Texas Historical Marker

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Parramore Post #57, American Legion. Founded in March 1919, the American Legion was established as a World War I veterans' organization. Abilene Post No. 57 was organized on July fourth and chartered in September of that year, one of one hundred such chapters formed in the legion's first six months. Soon after its inception the post was renamed for James Harrison Parramore (1840-1917), one of Abilene's founders and a Civil War veteran who had been a supporter of the local National Guard. The post's first structure was built of natural stone in 1920. The Ladies' Auxiliary was formed in 1922 and chartered in 1925. Legion facilities, expanded in 1937, housed the Ladies' Auxiliary and included what was for many years the only public swimming pool in Abilene. In 1942, World War II veterans were admitted; veterans of the wars in Korea, Vietnam, and the Persian Gulf later became members, as did veterans of other major military conflicts. The legion building was virtually destroyed by fire in 1980, eliminating the post's records. The purpose of the American Legion is "to protect the interests of United States war veterans and their families." The legion has assisted veterans with employment, financial aid, medical care, and government benefits. The members celebrate Memorial Day and Veterans Day with parades and programs. The Parramore post also takes an active role in civic service, working with Abilene's youth and underprivileged citizens. Parramore Post No. 57 continues to uphold the traditions of its founders and remains an integral part of the Abilene community. (1998) #12224

302 East South 11th St., Abilene, TX, United States

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Post Oak Island Lodge #181, A.F. & A.M.. Settled as early as the 1840s, Post Oak Island was one of this area's earliest communities. There, on September 15, 1855, I.J. Kidd, T. Gatlin, P.A. Middleton, M. Gardner and A.S. Harper established a Masonic lodge. On February 2, 1856, the lodge was officially constituted as Post Oak Island Lodge #181, and by October 1860, lodge members had paid the mortgage on their lodge hall. They moved the hall in 1878 to Sam Smith Springs (Lawhon Springs), and in 1901, they moved it again, to Beaukiss. Despite the relatively small population of Beaukiss, the long-standing institution has maintained a high membership, pulled from the area's dispersed rural communities. (2006) #13604

CR 480, Spur 619, Elgin, TX, United States

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P. P. Ackley and the Texas Chisholm Trail. Illinois native Peter Preston Ackley (1858-1940) moved to Texas as a boy. He went on several trail drives in the 1870s and 1880s, bringing cattle from Texas, Nebraska and Canada to Kansas railheads. Starting in the 1920s, Ackley worked to have the Chisholm Trail recognised as a National Highway. In the 1930s he formed the Texas Longhorn Chisholm Trail Association and placed dozens of metal and granite markers along historic cattle trails in several states, Canada and Mexico. Ackley wintered in Donna and placed a trail marker here; a sign outside his house read "End of the Chisholm Trail". His efforts helped to document the era of the cattle drives in the American West.

?, Donna, TX, United States

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White Chapel Cemetery. Coleman County was organized in 1867. The landscape in this area included high grasses, pecan and live oak trees. Deer, turkey, bear and antelope roamed freely. Into this wilderness came such pioneers as John Thomas and Julia Gowens Hamilton, Julia's parents G. A. and Rachel Ann Berryman Gowens, and Rachel's father Benjamin Berryman and his family. The group passed Coleman, choosing instead to settle in this locality. The village of White Chapel grew from the efforts of these settlers and their neighbors. The earliest interment on this burial ground was that of Joseph Shipman, who died in 1884. When land was deeded for a school that year, the cemetery was established on the same site. The school, cemetery and community were known as White Chapel. The Rock Crusher School District was created in 1916 and included White Chapel District #44, but White Chapel voters rejected consolidation in 1917. The White Chapel Baptist Church was moved to the school grounds in 1930. In 1936 the Centennial High School District was formed and older grade levels were consolidated into the new organization. In 1951 all White Chapel students were consolidated into the Centennial District. In 1952 the cemetery was granted a separate deed from the school. Pioneer family names represented in the cemetery are Berryman, Brooks, Collier, Fenton, Gowens, Jameson, Kelley, Hamilton, Nelson, Saunders and Stacy. Three Civil War veterans and several members of the U. S. Armed Forces are interred here. The White Chapel Cemetery remains a chronicle of the early settlers of this wilderness. (1999) #11814

?, Coleman, TX, United States

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Renfro Cemetery #1. John Folkner Renfro, Sr. (1797-1859) and wife, Rebecca Harrison Hicks (1808-1869), moved to Texas in 1839 by wagon from Missouri. In 1840, they settled in this area, known as Renfro Prairie, where they raised ten children and were leaders in the local Methodist church. The family prospered and were helpful to new settlers adjusting to the East Texas life. At least seven members of the family of Moses Warren Spivey (1829-1904), who lived nearby on Bear Creek, share this Renfro burial ground with Berry, Davis, Kirby, Payne and Renfro families. This pioneer cemetery is honored and cared for by the Spivey-Renfro Cemetery Association. #17441

?, , TX, United States

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Bob's Oil Well Greenville, Texas native Luther Bedford "Bob" Robertson (1894-1947), a veteran of World War I, came to Matador in the 1920s. He was a gas station attendant in 1932 when he decided to open a service station here. To promote his new business, he built a wooden oil derrick over the station. He patented his design, and in 1939 replaced the wooden derrick with one of steel that reached 84 feet in height and included lights. Robertson was a gifted businessman and promoter, and he used any opportunity to advertise his operation and attract customers. He kept a cage of live rattlesnakes for the amusement of tourists, and from that initial attraction grew a zoo that included lions, monkeys, coyotes, a white buffalo and other animals. He paid long distance truckers to place advertising signs at strategic points across the nation noting the mileage to Bob's Oil Well in Matador, and they became well known to the motoring public. As a result of his success, Robertson enlarged his operation to include a grocery, cafe and garage. In addition to his business skills, Robertson was an active civic leader in Matador. He was particularly interested in recognizing the efforts of those who served in the military during World War II. Bob Robertson died in 1947, and two weeks later a high wind toppled the steel derrick that had been the trademark of his business. His widow, Olga (Cunningham) (d. 1993), restored it two years later with even larger lights. The business did not continue long after, however, and closed in the 1950s. Later efforts to repoen it were short-lived. Today, the site serves as a reminder of a time when such bold roadside architecture was in its infancy and of a man who, through his business, widely promoted his adopted hometown.

Bob's Oil Well, Matador, TX, United States

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Dr. William Renshaw Born in Illinois, William Renshaw studied medicine and set up practice in Sparta, Tennessee. His wife Sarah received from the Mexican government a grant of land in Texas, where her father Samuel Worthington lost his life in a colonization attempt in 1828. Dr. Renshaw traveled to Texas in 1853 to locate this headright, which encompassed many acres of Wise County north of this marker site. Dr. Renshaw returned to Sparta and served two terms in the Tennessee legislature before moving his family to Texas in 1859. The first doctor to settle permanently in Wise County, Dr. Renshaw was often away from home for long periods, with a practice extending from Denton to Jacksboro. The Renshaws organized one of the county’s earliest schools, taught by J. D. White, for their own and neighbor children. After the Civil War, the family moved to Decatur, where Dr. Renshaw and his son Lute opened a drugstore. They were devout Baptists and supported Decatur Baptist College. Dr. Renshaw died in 1887 and was buried at Oak Lawn Cemetery in Decatur. As his 10 children married, each received a portion of the Worthington survey. Two family members still own part of the property. A number of descendants became doctors.

U.S. Route 380 & Decatur County Road 2311, Decatur, TX, United States

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The Seven Courthouses of Hunt County In 1846, when Hunt County was created, Greenville was chosen as the county seat. Court sessions were held under oak trees at the corner of St. John and Bourland Streets until the first courthouse was built here in 1847. A log cabin, it was located on the west side of the square. It was replaced in 1853 by a 2-story frame courthouse on the northwest corner. The center of the square, which had been reserved for a more substantial building, was used in 1858 for the third courthouse. The first brick structure in the county, it was condemned in 1874. County offices were moved to a building at 2610 Lee Street, purchased from the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. The fifth courthouse, an ornate red brick building with white stone trim, was constructed here in 1883, thirteen months later it was destroyed by a fire which heavily damaged the town’s commercial district. A new courthouse, which closely resembled the 1883 structure, was built in 1885. In 1928 it was torn down to make room for construction of the present courthouse. The seventh for Hunt County, a formal dedication was held on April 11, 1929, the 83rd anniversary of the county’s founding.

2500 Lee Street, Greenville, TX, United States

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Turner Hall. (American Legion McBride Post #143) This building was erected by the Schulenburg Turnverein, a German gymnastic club. Built in 1886 on the corner of Summit Street and Upton Avenue (presently U.S. Hwy. 90), Turner Hall, constructed by Henry Bohlman, was the primary community center. Through the years the hall was the site for theatrical performances, musical concerts, social events, and seasonal celebrations. The local American Legion post obtained the hall in 1936 and moved it to Wolters Park in 1937. Turner Hall continues to serve the Schulenburg community as it has for more than a century. #5571

?, Schulenburg, TX, United States

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Dalworthington Gardens The city of Dalworthington Gardens began as a result of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's Depression-era policies. Roosevelt supported the "back-to-the-land" movement, encouraging urban workers to live on and cultivate rural property. Roosevelt signed the National Industrial Recovery Act into law in 1933; it authorized the establishment of a subsistence homestead program. While visiting the Arlington area, First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt saw this area as a possible site for the Homestead Project. In December 1933, a corporation was formed for a state charter and titled Dalworthington Gardens, Inc. (Combining the names of nearby Dallas, Fort Worth, and Arlington). Early the next year, the Federal Government bought property south of Arkansas Lane near Arlington. By June, Civil Works Administration workers arrived to clear the area for 80 development sites. Only people from the Dallas or Fort Worth areas would qualify to live in Dalworthington Gardens. By May 1935, most of the construction was complete. However, applicants that moved into the homes had to deal with many issues, including lack of gas, faulty water and sewage piping, and unfenced property. Residents, however, worked together to build a tight-knit community. They soon established a community house that became a center of activity. In 1949, residents petitioned to have the colony incorporated into a town. Today, though surrounded by Arlington and Pantego in the thriving Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, Dalworthington Gardens remains the only subsistence homestead project existing as an autonomous community in Texas. 2010 Marker is property of the State of Texas

2600 Roosevelt Dr., Dalworthington Gardens, TX, United States

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Willow Point Cemetery. The Willow Point Cemetery had its origins in 1882 when Anna M. English died on October 23 and was buried on land owned by Samuel G. Evitts. The next year, on July 13, Evitts died and was buried in the same area. The land changed hands several times before ownership passed to D. H. and M. M. Bishop, who deeded the property to Woodman of the World Camp #1763 in 1905. The deed stated that the older, fenced part of the cemetery would remain a free public burying ground. It is believed that the cemetery contains many unmarked burials. The northwest corner of the plot contains the grave of a Confederate soldier who was discharged from Fort Richardson in Jack County, and whose name has long since been forgotten. Also, interred here are other Civil War veterans as well as veterans of World War I, World War II, and the Korean and Vietnam Wars. Samuel G. Evitts, original owner of the site, was a veteran of the Texas War for Independence as well as the Civil War. The Willow Point Cemetery Association, organized in 1947, is responsible for maintenance and hosts an annual homecoming and cleaning day. #5852

FM 220, Willow Point, TX, United States