Wootan Wells Bulletin Board.
Got the following email from Carol lynch (firstname.lastname@example.org):
My grandmother (Alice Gray Wooten, Klinglesmith), always told us stories f how her father was the founder of "Wooten Wells". I know she had a brother named Snell Wooten, she had pictures and told us he was killed in the war. She was born on August 24, 1882. She married John E. Klinglesmith, I'm not sure what year. I would love to have any information you might have on my grandparents. I'm makeing a family history book for my children. My name is Helen Carol Lynch, my mothers name was Mattie Lou Gene Klinglesmith, born in Wanette, OK in 1925. I would love any information, Thank You,
History of Wootan Wells, Robertson County, Texas.
The area that eventually became known as Wootan Wells was initially home to a handful of hardy settlers who braved Indian-held
territory to establish log homes in the early 1800's. The area continued to grow with
the arrival of large numbers of Polish emmigrants that settled nearby Bremond and spilled over to the Wootan Wells area.
FIRST WOOTAN WELL DUG IN 1878
Francis Marion Wootan moved to Texas from Alabama in 1873. Wootan bought 51.5 acres of the
Hugh Davlin League land and part of the Robert Moffit Survey. In 1878, he dug a
seventy-five-foot well to supply his farmstead with water, which subsequently turned his
plates yellow and his clothes red.
Wootan's wife refused to live with that undrinkable water so they rented the place out to an indigent family for one bale of cotton per year and moved.
However, folks in the area began to notice a major improvement in the appearance of the indigent's family. Their kids became clear-eyed and rosy cheeks and were enjoying robust health. Word spread like wildfire that the bad tasting waters possessed powerful healing properties.Soon people came from everywhere to draw buckets of water from the Wootan well.
Francis Wootan soon realized he was sitting on top of a goldmine and by year's end, moved back into his original homestead.
Wootan then contracted with United States Navy chemist, Dr. W.
Mew, to analyze the water. After learning of the water's high mineral content, Wootan
advertised the water as curative in the Bremond newspaper.
For the next year water
was distributed freely and demand for land around the well grew.
WOOTAN WELLS GETS A POST OFFICE (1883)
In 1883, with financial help from a group of Waco businessmen, Francis Wootan constructed a first class resort complete with fine hotels, cottages and bathhouses. Word spread far and wide and even the Governor of Texas, Governor James Hogg and his daughters came to the resort. Rates at the hotels were $2.00 per day for room and board while the Wootan, a two-store frame hotel only charged a dollar a day. The elegant dance pavillion was the heart of the resort featuring a Mexican stringed guitar band.
A coca cola soda water plant also set up in Wootan Wells and my aunt, Willie Snider Storemski recalls that when walking home from the Bremond schools, the soda water company gave the girls free drinks on their hot walk home.
In 1883, Wootan Wells was a robust community and got it's own post office named after Francis Marion Wootan. The Wootan Wells post office continued to
operate until after the Wootan Wells fires took their toll in 1915. The post office was officially closed in 1919 becoming a rural route of Bremond.
Great Old Postcard of Early-Day Wootan Wells
from my mother,Connie Snider Kubiak,
who born in Wootan Wells in 1915.
Great old magazine article, "The Swan Song of Wootan Wells" published in the Old West Magazine has a wealth of photos and information about the Wootan Wells resort including a facinating letter written for family back home describing the activities at the resort.
Wade, the Old
Wootan Wells Company manager, also built a mule-drawn train and a short rail line to
transport visitors and the bottled water between the resort and the Houston and Texas
Central depot south of Bremond.
Mule-Drawn Train used to transport visitors from Bremond to Wooten Wells
In addition to the rail transportation, large caravans of covered wagons made the journey to Wootan Wells and folks camped out of the wagons cooking their meals around campfires. Wootan Wells was the place to be in the 1880's!
The area surrounding the actual site of Wootan Wells was rich farming land much of it owned by the Cambell family who rented the land to sharecroppers, including my grandparents Mike Snider and Louis Kubiak and great Grandfather, Tom Suchowiak Snider and his brother Jacob Suchowiak Snider and their respective families.
In 1883 the company reorganized to include R. H. Wade and
William McKinney. They built two rows of cottages, a dance pavilion, and bathhouses. During peak periods, several thousand guests could be seen strolling the grounds, drinking the waters and bathing in the spas. The local farmers would drive past the Wootan Wells settlement on their way to Bremond.
Great Old Postcard of Early-Day Wootan Wells
from my mother,Connie Snider Kubiak,
who born in Wootan Wells in 1915.
Wooten Wells Bottling Works established after drilling Well Number 4.
WOOTAN WELLS WAS BOOMING IN THE GAY 90's
By 1890 Wootan Wells had over 200 permanent residents and upwards of 2,000 summer residents.
For entertainment, there was the local Billiard's hall, crocket was popular out on the lawns, and polka bands frequented the pavilian. In 1898,Buffalo Bill Cody met
George Washington Holland in a shooting match out on the Wootan Wells grounds. The Bremond Roberts Rifles (Company E
of the Second Texas Infantry, Texas National Guard) also camped here on numerous occasions.
A fifth well was drilled, but it was closed because of traces of oil. The company feared the
oil to be a fire hazard.
By 1900, Wootan Wells had more than thirty businesses, including six physicians'
offices, a school (Sam Hornbeck, later president of Trinity University, was principal), an
opera house, a two-story billiard hall, a wagonmaker, a blacksmith, a dairy, a gristmill, a cotton
gin, two general stores, three churches, a bottling company, pottery works, and Western Union and Wells Fargo stations.
Some of the early day pottery and bottles produced in Wootan Wells are shown in the following photographs curtesy of stoneware and bottle collector, David Wallace" (email@example.com):
THE DECLINE AND FALL OF WOOTAN WELLS
With the discovery of mineral water in Marlin, the Wootan Wells industry declined severly. The never-ending flow of guests to soaked in the healing waters of Wootan Wells were being diverted to Marlin and many of the businesses of Wootan Wells closed their doors.
By 1914, Wootan Wells only one operating hotel, two vacant hotels, five or six
cottages, a bottling works, and a grocery store.
FIRE OF 1915
With the town already in severe decline, the crushing blow was struck in the summer of 1915 when a hotel clerk
attempted to burn out a wasp's nest. This started a fire which quickly spread to the adjoining cottages fanned by the strong southerly breezes. After the smoke cleared,
Wootan Wells was left with only one hotel and the bottling works. The bottling works continued to operate until it burned in 1921. That fire also took out the last remaining hotel.
In 1969 a historical marker was
dedicated at the origal site of Wootan Wells (intersection of HW6 and the Bremond road) by a son of early-day Wootan Wells residents, Representative Dan Kubiak of Rockdale.
Today, only the Wootan Wells Texas Historical Marker and green pastures remain where once a thriving tourist attaction existed for some 35 years.
BIBLIOGRAPHY: J. W. Baker, History of Robertson County, Texas (Franklin, Texas: Robertson
County Historical Survey Committee, 1970). Dallas Morning News, February 17, 1948. Peggy
Joyce Florida, "The Swan Song of Wootan Wells," True West, February 1967. Richard Denny
Parker, Historical Recollections of Robertson County, Texas (Salado, Texas: Anson Jones,
Texas historic marker: "Famous early health spa and resort. First well was dug 1878 by
landowner Francis Wootan. Water tasted good, but turned dishes yellow and clothes red. Even
so, it seemed to possess amazing curative properties. Wootan soon built a hotel and in 1879
a resort town made its debut. He formed a promotion company with T. W. Wade and more hotels,
a bottling works, dance pavilion, and school sprang up. Leading socialites came from miles
to 'take the waters'. Disaster struck in 1915 when fire swept the town. In 1921 the last
buildings also burned." (#10958/1969)
This web page honors those earlier residents of Wootan Wells by attempting to identify all former
residents, provide brief biographical sketches, photos and other interesting stuff
about the folks that once lived in Wootan Wells.
Over time, photos of scenes from early-day Wootan Wells will also be posted to this webpage.
Once word of this site gets out, I anticipate we'll get lots of contributions to keep the
If you have more information about any resident (photos, etc.), please
send me an email.
Leonard Kubiak (decendant of early-day Wootan Wells families).
Seth Ward and Mary Wesley Shaunfield Brantner.
Seth married Mary Wesley Shaunfield on June 3, 1934. He died on February 24, 1988.
Mary Wesley was born February 29, 1908, in Reagan to E. Wesley Shaunfield and Tem Duke Shaunfield. She graduated from Reagan High School in 1926 and from college at S. W. C (now TWU) at Denton. On June 3, 1934 she married Seth Ward Brantner. Seth and Mary resided in Bremond and the Wootan Wells community until moving to Reagan in 1984. He preceded her in death on February 24, 1988.
Mrs. Brantner taught grade school for 31 years and also worked at the cotton gin in Bremond. She retired from teaching at the Bremond ISD. She was also preceded in death by two brothers, Walter Lynn Shaunfield and Jack Shaunfield, and one nephew, E.W. Shaunfield.
Mary Wesley Brantner died at the age of 89 in Reagan on December 12, 1997, after a brief illness. Graveside services were held at the Waite Cemetery in Reagan.
William Robert Hudson, born 1-3-1844, died 3-29-1901, married Susan Conley, born 1851; died 11-15-1882 at Age 31 years. William Robert (W.R.)Hudson was born in MO and served in the confederate
He was wounded in the civil war at the battle of Murfreesboro, Tenn.
31, 1862. His enlistment was recorded on Aug 20, 1861 at Vicksburg. He
captured at Jonesboro Ga. Sept. 2, 1864 and paroled April 26, 1865 at
Hudson, b. 1880 at WOOTAN WELLS. Became a Texas Ranger and later Sheriff
Grimes Co, Texas 1925-29.
Theodocia Anna (Hudson)
Stoneham, b. 1872.
W. R. Hudson, Susan Conley (his wife), Docia (Theodocia A. Hudson), and
B. Stoneham (Docia's husband) are all buried at POWERS CHAPEL CEMETERY,
235, Rosebud, Texas. The tombstones read:
HUDSON, William Robert, b. 1-3-1844, d. 3-29-1901
HUDSON, Susan I. (Conley) --Wife of William Robert Hudson, b. 1851; d.
11-15-1882 at Age 31 years
HUDSON, FOUR (4) INFANTS OF W. R. & S. I. Hudson - No Dates
Information curtesy of Ken Hudson , great grandson of William Robert Hudson.
Hello, my name is Linda Himes Guyan. I am very interested in your Wootan Wells web site. My mother, Iva Lee Reaves, was born in Wootan Wells November 8, 1908. Although she always spelled Wootan with an "e." Her parents were John Ishom and Nancy Lucindy Reaves. Her birth mother was Lucy Viola Clayton (later Coates, then Hendrix). They lived most of their lives at a place called Woods Lodge in Prairie Creek (near Beaver Dam I think). I remember her saying she went to Prarie Creek School and she also talked a lot about Rogers, Ark. My mother married Odus Leonard Himes from Arlington Texas and they later moved to California which is where I live. My father died in 1974 and my mother in 1996. My mother never talked much about her life or her birth in Wootan Wells. And so I am left with many questions about her life and where she was born and raised. It is my hope that maybe you or someone you may know would recognize some of these names and be able to give me some information. I know so little about my mother's life. It would be so wonderful to know more.
Mr. and Mrs. Kirkpatrick
Mary Virginia Holloway Kirkpatrick
Mary Virginia Holloway taught in the West End Wootan Wells schools in the mid 1920's
John T, and Connie (Snider)Kubiak
Children:Daniel Eugene (dan)
John T. and Connie Snider Kubiak
John Ishom and Nancy Lucindy Reaves
Daughter: Iva Lee Reaves, born in Wootan Wells November 8, 1908. Her birth mother was Lucy Viola Clayton (later Coates, then Hendrix).
"Hello, my name is Linda Himes Guyan. I am very interested in your Wootan Wells web site. My mother, Iva Lee Reaves, was born in Wootan Wells November 8, 1908. Although she always spelled Wootan with an "e." Her parents were John Ishom and Nancy Lucindy Reaves. Her birth mother was Lucy Viola Clayton (later Coates, then Hendrix). They lived most of their lives at a place called Woods Lodge in Prairie Creek (near Beaver Dam I think). I remember her saying she went to Prarie Creek School and she also talked a lot about Rogers, Ark. My mother married Odus Leonard Himes from Arlington Texas and they later moved to California which is where I live. My father died in 1974 and my mother in 1996. My mother never talked much about her life or her birth in Wootan Wells. And so I am left with many questions about her life and where she was born and raised. It is my hope that maybe you or someone you may know would recognize some of these names and be able to give me some information. I know so little about my mother's life. It would be so wonderful to know more.
Linda Himes Guyan"
Jacob(Suchowiak)and Pauline Kasmirowski Snider
Stash Snider (B. may 1866, died August 1, 1930; married Stella Storemski; children: Steve, Emma, Frank, Will, Lige, and Sofie
Antone Ben Snider, Born January 1, 1875, Married Kathryn Kubitzke; children Josie, Johnnie, Vicki, Maggi, and Flonny.
Felix Stephen Snider, Born May 20, 1878; Died January 12, 1946; married Juliana Troynowski (1880-1901) and JoAnna Biezenski (second marriage: August 13, 1902). Children: John Frank (b. July 4, 1904), Lula Marie (B. February 14, 1906), Margaret Mary (B. June 10, 1911), Max Joseph (B. November 28, 1913) and Joe (B. August 10, 1915).
Lena Snider, B. May 1883; married Ike Hablinski. Children: Margaret (B. May 8, 1902), Ed Hablinski (died at age 18), and Pauline Hablinski (died at age 3).
Tomas (Suchowiak)and Balbina Snider
Lige Snider. Married Josie Luchark.
Frank Snider. Married Josie Okonski.
John Snider. Married Anna Markoski.
Josephine Snider. Married Stash Sypnieski
Beulah Snider. Married Buford McKewen.
Henry Snider. Married Valeria Kazmierowski
Mike Snider. Married Veronica Grudziecki. Children: John, Willie, Bill, Connie, Bruno, Christine, Louis and Lee (all born in Wootan Wells).
Mike and Veronica Snider
John and Lula Krysinski Snider.
John Snider, oldest son of Mike and Veronica Snider, was born in Wootan Wells and grew up on the Campbell farm near the Brazos River west of Bremond.
In 1942, John and Lula Snider bought a farm 2 miles west of Reagan where they farmed and
raised a big family. In the early 50's, they moved to Bremond where the spent the rest of
their lives on a small farm just outside of town. (both deceased)
Dr. F. W. Stoltje
Kie and Willie Snider Storemski
Willie Snider Storemski was born in Wootan Wells on March 10, 1910 to Mike and Veronica Snider. Willie died Jan. 26, 2001 and is buried in the St. Mary's Catholic Cemetery with her husband, Kie Storemski.
BREMOND - Services for Willie Snider Storemski, 90, of the Reagan community in Falls County,
Texas, are set for 11 a.m. Wednesday at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Bremond. Mrs.
Storemski died Friday in Marlin.
She was born in Marlin and was a homemaker. She attended Wootan Wells schools and was a
member of St. Mary's Catholic Church and Holy Rosary Society.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Kie Storemski.
Survivors include a son and daughter-in-law, Daniel and Alice Storemski of Reagan; two
daughters and a son-in-law, Theresa Wisnoski of Houston and Louise and Roy Erwin of Reagan;
a brother and sister-in-law, Louis and Natalie Snider of Willis, Texas; a sister and
brother-in-law, Christine and Frank Knapik of Bremond; seven grandchildren; nine
great-grandchildren; and four great-great-grandchildren.
Jacob & Julia Wachel
Mathew Edward Wachel, born in Wootan Wells in 1894.
Daughter: Mary Wachel Rantzow
Billy and Bonnie Wachel
Received the following email from Steven Wachel:
Date: Tue, 19 Nov 2002 06:17:57 -0800 (PST)
From: "Steven Wachel"
"I was just browsing the internet when I stumbled
upon a little Wooten Wells history. My name is Steven
Wachel--son of Bonnie and Billy Wachel. Just wanted
to send a thank you for creating a great website. I
enjoyed finding out historical information from
somewhere I grew up.
I live in New York City and have been for the past six
years. Currently I am in Europe doing some traveling.
After the new year I plan on getting over to Poland.
Very excited to see my ancestor's homeland. Anyway,
again thank you for the website. I really enjoyed it.
T. W. Wade
Francis Marion Wootan- founder and town namesake. Became the town's first postmaster.
For more information, contact Len Kubiak at:
If you have any old stories or photos to post on this website, please contact :Leonard Kubiak, (firstname.lastname@example.org). Thanks!