Cleburne Times-Review, Cleburne, TX

Features / Living

April 11, 2010

John Watson: First Monday Trade Days a longstanding tradition

— I think most of us have heard the expression, “First Monday Trade Days.” At one time, most of the county seats in Texas had a “First Monday.” So, how did they start?

Let’s consider Weatherford’s First Monday Trade Days. According to their Web site: “This is one of the oldest in Texas, dating from the turn of the 20th century. At that time Parker County held court in Weatherford every first Monday of the month, which usually drew large crowds. 

“Some began bringing stray livestock from around the county to sell. After a while others began bringing produce and other items to sell. Soon a local merchant decided to give the market a name, calling it the ‘Stray Day Sale,’ later changing it to ‘First Monday Stray Days,’ and finally to ‘First Monday Trade Days.’”

Since a lot of today’s farmers are part time, working other jobs Monday through Friday, the trade days are now Friday, Saturday and Sunday before the first Monday.

Yet it is still called “First Monday Trade Days.”

The Weatherford Trade Days grounds are on Santa Fe Drive. Off Interstate 20 take exit No. 409 and drive north. The grounds will be on the right.

There you can shop for unique gifts, crafts, antiques and junk. As they say, one man’s junk is another man’s treasure. Those interested in hand tools can find anything there that has been made in the past hundred years, from monkey wrenches to buggy wrenches.

I visited the trade days the first Saturday in April and met some interesting people. My first encounter was with Bill Grisham of Sunshine Rose Porch and Patio, which deals in custom-made Mesquite, Cedar and Pine furniture. One thing that caught my eye was what I would call a “modern antique.” This consisted of a dresser, complete with mirror, made of cedar and set upon the base of an old treadle Singer sewing machine. Remember those?

Someone else was promoting a “Truck Load” sale of carpets and flags.

One display was promoting the National Vietnam War Museum in Mineral Wells. There I met Jim Messinger, who is the treasurer and on the board of directors of the museum. Messinger told me they have now completed the third memorial garden at the site and have started work on the 2,500-square foot temporary visitor center to be opened later this year. He also said that all the wildflowers are now coming into bloom with a lot of bluebonnets. A drive by there would make for good wildflower viewing. The museum, with a Huey helicopter mounted high on a pole beside the road, is one mile east of the Mineral Wells city limit on Texas 180.

Skip Elliott was set up with western saddles, tack and western art. Elliott is a Cleburne native now living in Wichita Falls.

While visiting with one dealer who had a large display of pocket knives, I asked how the business had been for the day. He replied, “Slow. I’ve sharpened more knives than I’ve sold.”

There was an old house across the street from the main market area with tables set up all over the yard with all kinds of old “junk.” One table was covered with white porcelain and glass door knobs. Back in the old days on the farm we used the white porcelain door knobs to go in the hen nests in the hen house as “nest eggs.”

After making the round of all the vendors, looking over all the crafts, artwork, old and new tools and food vendors, I realized there was something missing.

When I sold knickknacks there in the ’60s and early ’70s, a section was set up devoted entirely to livestock. There you could find just about anything from the farm including cattle, horses, sheep, goats, chickens and ducks. Sometimes you might even find a good coon hound to buy. Today, there is no livestock to be found.

After checking with the trade days office, I received a copy of their handout on policies and procedures. Under general policies for all vendors, Item 3, Section D reads: “Only animals allowed on the FMTD grounds are pets. Pets must remain on a leash at all times. Animals are not to be sold or traded.”

Item 3, Section H also caught my attention. “All Vendors must have a current TAX ID number issued by the State of Texas.”

So, this has evolved from an original farmers market that sold livestock and produce to a flea market today filled with licensed dealers.

Well, as the old country song goes, “Time changes everything.”

Now I’m wondering. With the state getting desperate for more money, will the city require me to get a state Tax ID number before they will let me have a garage sale permit so the state can collect taxes on what I sell?   

John Watson is a Cleburne resident who can be reached at

Text Only
Features / Living
  • photo.jpg All dolled up

    Wilma Reed’s doll was fine until her brother, an aspiring doctor, decided to operate on Old Gal. 

    “He thought she had a tumor,” Reed said. “He broke half her head off. After he he saw how her eyes worked, who cares? I drug her around with half her head gone.”

    July 27, 2014 3 Photos

  • photo.jpg Swinging for scholarships

    In a county full of Aggie love there is a group of Longhorn lovers giving scholarships to future University of Texas students.

    The Texas Exes Johnson County Chapter is part of the University of Texas Alumni Association. The Johnson County chapter has met officially for the past 10 years. The organization has several missions which include alumni engagement, communicating UT values and advocacy of the university. But, the Johnson County chapter has decided to focus their attention more on community service and, most importantly, supporting education.

    July 20, 2014 3 Photos

  • PHOTO.tif Artful endeavors

    Nancy Ann Kilpatrick never knew her mother-in-law. But she recently made sure that Jessie Marie Kilpatrick’s legacy as an artist and a mother lives on in Johnson County.

    Nancy Kilpatrick recently donated what J.N. Long Cultural Arts Complex board President Alden Nellis calls a “treasure trove of art” to the complex — a trove that included a number of oil paintings and paintings on ceramics by Jessie Marie Kilpatrick. Nellis said some of the paintings will become part of the complex’s permanent collection, while others will be sold to add funds to the J.N. Long coffers.

    July 13, 2014 3 Photos

  • B1.tif A cut above

     Pat Jacobs, 76, of Burleson and his wife, Nellie, met me at their front door primly dressed in creased, starched jeans, western shirts and silver belt buckles. Their custom western hats were close by. 

    July 6, 2014 3 Photos

  • PHOTO.tif Cleburne hunter responds to Facebook reactions

    Cleburne resident Kendall Jones’ Facebook pictures and posts chronicing her African hunting safari are rife with responses ranging from support to disgust to outright hatred.

    June 29, 2014 4 Photos

  • photo.tif She’s going to Disney World

    It’s no surprise that Mei-Ling Sangsvang can’t walk from one end of Wal-Mart to the other without tiring. 

    Her spine was fused to her brain at birth. She was born without her left kidney, ovaries or a uterus. She has no nerves to her bladder.  

    June 22, 2014 2 Photos

  • photo.tif A childhood connection

    Childhood. Memories tucked away in our minds. 

    Summer bike riding, playing outside until mealtime and jockeying for top place in neighborhood games. Saturdays at the movies. Swimming until yours fingers wrinkle. Drinking lemonade and hearing your stomach slosh when you run. Swinging so high you try to reach the sky. 

    June 15, 2014 3 Photos

  • photo.tif Relay brings families together

    When Joshua pastor Jerry Clements was diagnosed with mantle cell lymphoma, one of the rarest of the non-Hodgkin’s lymphomas, four years ago he said he was scared but he turned to God.

    June 8, 2014 1 Photo

  • PHOTO.tif Cleburne Pregnancy Center is blessed

    The Cleburne Pregnancy Center is moving towards the new age of technology and expanding their services.

    After the center’s ultrasound machine of three years stopped working, Executive Director Corliss Carr and Nurse Manager Cirrie Martin were on the search for a new machine.

    June 1, 2014 5 Photos

  • photo.tif Memorial Day tribute

    A father’s push for education, the deaths of both parents during his youth and an athletic entré to a college scholarship he turned down to join the Marines defined the early life of the late Milton David Hill.

    May 25, 2014 5 Photos

Front page
Latest CTR Videos
Front page
Front page
Front page
Front page
Front page
Front page
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Front page
House Ads
Featured Ads
CTR Sports
Follow us on twitter