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Athens, TX

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8545029515_30caeeb36f_sBlack plaque № 21568 in Athens, TXAthens. Founded 1850. Named for Athens, Greece. Supply and military training headquarters during Civil War. Sent army about 1,000 men. Center for manufacturing and agriculture. Home of annual Old Fiddlers' Contest and of Henderson County Junior College. Black-eyed peas capital of the world. #9413
NophotosqrBlack plaque № 21569 in Athens, TXThe Athens Review. "The Athens Review" was established as a weekly newspaper by J. B. Bishop and George M. Johnson, editors and owners on Dec. 24, 1885. The earliest newspaper in Henderson County, "The Athens Bulletin," had been founded by printer J. H. Cox and Professor J. E. Thomas in 1873, 23 years after the present boundaries of Henderson County were established. It operated for about two years. Equipment owned by "The Athenian" from 1883 through early 1885 was used to print the first issue of "The Athens Review," a six-column, four-page publication with a subscription price of $1.50 a year. In 1886, the paper was bought by William Dixon Bell, a 19-year-old Waco printer, who sold it to J. H. Walford in 1888. Col. R. E. Yantis of Van Zandt County bought it in 1900 and in 1901 published the first issue of "The Athens Daily Review" on June 20. Both newspapers have continued in operation since that time. Throughout its history, "The Athens Review" has served the area as a community newspaper, encouraging community spirit and supporting projects of benefit to the area. Devoted to the development and progress of Athens and Henderson County and their people, the newspaper has been an important element in the area's heritage. #9414
NophotosqrBlack plaque № 22482 in Athens, TXDulcinea Ann Holland Thompson Avriett. (1834-1920) A native of Athens, Georgia, Dulcinea Ann Holland came to Henderson County with her family in 1847. She married E. J. Thompson in 1851. According to local tradition, she named the town of Athens after her birthplace. Following the death of her first husband in the 1860s, Dulcinea married James Avriett in 1867. They were the parents of two sons. She was a founding member of the local Methodist church and a dedicated civic leader. #10343
NophotosqrBlack plaque № 22483 in Athens, TXSite of Blackshear/Fisher School. Athens' first public school for African Americans was established in 1876-77. Athens Colored School held classes in a Baptist church and later in a 2-room schoolhouse erected at this site. Richard C. Fisher, who joined the school's faculty in 1914 and who later became principal, renamed the school Blackshear to honor a former professor at Prairie View College. The school was accredited in 1924. A new school, built here in 1932, was renamed for Professor R. C. Fisher upon his death in 1934. Fisher High School closed in 1966 with the integration of schools in Athens. #10344
NophotosqrBlack plaque № 22486 in Athens, TXCarroll Springs Methodist Church. This congregation traces its history through several Henderson County Methodist churches. Earliest worship services in Carroll Springs were held in private homes, with the Rev. William D. Sansom occasionally leading them. Worshipers went to county line after a Methodist church was organized there in 1859. The church was moved to New Hope in 1865 with the Rev. Joseph Franklin Lambright as pastor. He continued as the minister when the congregation moved to Coolsprings in 1872. In 1883, the Methodist congregation relocated to Carroll Springs, where it has remained since that time. The forty charter members were served by J. F. Lambright until his resignation in 1891. Other pastors have included his son, the Rev. J. M. M. Lambright, and the Rev. R. E. Gibbs. Carroll Springs Methodist Church traditionally has held a revival under the brush arbor beginning the first Sunday in August. An important part of this rural community, the church continues to reflect the ideals and traditions of its founders. Descendants of many of the charter members still worship here. #10347
%22courthouse_under_the_oaks%22_historical_marker,_athens,_tx_img_0577Black plaque № 22489 in Athens, TXCourts Under the Oaks. Henderson County was established in 1846, the year after Texas was annexed by the United States. In 1850, after previous reductions in the county's original size, the present boundaries were set by the Texas Legislature. The restructuring resulted in the need for a new county seat, and the Legislature appointed a commissioners court to select possible sites and to conduct an election that would determine the permanent seat of government. The voters chose the property of Matthew Cartwright, a prominent East Texas landowner, for the townsite of Athens. In Samuel Huffer's survey for the new county seat, this site was set aside as the public square. Before a courthouse was constructed here, early county and district court sessions were conducted on the Square under a large shady oak tree. The first district court term, held in October 1850, was presided over by Judge Oran M. Roberts, later a Texas Supreme Court Justice and governor of the state. Cases he heard included charges of murder, larceny, gambling, defaulting jurors and assault and battery. Begun before the development of Athens, the Courts Under the Oaks reflected the democratic goals and ideals of the pioneer settlers of Henderson County. #10350
NophotosqrBlack plaque № 22490 in Athens, TXRupert Talmage Craig. Son of Henry Clay and Dana (Moss) Craig, was born on November 17, 1889, in Shiloh, Kentucky. He began setting type in a print shop at the age of 10 and at the age of 16 became the youngest licensed printer in Kentucky. He worked as a printer for several major U. S. newspapers before coming to work for the "Athens Review" in 1907. He purchased the "Kemp News," a small town newspaper, and became its publisher at the age of 18. Craig married Kentuckian Clara E. Rhodes in 1911 and in 1912 they moved to Chandler, Texas, where he owned the "Chandler Times" newspaper. He purchased the "Athens Review" in 1916. The "Athens Review" became a successful daily newspaper. Craig's distinctive editorials on politics and local events earned him the respect of area citizens and prominent state and national politicians. He served as regent at Texas Woman's University, and was a member of the Texas Economic Commission, the Texas Centennial Commission, and the Texas State Democratic Executive Committee. The Southern Journalism Congress named him "Country Editor of the South" in 1938. Craig sold the "Athens Review" in 1941 after 25 years as publisher. He died in Athens on February 15, 1968; a U. S. Senator attended his funeral. Sesquicentennial of Texas Statehood 1845 - 1995 #10351
NophotosqrBlack plaque № 22491 in Athens, TXFaulk-Gauntt Building. An earlier building at this location housed the law offices of Senator J. J. Faulk and Judge W. L. Faulk. In the early 1890s the site was purchased by J. R. Gauntt, a local businessman. The son of pioneer area settlers, he operated a mercantile store, the Chany Tree, with his brother R. L. Gauntt, and later ran a monument business. In 1896 he commissioned the Hawn Lumber Company to build this two-story brick commercial structure near the rail lines, a primary business location in the early days of Athens. The upstairs area was first occupied by attorneys W. L. and J. J. Faulk. A native of Alabama, William Levin Faulk served as Henderson County judge, district clerk, and director of the Guaranty State Bank of Athens. His cousin James J. Faulk, born in Louisiana, served as county attorney, state representative, district attorney, state senator, special justice of the Texas Court of Civil Appeals, and the first mayor of the City of Athens. The downstairs area first housed the grocery store of Tom Barber. Other tenants in the Faulk-Gauntt Building have included dentists Dr. Dudley Payne and Dr. Thomas Matthews. The structure was later owned by descendants of W. L. Faulk. Recorded Texas Historic Landmark - 1981 #10352
NophotosqrBlack plaque № 22496 in Athens, TXMachinery From First Factory in Athens. Established 1882 (at site 1.5 mi. NE) by local planter H. M. Morrison, to make building brick. Total original machinery consisted of this press and plunger. Press was hand-operated. A mule-drawn swivel ran the plunger, mixing clay dug at the plant site. C. H. Coleman bought into firm in 1891; after Morrison's death in 1899 he became sole owner. Harbison-Walker Refractories Company bought business in 1940; continued making Coleman brick and enriching economy until closing in 1968. These machines are a permanent loan to city of Athens from Harbison-Walker. #10357
NophotosqrBlack plaque № 22498 in Athens, TXRichard Columbus Fisher. (May 20, 1888 - Sept. 4, 1932) A native of Falls County, R. C. Fisher graduated in 1913 from what was then Prairie View Normal College. The following year he began his career in education at Blackshear Colored School in Athens. Fisher later became principal of the school, which grew from a seven-grade facility to twelve-grade accredited high school during his years of leadership. In 1932, students moved into a new brick building, renamed Fisher High School in his honor. #10359
NophotosqrBlack plaque № 22501 in Athens, TXHenderson County C. S. A.. (Star and Wreath) Voted 400-49 for secession. Sent about 1,000 into Confederate Army, with one detachment of 150 having only 13 live to return. Caldwell's farm, three miles northeast, and Fincastle, 19 miles southeast of Athens, had camps of instruction. Confederate supply depot, Fincastle, had stores of grain, mean in charge of Capt. Thomas F. Murchison, who also was county enrolling officer. Wartime manufactures included earthenware jugs and dishes. Other products for C.S.A. were cotton, corn, beef, pork, timber. Cynthia Ann Parker, delivered from Indian captivity 1860 by Sul Ross' Ranger unit, lived during war at Athens. Postmaster-general of Confederacy was John H. Reagan, who had been surveyor and the first probate judge in Henderson County. #10362
NophotosqrBlack plaque № 22502 in Athens, TXHenderson County. Formed from Houston and Nacogdoches counties. Created April 27, 1846; organized August 4, 1846. Named in honor of James Pinckney Henderson, 1808-1858, first governor of the State of Texas. Buffalo, Centerville and Athens (since 1850) have served as county seats. #10363
NophotosqrBlack plaque № 22504 in Athens, TXJoseph Thomas La Rue. (Nov. 18, 1864 - Feb. 13, 1930) Alderman on Athens' first city council (1901). La Rue (town 13 mi. SE) was named for him. Educator, merchant, civic leader, banker, humanitarian, prohibitionist, democrat, historian. Married March 16, 1892, Stella Elvira Parsons. They had seven children. #10365
NophotosqrBlack plaque № 22506 in Athens, TXMeredith Campground and Tabernacle. North Carolina native Eber Meredith, his wife Caroline (Ross), and their four children moved to this area of Henderson County in the 1850s. Eber Meredith bought 320 acres of land in 1859 and purchased an additional 160 acres four years later. In 1875 a schoolhouse was built near the Meredith home. A Methodist church was organized under a brush arbor near the schoolhouse in 1876, and in 1878 Eber Meredith officially deeded ten acres of land for the church. An open-air tabernacle was built that same year, and the first annual camp meeting was held in the summer. The church and camp meeting became known throughout East Texas, and in some years attracted crowds of as many as 2,000 people. One of the area's early settlers, W. A. Barber, died on August 16, 1876, and was buried at the campground. His was the first grave in the cemetery, which eventually grew to include the burials of many early settlers, including Eber and Caroline Meredith and their descendants, as well as veterans of the Civil War, World War I, World War II, and Vietnam. The present tabernacle was erected in 1890. It features a hipped roof with changes in pitch capped by a cupola. Drop shutters cover openings on each side. Recorded Texas Historic Landmark - 1991 #10367
NophotosqrBlack plaque № 22508 in Athens, TXOwen Cemetery. David Allen Owen came to Texas with his first wife, Mary (Langsdon), who died enroute, and their 5 children. They traveled with family members and others from Randolph County, Alabama to Henderson County, Texas in 1851. Owen served as chief justice (county judge) from 1860 to 1869 and was a pioneer member of the Pilgrim's Rest Primitive Baptist Church at Baxter. He later settled in the Mill Run community and set aside part of his land for this cemetery. The earliest marked grave is for Owen's son, Silas Monk Owen, who died in 1873. Friends and neighbors, as well as other Owen family members, are buried here. Tombstones dated before 1900 bear the names of Clayton, Davis, Hanks, Hester, Moon, Ratcliff, Regester, and Rogers. David Allen Owen (1817-1885); his second wife, Lucinda (Woodard) (1834-1925); sons Jefferson Davis (1861-1916), David Randolph (1864-1927), Jordan Wade (1869-1947), Joseph Collins (1875-1930), and Dewitt Judson (1872-1943); and Mary Matilda (Clayton) Pace (1849-1930), a daughter by his first wife, also are buried here. Although many of the graves are unmarked or are marked only with rocks, the Owen Cemetery stands as part of the recorded history of this area of Henderson County. #10369
NophotosqrBlack plaque № 22510 in Athens, TXPilgrim's Rest Primitive Baptist Church. Constituted in Randolph County, Ala., Nov. 23, 1850; opened services here on Baptist Branch, Jan. 1851, during resting of 150 pilgrims in covered wagon caravan led by Samuel Tine Owen, a brother, John Bunyan Owen, and brother-in-law, K. K. Knight. Inspired by beauty of this locality to cancel planned trek to California gold fields, group settled and built a log cabin church here. Thomas Britton was their first pastor. Congregation disbanded shortly after relocating a mile south in 1892. From Pilgrim's Rest sprang several churches of this area. #10371
NophotosqrBlack plaque № 22511 in Athens, TXPioneer Oak. Twin of a tree killed in Courthouse fire, 1886. Judge O. M. Roberts (later Governor of Texas) wrote Oct. 2, 1850, of old oak: "This court is held in woods near center of public square of Athens, under an oak which the public authorities are requested to preserve as a memorial of the habits of the early Texas." Recorded Texas Historic Landmark - 1967 #10372
NophotosqrBlack plaque № 22512 in Athens, TXHenderson County Pottery Industry. Prehistoric Caddoan Indians utilized the abundant deposits of rich clays in this region to make their fine pottery vessels. The modern pottery industry in Henderson County began in 1857, when Levi S. Cogburn (1812-1866), one of a family of potters from Georgia, started making cups, saucers, and plates in Athens. Cogburn's plant operated until shortly after his death in 1866. Industry was reactivated in 1885 by M. K. Miller, who with his sons, started the Athens Pottery Company, first of many tile, brick, and pottery plants in the area. #10373
NophotosqrBlack plaque № 22515 in Athens, TXWilliam Richardson. (Dec. 6, 1805 - May 30, 1864) Born in South Carolina, William Richardson moved to Pickens County, Alabama in 1830. There he married Mary "Polly" Kilpatrick (18131889) on Feb. 13, 1834. Children born to them were John K., James J., Sara F., Margaret C., Martha E., William A., Peter M., Andrew J., Franklin P., Ann, Allen, Texana, Mary M, and Judeth. Richardson moved his family, slaves, and the families of his brothers, Steven Madison and Matthias, to Texas by wagon train, arriving at this location on Dec. 12, 1855. Richardson built a home (1 mi. NE) and became a successful planter. His "Three Circles" cattle brand was recorded in 1855. He was appointed to lay out one of the first roads between Athens and Kaufman. Highway 175 follows much of his original route. He and his brothers helped found the First Baptist Church in Athens. The slaves he brought to Texas were Dinah, Charles, Gin, Rachel, Washington, Henry, Tom, Harrison, Kate, Easter, Til, Carolina, Jane, Sam, Congo, Marion, Mimm, and Jube. All took the Richardson name, and most stayed on with the family after being freed. Later they and their descendants established the San Flat community (1 mi. NNE). William Richardson is buried in the family cemetery (1 mi. NE) along with his wife, two sons, and two grandchildren. Some of the slaves are buried there also. #10376
NophotosqrBlack plaque № 24112 in Athens, TXBarker Cemetery. Hester (Stovall) and Armstead R. Barker struggled to buy the lands they worked for their former masters, W. C. Larkin and Nat Coleman. When Mrs. Barker died in 1893, her husband set aside 4 previous acres of land to be used as a cemetery by the settlers of the Gum Creek community and their descendants. Although Hester was the first person to be interred on this land, several earlier graves were relocated from their original sites. John Ellick, originally buried on the Barker farm in 1866, is the oldest of these. During the Depression, Lazarus Barker was forced to offer the four acres for sale. Concerned citizens of the Gum Creek and Lease Springs communities formed the Barker Cemetery Association in August of 1933, and by December Barker deeded the land to the association. Others donated land for a driveway to the road. Cemetery maintenance proved difficult for the farming families of the area, but in 1958 the Barker Cemetery Improvement Club sparked new development. A chain link fence, an organized list of graves, and a brick entrance were all completed by 1985. In 1997, over 300 graves had been counted in Barker Cemetery. Still in use, the site is a monument to the vision of Hester and Armstead Barker. (1997) #12009
NophotosqrBlack plaque № 24113 in Athens, TXSite of Hawn Lumber Company. As the geographic center of the newly redrawn Henderson County lines, Athens became the county seat in 1850. Charles H. and Lillian (Barksdale) Hawn arrived with a load of lumber on the first train to stop in Athens in 1881. Charles Hawn quickly established a role for himself and his family in the village. Called "adept as an architect and master builder" by the ATHENS REGISTER, Hawn built a new county courthouse in 1885. He also is credited with the design and construction of many early houses in and around Athens, including the residence of Senator J. J. Faulk and his wife in 1882. In December 1886 Charles and Lillian Hawn purchased two acres on this site in order to establish the Hawn Lumber Company. Hawn continued to provide lumber and labor for many of the buildings around the town square as well as settlers' homes. He is credited with constructing the Faulk-Gaunt building and the Gaunt Brothers buildings in downtown Athens, as well as the home of Joseph Thomas La Rue. Charles and Lillian Hawn's second son, William A. Hawn, became president of the company. He inherited family holdings including Charles' several sawmills upon his father's death in 1922. W. A. Hawn served as city commissioner and mayor, postmaster and school board member for the city of Athens. Under his direction, the Hawn Lumber Company remained a strong fixture in the city's building trade. William A. Hawn died in 1960; the company remained in the family until it closed in 1997. From the early development of Athens to the end of the 20th century, the Hawn Lumber Company was instrumental in the city's growth. (1999) #12010
NophotosqrBlack plaque № 24158 in Athens, TXShelby Chapel Church and Cemetery. James Madison Shelby (1814-1889), a native of North Carolina, moved with his large family from Alabama to Texas in the 1870s. They first lived in Smith County, then moved to southeastern Henderson County. There they established a Presbyterian church named Morrison Chapel for the minister who preached there. Services were held in the home of James and Amanda Ann Henderson Shelby until a small building was erected. Church members buried their loved ones in an adjoining cemetery. James Madison Shelby was interred in Morrison Chapel Cemetery upon his death. The extended Shelby family relocated again in 1891, this time to an area three miles northeast of the center of Athens. Amanda Ann Henderson Shelby lived with her daughter and son-in-law, Jeff Decal and Susan Ella Shelby Horn. Mrs. Shelby gave the Horns seven acres of land, reserving two acres for a Presbyterian church and cemetery. Religious services were held in the Horn home until Thomas Dunklin, another Shelby son-in-law, received the contract to construct a church building called Shelby Chapel in 1895. Amanda A. Shelby died in 1896 and was interred with her husband. The first burial in Shelby Chapel Cemetery was that of J. D. and Susan Horn's infant son in 1897. Shelby Chapel and the Athens Cumberland Presbyterian Church were united between 1901 and 1905. The church remained Presbyterian until 1964 when it became a non-denominational community church. Many armed forces veterans are interred here, including Confederate soldiers. Members of Shelby Chapel and their descendants continue to be interred in the cemetery, which remains as a chronicle of area settlers. (1999) #12056
NophotosqrBlack plaque № 24159 in Athens, TXThomas Boucher Wood Family Cemetery. According to family history, Thomas Boucher Wood (1820-1897) was born in Columbus, Mississippi. He attended the University of Louisville in Kentucky in 1843 and again in 1849, at which time he received his doctoral degree in medicine with a thesis on pneumonia. Soon thereafter, Dr. Wood came to this area to farm and practice medicine. He and Susan Amanda Pinson (1833-1873) were married in July 1850. Susan's family were among the earlier pioneers of nearby Mound Prairie in Anderson County. The Wood Family Cemetery is a testament to the harsh conditions of pioneer life. It was established in 1851 when Thomas and Susan's first child, a daughter, was stillborn. Family records indicate that she was buried on the homestead. Thomas and Susan Wood had ten children. Their daughter Mary Josephine (1858-1863) was the next family member to be interred here. The following year the Woods' son, John Felix (1862-1864), died and Susan Amanda Wood miscarried a daughter on the same day. Another unnamed infant girl was stillborn in 1866. Two-year-old Amanda Joe Wood died in 1870. Susan Amanda Wood was buried here in 1873. T. B. Wood and their son, Albert (1853-1879), both succumbed to pneumonia on Albert's twenty-sixth birthday. Another daughter, Tommie Elizabeth Wood Pelham (1856-1884), was buried here next to her four infants. Some of the Wood family slaves are believed to have been buried just outside the family plot. In the late 1990s, Wood descendants returned to the site and restored the cemetery. It serves as a memorial to the Wood family pioneers of Henderson County. (2000) #12057
NophotosqrBlack plaque № 24828 in Athens, TXBushrod W. J. Wofford. Bushrod W. J. Wofford Bushrod William John "Bush" Wofford was born in February 1832 to William M. and Mariah Frances Johnston Wofford in Madison County, Alabama. He grew up an only child in Tippah County, Mississippi. His parents died when he was a young man, and he came to Texas in the early 1850s. In 1852, Wofford married Martha A. Miller of Anderson County, Texas. The following year, he bought 320 acres of the Matthew Goliher Survey near Fincastle (25 mi. Se). He built a house, using hand-hewn logs, handmade bricks and, perhaps, an existing cabin structure. His first son, George M. Wofford, was born in February; Martha died a few months later. Wofford remarried to Frances Eliza Ayres of Tippah County in 1855, bringing her to his Fincastle home. It is believed she initiated additions to the cabin, including a long, front gallery porch, two log rooms and a dog run, and clapboard siding. Between 1855 and 1878, Bush and Eliza had nine children, many of whom lived to become successful residents of Henderson County. During his long life, Wofford worked as a farmer and owned a Fincastle mercantile business, called Wofford & Son. He also served as a lieutenant in a reserve unit from Fincastle during the Civil War. Eliza and Bush moved to Athens in 1890. He died in 1891, and he is buried with Eliza at the Athens City Cemetery. The house remained in Fincastle until 2001, when the family donated it for relocation to this site. Wofford descendants provided funds for the restoration of the house and its use as a museum. (2002) #12760
NophotosqrBlack plaque № 24917 in Athens, TXAthens Cemetery. Athens Cemetery After citizens petitioned for its closure, an unofficial burial ground in this area (Large Lot 13) closed in 1857. That same year, local residents buried prominent planter, Mason and school superintendent William J. Brantley here on one acre donated by Pleasant Tannehill to Masonic Lodge No. 165. Adjoining land was set aside for the interment of a girl, named Ward, who could not be buried in the Masons' Cemetery. The two adjacent burial grounds eventually joined, and further donations of land by Nathaniel Pope Coleman (1823-1888), Joseph Marion la Rue (1825-1887) and Joseph Thomas la Rue (1864-1930) added to what is now known as the pioneer section of this cemetery. An association established in 1922 bought an additional 12 acres from Matthias E. Richardson, Jr. (1850-1919), designating the front portion as a park. A trust initiated in 1959 by Sid Williams Richardson (1891-1959) continues to help fund the site's upkeep. Chronicled here are the generations that forged the rich heritage of the City of Athens, along with veterans of the Indian wars, Civil War, Spanish-American War, World War I, World War II, Korea and Vietnam. Historic Texas Cemetery - 2002 #12860
NophotosqrBlack plaque № 25026 in Athens, TXWalnut Creek Community. Walnut Creek Community As early as 1850, farm families inhabited this area along Walnut Creek. Growing grains, cotton and sugar cane for cash crops, residents also raised livestock and planted family gardens in what became known as the Walnut Creek community. For shipping local products, the closest rail stop to the settlement's center was west, at Daufin. In 1859, residents began worshiping in a brush arbor on a hill above the creek. Nearly 30 years later, in 1884, Mrs. C.T. Scott sold two acres here to trustees of a local Methodist congregation for a sanctuary site. A cemetery developed on land adjoining the church building, used by local Methodists and Baptists, and the first marked grave is that of Sallie E. Weir (d. 1889). In 1899, Henderson County purchased from J.W. Williams an acre adjacent to the church property for Walnut Creek School, which served area children from October through March each year, allowing students to work family lands during the growing season. In 1921, the school district built a brick schoolhouse here; students attended classes in it until consolidation with Athens schools in 1941. As Athens grew and the local economy changed, the Walnut Creek settlement declined in population, but use of the cemetery, which eventually comprised most of the original community center, continued. After a fire in 1939, church members transferred furnishings from the 1914 sanctuary to a congregation that became Crescent Heights Methodist Church. A cemetery board, organized in 1945, maintains and protects the grounds of the graveyard, designated a Historic Texas Cemetery in 2001. In use today, it serves as a reminder of the early agricultural community, a link to the area's history and settlers. (2003) Incising on bottom rim: Researched by John A. & Iona Pinckard Miller #12980
NophotosqrBlack plaque № 25031 in Athens, TXSmith Cemetery. Smith Cemetery Established 1850 Historic Texas Cemetery-2002 #12985
NophotosqrBlack plaque № 25119 in Athens, TXSite of Gum Creek School. Following the close of the Civil War in 1865, Armstead Barker brought his family to this area. Other African American families followed, and their settlement became known as Gum Creek. By the mid-1880s, African American children in the area attended Gum Creek School, which offered classes through the eighth grade. Students met in a one-room frame building. Early teachers included P.H. Eddings, S.H. Wilhite and J.M. Donnell. J.T. Dunnington, Sam Frank, W.H. Barker and C.S. Sharp served as trustees. As in many rural schools, students attended classes from October through March so they could work in the fields for planting and harvesting seasons. The school was part of County District Two. When area white schools combined to form the Baxter School, the Gum Creek facility was sometimes also called Baxter Colored School. In 1902, J.I. Richardson bought land in this vicinity that included the school location. Wade's Chapel A.M.E. Church also used the school building, and in 1920, when Richardson's widow, Nannie, sold the property to school district trustees, the deed stipulated that it continue to be used for both school and church purposes. Following the 1938-39 school term, Gum Creek School closed. Students transferred to Blackshear Public School and Fisher High School in Athens, and the school district sold the property to Wade's Chapel Methodist Church. Dunnington heirs later bought the property, and the building burned in 1942. Today, the history of Gum Creek School represents early efforts to educate the area's African American youth. In the many decades between emancipation and integration, parents and educators strived to provide education as a means to true freedom. (2005) #13083
NophotosqrBlack plaque № 25127 in Athens, TXCarroll Springs Cemetery. The Carroll Springs Methodist Church and a school began meeting at this site in 1883. The following year, A.M. Carroll, who owned property in Henderson and Anderson counties, set aside nearly five acres here to be used for a school, church and cemetery. The community, which derived its name from the Carroll family and nearby springs, began using this site for burials as early as 1859. The earliest marked grave is that of John Buck Hogg, who died in March 1859, although several others are believed to date to that same year. Generations of area pioneer families are buried in the cemetery, which is also the final resting place of veterans of American conflicts dating to the Civil War. Other area residents buried in Carroll Springs Cemetery include ministers and schoolteachers. Although the Carroll Springs School consolidated with the Athens district in 1947, the Methodist Church continues to serve the area. Today, the cemetery is maintained as a perpetual care burial ground, and members and friends of the community gather annually to remember those who have passed on. Historic Texas Cemetery - 2003 #13092
NophotosqrBlack plaque № 25139 in Athens, TXMount Zion Baptist Church. Mount Zion Baptist Church organized in 1873 in the rural Black Jack community of Henderson County. Members met under a brush arbor until 1885, when they built their first sanctuary, a small frame structure. The congregation became a charter affiliate of the Henderson County Baptist Association in 1902. That same year, Mr. and Mrs. Joel Morton donated the sanctuary site to the church to secure its location. The Rev. Malachiah Reeves, a resident of Henderson County and veteran of the Civil War, served as the first pastor and as a trustee of Mount Zion. Since his tenure, many pastors have preached at the church while pursuing studies at Baylor University or Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Most of the church's early members were farmers, and the growth of the congregation was slow due to the sparse settlement of the agricultural community. By 1923, however, the congregation had outgrown its original sanctuary and built a new one. The present sanctuary was built in 1940, with later additions including a fellowship hall and Sunday School classrooms, as well as a baptistery. Until then, baptisms were held at many different locations, including small lakes and the First Baptist Church in Murchison. Today, the Mount Zion congregation is active in mission work, and its buildings provide meeting space for community groups. Regular Sunday School classes, and important part of the church since its formation, provide religious education for members of all ages. Mount Zion Baptist Church continues to serve the Black Jack community as a focal point of activity for area residents. (2005) #13104
NophotosqrBlack plaque № 25305 in Athens, TXJohn Matthews McDonald. North Carolina-born John Matthews McDonald (1827-1883) came to Texas in 1848 and lived first at Larissa, Cherokee Co. and then Mound Prairie, Anderson Co., where his brother Murdoch earlier settled. Two years later, he moved to the young town of Athens and became a teacher and a lawyer. He also served as the town's first mayor. He wed Mary Ann Elizabeth Pinson (1842-1931) in 1858, and the couple had ten children. During the Civil War, McDonald fought with the Confederate Army as part of Hood's Texas Brigade. Active in public service, he held the offices of justice of the peace, county judge and state representative. His pioneer leadership proved vital to the early development of his adopted home. (2005) #13285
Henderson_county_courthouse,_athens,_texas_historical_marker_(8532389219)Black plaque № 25677 in Athens, TXHenderson County Courthouse. The Texas Legislature created Henderson County in 1846. For the next few years, county commissioners met at various locations, including private homes and the communities of Buffalo and Centerville. Samuel Huffer later determined the center of the county was on the Thomas Parmer survey, and Matthew Cartwright secured 160 acres for the new courthouse. In 1850, the county seat moved to Athens, which was incorporated in 1856. County commissioners hired John Loop to construct a log courthouse. It served as the court building for 11 years. In 1860, William Warenskjold began construction on a two-story frame courthouse, which burned in 1885, leaving only the district and county clerk buildings standing. C.H. Hawn & Co. constructed the next courthouse, which was used until 1913. That June, with a design by L.L. Thurmon & Company of Dallas, the commissioners court approved the bid of L.R. Wright & Company to build a new courthouse on the square. Accepted by the court in January 1914, the Henderson County Courthouse exhibits a Classical Revival design. The building is comprised of three floors above a basement, and features a central dome and four three-bay pedimented entries with Tuscan columns. The cross-axial plan is formed from a central block with single bays projecting from each corner. Original detailing includes marble stairways and wainscoting on the interior. Since becoming the county's public center, the courthouse has been the location of the "Old Fiddlers" contest and other events. Today, memorials and tributes to Henderson County veterans, leaders, residents and history are located on the square. Recorded Texas Historic Landmark - 2002 #13831
NophotosqrBlack plaque № 26045 in Athens, TXFirst Baptist Church of Athens. #14327
NophotosqrBlack plaque № 26333 in Athens, TXLaRue, J.T. & S.B. Parsons. #14691
NophotosqrBlack plaque № 26462 in Athens, TXFirst United Presbyterian Church. #14848
NophotosqrBlack plaque № 26622 in Athens, TXColeman, Nat P., Home. #15047
NophotosqrBlack plaque № 26713 in Athens, TXUnited Methodist Church of Athens. #15157
NophotosqrWreay Cemetery black plaque in Athens, TXWreay Cemetery. #15154
NophotosqrWillow Springs Cemetery black plaque in Athens, TXWillow Springs Cemetery. Likely named for a nearby spring, this cemetery has served Southern Henderson County since 1870, when John and Mary Hand conveyed land for use as a burial site. The property was also used for Willow Springs Church and a school. The earliest known burial here is of Amanda E. (Futch) Pace (d. 1873), wife of county commissioner, the Rev. Madison touchstone pace (d. 1925). Others interred here include community leaders, government officials, farmers, and veterans of conflicts dating to the Civil War. The burial ground features curbing, woodmen of the world monuments, and a number of unmarked graves. Today, Willow Springs Cemetery remains an important link to the pioneering families that lived in this area. #16458
NophotosqrRome Cemetery black plaque in Athens, TXRome Cemetery. #16622
NophotosqrHenderson County Jail black plaque in Athens, TX1925 Henderson County Jail. #16722
NophotosqrMt. Providence Baptist Church black plaque in Athens, TXMt. Providence Baptist Church. #17298

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