Waco History Research

Viking Hills 4th grade students from Melody Strot's class

May 2006


Mammoths in WacoNative Americans in WacoWaco SettlersThe First Waco WeddingWaco Joins the Civil War CowboysWaco Suspension BridgeWaco RailroadsCotton is $Making Dr. PepperCameron ParkWorld War IAirplanes come to WacoWorld War IIThe Terrible TornadoSegregation



Mammoths in Waco

Scientists have found the fossils of Mammoths who lived in Waco during prehistoric times. Mammoths were large animals related to modern elephants. They had tusks 13 feet long.

Mammoth remains were discovered in 1978. 24 mammoths have been found so far.

Vandelea Jackson Rachel Petty

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Native Americans in Waco

The Huaco Indians lived near the Brazos River in round stick huts. They were peaceful and grew crops like corn.

The Wichitas are the closest relatives to

Huaco Indians.The Waco Indians had one tribe that had 400 acres. The Waco indians hunted bear, wolf, hog, and lots of things with meat. Waco Indians used flowers for paint. It lasted about 2 hours. Some of the Indians ate fish sometimes. Mostly when there was a new baby.

Zaquavion Basey John East Andrew Jenkins

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Waco Settlers

One of the first families who moved to Waco was the Shapley Prince Ross family. The families were seeking the river bottom for agriculture, fresh water, wood for fuel and building, and wildlife for food. There were some dangers though. Some of them were wild animals, lawless settlers, and Indians. When the 21 pioneers arrived on March 1, 1849 they got to work. Unlike the indians, the settlers built log cabins. The families started building the Waco village. Of course, Waco got its name from the Waco indians. First it started off as a village, and over time it grew into a city. One of the families interest in the land was that it had a river near it, the Bravos river. Once the settlers were settled in, more people moved to Waco. It wasn't very long until there were stores, hotels, and even a ferry! All of this would not have been if it wasn't for our first pioneers, who moved to Waco. They got the village (city) started. Now, it's grown. A lot of people live in Waco. We have schools, stores, and even airport, and much more! All because of the pioneers who came to search for land, and ended up to live in Waco .

Sarah Zettler

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The First Waco Wedding

The first wedding in Waco was December 27, 1850. Mary and Margaret Ross married in their family cabin. They were the daughters of Shapley Prince Ross, the Texas Ranger who owned the ferry which crossed the Brazos River.

The girls were 17 and 18 when they got married. They both went to Baylor University when it was in Independence, Texas.

Sarah Zettler

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Waco Joins the Civil War

In 1860 Sam Houston, the state governor, gave a speech in Waco. The Waco people listening to the speech argued with him, shook their fists in the air, and chased him away from the town square. He hid in the Ross Hotel and they blocked the door. Some of the angry Waco people lit a keg of gunpowder by the hotel and blew up part of the building. Sam Houston left town fast.

Many Waco people joined the Confederacy. There were 17 units from the Waco area, and six Confederate Generals. Many Waco soldiers died from disease. Some families lost their dads.

Alyssa Gonzales Faith Austin Destiny Reyna

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From 1868-1871 about 600,000 cattle came through Waco on the Chisholm trail . The drovers, wranglers, and trail bosses camped outside of Waco. Some of them stayed with the cattle, but some went to town. They went to town and went to the saloons to gamble, drink beer, and meet women. Sometimes people tricked them out of their money. They had to pay 5 cents a head for their cattle to cross the bridge. 1000 cattle passed through Waco at a time. They took the cattle North and sold them silver and gold coins. They came back to Waco with money and went to the saloons again. The cowboys' money helped the Waco economy.

Leland Manigo Zaquavion Basey Christopher Rivera

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Waco Suspension Bridge

People needed a bridge to cross the Brazos River. In 1870 the Waco Suspension Bridge was finished. It was made by Mr. Robeling, who later designed the Brooklyn Bridge. Families enjoyed watching the river and having picnics by the bridge.

We can enjoy free concerts near the Suspension Bridge in the summertime.

Alyssa Gonzales Faith Austin Destiny Reyna

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Waco Railroads

The Waco and the Northwestern Railroad was built in 1871. Two other railroads came to Waco in the early 1880's. The Railroads moved cattle from place to place, and they took cotton to New Orleans and Galveston.

Morgan Bradley Andrew Jenkins

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Cotton is $

Cotton was one of the most important things about Waco. Cotton was grown only near the river until the steel plow was invented. Then lots of people grew cotton. Farmers from 100 miles away brought cotton to Waco. They called cotton “white gold”. They made clothing out of cotton. They sold cotton to people in Galveston and New Orleans. They sent it on the railroad. This brought more railroads to Texas. Waco was the largest cotton market in the south.

Vandelea Jackson Madison Grady

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Making Dr. Pepper

Charles Alderton invented Dr. Pepper. He like to mix fruit syrup to make drinks at his drug store. He was a pharmacist. He tasted his mix one day and he liked it. He asked his friends to try it and they liked it too. He named the drink Dr. Pepper.

He wanted to sell it for people to buy in soda fountains. Robert S. Lazenby helped him make the drink into a business. It 1891 he created the Artesian Manufacturing Bottling Company. In 1923, the Dr. Pepper Company was moved from Waco to Dallas.

Sarah Zettler Kristen Nichols

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Cameron Park

Waco is the heart of Texas, but Cameron Park is the heart of Waco. In May of 1910, William Cameron's family bought over 100 acres of land. He came to Waco from Scotland. He was a city leader in Waco's early days. He worked in his family's business and served in the Civil War. He died in 1899.

His family donated the land next to the Brazos River to the City of Waco to make Cameron Park.

Kevin Harris Morgan Bradley Madison Grady

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World War I

Camp MacArthur

Waco had a training camp for soldiers called Camp MacArthur. It was built in 1917. It was a tent camp for officer training and young soldiers. During the first month of training, they didn't have any rifles.

Pilots were trained at Rich Field, next to Camp MacArthur. The city built road, electric lines, and water lines to the camp and airfield.

Kevin Harris Zachary Graham Madison Grady Ebony LaFrance

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Airplanes come to Waco

Wilbur and Orville Wright created airplanes in the early 1900's.

In 1942, we got the Waco Army Air Field. Pilots were trained there because the weather in Waco is usually good.

In 1949, it became Connally Air Force Base. Texas State Technical College was built there later and the Air Force Base was closed.

Waco had two other airfields. Rich Field is where the Heart of Texas Fairgrounds is now. The Blackland Army Flying Field is where the Waco Regional Airport is now.

Leland Manigo

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World War II

World War II lasted from 1939-1945. The United States tried to stay out of the war, but when Japan attacked U.S. ships in Pearl Harbor, the U.S. declared war on Japan.

Doris Miller was an African American Man from Waco. He was a cook on the USS West Virginia, a United States battleship in Pearl Harbor. During the attack, Doris Miller saved his Captain by carrying him. He shot at the enemy planes.

Morgan Bradley

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The Terrible Tornado

On May 11, 1953, a terrible tornado hit Waco, Texas. There was an Indian legend that said no tornadoes could hit Waco. They thought since Waco was close to the steep banks of the Brazos River, no tornadoes could hit there.

114 people were killed in downtown Waco. There were only 2 building still standing after the tornado hit downtown.

Kristen Nichols Chris Rivera

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Before the 1960's, African American people and White people were separated. They couldn't be together. They had different schools, couldn't drink out of the same water fountain, couldn't go to the same bathroom, and couldn't eat in some restaurants. At the 7-11 Store on Elm Street, the manager wouldn't hire an African American named Foster Tolbert in 1962. He was married and had two children. He needed a job to support his family. Because they didn't hire Foster Tolbert, the people stopped shopping at that store for 18 weeks. The store lost money, so they gave in and hired Tolbert.

Rachel Petty

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