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"Miscellaneous Record - Gilbert Dunlap Greer pioneer home - Greer Park.
Miscellaneous Record: Gilbert Dunlap Greer pioneer home - now Greer Park in Bosque County, Texas.
Gilbert and Marion built one the earliest stone houses in Bosque County on a pleasant rise a few hundred feet southwest of where Plowman Creek emptied into the Brazos. They lived there from the 1860s until the early 1900s when they moved to the nearby town of Morgan to live with their son Thomas. The decaying structure became dilapidated with disuse, eventually serving as a storage barn until being demolished when Lake Whitney came into being around 1950. Now all that remains is the rubble that marks the foundation of the memorable building.
This beautiful reminiscence was furnished by Elaine Rummel who also provided the photo above. It was written—probably between the two world wars—by her great-grandmother Susan Lavina Carruth:
The dear old parents who built it were pioneers in their State. In the early days, they erected a stone house, roomy and comfortable; low-eaved, with many-paned windows.
It sat well back among great live-oak trees, spreading their restful shade and sheltering sweet song-birds. It was surrounded by an old-fashioned garden. A tall green latticed fence enclosed it all. Two tall arbor viteas [sic] stood on either side of the wide, hospitable gate.
Within, the rooms were large and inviting with their clean plastered walls. There were wide fireplaces where great logs burned and cast a glowing cheer on winter days. There was solid walnut furniture. The beds were hand carved four-posters with carefully "made-up" feather beds piled high. Such comfort!
In the kitchen the fire place was the center of attraction. Here, in the old days, an old Southern negro presided. Who could not forget corn pone and sweet potatoes baked in the old Dutch oven? At one end of the room a door led into the "smoke house" where home-cured hams, Southern sausages—all kinds of luxuries were stored for many a merry feast.
Long after the children who were born and sheltered in this home had gone out from it, the dear old father and mother cherished memories of the patter of little feet and the gay laughter of childhood. Here where all their greatest joys and sorrows had been shared.
They came to be old-fashioned in their ways. The mother was busy with her larkspur and pinks, her bread-making and her knitting; the father with his little garden of lettuce and tomatoes.
Every Spring came a pair of little brown wrens to build their nest in the can that the father had put up under the eaves of the porch for them.
Every Spring, too, came we children home for the family reunion, answering a call that is stronger than the lure of the world.
The dear old father and mother are gone now to another home—one not builded by human hands, but which endureth forever.
The old home stands—a monument to their simplicity, idealism, and integrity; an inspiration to those who went out from it to build other homes.
Surely no glittering mansion on the avenue is such a treasure-house of beautiful memories. It is a link that binds me to a happy childhood and the ideals of a peaceful home. It is a part of the past that is an inspiration for the future. For "Home is a place that our feet may leave, but not our hearts."
The following two passages are from another family member's recollection of "Greer Park" in the years just before Gilbert's death in 1910:
Once a year on July the Fourth, we had a Confederate reunion picnic in Uncle Gill Greer's pecan grove which was the Carlisle place in later years. People came from all over the State. The train even made a stop at the creek bridge to let passenger's off. Uncle Gill ... was a Captain in the War. Now that [reunion] was a real event. I was quite small but do I recall the good food and fireworks.
One cold November [in 1911 or 1912] we took the wagon and team to a knoll (known as "Round-up") across the Brazos River up on the Nolan River about three miles. We were after some cedar timber for the water tank at Greer Park. The idea was to make the tank higher for more water pressure in the house.
The following was provided by Elaine Rummel and is from the diary of Lavina Inez (Carruth) Averitt. It illustrates the popularity of the reunion (which after Gil's death became a family affair) and the extensive preparations for it:
July 3: Rain
... the heat was so oppressive and intense ... Middle afternoon we had a fine refreshing rain. ... About five-thirty we went to Kopperl [the Averitt home was in Meridian] ...
We saw a number of relations at Kopperl. Stayed a while at the Greer home. ...
July 4: Greer family reunion at Greer park at Kopperl. 195 present. Interesting day for me. Good time for Bob and Baby.
We left at 10:30 for Kopperl. ...
... we arrived an hour before dinner—and stayed til midnight!
195 people registered. All related to Greer family. Some from a thousand miles away for this occasion.
Greer Park—grass carpeted, shaded with many elm trees—swings, seats, long table of pine boards—electrically lighted. Perfect setting for a picnic.
A barbeque dinner with great variety of foods.
Program after supper.
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