Parker County Today November 2017 - Page 32

our history: PC GHOST TOWNS (Part 7) Places of Parker County Past BY MEL W RHODES Pulling a fast one on sin; a pretty girl’s name; and a heroic Knight — Garner and Adell … and a bit more GARNER 
 30 Like many other frontier communi- ties, Garner, located 14 miles north- west of the county seat on FM 113, put down tenuous roots in a hard land. In the mid-1850s when West Parker County settlement began, hostile Indians were still very much a part of the frontier equation. Settlers put up cabins in clearings fringed by blackjack timber and kept a rifle at the ready to fend off, hopefully kill, Comanche or Kiowa raiders trailing through the area. Some 20 families set up house- keeping in the wild place and by 1877 had built a church and named the place Trapp(e) Spring. (The site was located in the John C. Trappe Survey.)

 During the 1880s the commu- nity grew up about a half-mile from the original site, and in 1890, the Government granted the town’s peti- tion for a post office. The name Trappe Spring, didn’t cut it with the Postal Service, so, in recognition of a local cotton gin operator’s prominence, townsfolk chose the name “Garner.” (The man was not named “Garner,” but “Bumgarner,” C.B. Bumgarner. It’s a guess as to why they dropped the “Bum.”

 Once the tracks of the Weatherford, Mineral Wells & Northwestern Railway reached Garner, up until then a church and school center, the town developed into a retail hub and shipping point. But it never amounted to much, numbers-wise … unless you count 42. William A. Thomas, 12, and Walter Earl, 14, of Garner (Trappe Spring), reportedly came up with the popular domino game “42.” Here’s how it goes:

In 1887, William and Walter were caught red-handed # playing cards in a hayloft, and their devout Baptist parents were not amused; they took a dim view of card playing, which to their mind was sinful and associated with gambling and likely strong drink and loose women. The boys were chastised for the indiscre- tion but soon were working feverishly to figure out how to play cards without cards, by using domi- noes.

By fall they’d done it: created a four-player, trick-taking domino game with bidding and trumps. The boys’ folks cottoned to dominoes, presumably a more godly gaming medium than cards, and thought the new game a splendid idea. To say, “the dot-counting game caught on,” would be an understatement. Today it is referred to as “The National Game of Texas.”

 While Garner is well known for its contribution to the world of gaming, it is also remembered for a war hero who called it home, one Jack Llewellyn Knight. The Medal of Honor recipient, born in 1917 on a farm four miles north of Garner, graduated from Garner High School and in 1938 from Weatherford Junior College. During World War II, he and his brothers enlisted in Troop F, 124th Calvary, in Mineral Wells. The Texas National Guard unit was called up in 1940 and posted to India, given the task of opening a road between India and China — the Burma Road. During one of the last battles fought on the road, on Feb. 2, 1945, Knight distinguished himself on the field of battle.  According to the medal cita- tion:
“Lt. Jack Knight was leading his troop against heavy concentra- tions of enemy mortar, artillery, and small-arms fire. After taking the objective they encountered a nest of enemy pillboxes. Preceding his men he singlehandedly knocked out two pillboxes and killed the occupants in several foxholes before being blinded by a grenade. Jack’s brother Curtis rushed to his aid but was himself struck down by a Japanese bullet. Jack ordered his men to Curtis’s aid, while he continued to lead the assault until he was mortally wound- ed. His gallantry was responsible for