Bosque County Oak R.I.P.

Historical Period: Early Statehood (1845-1861)
Historical Topic: County Courthouses, Frontier Settlements
Species: Texas Live Oak (Quercus fusiformis)
County: Bosque
Public Access: No longer applicable; tree is dead

Nestled on the crest of a small hill in southwest Bosque County stood an ancient live oak whose dense crown provided a pleasant a bower for the early settlers who voted in that county's first election, more than a century ago.

On February 4, 1854, the Texas Legislature created Bosque County out of McLennan County and named a six-man commission to locate and purchase, or accept by donation, up to 320 acres of land located “as near the centre of said county as practicable.” Half of the land thus acquired was to be laid off in lots and sold at public auction to pay for the erection of county buildings.

On June 27, 1854, the commission accepted two grants of land, both located at the present site of Meridian, and named the county seat for its nearness to Meridian Knobs and Meridian Creek.

Meridian was established on July 4, 1854. August 7, 1854 was set as the date for organizing the county and electing county officials. Three voting boxes were designated, one at the junction of Steele Creek and the Brazos River, a second at Meridian, and the third under this beautiful live oak, between the present towns of Clifton and Valley Mills.

The inscription on a large granite monument erected near the park entrance reads: “1854-1926. In memory of pioneers of Bosque County. Under live oak tree, adjacent to this monument was held the first election. Officers elected L. H. Scrutchfield, judge, P. Bryant, sheriff, J. N. Mabray, clerk, Isaac Gary, assessor and collector, Archabal Kell, treasurer. Voters: L. H. Scrutchfield, J. K. Helton, J. N. Mabray, Capt. Underhill, James Mabray, William Gary, Gafey Gary, Isaac Gary, Matt Gary, John Robertson, John Thomas, F. M. Kell, Archie Kell, William McCurry, Jack McCurry, Lum McCurry, Samuel Locker, Nathaniel Morgan, R. S. Barnes, J. P. Locker. This park was donated to the Old Settlers Association of Bosque County by Tom M. Pool. Kleng Peerson, a voter.”

The Bosque County Oak, known locally as the "Election Oak," died sometime in the 1990s. A state historical marker remains at the entrance to Tom Pool Park on Hwy. 6.