walking the whole distance.
    Mr. Carpenter recalls a school being held on Smith warehouse property by a man named Campbell; there had been other schools but all of them had been broken up by the boys of a well known early family.  However, Mr. Campbell was able to cope with them and finished his school.  Mr. Carpenter says that he didn't attend this school or any other in Brady.
    He does ot recall a doctor living in Brady but he does recall that a man named Monroe Spivey became ill and finally died and a doctor was called from Mason to treat him.
    Some have thought that several places were considered as locations for Brady, but Mr. Carpenter only recalls two, a plot of land which his father owned or was interested in, laying just east of Live Oak Creek and north of Brady Creek, and the Fulcher land on the south side of the creek which was selected. He also recalls that the old Kansas Cattle Trail ran about three miles west of Brady and crossed Brady Creek just above Bluff Pens.
    Mr. Carpenter is still well preserved for one of his age and enjoys meeting old friends in reminiscing with them.

Undated news clipping from the
Mrs. J. Eugene (Ruby) Williams
Historical Collection
Submitted by: Louann Hall