Johnson County Judge Roger Harmon called longtime resident W.E. “Jack” Carlton a good friend and a walking encyclopedia of Johnson County.
“It’s just a great loss to our community and a loss of Jack’s love and sense of history, which was just unmatched,” Harmon said.
Cleburne resident Bob McAlister, a member of the Johnson County Historical Commission, agreed.
“Jack was that rare example of the common man who becomes an uncommon man, both through his love of family and his community,” McAlister said. “In all the years I knew Jack I’ve never heard him say an unkind or disparaging word about anyone.”
Numerous Cleburne and Johnson County residents expressed similar sentiments about Carlton, 84, who passed away Friday in Rio Vista, praising his love of history and tireless promotion of Cleburne and the county.
“We’ve lost a good man and a scholar of our area,” Johnson County Commissioner Rick Bailey said. “Jack was always pumped up and excited about what was going on in the county whether it was Market Square or the railroad museum project.
“I was visiting with him recently and he was talking about how January marked the 100th anniversary of the Brazos Point bridge and how that brought in and opened up trade in Johnson County from other counties. He was telling me how you can still see the old wagon tracks in the limestone where wagons crossed the river before the bridge was there. I actually went down and looked and sure enough, they’re still there. It’s pretty cool.
“But Jack, it was just a joy to listen to his stories and how well he remembered the history of this county. All his involvement and participation in the community through the years really needs to be remembered.”
Former County Commissioner R.C. McFall felt much the same.