Selected Families and Individuals


Elizabeth Elenor James

Elizabeth Eleanor James married William Oliver Harding, April 12, 1837. She, her sister, Nancy Stockton James, and brother, Edwin Turpin James inherited 367 acres of land from their grandfather, William Turpin. They were also given many slaves in their father's will. In 1839 they sold the land to E.J. Carrington. Five of their children were born in Virginia. About 1851 they traveled either through Nashville, Tennessee or Jackson, Mississippi (They had relatives in both areas.) and settled in Moscow,< Texas. With them were 37 slaves. At one time they owned over 3000 acres in Moscow. Four children were born in Texas. Elizabeth Eleanor died June 22, 1862, at age 42. Her yougest child, Leslie Combs HArding was only two years old.

She is buried in the Harding Family Cemetery in Moscow, Texas. Her grave is very unique, being enclosed by a wall of bricks about three feet high and three bricks thick. The bricks were made by slaves on their plantation. Only three of the children are buried in Moscow.

David Oglevie


Joe Hensley Key

According to 1910 US Census Records, Colorado City, Mitchell County Joe H. Key was a City Marshall


Colorado City, County Seat

Attractions: The Heart of West Texas Museum  Lake Colorado City State Park
Created: August 21, 1876, from the Bexar Territory
Location: I-20 and Hwys 208 and 163  63 miles west of Abilene  32.4º N; 100.9 W
Motto: "Mother City of West Texas"
Namesake: It's location on the Colorado River
Organized: January, 1881
Population: 4,281 in 2000


Colorado City, the county seat of Mitchell County, is on the Colorado River, Lone Wolf Creek, U.S. Highway 20/80, State highways 208 and 163, and the Missouri Pacific Railroad, thirty-eight miles east of Big Spring and twenty-three miles south of Snyder in the north central part of the county. It has been called the "Mother City of West Texas" for its early origin as a ranger camp in 1877 and for its prominence as a cattlemen's center.  

In 1881 the town was chosen county seat and acquired a station on the new Texas and Pacific Railway. Local ranchers hauled in tons of buffalo bones (see BONE BUSINESS) for shipment to the East and loaded their empty wagons with provisions purchased from pioneer merchant William H. "Uncle Pete" Snyderqv and others.  

When the town was granted a post office in 1881 Prince A. Hazzard became the first postmaster. Water was hauled to town from Seven Wells and elsewhere and sold at fifty cents a barrel. The first school, conducted in a dugout qv in 1881, was moved to a building the next year, and soon a new building was built.  

By that time the town had between 200 and 300 residents and was a cattle-shipping center. Ranchers drove their cattle to Colorado City from as far north as Amarillo, from as far south as San Angelo, and from eastern New Mexico. Great herds were held until rail cars were available. After shipment, cowboys were free to enjoy the town's amenities.  

Between 1881 and 1884 its five saloons multiplied to twenty-eight, and other businesses showed the same growth. The population was estimated as high as 6,000 in 1884-85. The boom slowed after the 1885-86 drought, however, and the 1890 population was 2,500.  

In May 1881 W. P. Patterson, a prominent rancher, was shot down by Texas Rangers.qv Citizens blamed the shooting on the rangers' feud with cattlemen, and the ranger camp was moved from town to Hackberry Springs, twenty miles southwest.  

When Amarillo developed with the arrival of the Fort Worth and Denver Railway in 1887 and when the Santa Fe Railroad reached San Angelo a year later, business in Colorado City declined sharply.  

During the 1890s salt mining was important to the local economy, but salt declined in importance after 1900. A second boom between 1900 and 1906 followed the influx of farmers. The population of Colorado City was 3,000 in 1906.  

By 1910 the town had a new public school, a waterworks, and an electric plant. In 1914 the population was estimated at 1,500, and the town had two banks and a newspaper, the Colorado City Record. Though the drought of 1916-18 adversely affected local farmers, interest in oil increased. In 1916 the Consolidated Oil and Gas Company of Colorado was organized by local bankers, businessmen, and merchants to develop the area's oil and gas resources, and by 1920 oil production was a part of the local economy. The Col-Tex Refinery began operation in 1924.  

By 1926 a city hall had been built, the streets were paved, and a new sewage system was in operation. In 1931 Colorado City had an estimated population of 4,761 and 200 businesses. By 1940 the population had increased to 5,213, but by 1945 the number of reported businesses had declined to 120. In the late 1940s increased oil activity in Mitchell, Scurry, Coke, and Borden counties caused some growth, and by 1949 the number of businesses in Colorado City had increased to 176. During the mid-1950s a drought, the longest on record, affected the area's agricultural production, particularly of cotton.  

In 1955 the population was 6,774. Lake Colorado City,qv five miles southwest, and Champion Creek Reservoir,qv six miles south, were built in 1959. The population was estimated at 6,400 in 1965. The Col-Tex Refinery closed in 1969, but in the early 1970s new industries were established, including a meat-packing operation and a mobile-home plant. Colorado City had 5,300 residents and 126 businesses in 1975.  

In 1988 it had a population of 5,549, a hospital, and 122 businesses. Local attractions include the Colorado City Museum and an annual rodeo. In 1990 the population was 4,749.  

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Omer W. Cline, History of Mitchell County to 1900 (M.A. thesis, East Texas State Teachers College, 1948). Lore and Legend: A Compilation of Documents Depicting the History of Colorado City and Mitchell County  (Colorado City Record, 1976).  William R. Hunt  Recommended citation:  "COLORADO CITY, TX." The Handbook of Texas Online.  [Accessed Mon Mar 12 9:57:37 US/Central 2001 ].  The Handbook of Texas Online is a joint project of The General Libraries at the University of Texas at Austin ( and the Texas State Historical Association (
Buried in Colorado City Cemetery Lot C-26-01
Name: Joe Hensley Key  
Death Date: 18 Aug 1936  
Death Place: Colorado, Mitchell, Texas  
Gender: Male  
Race: White  
Death Age: 69 years 2 months 28 days  
Estimated Birth Date:  
Birth Date: 20 May 1867  
Birthplace: Louisiana  
Marital Status: Married  
Spouse's Name: Maud Cherry Key  
Father's Name: James Key  
Father's Birthplace: Georgia  
Mother's Name: Amanda Key  
Mother's Birthplace: Louisiana  
Occupation: Peace Officer  
Place of Residence: Colorado, Texas  
Burial Place: Colorado, Texas  
Burial Date: 19 Aug 1936  
Additional Relatives:  
Film Number: 2116964  
Digital Film Number: 4166612  
Image Number: 0082  
Reference Number: 42271
Name: Joe Hensley Key
Event Type: Death
Event Date: 18 Aug 1936
Event Place: Colorado, Mitchell, Texas, United States
Gender: Male
Marital Status: Married
Birth Date: 20 May 1867
Birthplace: , Louisiana
Father's Name: James Key
Mother's Name: Amanda Key
Certificate Number: 42271
GS Film number: 2116964
Digital Folder Number: 005145537
Image Number: 00082

Citing this Record:
"Texas, Deaths, 1890-1976," index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 03 Oct 2014), Joe Hensley Key, 18 Aug 1936; citing certificate number 42271, State Registrar Office, Austin; FHL microfilm 2116964.
Name: Lena Ben Key
Event Type: Birth
Event Date: 27 Dec 1891
Event Place: Comanche, Comanche, Texas, United States
Event Place (Original): Comanche, Commanche, Texas
Gender: Female
Father's Name: Joseph Hensley Key
Father's Birthplace: La
Father's Age: 24
Father's Birth Year (Estimated): 1867
Mother's Name: Maude Cherry
Mother's Birthplace: Ark
Mother's Age: 20
Mother's Birth Year (Estimated): 1871
Digital Folder Number: 004476234
Image Number: 00648

Citing this Record:
"Texas, Comanche County Records, 1858-1955," database with images, FamilySearch ( : 8 December 2017), Joseph Hensley Key in entry for Lena Ben Key, 27 Dec 1891; citing Birth, 27 Dec 1891, Comanche, Comanche, Texas, United States, Comanche County Clerk, Texas.

William Branch

Gentleman. Woolen draper, Mayor and Member of Parliament for borough at Abingdon

Place of Burial: St. Helen's church, Abingdon, England

"One of his [Thomas Branch's] acquaintances in London was John Roysse, a prosperous mercer of Abingdon origin, who in 1563, reestablished a grammer school in his native town, which flourishes still today. Thomas was a witness to both the grants of lands in London, with which Royse endowed the school. Since the corporation of the town was intimately connected with the new foundation of John Roysse, Thomas' brother, William, who served as mayor in 1563-1564, would be even more closely connected with much of the preparatory work of setting the new school on its feet. Both Branch brothers were, in all probability, fellow scholars of Roysse at the old mediaeval school in the town."

William Branch owned the Bull Inn in Littlebury, inherited it from his brother, Thomas

Will proved in Prerogative Court of Canterbury on April 24, 1602

Maud Branch

Lived in Newbury, Berkshire, England