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Ponder’s history to be marked

Profile image for By Bj Lewis / Staff Writer
By Bj Lewis / Staff Writer

Ponder will celebrate its history Saturday with the unveiling of an official state historical marker by the Texas Historical Commission.

The 11 a.m. marker dedication will be conducted at the flagpole at the intersection of West Bailey Street and FM156. The event will follow the town’s annual Frontier Day Celebration parade as the community recognizes its history.

“It’s pretty exciting. It lets people know where Ponder started,” said Sheri Clearman, town secretary. “Not everyone who comes here knows that it was a big farming community and a lot of important people started here.”

Clearman sponsored the marker at the behest of one of Ponder’s eldest residents, Mary Brooks.

“She has wanted a marker for a long, long time. She came to me and asked if the town would sponsor one. And I said, ‘of course,’” Clearman said.

 “That lady stayed on my tail for a year and half until we got it done.”

Clearman touted the Frontier Day Celebration, which will feature vendor booths, a dunk tank that she will be in, barbecue cook-offs and games throughout the day.

Ponder, located in the western part of Denton County, is a town that was on the to-do list for the state historical commission, said Beth Stribling, chairwoman of markers for the Denton County Historical Commission.

“It’s important to recognize the history of all these towns established in Denton County. Before we could do anything about it, Ponder contacted us,” Stribling said. “This is the way we really wanted to do it. We want the community to come to us.”

Stribling said the process is interesting to see develop and to see the historical narratives prepared for the town, and to see how the county is interconnected.

Stribling said two of the early settlers in the Ponder area were Silas Christal and his wife, Mary Elizabeth (Burnett) Christal, from Macon, Mo. The Christals came to the area in 1855 with their 12 children and settled on the banks of Denton Creek, west of the future site of Ponder. Christal built an ox-driven mill to grind corn and later built a school on his property.

The town was originally called Gerald and was established in 1886 when the Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe Railway built a line from Fort Worth to Indian Territory, now present-day Oklahoma.

Later the town would require a name change as another town in Texas was named Gerald. The town name was changed to Ponder in honor of William A. Ponder, a prominent landowner, and later incorporated in 1966 with a population of 208.

Stribling said the Ponder Rodeo, a well-known event in previous years, was also quite significant to the town’s history.

“There is so much history to Denton County. With every marker we are able to apply, we feel like we are getting a little bit more of the history recorded so future generations can know the history of this county,” Stribling said.

“Narrative becomes a recorded record. It goes into the archives at the state, but it also goes into our archives and is available to anyone who comes into Denton County. There’s a lot of pride for those receiving the marker, especially for the town of Ponder. There is a lot of pride receiving this.”

BJ LEWIS can be reached at 940-566-6875. His e-mail address is .