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Kerens, TX

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Kerens. The Texas & St. Louis Railway built its narrow gauge line through Navarro County in 1881 and surveyed a 270-acre townsite here. The settlement was named for Richard C. Kerens (1842-1918), an official of the railroad in St. Louis, Missouri, who evidently never saw the town. Streets and blocks were laid out in relation to the railroad, and some streets were named for railroad officials: Senter, Humphreys, Goodman, and Sloss, renamed for Kerens' daughter Mrs. Hamilton Colket, who visited here in 1941. The railroad became standard gauge in 1887, and was renamed St. Louis Southwestern in 1891. Isolated cotton farmers moved from the prairie into the new town, and many residents of Wadeville (then two miles south) transferred their homes and businesses. In 1883 Theophilus Smith Daniel (1851-1933) moved his 1878 house from Wadeville to 200 S. Throckmorton Street in Kerens. Daniel was elected in 1888 to the first city council and was president of the first bank, established in 1900. The first cotton gin was built in 1883, and cotton seed oil was processed after 1899. City gins produced 23,000 bales of cotton in 1933. The building of a state highway in 1931 along Second Street, and decline of the cotton industry greatly altered Kerens' growth and economy. Texas Sesquicentennial 1836 - 1986 #7222

100 block of SW 1st St. at S. Colket St., Kerens, TX, United States
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Kerens Presbyterian Church. This congregation originated in the community of Wadeville (3 mi. S), where a Cumberland Presbyterian Church was organized at the home of Noble Wade (1808-1878) on June 5, 1869. The first church building also served as a school and Masonic Lodge hall. In 1881, when Kerens was founded along the railroad, the congregation purchased this lot and completed a church building in 1883. They shared this facility with the Baptists and the Methodists for several years. Four members of this church have entered full-time Christian ministry. #7223

301 SE Third St., Kerens, TX, United States
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Prairie Point Church and Cemetery. Pioneer area settlers met in 1855 to organize a Methodist Episcopal Church, South. Five years later, the congregation built a sanctuary at this site on land donated by charter member Zachariah Westbrook (1809-1878) and his wife, Mary (Agnew) (1813-1896). The Westbrooks' donation also included the original tract of the adjacent cemetery. The earliest marked grave there is for A. J. Morgan, who died in 1871. Prairie Point Methodist Church disbanded in 1910, but the building continues in use as a community center for the surrounding rural area. Texas Sesquicentennial 1836 - 1986 #11625

?, Kerens, TX, United States
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Josiah Martin Daniel. (January 27, 1880 - February 20, 1968) Josiah "Joe" Martin Daniel was born in Wadeville to Theophilus Smith Daniel and Lelia Wisener Daniel. He was reared in Kerens and attended military school in North Carolina, graduating in 1900. He attended the University of Texas at Austin, but left in 1904 when a boll weevil infestation in Navarro County destroyed his family's cotton crop and their finances were diminished. Daniel worked at the First National Bank of Kerens and married Nellie Mae Hines of Tyler. Widowed in 1907, he married Jessie Mae Johnson of Corsicana in 1911. By 1913 he was a partner in the insurance firm of Daniel & Stockton. He joined the Texas National Guard and became mayor of Kerens. He was reelected twice and resigned in 1916 to go on active duty for the National Guard. He was called up to the U. S. Army in its operations in west Texas in pursuit of the Mexican revolutionary Pancho Villa. During World War I he served in the army's 36th Division and was discharged as a captain. Joe Daniel went to work for the Lone Star Gas Company about 1929. He moved to Abilene in 1931, and to Corsicana in 1937. During and after World War Ii Daniel served in the Texas State Guard, retiring in 1954 with the rank of colonel. Daniel assisted Gov. Beauford Jester of Corsicana in creating the Veterans Affairs Commission in 1947. As its first chairman, he led the commission in providing valuable services to more than one million Texas veterans. Joe and Jessie Daniel returned to Kerens in 1952, shortly after his retirement from business, and his Veterans Commission term ended in 1953. Daniel served Kerens and Navarro County in a variety of civic, economic and historic preservation activities. (2000) #12112

?, Kerens, TX, United States
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Rural Shade. As early as 1850 there were several families living in the area near the Wildcat Ferry on the Trinity River. In 1852 a gravel road designed to be the best route from Corsicana to the Wildcat Ferry ran directly through this community. In 1858 Washington Ingram became the first postmaster of Rural Shade. A school district was created in 1867. In 1888, Rural Shade Baptist Church of Christ was established and land was deeded to the community for a school and a church to be shared by the Methodist Episcopal, Christian, and primitive and missionary Baptist churches. Many early settlers were farmers living in log cabins with dirt floors. By the turn of the century there were several fine large homes, most still surrounded by barns filled with livestock. In 1917 church membership was 237. School enrollment had reached 305 pupils by 1929. Rural free delivery began in 1912; Rural Shade continued to grow until World War II, when many young people departed for cities and did not return. In 1953 a community center was created in the school building on this site. Ex-students reunited each July through the 20th century. (1998) #12114

?, Kerens, TX, United States
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Long Prairie Cemetery. In 1870, Lawrence S. Taylor sold five acres of land for school and church purposes to Nelson Owen, J.T. Selman and W.B. Gage, trustees of the Long Prairie School District. The Long Prairie School and the Long Prairie Methodist Church shared the site, which the community also used as a cemetery. The school district consolidated into the Kerens Independent School District in 1949. Around that same time, the church merged into the Kerens Methodist Church, and the school district and the church sold their respective land at this site to the Long Prairie Cemetery Association. The first burial at the graveyard, which is also known as Alligator Cemetery, is that of Sallie K. Burt, a child who died in 1872. Many graves are marked with fraternal organization symbols, and several belong to veterans who fought in conflicts dating back to the Civil War. The names of these Long Prairie residents and their families, friends and neighbors serve as reminders of the community's history, from settlement through hardships and success. Historic Texas Cemetery - 2003 #13025

CR 3230, Kerens, TX, United States

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