Kirb Merritt was born at the old Merritt homeplace located on the corner of Liberty Grove Road and Merritt Rd just northeast of Rowlett. He married Kate Newman. Kate was the daughter of Flora Nelson and the granddaughter of Angeline Forster which was my grandfather’s sister. Kirb and Kate only had one son. Duane was killed in an automobile accident at thirteen years of age.
We moved into the little house on Merritt Road after Kirb and Kate moved out. I was very small and only remember a few details of events during this time. One of those details was my cousin, Ritchie Brawley, spending the night with us sometime around 1946. This would have been after our dad returned from the war.
Kirb is holding wagon wheel fellow in photo. This Bois D’arc fellow was left over when his dad ordered a new wagon back around 1900, or so. The entire wagon was made of Bois D’arc and built by George Nelson in his blacksmith shop at Liberty Grove.
It would take eight identical fellows per wheel. After the hub and spokes were added, a hot steel rim would be shrunk around the fellows. Oak, and other hard woods, would shrink and loosen in dry weather, but the Bois D’arc wheels never did shrink or loosen.
Kirb says that people in other parts of the country had never seen a wagon built from Bois D’arc wood. “These wagons would last a life time. Other wagons would wear out after several years in this Texas weather.”
My grandfather, Al Forster, was still using his ole Bois D’arc wagon when World War One broke out. He had a mule operated saw mill down in the pasture where they would saw up those Bois D’arc logs into sections about two feet long. These logs were hauled to Rockwall, loaded onto a steam engine and shipped off to the government buyers where they were used to make dye for the soldier’s khaki shirts and pants.