Hood County Texas Genealogical Society



Added to Texas Family Land Heritage Registry in 1974

~ Contributed by Virginia Hale ~


In 1974 only one location in Hood County qualified for the State of Texas' first Family Land Heritage Registry - the Massey home site located 12 miles southeast of Granbury.

Requirements were that the farm or ranch must have been established during or before 1874. At least ten acres must have been managed directly and continuously by family members with minimum annual sales of $50. If the acreage was less than ten, the annual income must have totaled at least $250. County judges confirmed the applications.

Massey Home Site - 1860

Founders: William R. & Caroline C. Massey of Alabama

1974 Owner: Julian Carmichael Massey of Granbury

Indian raids caused Mr. and Mrs. William R. Massey and their two-old child to move five times in less than a year after they came to Texas from Alabama. They finally bought and settled on 636 acres near where Fall Creek meets the Brazos River and built a log cabin that is still standing. The year was 1860 when the Massey's wanderings were over. They raised five children in the log cabin, and today eleven families representing third, fourth, and fifth generations of the Massey family live in the Fall Creek community where the Masseys donated land on which to build a church and school and to establish a cemetery. The old church building, built near the turn of the century, is used today as a community center. Julian Carmichael Massey owns 16.25 acres of his great-grandfather's original 636 acres and raises cows and feed grain.

October 14, 1974 was declared and celebrated as Family Land Heritage Day. Over 1,200 honorees and relatives, from age 93 to three months, came to the State Fair in Dallas for the state ceremony designed to recognize the hardy Texas farmers and ranchers.

268 of the 560 qualifying families were represented that day and accepted certificates and congratulations from Texas Department of Agriculture Commissioner John C. White and his wife, Nellie. Some in the audience clapped as their farm name was called, but the most applause came for a couple whose farm was founded by a freed slave.

"The year of 1974 is a timely one to establish the Family Land Heritage Program, for it has been a year of testing with Texas farmers and ranchers facing extreme economic stresses. The perseverance of these families has been proved in the past and will be in the future. However, few outside the rural community actually appreciate the dedication needed to endure the fluctuations of the economy. This program is a sincere effort on the part of the staff and myself to honor those who so often receive little recognition. We plan to continue the program and hope that it encourages young people to stay with the land and to continue to produce food and fiber so desperately needed by the world."

John C. White, Commissioner, Texas Department of Agriculture

Source: Texas Family Land Heritage Registry First Edition, 1974

1999 Related Story: Massey Heirs Auction Land