William and Ben Funderburg pre-empted the land on which Desdemona is built. The Funderburgs (who later sold their pre-emption to Bill Brown), Lewis Ellison and Uncle Johnny Caruth were the first settlers of Hogtown.
Mr. Frank Roach, the first merchant of Desdemona, put up a 12x16 store building, the boys lending a hand, which was dedicated with a dance the night of the first wedding in the new, old town. Mr. Willie Matthews and Miss Ella Parm, who were the contracting parties, were married at Tom Prather's home, Mary Caruth and Mr. _____ standing up" with them. After the ceremony the crowd, chaperoned by Lewis Ellison and wife, repaired to Mr. Roach’s new store and danced all night.
The first school house, eighteen by twenty feet, was built of hewed logs, with a log cut out at one end for a window. The benches were made by splitting trees in two, one of these with longer legs in front was put up by the window for a writing desk. Mr. Johnny Caruth and Charlie Mitchell were paid $80.00 to put up the house.
On the second Sunday in June, 1872, the Rev. Johnnie E. Northcutt, a Baptist minister, preached under the large Spanish oaks shading the picturesque bridge which now spans the historic Hog Creek, at Desdemona, and kept up the appointments until September. He was then allowed the privilege of the log school house and organized Rockdale Church, with nine members:
John Caruth, wife and daughter,
Mrs. Mary N. Jasper
Aunt Sallie Robinson
Jim Ellison and wife
Mrs. Sallie Ivy
Pleas Jones lived in the Hogtown community in a single log cabin, 10x12. For some unknown reason the floor of the cabin was the naked bosom of mother earth. A wagon board lay from the door to the hearthstone. One night a young man hunting a locality where he might secure a school, stopped, as night had overtaken him, and asked for lodging.
"All right, pard," assented Jones. "Get down and come in. You'll have ter laret out yer nag, 'cause I hain't got no feed fer her."
The fare given to the man was in keeping with the rest of the surroundings, and his mind was relieved of wondering who would sit up when a buffalo hide was thrown down on the wagon board, with a pillow, and he was told his bed was ready! Imagine his surprise when he asked next morning how much he was indebted for his and his mare's lodging and was told, "Well, seein' its you, I'll only charge yer a dollar!"
The young man, who was none other than Judge Hammons of Eastland City, rode on and secured and taught the school.
The town is beautifully located on rising ground, sloping east from Hog Creek. The community is incorporated for school purposes, and expects to erect a large, handsome building.
There are five dry goods and grocery establishments, the most prominent among them are Captain A. J. O'Rear, staple and fancy groceries, and Dr. Snodgrass, drugs and general merchandise, who is also a stockholder in the fine gin stand and a successful practicing physician.
Dr. Copeland, who has studied in Missouri Medical College, in St. Louis, and graduated from Fort Worth Medical College, is a physician of growing popularity and prominence.
That the doctors collect 95 per cent of their bills speaks well for the community, as it does for the soil which makes it possible.
school is maintained at Desdemona. The Baptist and Methodist
churches have buildings and good organizations. The Christian Church
building is in want pf repairs.
Footnote: 1. Desdemona was named in honor of the daughter of Squire Wynn.
Source: History of Eastland County, Texas, by Mrs. George Langston, A. D. Aldridge & Company, Dallas, Texas, 1904.