By Elizabeth Sutton
In the past, the railroad provided the lifeblood of many small communities that have since nearly vanished. Waples was one such location. It can be found on a spur off Farm Road 167 ten miles north of Granbury in eastern Hood County. Settlement of this community occurred sometime before
1900. A county map from 1936 indicated more than a dozen scattered dwellings, a church and a school called Waples home. In 2000 the population was around 155.
The cloudy origins of this small community most likely lie around 1887, when the railroad came. It was most likely named after a Paul Waples, an investor and food distributor to Dennison, Dallas and Ft. Worth through the Waples Platter Grocer Company. A financial backer of Amon G. Carter, Paul Waples seems to have been a political mover and shaker in Ft. Worth at the time.
In 1909 a Mary L. Banks donated the lots 9 and 10 for church and school use. However, lots 3 and 4 wound up being used for these purposes instead by mistake. Sadly, none of the old school and church buildings remain. There’s a current church building, erected sometime in the late 1940s.
Due to its small size, Waples has no cemetery proper, although one family, the Millers, created their own private burial plot. In addition to the railroad, cotton was also an important source of local revenue. At one point the community supported a blacksmith shop, as well.
Recently the Hood County Historical Society went out to the Waples area to a spot called Jeff Fisher’s Homestead. They combed over the place with metal detectors to see what could be found. Soon, relics of human habitation turned up from the silent earth. The low acidic soil had preserved the objects well. They found old farm items and household objects like medicine bottles. These mute reminders of the past lie hidden throughout the county, waiting to for someone to stumble upon them and ponder time’s passage.
The Hood County Historical Society is affiliated with the Hood County Genealogical Society and meets at 7 p.m. every 4th Monday of the month (except in November and December) at the Historic Granbury Depot. For more information you can visit www.hctxhs.org and/or www.granburydepot.org.