Desdemona was settled by C. C. Blair in 1860, and in 1875, land was pre-empted by Benjamin and William Funderburg. By 1900 the population was 340 people with five stores. The most prominent business was operated by Capt. A. J. O'Rear.
Desdemona rode to fame under the name of "Hogtown" in the years between 1917 to 1922. It stands today a peaceful little village on the banks of Hog Creek near the eastern line of the county.
When old King Oil brought in 30,000 people, Desdemona had three banks, seven filling stations, ten grocery stores, two general merchandise stores, a post office, three barber shops, two blacksmith shops, three saloons, two medical doctors, one of them being Dr. Snodgrass, one drug store, 1,000 oil derricks within the city limits.
On January 6, 1921, the Lone Star Hotel and Cafe was burned with total damage of $20,000 and two lives, two women from a vaudeville -- a mother and her daughter. The hotel was situated next to the Wiley Theatre and was one of the largest in town. The fire started in the cafe.
On April 5, 2014, my husband, Tom, our son, Brian, and I took a day trip over to Desdemona for a look at the ghost town of "Hogtown" as it was called before the oil boom. Desdemona, a peaceful little village on the banks of Hog Creek, a tributary of Leon River, near the eastern line of Eastland county, was settled by C. C. Blair in 1860, and in 1871, land was pre-empted by Benjamin and William Funderburg. The town of Desdemona was a well established community by the 1870's. My great great grandfather, William Henry Funderburg and his brother, David pre-empted the land on which Desdemona is built (History of Eastland County, Texas). The Funderburg brothers sold their pre-empted land later to William Brown. I had already sent and recieve copies of the land records for William and David. We had the pleaseure of running into an older gentelman (Brown) and it turned out to be the grandson of this William Brown. He said that he still owned and lived on the land that was owned by the Funderburg's. He said that HIS grandfather homesteaded the land but he may be confused by another piece of land that his grandfather purchased and homesteaded. The reason is,the Funderburg's had already homestaeded their land and sold to Brown. So he said he would show us part of the land and we followed him up the road and he pulled off at a gate and we got out and talked. He said (and pointed) all of the land off the west of that highway was Funderburg land. This man has inherietd much more land over the years from other land dealings from his grandfather. After he left, we went back into this very small town and took photos of the buildings. It consisited of the old bank, grocery store and drug store, that were all run back in the old days by this William Brown and his son. The drug store is now the post office and the store and bank are closed. There was a very small brick building across the street which use to be the jail. That is all that is left of the town. The cemetery down the road, DESDEMONA CEMETERY, is on land donated by the Jones Family for a "public graveyard" in 1880. The Jones bought David W. Funderburg's pre-empted land survey and deeded one acre for the cemetery. There are no Funderburg's buried there as they had all left the area by then. Although there may have been Funderburg's who died in Hogtown, I would not know where they would have been buried. There is an old Ellison Family Cemetry on another road that was established in 1876 for the Ellison family. The Historical Marker along the road says "although intended for family burials, the plot has always been available to friends and others in need." There was no road and it was pretty grown up so we did not want to try going in. We went back into to town as there was a small cafe and we wanted some lunch. We visited the Desdemona First Baptist Church and we were allowed to go in and take pictures. The woodwork had been restored to a beautif shine. The church was established in 1872.
Ben Funderburg, son of Henry M, was an uncle to William Henry and David Washington Funderburg. I have not found land records for Ben from the state of Texas but the did sell his land when the younger men did. Each of the three men purchased 160 acres to homestaeds which lay in Eastland and Erath counties, from an act approved August 12, 1870. William Henry had his land surveyed October 20, 1871. David W. had his surveyed June 15, 1872. William's paperwork from the sell does list his wife as M. A. and shows the name B. Funderburg
David sold his 160 arces in the Milam Preemption to James Ellison for the sum of $500.00 on Nov 19, 1875 in the county of Erath, Patent # 359, Vol 3. file #809
William Henry sold his 160 acres in the Milam Preemption to William Brown for the sum of $500.00 on Nov 20, 1875 in the county of Eastland. Abstract No 139, Patent No 360 in VOL 3, file #808.
Ben sold his 160 acres, in the Milam Preemption, county of Eastland, to James Ellison on Nov 19, 1875, one day before William. Abstract # 140. Patent # 359 in VOL 3, file #808 (this may have sold for $500.00 also but no papers).
William and David next appear on June 25, 1880 in the Agriculture Schedule in Precinct 3, Callahan, Texas.