To day we left Sumpter and after traveling over a very bad and muddy road for 24 miles we arrived at Livingston & stoped at Andress Hotel. expenses of the day $4.50. weather clear & very warm.
Livingston, Texas Hotels. The first hotels in the county were located at Swartwout and Drew's Landing, and the Andress Hotel in Livingston had the distinction of being the third. It was established around 1848, and was a combination restaurant, saloon, grocery store, livery stable, bank, post office, stage station, and frequently the only office for the town's businessmen. James Andress built his hotel south of the present courthouse, where Pedigo's Furniture Store is now located. It was a center of bustling activity for many years, and Sam Houston attended dances there. The hotel records for the years 1851-1856 are available today.
Andress Inn customers, August 1851: Wm. Fields, Charley Cleveland, Arthur P. Garner, Wm. Agee, John Perrins, John P. Kale, Samuel Rowe, K.B. DeWalt, James H. McCardell, M. Darby, J. W. Knight, Oliver Garner, D.D. Moore, Robert Williamson, James Hickman, John H. Jones, John Victory, Wm. L. Gates. J. L. Neyland, Wiley I. Peace, John English, Wiley Harper, Alex Weathers, W. H. Gee, G. W. Nelson, W. L. Knight, Elby Curtis, J. M. Williams, John Culp, Jackson Long, Enoch Jones, Jack Jones, E. T. Wingate, Isaac Williams, W. H. Carter, James Butler, E. A. Burrell, Col. Buckner.
The story of the old Keys Hotel as told by Mrs. W. T. Epperson (from POLK COUNTY ENTERPRISE, October 13, 1938) "It was in the year of 1860 when I was a child of four years, we arrived at the Andress' Inn by way of stage coach. The Inn, situated on the south side of the present courthouse of Polk County, was the only hostelry in town.
"It consisted of two large rooms and a hall downstairs, two rooms upstairs, and a kitchen out in the back yard. Here the meals were prepared on A huge fireplace. The large dinner bell that could be heard all over the town, is now owned by the Masonic Lodge of Livingston.
"The bedsteads for the guests were hand carved and laced together with ropes that served as springs. Sills of the Inn were hand hewed logs about 12 x 12. As the county prospered, a new courthouse was built and the old courthouse of one large room was purchased by Mr. Andress. This he attached to the Inn and used it as a dining room. In this room square dances were enjoyed.
"The passing of Mr. and Mrs. Andress left the Inn to their only heir and daughter, Mrs. H. C. Keys, who as proprietress, added several rooms and discarded the kitchen in the yard for a "modern" attached kitchen with a cook stove.
"The name of the house was then known as the Keys Hotel. In later years, Mrs. Epperson, granddaughter-in-law of Mrs. Keys, took charge of the hotel and remained its proprietress until 1907, when the property was sold for building purposes."