Wise as it was: What’s in a name? Rhome, Texas

By Messenger Staff | Published Saturday, March 17, 2018

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Rhome, which was established around 1859, was named Rhome in 1883, after Bryon Crandall Rhome, a prominent citizen who was instrumental in revitalizing the area.

Byron Crandall Rhome

Byron Crandall Rhome was born Nov. 22, 1837, in Richmond County, Ga. He was descended on his mother’s side from the Rev. John Crandall (1618-1676), a prominent Baptist minister who was a founding settler of Westerly, R.I.

His mother died in 1840, and he and his remaining family moved to Jacksonville, Cherokee County, Texas, in the 1850s.

Rhome married Ella Elizabeth Loftin in 1864. He met her while canvassing for clothes for his unit during the Civil War. They had six children, three of whom lived to adulthood. Ella Rhome died in 1879, and Rhome married Frances Crockett Day in 1880. They had one son.

Rhome served in the Confederate Army in the 18th Texas Infantry. News accounts refer to him as “Colonel B.C. Rhome,” but there is dispute about that rank having ever been achieved. He entered the war as a seargent and was promoted to first lieutenant. There was some effort to promote him to captain, but it seems that never materialized due to the way the war was going. According to a family researcher, the title of colonel was an honorary title bestowed on Rhome sometime after the Civil War.

Rhome moved to Wise County sometime after 1876. He was involved in convincing the Fort Worth-Denver Railway to come through his little town, known in the past as Yellow Dog, Prairie Point, Rosanne, Calif and Scuffletown, and finally named Rhome in his honor in 1883.

A former ranch hand recalled that after the railroad came to town, Rhome sought for his town to become the county seat of Wise and to have a post office. He tried to persuade the postmaster in Decatur to relocate to Rhome, but the postmaster was unwilling. After a few drinks one night, Rhome and some of his hands drove a large wagon to Decatur and loaded the small post office onto the wagon and took it to Rhome. Decatur soon reclaimed their post office, and Rhome’s own post office followed.

Rhome moved to Fort Worth in 1896. He was instrumental in establishing the Fort Worth Stock Show.

Rhome was best known for being the first rancher to successfully raise Hereford cattle in Texas. His prize bull, Harkaway, was the first Hereford to win the Grand Champion Blue Ribbon at the Texas State Fair. In his time, he was the best known breeder of pure-bred Hereford in the Southwest.

He was a prominent member of the Democratic Party and was asked several times to consider running for governor, but he repeatedly refused to run, saying he had no time for that sort of thing.

He was described as a loyal family man who was willing to take chances. His uncle, John Rhome, lived with him until his death in 1881. The uncle was buried on the ranch. When Byron moved to Fort Worth, he had his uncle’s remains moved to the cemetery in Fort Worth where Rhome himself would eventually be buried, claiming he didn’t want to leave any family behind.

He died from a stroke on Nov. 10, 1919, at the age of 81.

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