|Birth: ||Nov. 29, 1817|
|Death: ||May 24, 1888|
A native of Illinois and elder in the Primitive Baptist Church, the Rev. Thomas W. Cotten moved here from Grayson County in 1877. He helped organize Runnels County's first church, the Colorado Baptist Church, in 1878 and served as first pastor. When Runnels County was organized in 1880, his stone house was the temporary courthouse. He married Mrs. Catharine Shaw (McComb) Hobson (1816-86). Six of their nine children reached adulthood.
A stage line connecting Camp Colorado in Coleman County with Fort Concho in Tom Green County had a station at the crossing of the Colorado River, four miles southeast of present Ballinger. A settlement grew up here which at first consisted of one store, a house, and a dugout. Later a school was built across the river. The settlement acquired the name of Walthall.
Nathaniel T. Guest, who had settled at the site in 1869, built the first wood house in 1876. A post office was established on June 6, 1877 with William G. Hightower as the fist postmaster; he also ran the general store. The Walthall Methodist Church was organized in the Archibald Beniah Hutchison home in 1879. The Colorado Baptist Church was organized on December 29, 1878. The latter group worshipped in the Walthall schoolhouse with the Rev. J. T. Averetta being the first pastor. In 1879 Rev. Thomas Wadlington Cotton was chosen pastor and remained with the church until 1884. On January 12, 1880 a petition was signed by 158 qualified voters of the area to organize a new county. On January 12, 1880 the Coleman County Commissioners Court approved the petition, sectioned the new Runnels County into four precincts, and ordered an election of county officials to be held on February 16, 1880. The first commissioners were William Moses Guest, W. G. Preston, P. M. Pemberton and P. S. Turner , with W. W.Copeland as clerk. Sylvester Adams was made county judge; John McEwen Formwalt was made the first sheriff; and Jacob Benjamin Cotten was made the tax assessor-collector.
The Commissioners Court met for the first time on March 10, 1880 and selected Walthall as the temporary county seat with the home of Rev. Thomas Wadlington Cotton as a temporary courthouse. Later, an election on April 14, 1880 made Runnels City the new county seat. The first schoolmaster at Walthall was John Nichols Winters. The last postmaster was Nathaniel T. Guest who closed the office in 1881. When Camp Colorado was closed, there was no need for the telegraph station and Walthall declined. In a few years it was a ghost town. All that remains today is the cemetery.
Catherine Shaw McComb Cotten (1816 - 1886)
Mary Jane Davis (1842 - 1926)*
John Gabriel Cotten (1845 - 1901)*
Jacob Benjamin Cotten (1849 - 1923)*
Joseph Samuel Cotten (1851 - 1927)*
Thomas Milton Cotten (1855 - 1931)*
James Henry Cotten (1859 - 1933)*
Created by: Sandra Brookshire Behne
Record added: Aug 23, 2009
Find A Grave Memorial# 41034608