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Athens, TX

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Athens. 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

?, Athens, TX, United States
#9413 of the Texas Historical Marker series
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The 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

201 S. Prairieville St., Athens, TX, United States
#9414 of the Texas Historical Marker series
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Site 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

914 N. Needmore St., Athens, TX, United States
#10344 of the Texas Historical Marker series
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Carroll 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

?, Athens, TX, United States
#10347 of the Texas Historical Marker series
%22courthouse under the oaks%22 historical marker, athens, tx img 0577

Courts 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

Courthouse lawn, Athens, TX, United States
#10350 of the Texas Historical Marker series
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Rupert 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

?, Athens, TX, United States
#10351 of the Texas Historical Marker series
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Faulk-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

217 N. Prarieville St., Athens, TX, United States
#10352 of the Texas Historical Marker series
Machinery from the first factory in athens, athens, texas historical marker (8546739677)

Machinery 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

?, Athens, TX, United States
#10357 of the Texas Historical Marker series
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Richard 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

?, Athens, TX, United States
#10359 of the Texas Historical Marker series
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Henderson 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

?, Athens, TX, United States
#10362 of the Texas Historical Marker series
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Henderson 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

?, Athens, TX, United States
#10363 of the Texas Historical Marker series
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Joseph 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

?, Athens, TX, United States
#10365 of the Texas Historical Marker series
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Meredith 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

?, Athens, TX, United States
#10367 of the Texas Historical Marker series
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Owen 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

?, Athens, TX, United States
#10369 of the Texas Historical Marker series
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Pilgrim'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

?, Athens, TX, United States
#10371 of the Texas Historical Marker series
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Pioneer 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

?, Athens, TX, United States
#10372 of the Texas Historical Marker series
Henderson county pottery industry, athens, texas historical marker (8547837452)

Henderson 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

?, Athens, TX, United States
#10373 of the Texas Historical Marker series
William richardson, athens, texas historical marker (8525155284)

William 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

?, Athens, TX, United States
#10376 of the Texas Historical Marker series
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Dulcinea 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

?, Athens, TX, United States
#10343 of the Texas Historical Marker series
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Barker 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

?, Athens, TX, United States
#12009 of the Texas Historical Marker series

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