McCulloch County History, Vol. I 1976
Compiled by Wayne Spiller
(The following is an article that I wrote about Mr. Doty in 1932 and which he o.k. 'd. It was published in the Brady Standard at that time. Clarence Snider)
William P. Doty was born in Westfield, Pa., Aug. 27, 1849. He moved to Iowa in a few years where he grew up and was educated, taking up the study of civil engineering. In 1870, assured of a job in Texas, he took a boat from Muscatine, Iowa, for Texas via New Orleans. Landing in Galveston, he immediately took a train for Houston, not wishing to remain on the coast on account of the yellow fever then raging. From Houston he went to Hearne where he started to work surveying for what is now the I.&G.N. Railroad. He worked for about two years in the piney woods of East Texas and finally came down with a siege of Malarial fever and spent a month in bed. When he was able to get around, the boss suggested that he return home, but instead he went with the company, running the T.&P. from Longview west through Fort Worth. His party surveyed a route west from Fort Worth to what is now Aspermont, in Stonewall County. The surveying party consisted of 25 men and with them was a company of U. S. soldiers who acted as an escort to protect them from the Indians. Mr. Doty's party was never attacked. At one time their rations dwindled to nothing buy a supply of condemned sauerkraut on which they lived for a while. In 1874, their work being completed, they came back to Fort Worth which in the meantime had become a boomtown, but was at this particular time in the throes of a financial panic. The surveyors had received no pay except rations for a year and four months, and the railroad was in financial difficulties, and to make matters worse their paymaster had spent four months of their pay on a prolonged spree. However, Mr. Doty finally made settlement by taking part money and a team of mules and a camp outfit which he afterward sold in San Saba.
In 1875, Mr. Doty came to McCulloch County with his friend and partner,
A. J. Storm. They settled on Lost Creek near where Voca now is, bringing
in a flock of Mexican sheep which they purchased down on the Rio Grande
from the Garcias at $1.25 per head. After a year or two they moved
out on Bear Creek, a few miles southwest from Brady, where they ranched
for a number of years. About this time McCulloch County was organized
and Brady City was founded. Mr. Storm became the first county surveyor
and had full charge of selling the lots in the town of Brady. On
one occasion after doing considerable work for the county, Mr. Storm put
in a bill for his services which was for some unknown reason refused by
the Commissioners' Court, whereupon Mr. Storm took the county books and
records and placed them with a neighbor near his ranch for safekeeping
until his pay was forthcoming, which, needless to say, was forthcoming
very soon. Mr. Storm afterward moved to Del Rio, Texas, where he
had extensive holdings, from there is said to have gone to the Philippine
Islands where he was accidentally killed.
Mr. Doty remained on the ranch looking after the sheep. At this time there was a great deal of antagonism between the cattlemen and the sheepmen, the former alleging that cattle would not graze upon the ground that sheep had been on. Besides, this, the ranges were frequently raided by the Indians. The last man killed by the Indians in McCulloch County was on Mr. Doty's ranch in 1877, A young man by the name of Simeon Palmer had come out from Boston and was spending the winter with Mr. Doty. One day Mr. Doty suggested that Palmer go up on Brady Creek near where the ford ranch no is for something, but Palmer did not wish to do, saying that he was afraid of the Indians. So Mr. Doty went and Palmer was to go to Chadwick's Mill near Voca for some rawhide lumber the next morning. When Mr. Doty returned the next day he found that his friend had been murdered and robbed by the Indians about a mile from the camp. This occurred on Bear Creek about three and one half miles from where it enters Brady Creek near the W. E. Simpson place. The Indians stole most of the horses in the neighborhood and murdered a Mexican near Salt Gap at the same time.
The incident caused Mr. Doty to have the unusual experience of hearing of his own funeral. At the time that young Palmer was killed on his ranch the report reached an operator on the military telegraph line between San Antonio and Fort McKavett, who sent in a report that Mr. Doty had been killed by the Indians. His brother in the north, hearing this report, took a train for Texas. He came to Waco, then overland to Brady to make arrangements to wind up Mr. Doty's affairs. Of course he was greatly relieved to find Mr. Doty still alive, but nothing could induce him to visit the ranch. Mr. Doty, as well as Mark Twain, says that the report of his death was greatly exaggerated.
Doty recalls very vividly many interesting incidents connected with the organization of McCulloch County and the founding of Brady. The organization of the county and the selecting of the county site took place in the latter part of 1875, at which time he voted upon these questions at Camp San Saba. The first set of county officers was elected at the general election held February 15, 1876. There is some doubt in Mr. Doty's mind as to whether there was two or three sites proposed as a county site. Some say that land owned by C. G. Prude, west of town where the new cemetery is now located, ws one of the sites offered, and the other two were Craig's Valley on Live Oak Creek north of Brady where quite a number of people lived, and Fulcher's Valley on Brady Creek which was the one selected. No known record exists as to the number of votes that each site received.
On July 31, 1878, Mr. Doty married Miss Florence A. Boudinot of Gerard County, Kentucky. Mrs. Doty died July 2, 1908.
In 1880, Mr. Doty was elected county judge of McCulloch County which office he held for several years. He was also county surveyor for many years. During his first term as county judge, he had as one of his commissioners, the noted Mannen Clements.
In 1921, Mr. Doty moved to Brownwood where he now lives with his only daughter, Mrs. James R. Stone. Mr. Doty is one of the few men who really deserve the name of gentleman. He is such by birth. In his mother's old family Bible, which he owns, he ca trace his ancestry back to the Mayflower. But he has earned the title by much more exacting tests-by the judgment of the pioneer west where a man's true worth-courage and character-are the only things that entitle him to be called by that name. His calm and philosophic mind has enabled him to endure the hardships of pioneer trails and tribulations and still enables him to look back upon those days and recall many joyous and humorous incidents. eighty-three years of vigorous, useful life have left him remarkably well preserved for one of his age and his smile and handclasp are as cordial as ever.