Joshua Community Guide 2020 - Page 6

History Joshua of Y ears ago when residents warmed their homes with firewood in their stoves and fireplaces, Johnson County’s earliest settlers dug holes in the sandy soil for access to a supply of water, hunted for wild game to fill their stomachs and used logs to build their homes and barns. Before the city of Joshua became what it is today, the land was known as “Crosstim- bers,” a wooded strip of land that bisects Texas and divided Johnson County into the east and west prairies. On Feb. 21, 1867, W.W. Byers patented a 500-acre tract of land deeded to him by J.T. Throckmorton, the governor of Texas at the time. On April 15, 1869, Byers sold 500 acres to John Powell for $1,000. On April 3, 1874, Powell sold Ira J.L. Pearson 50 acres, which is now downtown Joshua, for $250. The early days of Joshua were interwo- ven with the last days of Caddo Grove. Most of Joshua’s first residents were people who moved to the railroad because their livelihood depended upon the world of business, and railroads were the hub of the nation’s business at that time. Influential leaders in the county had been working for 15 years to get a rail line through the center of Johnson County to Cleburne. In 1881, their lifelong dream was realized when the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railway extended its line south from Fort Worth, through the Crosstimbers into Cleburne. When the station was first created at the Joshua site, it was called Caddo Peak, but the state’s postal department exerted its in- fluence. The name was declined; and when Mr. W.L. West, Joshua’s first Postmaster, re- ceived the notice, Dr. D.B. McMillian was present. He stated, “I’ll give you a name that they won’t have a duplicate of — name the town Joshua.” This suggestion was submitted and ac- cepted. This information came from Sam West, who is a son of W.L. West. The city’s first store was built in 1882 and was used as both a grocery and dry goods store, with the first bank being es- tablished in 1904 and was called the Citi- zen’s Banking Company. In 1955, the city became incorporated, with the first officials being Mayor Ted Strube; City Marshal Henry Gregory; and S.A. West, H.C. Brawner, G.R. Russel Sr., Burlin Graves and Melvin Davis as the city aldermen. Since its early years, Joshua has had a rather static population. For many years, it numbered 800 to 1,000 people. The outly- ing areas within the school district grew rapidly during the 1970s, but the popula- tion of the town itself remained very near 1,000. 6 Joshua Community Guide In June 1936, Will Hunter, a lifetime res- ident of Joshua, wrote in the Cleburne newspaper: “Joshua is a splendid example of a town which has overcome disaster. In the year 1900, practically the entire town was destroyed by a fire.” There is little reference to this incident in written records. Again in 1912, the east side of Main Street burned taking most of the businesses. The Church of Christ, which sits on the same property today, did not burn. Growing community As the city’s population grew, more schools and businesses made their way into the area providing residents with a va- riety of places to shop and restaurants to eat. Two longtime residents recall the differ- ences they have seen from when they first came to the city to now as they have raised their families. Steve Martin, 71, of Joshua and his fam- ily moved to Joshua in 1983 after living in Fort Worth for many years practicing med- icine. Joshua’s atmosphere mirrored his life growing up in a small rural community in south Texas, Martin said. “The community grew on us,” he said. “I like the smaller community feeling. The