History of Aubrey, Texas
As told by W. R. Coffey
When I came to Denton County in the winter of 1877 - 78 I lived about 2 1/2 miles southeast of where Aubrey now is. The only school in the community was a one-room box house about a mile and 1/2 southwest of the present town of Aubrey. I attended this school for two or three years. Pupils from 2 1/2 or 3 miles in every direction attended this school, which was known as the Key schoolhouse. My first teacher was Miss Linnie Wilcox and then Prof. J. D. Borun taught for several years. In 1881, the T&P Railroad was built through Denton County by way of Pilot Point and Denton to Fort Worth.
A depot and section house was built about seven miles south of Pilot Point. Soon several stores, a gin, a blacksmith's shop and doctor's office were built. Among the early merchants were J. G. Powledge, who also built and operated a gin, B. F. Sizemore who owned a drug store and W. R. Caddel, who operated a dry-goods store. As it was desirable to establish a post office at this place, it became necessary to give the village a name. A committee of three was appointed to select a name. If my memory serves me right, J. D. Borun, J. A. Rhoads and Dr. S. D. Howser were the committeemen. The first name selected was rejected because there was another village in Texas by the same name. Then Aubrey was selected and approved by the government.
Among the early settlers and during the early existence of Aubrey were the following: On the east and adjoining the town was the farm owned by Bob Benge; followed by Uncle Jimmy Woods, later by J. P. Tidmore; next was Sonny Dirickson, followed by W. E. Kelly. Next came the Andy Looper place, succeeded by Henry Davis; adjoining the Davis place on the east was the Ike Jones place, which is still in the Jones family. Others on the east were John Haren, John Morgan, Claud Barqdoll, Jim Henderson and Al Montgomery. On the north and northeast were Riley and Louis Caddel, Louis Caddel, Sr., father of Riley and Louis Caddel, Poly Tisdell, Bill Apperson, the Cougars, Frank Tobin, Neal Coppage, Babe Davis, Jim Harmon, and a Mr. Beatty. West and northwest were L. N. Edwards, the Whittakers, the Fullers, Mack Wilson, Frank Wilson, a Mr. Hayden, Ben Cagle, the Wilcox family, Jim Catlett and Manuel Treadwell. South and southwest were Perman, Henderson, Sam Lovelace, Ben Moss, Cy Billingsly and the Mohons, consisting of Uncle Jim who moved to Rock Hill community in 1878. He was the father of J. T. Mohon, who was a blacksmith and served as Justice of the Peace in Aubrey for 32 years. Dallas Mohon, another son is the one living in vicinity of Rock Hill now. Nearer and south of Aubrey was W. H. Hodges, Ed Hodges, John Parker, George Parker, Tommy Wilson, a deaf mute, Pleas Wilson, the Horton family and others I cannot recall. Southeast was a farm settled by W. H. Bates and sold to More Davis and later to Little Frank Caddel; George Fore and his mother-in-law, Mrs. Moore; Joe Davis below them on Running Branch. A. Coffee lived east of the Fore's and moved to Spring Hill community about 1883. He was my father and had the distinction of building and operating the only government still in the vicinity of Aubrey, although there have been many small wildcat stills in the vicinity of Aubrey, but none that I know of now. Others who lived southeast were Harris Ray, Dave Rea, John Radar, J. B. Nelson and a Mr. Powers. Along in the early 1880s, Henry Coppage settled a farm southeast of Aubrey known as the D. H. Luster place 7 now owned by a Mr. Buckhannon.
The first stores were built along the old Dallas road east of the railroad near where the present water tower now stands. The land on the west side of the road was owned by L. N. Edwards and on the east side by Uncle Jimmy Woods. There was rivalry between these two landowners in the sale of town lots. The town built up until there were two saloons, two grocery stores, one dry-goods store, two drug stores and three or more doctors, including Dr. S. D. Howser, Dr. Cox and Dr. Ober, Dr. R. L Clayton for a short time. In the middle of the 8Os about 1885 or 1886, fire destroyed most of the town. As the land was rather flat and low where the town was, when they burnt out, the merchants and others began to build back on higher ground on the west side of the railroad where the town is now located. The town grew and prospered as the surrounding country settled until at one time there were two banks, four dry-goods stores, four or more grocery stores, three drug stores, three gins, two livery stables, two saloons, besides barber shops, chili joints and other minor business establishments. With the coming of automobiles and good roads and with the help of three or four fires, Aubrey has been reduced to its present condition without banks, depot, cotton gin, drug store or doctor. I should have added that depletion of the soil had much to do with Aubrey's shrinkage.
Among the physicians who practiced medicine in Aubrey, in the order of their sequence were Drs. Rhoades and Howser who moved to Aubrey from the adjoining community of “Sand Town” or Liberty. Then came Drs. Cox, Ober, Crawford and Clayton. Dr Ober moved to southern Oklahoma in the region north of Bonham and was later killed by a jealous husband. Dr. R. L. Clayton moved to Mustang and later to Celina where he died. I do not know what became of Dr. Cox and Dr. Crawford. Then came Dr. Bates and Dr. J. E. Copenhaver who moved from Parvin to Aubrey. Soon after came Dr. Burke. During World War I, Dr. Amos, an Aubrey boy, after graduating from medical college and practicing for a short time in Oklahoma, came back to Aubrey and formed a partnership with Dr. J. E. Copenhaver. After several years they dissolved partnership and Dr. Amos moved to Denton and founded the Elm Street Hospital. Dr Copenhaver moved to Pilot Point where after a few years' practice, he died. Soon after the close of World War I, Dr. Jones came and practiced a few years and retired to a ranch owned by his mother in northwest Texas. Then came Dr. Hawk and Dr. Robinson who retired and moved after a few years practice, about twelve or thirteen years ago. Dr. Louise Pierce came to Aubrey in 1933 or 1934 and left in the late forties and is now practicing in Tarrant County at Azle. Since then Aubrey has been without a doctor and has been served by the physicians of Denton and Pilot Point.
The public school in the Aubrey community changed along with other things. About 1889 or 1890, an addition was made to the original box house. This new building was about 60 ft. by 30 ft., with walls about 8 ft. and a steep high roof with no ceiling overhead. This building was the idea of Dr. Crawford who came to Aubrey a short time before this time. This building was afterwards improved by being ceiled and partitioned into rooms. About 1906, the Baptist church was moved from the site where the present school building now stands to its present location on Main Street, north of Highway 10, and the two-story brick building consisted of six classrooms and two small rooms for music. The building was pronounced unsafe in the middle 1930s and the present building was erected. In 1948, the adjoining school districts of Spring Hill, Liberty, New Hope and Rock Hill were consolidated with the Aubrey School District under the provisions of the 8 Rural High School Law. At present Aubrey has only ten grades; all it can qualify for.
About 1882, a one-room box schoolhouse was built about 400 yards from the depot southeast on land donated by L. N. Edwards and Louis Caddel, Sr. Among the teachers who served the Aubrey school was J. D. Borun who was teaching at Key schoolhouse when the Aubrey schoolhouse was built. It was transferred to Aubrey and he was the first teacher; He was followed by J. F. Edwards a local young man, who became sick and was unable to finish the term. Col. C. C. Slaughter, an elderly man from Pilot Point, finished out the term. Then Mr. Babe Davis and his wife taught for a term or two. Then a Prof. Morrison taught two or three terms, studied law and practiced in Denton for several years. Then Prof. Robinson taught for two terms. The writer of this story, W. R. Coffey, came on the scene in 1892 and taught two terms, spent a year in school and taught again in the fall and winter of 1895-96. W. N. Masters taught the year that I was away at school and then taught at Pilot Point. Then Prof. Thompson taught for a period and went to a denominational Baptist school at Rusk in east Texas. He was followed by Prof. Walker who taught for two or three terms. He was followed A. Q. Mustain, who taught for several years, studied law and practiced in Denton and Denton County. Then Prof. John Roark taught for two or three terms ending in 1910. I left Aubrey in 1908 and came back in 1916. During this period of absence, I cannot give the names of those who taught and I have not been able to find anyone else who could. Later on, a Mr. Allison taught and Mr. Lee Hunter and his wife, Jennie Bowers Hunter, taught for several terms. This writer taught one term 1919-1920. Others who have taught since then are Profs. O'Hare, Percy, Tribble, Joe House, Rogers and E. L. Mackintosh.
In the early 1890s Aubrey had its first newspaper established and edited by a Mr. Barrymore. Following him was Will C. Geers. Then the Rev. A. J. Harris for several years, Charley Burch, a Mr. McClurkan, Mr. Spencer and perhaps others that I do not recall, were editors at different times. It was first called the Aubrey Herald and changed to Aubrey Argus, later on and was suspended in the 1920s. No one man printed it very long before turning it to his successor. If I had not had some newspaper experience myself, I might have thought they all got rich and retired.
About 1902, Aubrey had its first bank. B. B. Samuels of Fort Worth, with the assistance of H. G. Musgraves, established and operated a private bank for eight or ten years. Along about 1910, the Phillips brothers, Lee and Joe; J. A. Rhoads, T. E. Ratchford and others organized the First National Bank of Aubrey. B. B. Samuels went back to Fort Worth and organized with the help of others The Texas National Bank of Fort Worth. When Samuels left Aubrey, W. P. Ratchford, J. G. Powledge, J. E. Bonar, J. H. Lanford, A. Coffey and others organized and operated the Farmers and Merchants Bank of Aubrey. This bank existed for several years and finally was united with the First National Bank of Aubrey under a state charter, known as The First State Bank of Aubrey. This bank was operated by T. L. Phillips of the First National and J. E. Bonar of the Farmers and Merchants as its active officials and employees. The First State Bank of Aubrey made the Texas National Bank of Fort Worth its correspondent city bank. The Aubrey Bank carried some $30,000 on deposit with the Texas National. Through speculation on the stock market, by the president of the Texas National, B. B. Samuels, lost heavily and his bank was closed bringing the Aubrey bank down with it. This happened in the 1930s and Aubrey has not had a bank since. 9
In 1899, J. G. Powledge, B. C. Caddel, A. Coffey and others built and operated a flourmill at Aubrey for a few years. It stood idle for a while and was operated again during World War I by J. A. Rhoads and F.(P.?) J. Henderson. Like most small mills over the country, it was not very successful financially. The mill machinery was sold to other parties. The building and lot and power plant were sold to the Farmers Co-op Gin Go. in 1925.