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BARCLAY, TEXAS. Barclay, on State Highway 53 nineteen miles southwest of Marlin in southwestern Falls County, was named for William Anderson Barclay, a pioneer resident of Central Texas who, in partnership with his brother-in-law, W. S. G. Wilson, established the Barclay Ranch in the adjoining corners of Bell, Falls, and Milam counties. From 1895 to 1898 Barclay cleared and farmed 3,500 acres. The present site of Barclay was the location of a general mercantile store that he established in 1877 or 1878. Barclay also became postmaster of the community's post office when it opened in 1881. The post office was discontinued in 1906, and mail was routed through Rosebud and Lott. In 1881 pioneer Lyddleton Smith of Washington County assigned three acres of land for a Baptist church. The congregation became known as Beulah (later Barclay) Baptist Church. Part of the property was set aside for a burial ground. Confederate veteran Paul Pieper, Sr., who moved his family to Barclay in 1882, donated part of his acreage for a cemetery in 1886 and set aside plots for Pieper family members. Paul Pieper, Jr., deeded his inherited hay land to the cemetery at his death in 1926. The graveyard has been maintained by the Barclay Cemetery Association since 1915. On April 8, 1984, Barclay Cemetery received a Texas historical marker in a special ceremony in Barclay. A Barclay school district was organized in 1882, when Paul and Katherine Wendel Pieper deeded land for the school. School trustees in 1889 were A. J. Murray, J. F. Knox, and H. Ernst. The teachers were J. F. O'Shea and A. M. Kolb; they each received fifty dollars a month for three months' teaching. Fifty-five students were attending classes in 1889. Local population was reported at fifty by 1890 and at 100 by 1896. The community also had a livestock farm and a cotton gin and gristmill.
About 1910 Barclay had a general store, a drugstore, a doctor's office, a Woodman of the World hall, a Baptist church, a school, a public cemetery, a cotton gin, a butcher shop, a blacksmith shop, a corn mill, a molasses mill, and a water system. By 1933 the number of businesses had fallen to three, and the population was reported at sixty-six. A Red Cross Society was organized in 1917 as an auxiliary to the Marlin chapter. During its early years the Barclay community hosted the first Corn Club (later known as the 4-H Club) in Falls County. The Texas Farmers Union posted a chapter in Barclay before 1920.
After the Great Depression the people of Barclay voted a bond for materials for a new school with four classrooms, a gymnasium, and a duplex for the teachers. The construction provided jobs for thirty to forty people, and the labor cost was furnished by the Work Projects Administration. After consolidation of the school with the Rosebud-Lott Independent School District, the building became the community center. A citizens' organization elects officers each year and conducts major repairs. Barclay Community Center is the site of numerous reunions, meetings, volleyball games, and domino parties. In spring of 1982, with the help of the Falls County extension agent, Barclay initiated the Barclay Beautification Committee to improve the area. The community received special recognition for two years from the Beautify Texas Council during its annual Governor's Community Achievement Awards contest. Barclay's population was seventy-five in 1945 and 100 in 1949, when it also reported five businesses. The population rose to 151 by 1964. It was 125 by 1970 and seventy-two by 1972. In 1990 the population was still reported at seventy-two, but by 2000 it had dropped to fifty-eight.
BIBLIOGRAPHY:Roy Eddins, ed., and Old Settlers and Veterans Association of Falls County, comp., History of Falls County, Texas (Marlin, Texas?, 1947). Lillian S. St. Romain, Western Falls County, Texas (Austin: Texas State Historical Association, 1951).
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Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.