Jimmy Ruth (J.R.) Hilliard Martin grew up in the shadow of The Flower Mound and has always had a passion for her community. Recently, that passion manifested itself to an important purpose.
She recently penned Images of America: Flower Mound, a new pictorial book from Arcadia Publishing that recounts the history of the community of Flower Mound in the form of photographs, oral stories, and facts that have been passed down through generations.
Martin, who is part of the oldest continuously residing family in Flower Mound, said she was contacted by the publisher of the book series which highlights towns and cities across America requesting her to write the book.
The book took her more than a year to write, and while she was not entirely sure she wanted to do it at first, it definitely became a labor of love.
“I knew a lot of the old families that had settled the community that is now called Flower Mound,” Martin said. “My first priority was to reach as many of them as I could and ask for old pictures and have them share their memories of days long past. Some I had not talked to or visited in 50 years. But all were most gracious and kind and shared their pictures, their time and their memories with me.
“Some I could not locate and there were many that have passed on, and I couldn’t find anyone to tell me their stories. The book covers a time span of a community that was here from 1844-1960, before there was a town named Flower Mound. By the time the book was complete, it had become a labor of love and I felt as though I had personally visited with the people in the pictures.”
The town was incorporated in 1961 and its official name is derived from a mound that rises 50 feet above the surrounding flat Blackland Prairie. In the springtime, it is covered with beautiful wildflowers, thus the name.
Inhabitants have never lived on the mound. The rich soil was good farmland and its grass gave support for raising cattle. In the early years, nothing was known of the abundant gas shale that rested beneath its soil. While the modern town of Flower Mound has a 50-year history, past generations also have a story to tell.
Martin said she was impressed with the sacrifices local inhabitants made in the area to keep the community thriving, and said if there is one thing she wants to get across with her book, it is just that.
“I hope the realization [sets in] that nothing good ever comes without a price being paid by someone,” Martin said. “In order for the town of Flower Mound to come into existence, these strong pioneers of this community laid the foundation. They gave credence to the American Dream of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness when their wagon wheels finally stopped in this big, uninhabited, open prairie.”
In the book, Martin describes the hardships of getting around the area in the 1950s when what is now known as FM 2499 was a one-lane road, “with only the minimal amount of gravel.”
“If it rained, the mud turned to slippery, sticky slime that clung to shoes and made them look like snow shoes as the substance accumulated around anything it touched.”
Martin’s father, Ernest Hilliard, became a county commissioner during that time and was eventually able to convince the Corps of Engineers to build an all-weather road. Later he got the state to adopt and maintain the road.
“There’s always going to be change. The only thing in Flower Mound that has remained a constant down through the years is the Mound. It stands today, as it has for decades, silently watching as the community that surrounds it constantly re-invents itself and time moves on, because, nothing lasts forever.”
Arcadia Sales & Marketing Specialist Suzanne Lynch said the response to the book has been great so far.
“There has already been a lot of excitement and support for this book that published on Oct. 22,” Lynch said. “We’ve had a sales representative in town and the book is now available at local retailers in Flower Mound and Highland Village, and online at Amazon.com and ArcadiaPublishing.com.”
Years come and years go and time and people change.
The place where houses now are built once was open range.
People came to settle and began to farm the land
Corn grew and cattle grazed
‘Round what now is Flower Mound.
-J.R. Martin, 1972