John Wesley Ray was born February 8, 1826 in Waynesboro, Wayne County, Tennessee. He came with his parents to Texas in 1839. The family settled near Washington-on-the-Brazos in Milam District. They were farming in the Cameron area when the town was laid out following the Texas Revolutionary War. While quite young John Wesley became a member of Ross' Rangers, a volunteer army on the frontier which protected the settlers from the Indians. John Wesley met and married Addie Vernon near Caldwell in 1852. Ten children were born to this union. When the Civil War began John Wesley joined the Confederate Army where he served for four years as a member of Texas Cavalry, Green's Brigade. John Wesley was active in the work as a member of the Baptist Church. He was known for his work and at the time of his death he was said to be the oldest member of the church in Texas. The family relocated to Salado in 1870 so his children could be educated at Salado College. Mrs. Ray died January 1, 1894 at the age of sixty-eight and is buried in Old Salado Grave Yard. Her husband died March 3, 1926 at the age of one hundred years. He is buried beside his wife. A Citizen of Texas Marker has been placed by his grave stone by members of the Daughters of the Republic of Texas.
Robert Bonner Halley was born in Macon, Georgia on May 13, 1824. His wife, Lydia Ederington, was born in Memphis, Tennessee on January 12, 1831. The couple was married in Bradley County, Arkansas on August 1, 1850. Eight children were born to this union. The Halley’s came to Texas in 1852, first settling south of San Antonio and then relocating to the Salado area in 1853. Halley planned to establish a trading business with Mexico since the Mexican economy was stable and it was easier to haul merchandise from Mexico than it was from the northern states of the United States. However shortly after moving to Southwest Texas, while Robert was away on a trip to Mexico, the family's adobe dwelling was attacked by Indians who tried to burn the house down and kill or capture the family. Lydia's widowed mother, younger brother and sister, and an older sister with some small children were all living with the Halley’s. The women managed to drive the Indians away with no one getting hurt. When Halley returned he made a quick and decisive move bringing his family to the Salado area. He became a community leader in the founding and growth of Salado College, the Village of Salado, and Bell County. Halley served as an early day “ranger”, a member of a small mobile Indian fighting group. There was real need for this kind of service on the Texas frontier for many years. In the late 1850's, Halley was elected to serve as a Bell County Commissioner. He was active in the political arena. In 1860 he presided over a meeting of the largest assembly of Democrats ever held in the county. He was elected to be a delegate to the State Democratic Convention held in Galveston that same year. When the Village of Salado was laid out, the Halley’s purchased acreage from the Robertson Estate and built the Historic Halley House on North Main Street. In 1861, Halley became a partner of Thomas Jefferson Eubanks, the builder and owner of the historic Old Salado Hotel. Eubanks was also owner of a popular still located by his home back in a hollow near the Lampasas River. He and Halley purchased the Shanklin flour and grist mills, located on the Lampasas, and began a milling and distilling operation. Because of rumors and resulting excitement over the possibility of Texas seceding from the Union Halley organized a quasi-military group which he named “Salado Mounted Troups” and offered their services to the Secession Convention on Feb. 4, 1861. This was the first ranging company in Bell County and one of the first in the State. The group was accepted for three months. Afterwards most of the men joined and fought for the Confederacy. Halley was elected as Captain in a cavalry outfit which later came to be known as Co. G Baylor's Regiment Texas Cavalry where he served until the end of the Civil War. Halley then returned to his home and family and continued as a leader of his community. In 1866 he helped in getting a charter for a Masonic Lodge in Salado. In December 1866 Halley was elected as Sheriff of Bell County. He began a work of ridding of gangs of outlaws, horse thieves, cattle thieves, and murderers who hung out in Western Bell County. This problem was gradually eliminated by work of those well trained men who followed in Halley's footsteps. Halley died unexpectedly on October 4, 1875. He is buried in the Old Salado Grave Yard and his grave has been marked with a Texas Historical Commission Marker. His wife, Lydia, a widow for fifty-two years, died in 1927 and is buried in a Halley Family Cemetery in Dallas. Lydia continued to live in the old home on North Main Street after her husband's death until 1908 when she sold the house and moved to Dallas to live with two of her unmarried children. Following his death, Lydia provided for her children by taking in boarders, renting rooms, raising cattle, farming, and dealing in real estate. The children were educated at Salado College. The old Home on Main Street has been marked as a Registered Texas Historic Landmark.
James Eldridge Ferguson was born in Sparta District, Lawrence County, Alabama on February 11, 1824, the son of James E. and Rebecca Guthrie Ferguson who were descendants of Scottish forebears who migrated to America in the mid-1750's, first settling in South Carolina then moving to Alabama, then to Arkansas. Fannie Fitzpatrick was a native Texas having been born on November 30, 1839 in Harris County. The couple met and married in Houston, Texas in 1855. Six children were born to this union, four of whom grew to adulthood. Rev. Ferguson began preaching at an early age. He joined the Arkansas Methodist Church Conference in 1844 at the age of 20. He was soon transferred to the Texas Conference and in 1847 he was assigned to mission work with the Indians. He later was assigned to an area reaching from the Red River to near the Gulf Coast. He became a circuit-riding minister preaching, teaching, and organizing churches all over the eastern half of the state until the beginning of the Civil War. The Ferguson family hated slavery and had freed their slaves many years before this. Although against slavery Rev. Ferguson was a strong advocate of State's Rights and became a staunch Confederate. He joined the Victoria Cavalry and won the rank of “Captain”. He became known as the “Fightin' Parson” because of the fiery speeches to his troops in defense of the Confederacy. He was captured and imprisoned by Federal troops but was able to escape and return to his unit. Following the war, the Methodist brotherhood resolved to come to terms with the end of slavery and the Confederacy. In 1865 the Texas Conference passed a motion made by Rev. Ferguson “-in good faith the Conference accepts the altered condition of the country and pledges to recommend peace among all men, and obedience to civil authorities.” In 1867 Rev. and Mrs. Ferguson moved their family to Salado where they purchased a farm and a mill on Salado Creek. They farmed and milled for settlers in a wide area, sharing produce with unfortunate settlers who could not provide for themselves. It is believed that the Ferguson’s moved to the area in order to send their children to Salado College. Rev. Ferguson became active in community affairs in the growing village. Eventually he again began his circuit-riding ministry on the edge of the Western frontier. Mrs. Ferguson and the children continued to farm and run the mill and help the needy. When cotton farming was begun in the Salado area Mrs. Ferguson became known as a prosperous cotton farmer. Rev. Ferguson died in 1876 at the age of fifty-two. Mrs. Ferguson died in 1915 after having been a widow for thirty-nine years. Both are buried side-by-side in a family plot in Old Salado Grave Yard. A Texas Historical Commission marker has been placed at the grave sites honoring the couple. Note: The youngest son, James E. Ferguson, was elected as governor of Texas in 1914. He was later impeached and removed from office.
Leroy Alonzo Griffith was born in Steuben County, New York on December 17, 1821, son of Noah and Ester Wightman Griffith. When Leroy was about seven or eight years old the Griffith family migrated to Texas and joined the Steven F. Austin Colony. A brother of Ester had been a member of the Old Three Hundred led by Austin. He had been in Texas about six years when he went back to New York to visit his family. He could not say enough about Texas and Mexico and so persuaded his family to go back with him. About thirty-five members of the family joined together and began the long trip most of which was by water. The settlers traveled by river boat, barge, schooner, and rafts down several major waterways finally reaching the Mississippi River and then the Gulf of Mexico and on to Matagorda Island, a three months' journey. Just as the men were trying to sail into Cavallo Pass a hurricane-like wind blew them further down the coast to Aransas Pass. After a few days during which a large group of Indians attempted to kill or capture them the group was able to reach their final destination of Matagorda Island. The families were issued titles to land and the Noah Griffiths traveled overland for twenty-five miles to reach the land assigned to them. Leroy served in the Summerville Campaign during the Texas Revolution. Leroy married Nancy Rebecca Hogan on Oct. 14, 1847. Twelve children were born to this union. The Griffiths settled in Montgomery County. Leroy was a wheelwright. He served as a County Commissioner, a School Commissioner, and a Justice of the Peace. When the Civil War began Leroy volunteered for service and served with Carter's Brigade, Wilk's Regiment, and Pool's Company of the Cavalry. While away on a special assignment the post where Leroy served was captured. He went to Louisiana and joined the 17th Consolidated Texas Regiment. After the War he sold his farm and moved his family to the Salado Area. He worked to support Salado College and Thomas Arnold High School. He helped organize the Central Texas Agricultural and Mechanical Fair Association in Bell County and helped organize the Grange in Salado. He and his wife became Methodists and helped organize the Salado Methodist Church. Leroy died on Feb. 20, 1883 and Nancy died on August 27, 1894. Both are buried in the family plot in the Old Salado Grave Yard. A Soldier of the Republic of Texas Marker has been placed on Leroy's grave by members of the Daughters of the Republic of Texas.
Milton Damron and his family joined the Mercer Colony in Missouri and came to the Republic of Texas in 1844 settling first near the Trinity River in Henderson and Ellis Counties and later migrating to the Bell County area. Milton was born May 10, 1824 in Weekly County, Tennessee. Sarah was born April 30, 1832 in Missouri. The Damrons and Penningtons came together with the Mercer Colony. Milton and Sarah were married in Travis County in 1846. Three daughters were born to this union. The couple first settled on the Lampasas River near Comanche Gap later moving to the Little River near Three Forks. Later the couple moved to Salado so the girls could be educated at Salado College. Milton was the first Tax Assessor-Collector after Bell County was organized in 1850. He served on the first Grand Jury in Bell County. He served as a ranger protecting the settlers from the Indians and was a member of the Independent Blues. When the Civil War broke out Captain Damron raised a Cavalry Company which later became a part of the Confederate Army. Following the war he again became active in the community. He served as a State Legislator for Bell County. Milton Damron died April 28, 1887 and Sarah died September 23, 1876. The couple is buried in the family plot in Old Salado Grave Yard. A Citizen of the Republic of Texas Marker has been placed there by members of the Daughters of the Republic of Texas.