a Pecan Shell
The usual definition
of Zephyr is a soft, gentle wind. The Blue Norther that pinned down
the original surveying party here in 1850 was far from a summer breeze.
But surveyors have been known to be a little on the sarcastic side,
so they called the place Zephyr and when time came (1879) to apply
for a post office, the townsfolk couldn't think of anything else.
When the railroad extended their line from Brownwood
to Lampasas, the Zephyrites
moved the grocery and post office the mile or so to the tracks. People
had long since stopped laughing at the irony of the name when a tornado
destroyed most of the town in 1909, leaving 20 people dead.
Now, primarily a farming and ranching community, Zephyr was once dependent
on cotton until the boll
weevil came to town. Our visit in June of 2000 showed several
new businesses in this tidy little place.
Center in Zephyr, Texas.
It was once the Presbyterian Church.
(Bowsal and 2nd Streets, Zephyr)
of the Zephyr Presbyterian Church traces its history to 1890. In 1909
members of the church and community volunteers, with the assistance
of Swiss stonemason John Chailette completed a church building. Worship
services were held twice a month by a minister shared with the nearby
Blanket Presbyterian Church. Sunday School classes, summer Bible school,
and ice cream suppers sponsored by the church contributed to the social
and religious life of the community until 1944, when the church was
disbanded. In 1948 the building became a community center.
Text of supplemental plate:
In 1948 this building was donated by C. R. Boase to
become a community center for the benefit and pleasure of its citizens.
| Zephyr Gospel
Recorded Texas Historic Landmark
(Hwy 218, 1 block E of US 183, Zephyr)
In 1898 John N.
Coffey (1847-1919) and John Schwalm (1825-1900) deeded this site for
a community tabernacle. Townspeople donated labor and material to
erect this open air shelter and to rebuild it after damage from a
1909 cyclone that devastated Zephyr. Many towns in Texas once had
tabernacles like this for summer church revivals, political rallies,
and social events. The Zephyr Home Demonstration Club led community
restoration of this structure in 1976.
Recorded Texas Historic Landmark - 1976
Photo courtesy historictexas.net
( center of cemetery, junction of US 183/84 and CR 259, just S of
town of Zephyr, located on land granted to early settlers Benjamin
Head and Felix Wardziski, was established in the 1860s. As the settlement
grew, a school was opened in the 1870s, and churches and businesses
were established. Mail was delivered weekly from Brownwood.
This cemetery has served the residents of Zephyr and the surrounding
area since the 1870s. The earliest known burials in the graveyard
are those of three children of the Staggs family, who died in 1878
and 1879. Another early grave is that of Ann Catherine Sewell Ward
The first official deed of cemetery property took place in 1899, although
it was in use prior to that time. Subsequent land acquisitions have
increased the size of the graveyard to more than seven acres. Among
those buried here are thirty-three victims of the devastating tornado
of May 29, 1909, which almost completely destroyed the town, and veterans
of six wars: the Mexican War, the Civil War, World
War I, World
War II, Korea, and Vietnam. The Zephyr Cemetery stands as a reminder
of the pioneer spirit of the area's early settlers. It is maintained
by the Zephyr Cemetery Association.
Hotel Here Brownwood
My Mother's Story
According to stories my mother was born in Zephyr, Texas in 1931.
Her name was Betty Sue King. There is no birth certificate. According
to stories, my mother's mother was standing on a bridge in distress
and said she could not afford to keep her baby. She was then taken
to Plant City Fla. by a man named J. V. King. I assume he was the
babies father. She was then adopted by a childless couple, the Glovers,
who were my grandparents as I knew them. I have always wondered
about these stories. Have done geneology research to no avail. My
children and I just want to know who we are. Thank you. - Sincerely,
Margaret Brown McDonald, November 02, 2016
Subject: Zephyr Tornado
I thought you might enjoy this story.
My grandmother who is now deceased, passed through Zephyr the afternoon
of the tornado. The family consisted of her, her mother and father,
and her three siblings. They were all in a covered wagon traveling
to Lampasas. She was 13 years old. They had stopped at an old abandoned
rock building to stay the night in Zephyr, but her mother (who was
1/2 Cherokee Indian) felt uneasy staying there with clouds building
up, so they went on toward Lampasas, and camped out about 5 miles
further down the road. The old building was leveled that night of
the storm. If they would have stayed there that night, they would
probably have all been killed. - Sincerely, Tommy Eaton, MarbleFalls,
December 20, 2006
Zephyr's 1909 Tornado
My great-grandparents, Annie Ola Gibbs Cloys and Millard Fillmore
Cloys were in the 1909 cyclone that hit Zephyr. As a child, my grandmother
(their daughter) had told me the story of how her father had come
home from a town meeting, and as he sat down to take off his shoes,
the cyclone hit. The baby, Gibbs Cloys, age 2, was killed in the
cyclone, and is buried in Zephyr Cemetery. My great-grandfather
was seriously injured, and the family left there and came to Trinity
where they had family, and where I now live. He died a few days
after they got here, and is buried with the rest of our family here
in Trinity. After I became an adult, my husband and I went to Zephyr,
and I took pictures and did a rubbing on Gibbs Cloys' gravestone.
It made the story real that my grandmother had told me so long ago.
I would like to visit Zephyr again and learn more about its history.
- Kaye Thornton Henry, Trinity, Texas, October 14, 2006
providing pics of the town buildings and the bit of history on Zephyr,
TX. My husband's gt. grnadmother was born there 19 May 1893 and
named Ell Vance Cotten, dau. of W.B. Cotten. She married Percy Eugene
Bawcom 24 Dec. 1911 in Rising
Star, - my next town to look-up! Ell died 26 Jul. 1923 in Wichita
Falls, TX. from heart problems & is buried in Rose Mount Cemetery.
Such a short life, wasn't it? I copied your article on Zephyr to
add to my family history notebook. Thanks so much for placing this
article for all to see on your website. - Sonja Dodge Pampa, Texas,
July 31, 2006
Iron Bridge Picnics of Zephyr
My name is Shelly Smith. I'm from the little town of Zephyr. I graduated
from Zephyr High School in 2005. I would like to say most everything
you have on zephyr is correct. there is one place you forgot to
mention. This place is called Iron Bridge Road as my great grandma
(Zephyr grad 1929, still alive) has said that the iron bridge has
been a place of history that is where they used to go and have picnics.
Next time you're in Zephyr, the Iron Bridge would be a good place
to take some pictures, that is where the Class of 2005 took their
senior class picture. I just thought you would be interested in
this place. - Shelly Smith, March 02, 2006
Texas Escapes, in
its purpose to preserve historic, endangered and vanishing Texas,
asks that anyone wishing to share their local history and recent
or vintage/historic photos, please contact