THROWBACK THURSDAY: Seward Junction got its name in the mid-1930s
By JAMES WEAR
Back in the late ‘80’s and early ‘90’s, when the Liberty Hill Cafe was my second home, among my mother-in-law’s frequent customers were Mildred and W.K. Seward.
W.K. never was much of a talker, but Mildred enjoyed visiting and for reasons that escaped me, took a liking to this long-haired country boy from Andice. They are among the folks filmed in our wedding video, with Mildred noting, “I wonder when that boy is gonna get dressed…he just keeps a pacing up and down the street.” Of course, I was busy getting things lined out for our street wedding — some of you may remember that Paula and I were married in downtown Liberty Hill in front of the cafe, which is another story for another time.
Mildred and W.K. lived down at Seward Junction and for many years operated a store down there. Both have since passed away, and one of my regrets is I never sat down with the couple and interviewed them about the years they had spent in our community. I was thinking about them recently while rummaging through some old newspapers. I came across an article about the Seward family in a 1976 issue of The Libertarian, a small tabloid that was published in the mid 1970’s.
In the article, Mildred related how between 400 and 500 acres had been in the Seward family since 1870, when W.K.’s grandfather, William Roberson, moved here from Alabama at the age of 16. He settled in Smithwick. While living there, he began courting Mary Jane Creamer, whose family lived at Pilot Knob (near Andice). They were married in 1862.
In the article, Mildred recalled that, according to family history, W.R. often found himself outrunning Indians on horseback as he made his way back home after an evening spent at Mary Jane’s home.
Seven years later, W.R. bought property east of Liberty Hill, paying 50 cents an acre for some of it and $2 an acre for the rest. Mildred said in 1874 that William and his brother, Ellis, moved the first school house to the Union Hall community from old Liberty Hill.
W.R. and Mary Jane had eight children — four sons and four daughters. One of the sons, Ellis Newton Seward (W.K.’s father), owned the family property in the 1930’s when US Highway 183 was built. According to Mildred, Ellis Newton donated land for the highway and was paid $100 for moving his house and his fence.
In 1936, a man named E.D. Roberts and Ellis Newton’s daughter, Ina Pearl, suggested naming the property Seward Junction. Ellis Newton died in 1950.
According to the Texas State Historical Association, Seward Junction had two gas stations, a garage and a population of 35 in 1967.
Over the years, Seward Junction, once a rather lonely intersection where traffic was controlled by four stop signs, has become part of the city of Liberty Hill and has become a focal point for businesses to locate.
I sometimes wonder what Mildred and W.K. would think about the growth around their homeplace.
(RIGHT) Ellis Newton Seward and his wife, Mary, donated land in the mid 1930’s when US Highway 183 was being built. The couple were paid $100 for moving their house and fence line. (BELOW) Seward Junction as it looked in 1967. The building was torn down many years ago. (Courtesy Photos)