One Of The First Houses Ever Built In Abilene Is Still Standing
When Abilene was first settled, most settlers lived in tents or covered wagons. It is believed that the oldest still-standing home in Abilene, Texas is at 342 Poplar Street on Abilene's southside. The home was built in 1882, by Mr. and Mrs. Elijah Watson who came from Kentucky and settled in Abilene, According to the Stone Owl Institute.
Watson's son, Will, was born in the house in 1884. Will Watson lived in the house until he passed away in 1963. Since Will's passing the house has been remodeled, restored, and is being lived in today.
LOOK These Are Abilene's Oldest Homes From The 1880s
Abilene historian Jay Moore told me that a lot of the other homes that were built around that same time period have been either torn down, destroyed by time, or repurposed. The Stone Owl Institute lists the five longest-standing homes in Abilene.
Will Watson became more famous than Abilene's oldest standing house. Because Will was better known in Abilene as "Sheriff Watson" (although, Will Watson was never a real sheriff) liked riding around Abilene on his White Horse dressed up like a cowboy wearing a cowboy hat and a star on his chest.
Sheriff Will Watson went on to help organize and grow the West Texas Fair and Rodeo in Taylor County. He is also known as the originator of the Hardin Simmons University (HSU) Six White Horses program.
During a parade in downtown Abilene, Watson was asked to ride his white horse as he marched in front of the Hardin Simmons marching band. Thus, the six white horses lead the HSU marching band in all parades.
The most interesting part is the fact that Sheriff Watson as he called himself was the great-grandson of US President Zachary Taylor, and Will's mother was the granddaughter. So, the oldest built home in Abilene has its own history, but so did the occupants that resided in Abilene's oldest house still standing was built in 1882.