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Granbury, Texas

Legends & Famous Folk







Granbury Restoration


Famous Folk

John Wilkes Booth

Jesse James


Calendar of Events

Culture & Entertainment

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If such a thing as an all-time guest registry existed in Granbury, it would read like an historical Who's Who.

During the later half of the 19th century, all sorts of famous folks flocked to the Brazos River port city to establish roots or, in many cases, simply enjoy the local goings-on before hitting the road again.

Folks were first attracted to the area thanks to entrepreneur Charles Barnard establishing a trading post here in 1847. Nearly a quarter century later, the town square with all its many saloons proved to be a popular watering hole for outlaws and cowboys alike. Then came the Fort Worth and Rio Grande Railroad in 1887. It issued in a whole new cast of colorful characters.

The area's most famous early arrival proved to be Davy Crockett's widow Elizabeth and his son Robert. The two Crocketts built two small log cabins just outside the frontier settlement of Acton. A Texas Centennial Marker identifies the site of Elizabeth's cabin, and the other cabin's foundation now sits beneath an old ranch rock house. The foundation includes an escape tunnel that protected the Crocketts from Indian raids.

Elizabeth died in 1860 and is buried in the Acton Cemetery. Robert went on to become a Hood County commissioner, and his son, Ashley, became Granbury's first newspaper publisher. Granbury's Crockett Street is named in honor of the pioneer family.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, conspiracy theorists believe that the government helped John Wilkes Booth, President Abraham Lincoln's assassin, escape to Hood County. Booth allegedly assumed the name of John St. Helen and became a saloon keeper while living in Granbury during the early 1970s.

But the evidence supporting the notion that Booth lived incognito in Granbury is sketchy. In sharp contrast, the evidence that ties the outlaw Jesse James to Granbury is nearly irrefutable.

J. Frank Dalton, a man who died in Granbury in 1951 at the age of 103, not only claimed to be Jesse James, but left several clues to back his story. Nevertheless, forensic anthropologists are now conducting DNA testing on Dalton's bones to once and for all lay the issue to rest so to speak.

Jesse is thought to have first stepped on Granbury soil shortly after staging his death in Missouri in 1882. A generation later, another weapon-wielding celebrity graced Granbury, but this notorious figure didn't fight the law. She simply took it into her own hands.

With axe always nearby, Carrie Nation issued a foreboding presence when she came to town in 1905. Fortunately for Granbury's more spirited crowd, Carrie didn't smash any saloons. But in retrospect, she might as well have. The strong-headed prohibitionist helped form Granbury's Christian Women's Temperance League; and with the support of the community, this group eventually closed all the saloons in town.

With the fire gone from its water, Granbury settled down a bit. But its guest list continued to grow; and now that Granbury is widely acknowledged as a leader in today's historic preservation movement, folks are choosing not just to visit, but to come here to stay.

In fact, the greater Granbury area now boasts one of the fastest-growing populations in the United States.

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