Log Cabin Village, A Living History Museum in Fort Worth, TX
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THE SHAW CABIN AND GRISTMILL

Built: ca. 1854
Location: Spring Creek Area, Parker County, Texas
Residents: Thomas and Louisa Ann L. Shaw Family
Builder: Thomas Shaw

Shaw Cabin with bright fall foliage

Throughout the nineteenth century milling was very important to Texans, who depended on mills to grind grains for bread and tortilla making.

The Shaw Cabin is one of the few working gristmills remaining in Texas. Although the cabin was not originally a mill, the milling equipment found inside dates back to the mid 1860s. The equipment came from a small mill owned by the Smith family of Moline, Texas. It was in continuous use for over seventy years,. Then in 1930, it completely stopped operating. Forty years later, the City of Fort Worth purchased and installed it in the Shaw home.

Fort Worth Log Cabin Village - Shaw Thomas Mill    Fort Worth Log Cabin Village - Shaw Thomas Mill

The cabin that houses the mill was built by Thomas Shaw in 1854. Because of his exemplary skills as a carpenter and house builder, Shaw became widely known throughout the county for his log cabin building. It was with his help that many inexperienced homesteaders were able to erect log homes. The 160-acre site on which Shaw constructed his house was pre-empted at fifty cents an acre and was located in an area known as the Spring Creek community in Parker County, Texas. When first erected, not another Anglo settlement was west of this cabin, and only five miles away a large group of Tonkawa Indians camped along the Brazos River.

After more than a century of use, first as a home, then as a bunkhouse, and finally as a storage barn, the cabin was relocated to the Log Cabin Village in Fort Worth. The waterwheel and a stone wall were added to the original structure for its interpretation as a gristmill.

THE SHAW FAMILY

Fort Worth Log Cabin Village - Shaw Thomas
Thomas J. Shaw
Thomas J. Shaw was born October 14, 1819, in Tennessee. In 1838, nineteen year old Shaw began the first of his many trips into western territory. He assisted government troops in forcibly removing the Cherokee nation to the Oklahoma territory, a tragic event know as the Trail of Tears.

Perhaps the wanderlust which dominated Shaw's life over the next thirteen years was a result of these journeys. Returning to Tennessee, the restless Shaw remained only a short time before joining his brother, Granville C. Shaw, in Collin County, Texas. From Collin County, Shaw moved to Nacogdoches County and then to Houston County before returning to Tennessee in 1844.

In 1845, Thomas J. Shaw married Louisa Ann Long, who was born May 10, 1827. Three years later, the couple moved to Missouri. In 1851, they moved to Texas. They settled near the present town of Paris for a brief period before moving to a location near Fort Smith, Arkansas.

In 1854, the wagons of the Reverend Pleasant E. Tackett, a Methodist minister, and his group of families from Missouri rolled into Arkansas on their way to Texas. Once again the lure of distant lands beckoned, and the Shaw family joined them.

The group of fifteen families arrived in what is now Parker County in the early part of October. They were forced to camp on the banks of the Clear Fork of the Trinity River, which was impassable due to heavy rains. When the waters finally subsided, the settlers crossed the river and set out to select and stake out locations for their homesteads. This is where the Shaw Cabin was erected and was Thomas’ final home.

Louisa had fourteen children, although four of them died in infancy:

Rufus C. 1847-1853
Sarah Elizabeth 1848-1941
James T. 1850-1899
Jackson Bromfield 1853-1923
Amanda V. 1855-1859
Robert B. 1857-1863
Romulus 1859 (stillborn)
Roemus 1860 (stillborn)
Jefferson Davis 1861-1944
John G. (Babe) 1864-1890
Mary L. (Mollie) 1866-1950
Susan F. 1868-1893
Mary E. 1870-1893
Jordan McCullough 1873-1957

During Shaw's later life he was a prosperous and well known farmer and stockman. At one time he served as Parker County Commissioner, Justice of the Peace, and Notary Public. He also assisted in the organization of Parker County and voted in its first election.

Louisa died August 26, 1890 and Thomas J. Shaw died July 13, 1904. Both are buried in the Spring Creek Cemetery.