Allison / Friendship Community,
Texas - History
by Geraldine (Tallas) Heisch

Mrs. Geraldine Heisch was born, raised, and went to school at Friendship through all 8 grades (Friendship no longer had a high school at that time).

Three of her dad's sisters and one brother graduated from Friendship High School in prior years. They lived in the James Allison home. Her paternal grandmother and family moved to that farm in 1925. As a child (Geraldine was born in 1934), she remembers the family talking about the Old Friendship/Allison school, which had been about 1/2 miles west on Elihu P. Allison's place.

Geraldine's father farmed the James Allison farm which by then had been sold to a Mrs. Pope and later her niece, Nina Covington, inherited it from her.

Geraldine's dad, Tom W. Tallas, served on the Friendship School and Friendship Coop Gin Boards for many years. Mrs. Heisch has very close ties to the old community and to the new Friendship area and is currently in the process of applying for a historical marker for the site.

The community of Allison (later called Friendship) was located on the northern banks of Willis Creek about 4 miles east from the present town of Granger, Texas.

In 1847 Elihu Creswell Allison and his brother, James A. Allison, moved to Milam County and bought land from Aza Hoxey, part of a six-league Mexican Land Grant to Pedro Zarza before 1836. A contract dated 29 May 1855 shows that Elihu and James received 320 acres apiece out of the six leagues. The part of the county where they bought land became Williamson County in 1848. This land was located in northeastern Williamson County and about 4 miles from Granger, Texas.

James Francis Allison, the oldest son of Elihu C. and Margaret M. Allison, and two of his brothers, Elihu Polk and Russell J. Crawford Allison, each built large two-story houses in this Allison Community.

(Images of two of these homes are included-pictures A & B.) The Allisons, along with other families, had large cattle interests there. They registered their cattle brands in Williamson County in the Register of Cattle Brands. A post office named Conel was established here with James F. Allison, postmaster (1878-1880).

The post office was discontinued until 1892 when Calvin G. Allison and then Charles S. Williamson (1893) were postmasters at this same place, now called Allison. However, in 1894 mail was transferred to Granger.

This community also built a cotton gin, a store, a church, a tabernacle, and a school. The gin was built by Bill Linder and was operated at one time by Joe Cuba, Sr., and his sons. The old tabernacle was constructed close to the cotton gin and the store, while the church and the school were constructed across a small branch and a bit further to the west on the banks of Willis Creek. However, here the creek’s banks were very steep, and the great flood of 1921 did not destroy these two buildings.

Allison School was built about 1873 near the creek. (Images of the school and students are included-C & D.) It was later called the “Old Friendship” school, and this was southwest of the latter town of Friendship. The building was enlarged in 1902 by the Woodmen of the World, who used the second floor for their lodge meetings. The bottom floor was used as a classroom. In this room was a large curtain made from ducking material that separated the older children from the younger ones. After the lodge ceased to exist, the top floor was used by the older children. The Allison School District 22 in Williamson County in August 1912 had the following trustees: J.H. Wentrcek, J.C. Wheeler, J.E. Thompson, and W.H. Robertson.
The teachers at this ---

The school was: Miss Frances Poole, Miss Zora Cook, and Beulah Stanley. The Allison Colored District 22 had as teachers Bessie West and Bessie E. Fowler. In 1914 the trustees of Allison, District 22, of Williamson County were: J.H. Wentrcek, J.C. Wheeler, and J.J. Thompson, and the teachers were Marvel Wilcox and Beatrice Fowler. An item in the 1950 GRANGER NEWS titled “Granger 32 Years Ago” mentions Friendship School beginning with reasonably good attendance, and the teachers are to be Miss Roselle Ramsey of Granger and Miss Lola Kirkman of Thorndale.

This Allison/Old Friendship School was also used for worship services in the Czech language by the Rev. Jindrick Juren of Fayetteville of the Moravian Brethren Church. These services were infrequent, two or three times a year. (A image is included of a confirmation class that met here-Picture E.)

Elihu Allison’s youngest child died at age 10, and Elihu buried her on the western edge of his property just south of Willis Creek. She was the first person buried there. His wife, Margaret Matilda, died in 1867 and was buried there also. This Allison family cemetery later became known as the Old Friendship Cemetery. A.A. Young, W.B. Brookshire, and E.P. Allison were trustees of this Friendship Cemetery in November 1888. After the Granger Dam was built, the cemetery was moved to the Granger City Cemetery and is - -

Located at the east end of the Machu part of the Granger Cemetery. All burials are listed in the Granger Dam & Lake Cemetery Relocations Booklet.

Sam Allison operated a store north of the Allison home. The store carried essentials such as flour, sugar, coffee, tobacco, snuff, a bit of calico, thread, needles, and school supplies of paper, pencils, pen staff, and points and candy.

In the Allison/ Friendship community, the Tabernacle was a popular place for revival meetings, often lasting a week. People slept beneath their wagons and their children within the wagon. People came from miles around, bringing enough feed for their horses to stay a week. Good spring; water was handy. Fires were always going on, with beans bubbling in pots and cornbread baking in the dutch ovens, which hot embers surrounded. The men would cut many trees and place them in rows, and the lumberyard would lend them 1x12 planks to lay on them for seats. Some of the people living in the Allison/Friendship area at this time were: The Jim Allisons, The Crawford Allisons, The Polk Allisons, The Tom Winninghams, The Bun Martins, The Gus Wolsches, The Shine Rushings, The Sowells, The Simciks, The Ed Elliotts, and others.

The Allison/Friendship community was thriving until the monstrous flood of September 1921 created havoc in the area. The gin, the store, and the tabernacle were destroyed. Also, about 2 ½ miles eastward on the banks of Sore Finger was a tiny community called Youngstown, which the flood almost destroyed. Located - -

Here was a store run by Clarence Williams, a blacksmith shop operated by Pink Jackson, the Ed White gin, and a school for black children. The flood washed away the gin, blacksmith shop, and the contents of the store. The black school was built by Clarence Young on the north bank of Sore Finger Creek and was used as a school and church until 1952. After the flood, Mr. Williams moved his store and house north, about ½ mile from Youngstown, on land he bought from Mr. Chester Cocke. This house and store later became the property of Mr. and Mrs. Jerry Lesikar. Mr. Cocke built a new blacksmith shop in this new Friendship area. Another store was added, as well as a house for the teachers who would teach in the new school building, which was being built at this time. Mr. and Mrs. U.D. Young donated 5 acres of land for this new school. The Mazoch brothers from Granger built a new gin, and the Baptist Church from Old Friendship was moved to this new location, which was now called New Friendship.

After consolidating with two nearby community schools (Enterprise and Centerville), the new Friendship school opened in the fall of 1923. (Image of new school-Picture F.)

Enterprise, a rural school nicknamed Cocklebur, east of Friendship, was established about 1900. The nickname was due to the heavy growth of cockleburs nearby. This school consolidated with Friendship in 1922.
(Image G) Centerville School, a rural school from 1902-1922, was northeast of Granger. (Images H, I, & J) -

The County Superintendent’s Records show the trustees at Enterprise were: A.J. Joslin, E.S. Marquis, R.L. Jones, and J. T. Houston, and the teachers were Miss Hattie Jones and L.E. Marquis. The trustees shown for 1914 were J.E. McWilliams and J.E. Jones, and the teacher was Miss Ruth Wilson. This was District 60 in Williamson County.

Centerville was District 73 in Williamson County, and in 1912 the trustees were: Gus Wolsch, A.A. Ferrill, R.H. Ellis, J.B. Holcomb, and J.A. Jackson, while the teachers were: Miss Lula Smith and Miss Ava McAlister. Then in 1914, Miss Viola Wallace was the teacher, and the trustees were: A.A. Ferrell, J.A. Jackson, and J.I. Cargill. This Friendship Community grew quite a bit in the years following 1925. Many new people rented land from the Youngs, Brookshires, Allisons, Haires, and others. It became a community of mixed ethnic origin. People became close neighbors, and all helped one another. Friendship was precisely what the name implied. The school and the Baptist Church were the main gathering places. There were revival meetings at the church and Box Suppers at the church and the school. The community men did the repairs and maintenance of the school building and grounds. Even the first school bus for the Friendship School was built by Johnny Rozacky’s father, Henry Rozacky. He converted a Chevrolet cattle truck into a bus. (Images K & L included)

Some of the social events in the community were wiener roasts, parties, picnics, and fishing trips. The big event was the Friendship Fair, which lasted three days. People came - -

From far and near to attend the fair and to enter many exhibits. It was amazing to see the cooperation of everyone and the hard work they did to make the fair a success. (Images M & N included).

The Friendship Grange, No. 1414, was established, and included is a picture showing the April 25, 1935 group. (Image O)

In the school census records in 1925, there were 256 children enrolled in the Friendship Schools (including the black school, also); in 1936, there were 250 pupils (209 white and 41 coloreds), and in 1941 there were 198 students in the Friendship Consolidated Schools (174 white and 24 coloreds). (Pictures of school and student groups are included-Images P, Q, & R.) A new gymnasium was erected in 1936 by Charlie Horak and Louis Kopecky. It was considered the finest gym for miles around. (Images S & T)

The blacksmith shop in this new community was run for many years by Joe Zezulka. The service station had several owners over the years, with the Clarence Lucky Family being the last owner. They sold it to the Zik Safariks, who moved the building to a lot they bought from Chester Cocke, located south of Jerry Lesikar’s store. They remodeled the building and turned it into a tavern, which they owned for two years and later sold to Emil Mohels.

(Images U, V, & W )

The Mozach Gin at Friendship later became the Friendship Co-op Gin with Henry Rozacky as the manager. Throughout the years, some of the people who served on the gin - -

The board were: John Adamek, Rudoph Cadan, Jake Wade, Willie Davidson, Anton Cadan, Tom Tallas, R.H. Brookshire, Louis Shirocky, Ted Krueger, Joe Stefek, and Ed Wentrcek.

The gin was a busy place. From “Friendship Facts” in the Granger News, we note that in August 1951, 244 bales had already been baled. The crew that year included: Henry Rozacky Sr., manager; Buck Spinn; Lawrence Rozacky; Ralph Brookshire; Johnnie Janak; Mrs. R.H. Brookshire, bookkeeper and Doc Sharp (hauled bales to Granger). (Images X, Y, & Z)

A most notable lady from the Friendship Community was Stacy Mikulencak Labaj, 1903-1977. Stacy spent many years on the Williamson County Historical Commission. Her oral histories include many early residents of this community. Some of these tapes are at the Center for American Histories at the University of Texas, and some of her material is at the Institute of Texan Cultures in San Antonio.

The Friendship Community, beginning on the banks of Willis Creek and continuing on to the new Friendship located on a higher elevation, was indeed a busy, prosperous, and congenial farming community with a variety of crops raised by the hard-working local farmers who hated to see their lands taken away by the Granger Dam. (Images “aa”-“nn.”) This community is remembered with very fond memories, evidenced each third Saturday of October when the Friendship Exes gather for a reunion to reminisce about their beloved community.