Williamson County has many small villages and communities scattered across the expanse of the area. Some are gone with few signs of life to show their place in history, but some are still vital, and growing. Richard Wear and I visited his hometown of Andice a few days ago and found it alive with memories of the past as well as faith in the future. I asked Richard how the village got it name.
He replied with a sly grin, “The store had a sign on the façade that originally said ‘Beer and Ice,’ but the Beer part fell off and that left ‘and Ice,’ and that is how it got its name.” I didn’t really fall for that story, even though it is a good one, so I dug a little deeper. I found the real story just as interesting. The area was first called Stapp for an early settler who built a church/school building in the 1850s. (The Stapp family still own property in the area.) In the 1870s the storeowner, Andrew Jackson, applied for a post office which he called Berry’s Creek. It closed three years later. In the 1890s William Isaac Newton applied for a post office with the name of his son, Audice. The postal service in Washington miss read the name and granted a post office with the name of Andice. So there are two stories, both charming, we can take our pick.
While in the area Richard pointed out old farms, schools, and events of the past. One school, Whitehouse, which was once filled with the laughter and lessons of 30 or so students is now gone without a trace. Another school, Smart, has a few rocks showing the foundations of the building. This was Richard’s first and second grade school. He said his teacher, Mrs. Stapp, required all her students learn to read at an early age. This gave them an advantage as they moved into the higher grades. Mrs. Stapp was an excellent seamstress. Should a kid come to school with a torn garment, she would let them go into a closet, hand out the offending shirt or pants, and she would repair them. We drove by Richard’s folks home place and admired a new structure, St. Catherine’s Chapel, built by his brother James. This handsome building, paying homage to their mother, gives family and pilgrims an opportunity for prayer. Just a way down the road Richard pointed out the large stock tank Mr. Wear had built for his cattle as well as a swimming hole for all the kids in the neighborhood. Further on, we opened a gate, drove through, and were quickly into a field of cedars and mesquite. Richard said when he was a kid this was his fathers cotton field. He said it still made him sweat just seeing the place. Stapp and Berry’s creek come together here with a few pools of water still showing in this dry, hot weather. And sure enough where there is a creek there were campsites for the Indians. We searched the ground and found many flint flakes where the original owners had worked their projectile points.
We returned to Andice and the local store and café. We ordered hamburgers. Now if you haven’t had a ‘real hamburger’ in some time, this is the place to go. The buns were hot, the lettuce crisp, the tomatoes ripe, pickles tart, and the meat cooked just right. A perfect meal for a couple of old guys making a trip into the past.
Hollis Baker 17 August 2009