Queen City Of The Sand Flats
In order to trace the early history of Antrim one must look into the early deed records to find the settlers of this community. A few of these settlers are as follows
Communities & Community Schools
In order to trace the early history of Antrim one must look into the early deed records to find the settlers of this community. A few of these settlers are as follows:
Deed to Samuel C. Collison from Walter Dickerson-Deputy surveyor signing Geo. Aldrich was surveyor dated 3-3-1838 further deeded to S. C. Collison by P. H. Bell Gonenoe by the state of Texas in 3-15-1851 as 1 league of land containing 25 labors of land.
Deeds from Samuel Collison not recorded. It is known in abstract records and maps as the S. C. Collison League.
John Collins sold land to John S. Tanner except 100 acres on which George E. Dwight lived and had a corn mill in operation.
John S. Tanner sold 977 acres to John McElroy on 2-3-81 for $2,442.50.
December 10, 1852 the school district was named McElroy Springs about the same time deeds were made to Weisingers and Littles who were pioneers of this community.
The first Antrim School was a log building situated about half way between the Antrim Cemetery and the site of the RockhillSchool and church which have been moved away. Sometimes near the beginning of the century, school was held in the old AntrimChurch until 1917 when a 2 room school house was built across the road from the Antrim Cemetery. Some of the early students were Jennie Lucas, Pearl Lucas, J. A. Bynum, S. D. Webb, and J. H. Cleck.
A few years later another room was added and it became a 3 teacher school. Some of the teachers were Earl Murdock, Cecil S. Bean, Stokes Pelham, Flora Chaffin, Wessie Bowman and Carrie Haynes.
Antrim School was later consolidated and became part of the Elkhart Independent School District.
At one time in the 1860s the Antrim community consisted of 2 churches, a blacksmith shop, a school, general merchandise store owned by John Edens who later moved to Grapeland, a gin, a sawmill and two saloons.
There are 3 cemeteries located in the Antrim area and one lone grave of a Mr. Adams whose monument dates his death in 1852.
The Antrim Cemetery had monuments dating from 1872. There is a small cemetery located on the old McElroy land of a few graves with monuments dating from 1867.
The Matthews Cemetery located on the East side of Elkhart Creek has monuments dating from 1885.
Augusta is located in northeastern Houston County. It was first known as Boston until the village became a post office in 1857. It was then named for Augusta Smith, daughter of a pioneer settler.
Daniel McLean, member of Guitierrez-Magee Expedition, and John Sheridan established the first homes there in 1821. Other early families were Madden, Edens, Kyle and Aldrich; G. W. Wilson on whose headlight the town site was located and Col W. W. Davis, native-born son. The John Sheridan location is said to have been more nearly on the present site of Augusta; McLean located some five miles away just off the San Antonio Road. The families crossed the Neches River, coming into the rolling hill country from the east.
Augusta was a stage coach stop on the Nacogdoches run with the coaches coming down the San Antonio Road turning west stopping atop the hill east of Silver Creek to blow as many blasts as there were passengers so that t heir meals would be ready on arrival.
Augusta was a trading point for plantations before the Civil War. At one time, five medical doctors lived there and there were about 24 stores and shops. The Augusta Male and Female Academy was taught by W. M. Waddell around 1860.
The Masonic Lodge was organized in 1852 as the loni Lodge No. 93. Following a petition to the Grand Lodge, the Lodge became known as the Augusta Lodge No. 93; in 1857.
The first church was built around 1840 by slaves and used by Presbyterians, Methodist and Christian churches.
Augusta Masonic Lodge
On August 2, 1851, the first Masonic meeting ever held in that part of the country was held in the town of Augusta. Augusta is thought to be the place of this first meeting because the minutes of the lodge mentions that the meetings were held as near as possible to the line of Anderson and Houston Counties. Augusta is only two and a half miles from the county line. However, Augustawas only supposed to have been selected as the meeting place but in the old records there is found mentioned something about meeting in the town of San Pedro. San Pedro is about five miles southeast of the town of Augusta and about seventeen miles east of the town of Crockett. The old San Antonio-Nacogdoches stage line had its first stop at San Pedro after it left the town of Crockettgoing to Nacogdoches. In these olden days there were stages connecting one town with another. All along the roads the stage had certain stops so that the horses might be changed. The inn at SanPedro was kept by J. R. Bracken. Very few meetings are thought to have been held at San Pedro for most of the records mention Augusta as the meeting place.
These old settlers came the ten and fifteen miles over the small Indian trails to spend half the night in a Masonic meeting. Probably two of them would meet somewhere on the trail and come in together to an old log house which was done on this old building for it was the upper story of Mr. Edens' store. These men gathered in and sat in circles on hewn logs with candles as their light. On one occasion the Masons ordered a brother to buy some candles. He could only buy a half box for the lighting of the entire building. This Edens' building was used until the lodge could build them a Masonic Hall. It was not until 1859 that the lodge was able to build. They began their building in 1859 and completed it in the early part of 1860. This building was used until the destructive fire of 1923.
In the earlier years there was a tribe of loni Indians living around this country and on the creek that bears their name. They lived in Anderson County and their main village was on the loni Creek. A small village of these Indians was about three quarters of a mile south of Augusta. When the Masonic Lodge was first organized it was called the Ioni Masonic Lodge for these Indians. It went by this name till June 1960, when W. W. Davis suggested that the name be changed to Augusta Lodge. This was accepted and ever since it has been known as the Augusta Masonic Lodge no. 93.
The date of the first charter granted this lodge was December 3, 1852. The second charter was granted to this lodge December 3, 1903.
The members of this lodge were ready at any time to help and comfort the needy. They always saw that each member and his family were provided with the necessities of life. When a member of the lodge died all the other members were ready to offer and give assistance. On one occasion when a prominent doctor belonging to Augusta Lodge died the members had special meetings so that they could help his family in any way necessary. In these meetings a document was drawn up which was as follows: 1. if at any time the members of the lodge could be of any help they were ready and willing. 2. That in memory of the deceased the members of this lodge will wear the usual badges of mourning for thirty days. 3. That these resolutions be signed by the Worshipful Master and Secretary and copied to send to Crockett and Palestine for publication. Also a copy of the resolutions is sent to the deceased's wife.
'This second session of this academy will commence on the first Monday of October, 1860, under the supervision of Mr. and Mrs. Waddell. 'Rates of Tuition:
`Orthography, Reading, Writing, Primary Geography, higher Arithmetic, English, Grammer, History, Chemistry, Philosophy, Composition, Etc. $30.00. 'Higher branches Latin and French, $40.00.
'Incidental expenses, $50.00.
'Students will be charged from the time of entrance until the close of the session, and no deduction except in cases of protracted sickness.
'Board can be had in the town and in families in the vicinity--the principal will take some 12 students as boarders, if applications be made early. At the end of the first five months a vacation of four weeks will be given. The parents and guardians who wish the advantage of a retired locality, and who are desirous of securing to their children the advantages of a sound, moral discipline and practical education, Augusta affords many advantages.
' W. W. Waddell, Principal
It is not known if the school continued through the Civil War period. Other teachers in the area were the Rev. Kilpatrick, Dr. W. C. Miller, T. H. and Callie Stout, John B. Zimmerman, a Mr. Humphrey and Vergil Long.
Eighteen hundred fifty-nine (1859) chiseled into a huge block of native rock authenticates this East Texas town in Houston Countyas having been in existence at that early date. In truth, it was several years earlier that its first residents arrived from other southern states. This fire-resistant, sawed rock was part of the chimney built to accommodate the home of Thomas R. Dailey, where it stood for a hundred years. The backing jamb of the great fireplace never burned out. Its opening measured four and one-half feet in front and three and one-half feet back. Here from the warmth of the great burning logs, travelers renewed their chilled spirits for additional miles.
It was here, from a twenty-five foot deep well (never necessary to curb because it extended through shell embedded rock), that the weary travelers moistened their dusty throats. For a full century it yielded up its cool water to strangers and friends. Residing as mistress inside the stable structure that levied no fee on its overnight guests, was Thursda (Dean), the wife Thomas had brought with him from West, Mississippi.
About 1849 three Dailey brothers had come to Texas. Up the Brazos River they navigated, prospecting. But fate deemed that they should not complete the journey together. Yellow fever claimed the life of one, and a second stopped off at Brenham. Both brothers returned for their families and their Mississippi slaves and settled down to a way of life that was soon to vanish.
Thomas Rutherford Dailey acquired the Garrison Greenwood League of land, part of which he later sold to friends and neighbors, a portion of which he gave for a church and cemetery. He chose as his building site a location about one mile below the intersection of the now Crockett and Grapeland Road. This road also went by the old Navarro Crossing--a permanent means of getting from one side of the Trinity River to the other before it was bridged. The crossing could be forded in summer, but when the fall rains swelled its banks, a ferry accommodated the public. Slave quarters were erected, also a smokehouse, commissary and stock pens. Cotton was the money crop at this time. To be marketed, it was driven by oxen to Galveston, or more often, sent down the Trinity by boat. Therefore, of necessity, a gin was constructed and powered by horses; thus it was known as a 'horse gin'. During the 1880's Thomas R.'s grandson C. B. Dailey, converted the gin into a steam-powered one, fueled by wood.
No community could exist without a blacksmith to make and repair tools. Mr. Keen, married to Thomas R. Dailey's sister, was the capable one who served the homefolks, as well as the residents of nearby Hall's Bluff.
Church minutes, still in existence, and carefully guarded by Mrs. B. E. Dailey of Grapeland, verify the fact that the religious life of the people took pro- cadence over all else. On Sunday, August 4, 1889, James A. Hill, church clerk, recorded in unusually neat and beautiful handwriting, the following information. On the first page of a new ledger appeared these facts.
`The Daly's Missionary Baptist Church of Christ was first known as the Elkhart Church, and was organized the first (1) Saturday in July A. D. 1853.
`For church covenant rules of Decorum and other information see old records in hands of clerk.'
Entry was then made for the church proceedings of Sunday, August 4, 1889.
It is no mystery that the church went by another name prior to 1853, for the name Dalys did not come into existence until 1850 when the post office was established. Because the hub of the community was the area where the Dailey family lived, the name (with a variation in spelling) was chosen without question of its appropriateness. Daly’s community included an area of between five and six square miles. It was bounded by the Little Elkhart Creek, the Trinity River, the Anderson County Line, and was separated from the Hayes Spring community by the property of Richard Pennington and Dave Gordon- -real old timers who established their homes in the eighteen forties. Always a heavy voting area, Dalys was composed of a cultural population which maintained a high level of progress, giving attention to the various needs of its inhabitants as evidenced by the character and influence which predominated.
Every settlement had one or two medical doctors and they served a large area. This was the era when malaria, typhoid fever, and dysentery took a heavy toll of lives, as well as left many of the living weak and incapacitated. Two of the earliest doctors were Dr. Henry Berry and Dr. Lewis Meriwether. Doctors to follow were Dr, John H. Paxton Dr. Cunningham (who came from Augusta), Dr. Gustine, and Dr. J. S. Wooters. Dr. Charles C. Hill was the last one to serve the Daly's community and never was there a man with a more brilliant mind who rendered more dedicated service. His ability to diagnose illnesses, his keen observation of human behavior and his knowledge of medicine were unexcelled. Perhaps no man of his time made a greater contribution to the lives of the people with whom he came in contact.
Some of the early teachers who held their classes in the church building included Arwine Hickey, Mr. Champion, Miss Florence Keen, Miss Addie Hill, Miss Nezzie Keisler, and Mrs. P. Stafford,
Old and respected families who were landowners included the Hills, Kent’s, Keens, Kyle’s, Pridgens, Beazley’s, Smiths, Williams, Mobley’s, Meriwethers, Laseters, Whites, Gordon’s, Huffs, Edens and Pennington’s.
With the purchase of six hundred forty (640) acres of land by the Houston and Great Northern Railroad Company in 1873 as the site of a town destined to be named Grapeland, a consuming illness crept over the active little community of Daly's which had weathered the Reconstruction Period with such dignity. It was bringing rapid and certain death as the trade and citizens found their way to the new town, only nine miles distant.
Entered in the church minutes, at the close of a protracted meeting conducted by H. E. Harris, on July 14, 1918, were the fatal words--`Church disbanded.' As W. C. Laseter, church clerk, penned these words he was composing the obituary of what, shortly before, had been a happy promising settlement.
Soon the pulsating beat of the gin was no more to be heard, and deserted buildings stood about like empty tombs.
All that remains to validate its glory is a well-kept cemetery, a newly constructed chapel for funeral services and homecomings, a stone bearing the date 1859 and cherished recollections in the minds of a few elderly men and women.
Guiceland& Union Schools
According to information handed down from old settlers, the first person interred in Guiceland Cemetery was an infant. Mr. W.F. (Uncle Billy) Brooks carried the box containing the body on his shoulder to the cemetery. The first adult to be put in the cemetery was Mr. George Brightman. The headstone shows he died in 1877. This pretty well established that Guiceland Cemetery originated about the year 1877. The Guiceland School was also there then. The first acre of land for cemetery and school was donated by Mr. Benjamin Jeremiah Howard Guice. Later on, Uncle Billy Brooks gave another acre. Where the building is and still later on, more land was obtained from Mr. Monroe Weisinger. In 1908 the Guiceland School District was abolished and part of it (the part in HoustonCounty) was annexed to Union School District which was now in existence. As to Union School, we cannot find the exact date it started but it was sometime in the 1890's, probably about 1891 or 1892. When the first school started, it was a one-room affair built of rough lumber and this room never knew what it was to have a coat of paint. In the year 1908, another room was adding According to information handed down from old settlers; the first person interred in Guiceland Cemetery was an infant. Mr. W.F. (Uncle Billy) Brooks carried the box containing the body on his shoulder to the cemetery. The first adult to be put in the cemetery was Mr. George Brightman. The headstone shows he died in 1877. This pretty well established that Guiceland Cemetery originated about the year 1877. The Guiceland School was also there then. The first acre of land for cemetery and school was donated by Mr. Benjamin Jeremiah Howard Guice. Later on, Uncle Billy Brooks gave another acre where the building is and still later on, more land was obtained from Mr. Monroe Weisinger. In 1908 the Guiceland School District was abolished and part of it (the part in HoustonCounty) was annexed to Union School District which was now in existence.
As to Union School, we cannot find the exact date it started but it was sometime in the 1890's, probably about 1891 or 1892. When the first school started, it was a one-room affair built of rough lumber and this room never knew what it was to have a coat of paint. In the year 1908, another room was added and two teachers were employed. Then years later, a third room and teacher were added. Finally, as the years went on, this entire building was used until the Union School was consolidated with Grapeland for the 1931-32 term. The average daily attendance at Union during its highest peak was possibly 75 or 80. This writer remembers one year there an even 100 pupils reported on the first day but part of them dropped out after a few weeks. In those days, there was much absence and the average daily attendance did not make any difference as to receiving state aid like it does today. Some mothers would keep the girls out each week to help with the family washing and fathers would keep the boys out to maybe help with the hog killing, wood cutting and plowing.
The first group made of Union pupils was in the spring of 1909. The 36 pupils shown in this picture are as follows: Minnie Montgomery, Ida Smith, Mada Dubose, Johnnie Dubose, Adele Duitch, Lucille Kolb, Lillie Collins, Lucretia Collins, Pearl Ray, Ola Wells, Corrie Keen, Linnie Keen, Moselle Chaffin, Dora Gaines, Martha Gaines, Ima Walling, Mabel Morehead, Gracie Moorehead, Carl Spruill, Frank Montgomery, Hiram Smith, Calvin Duitch, Coleman Ray, Curtis Walling, Jessie Caskey, Luther Caskey, Prewit Dubose, Felix Beeson, Bunk Beeson, Roy Morehead, Roy Caskey, Alva Caskey, Thomas Caskey, John Carter, Carlton Morehead and Ben Keen. All these mentioned pupils were actually in the picture but we will have to add an asterisk here and mention Frank Caskey. Frank was too shy and all the coaxing from the teacher could not convince him to have his picture taken. He hid behind a large oak tree while the picture of the group was made. The teacher was Mr. Sam Duitch and one of the trustees, Mr. Will Dubose, was there and you could not keep him out of the picture. Mr. Duitch also is in the group picture.
The first teacher at Old Union was Mr. Jimmy Miles, followed by Miss Beulah Sheridan, Mr. Willie Kolb, and Mr. Sam Duitch. Other teachers after them (And I may not have them all listed here) were Miss Ethel Brawley, Miss Roxie Powers, Miss Ida Woodard, Miss Iva Sadler, Miss Inez Haltom, Miss Rosa Ford, Miss Alice Montgomery, Mr. Dayton Montgomery, Mr., Albert Gainey, Miss Ruth Branch, Miss Blue Belle Wills, Miss Emma Wallace, Mr. Curtis Walling, Miss Johnnie Dubose, Mr. Graton Streetman, Miss Norma Lee Pate, Miss Adela Duitch, Mr. Will Brannen, Miss Mabelle Brannen, Miss Pauline Brannen, Miss Blanche Kennedy, Miss 011ie Larue, Mrs. Lottie Sims, Mr. Frank Beathard, Miss Sammie Lee Woodard, Mr. and Mrs. Preston Wilcox.
When Mr. Preston Wilcox turned in his last report that was it as far as Old Union School was concerned. That was the spring of 1931. 'Twas such a sad day to break up the Old Gang.
The following is a list of part of the teachers that taught at Guiceland and is hereby submitted by Mrs. Callie Gaines. They are: Mr. Stewart, Mr. Starr, Miss Roxie Powers, Mr. Newton Herod, Mr. Willie Kolb, Mr. Sole, Miss Josie Herod (Mrs. Charlie Holcomb), Mr. Charlie Haltom, Miss Sadie Walters, Mr. Howard Walters, Miss Zula Also brook, Mr. Carrol Day and Mr. Sam Duitch.
Refuge Cemetery is located approximately 5 miles east of Grapeland on FM 227 and about 1/4 mile north on a gravel road. On
Dec. 18, 1865, John Brown deeded to the county of Houston, two acres of land located near Pedro Creek for the purposes of a church and a school. A one-room school and a church were built, and both continued to operate until around 1900. Two early day teachers recalled by the late Claude Owens were Miss Nanny Hollingsworth and Mrs. Bannie Rice.
On December 2, 1889, Jim Brown, brother of John, deeded to Houston County Judge J.B. Wall, 1 acre to be used for cemetery purposes. There were already several graves there, including Wm. Murchison, buried in 1866, and Reuben and Sarah Brown, father of John Brown. Mary Murchison named the cemetery "Refuge".
All of this property is now under the management of the Refuge Cemetery Association. Officers of the association are: President, W.A. Brown; Vice President, G.W. Marshall; Secretary, LaWanda Pennington; and Treasurer, Nelda Johnson.
Annual memorial services are held there the first Sunday of June. A morning worship service is conducted as well as a business meeting and then dinner on the ground, as it has been done for more than 100 years.
At the June, 1986 meeting, it was agreed to apply for a Historical Marker, and it is hoped to be erected some time this year (1986).
Three confederate veterans are buried at Refuge: E.T. Allen, John Brown and John Fans. Also, one state representative, Wm. Filmore Murchison.
Early families in the area were: Brown, Denson, Owens, Farris, Murchison, Ivey, Neel and Ingrams.
Late in the year of 1850, Thomas & Jane Lively moved their family from Georgia to Houston County, Texas and settled in the area known today as Livelyville, located east of Grapeland. The Trip from Georgia took 6 weeks Thomas received a preemption certificate to 320 acres of land in Houston County from the state of Texas, stating that Thomas Lively had lived upon and cultivated this tract of land for three consecutive years. This certificate was recorded on October 16, 1855 and had been previously surveyed on March 3, 1853.
Thomas was a cabinet maker, wagon maker, and shoemaker. He was a Methodist layman and leader. During the Civil War, Thomas was an active leader in the Grapeland area and assisted in taking care of the families of soldiers. He also made shoes for the Confederate soldiers. After the war, Thomas moved near Dennison, Texas, where he died. After his death, his wife and children returned to the Grapeland area and settled in the old home previously vacated. The land for the Livelyville Cemetery was donated by Thomas to the community during his lifetime. Jane Lively lived to be 100 years and 3 months old. She is buried at Livelyville.
Some of the teachers of the Livelyville school were Mr. Tims, Mrs. Z. Boughton, Dr. Sam Duitch, Mr. Charlie Haltom, Miss Clara Lively, Mrs. Emma Torrence, Mr. J. E. Dominy, Mr. Preston Wilcox, Miss Lillian Meriwether, Mrs. Rosa Johnston, Mrs. 011ie Drumley, Miss Lillian Dominy and Miss Louella Holcomb.
Percilla is a small rural community located in Northeast Houston County some seven miles northeast of Grapeland. It is situated generally around the intersection of Farm Roads 228 and 2022.
The community's name evolved from that of Jose Maria Procella, original title holder to a league of land in the area. Senor Procella applied for a land grant at Nacogdoches in 1828. He sold the land to one Martin Murchison in 1830.
A school was established at Percilla around 1899, the first teacher being Mr. Holland. It is understood that land for the school ands a church was donated by the Fitchett family, it was subsequently moved across the road where it was located on land donated by John C. Daniels. This is the present site of the Percilla Community Center. The school consolidated with Grapeland schools. The high school moved in the early 1930s and the elementary moved in 1943.
A church was established at about the same time (1899) as the school by the Methodist Protestants. The church is still in existence at the original location. It is housed in a modern masonry building which is centrally heated and cooled. The church is one of three churches of the Grapeland circuit of the Texas Conference of the United Methodist Church.
A post office was established at Percilia on December 26, 1891. Henry T. Robertson was the first postmaster. The post office was discontinued upon the retirement of the last postmistress, Miss Clara Mae Dickey in August, 1963.
A cotton gin operated in Percilla for a number of years. Also several general stores; the most durable of these was that of Claude Jones. After Mr. Jones' death, his daughter Willie Belle, and husband, Kelly Hill, continued to operate the business for a combined total of about 70 years. The store became informally called 'Willie Belle's'. This store was the center of 'neighborly meetings.' Local citizens, strangers, or salesmen passing through were welcome to come in and visit. Those who wanted to could pitch washers out at the side of the store while others watched from chairs under the trees. The merchandise handled varied from dry goods to farm supplies to sewing notions to groceries and if this was not enough, the Joneses also had the local telephone switchboard in their home. This store was then operated by Mrs. Artie (Pete) Lively. Bob Bird is now the present day owner of this property. He has replaced the old building with a modern one to serve his customers needs.
Frank Austin came to this area in 1835, built a general store and christened it the "Waneta Store". Thus began the formal history of the community of Waneta.
Some of the early and respected land owners who settled in the community were: Ruben Lively, Charlie Butler, George Daniel Scarborough, the Harrington’s, Barnes, Goffs, Riches, Teems, Brumleys, Hendricks and William L. Dickey. These families originally came (it is believed) from Alabama, Georgia and Mississippi. Other families soon joined them and a thriving community was formed.
An article from a 1901 edition of the Grapeland Messenger described Waneta as:
A few verses (Russian or Swedish measure equal to .66 of a mile) to the eastward of Percilla, and three miles north of Augusta isWaneta, which revels in the quasi-city luxury of one general store and a post office, and in case the wayfaring man can't find what he wants in either Augusta or Percilla he can just step across the street to Bro. Monk's store, where everything, from a paper of pins to a gang plow; from a pair of socks to a suit of clothes are constantly on tap
Near Waneta we saw a piece of first year up land that yielded a bale of cotton per acre. The diversification idea has not been practiced in this section; fertilizers and "pore" folks are alike unknown quantities, and the people, without an exception, seem to be prosperous, happy and contented.
Sandstone of a good quality for building purposes can be quarried from the hills, at a nominal cost.
A well-appointed sawmills, centrally located, and furnishes a first-class article of lumber.
Easy terms are given on realty, and to buy land and build a home is a comparatively easy matter.
Another thing of which this country boasts is the open-handed hospitality of its people to the stranger within their gates. Arriving at any of their homes near meal times, a pressing invitation is always extended to "alight" and no antebellum slave king could more royally entertain than these good people, and as we ride way beneath the golden glory, the billow bronze and velvet azure of a winter sky, we devoutly wish that all the world was peopled with such as these
This was the community of Waneta, as seen through the eyes of a "Stranger" from Grapeland in the year 1901.
The first school in Waneta was called the Red Prairie School and it was located on land owned by Augustus Peterson of Sweden. (This land is now owned by Bob and Hazel Scoggin). A few years later the school was moved to the William Lively place. In 1913, the school was again moved to land donated by Charles Butler. At this time Red Prairie was consolidated with the New Hope school and the new school was named Waneta School. The first two teachers in the original school were Mae Rae and Lola Dennis. When the new school was built a third teacher was added and it had a student population of approximately 200 enrolled. A few years later, when the auditorium was evaded, church services were held in the school also. In 1941 the Waneta School consolidated with the Grapeland school system and the school closed its doors.
Until about ten years ago, weekly church services and an annual reunion for ex-students were still held in the old school. The oak-framed building of the school still stands today in the same place, but is in such ill-repair that it is dangerous to enter, It too will soon join the dust of the past, but the people who lived there still remember. Each year on September 1, the descendants of these original settlers continue the spirit of neighborliness by holding a reunion in that area.
Farming was the main source of income in the early days of Waneta. There were several cotton gins located there, one of which was called the Sewall Gin. Cotton was then hauled by wagon to Grapeland for sale. There was also a blacksmith shop run by a man who was affectionately called "Dad" Graves.
Waneta had a post office for many years. It was located on the property of Charlie and Mary Ramey (the land is now owned by Stevie Rechen). The post office was later moved to Percilla and then still later it became part of the Grapeland postal system.
The small New Hope Baptist Church was located then on the John Brumley farm.
Today new homes have been built and there are approximately thirty families living in the area. Waneta is no longer a thriving community, but it still holds memories of those early settlers who live, worked and died there. It is located 12 miles east of Grapeland.
"A Child's Logic"
In the fall of 1908, Fannie Mae Pennington went to stay with her paternal grandparents so that she would be walking distance of Daly's school. In December she learned that she had a new baby sister. As soon as could be arranged, she went to see her sister, Etta. Little sister was asleep and Fannie Mae did not appear impressed.
The next day at school, Mary Jo Kyle asked Fannie Mae, "Is the new baby pretty?"
"No, but she will be pretty", answered Fannie Mae. "She doesn't have her eyes open yet."
Salmon's Store at Salmon, Texas
Major Salmon married Angeline Elizabeth Lamance or Lizzie as she was often called by Major. They settled in Salmon, Texas, and a small community in Anderson County. Salmon was formerly called Byron Switch, Texas. As the story goes: before Major built his store, he carried mail by horseback to Salmon and Palestine. He carried everybody's mail and brought back their mail once a week but he wasn't hired by a post office, he just did it as a courtesy to the people. Later he applied for a post office license. A federal man told him he could give him a license but the town would have to rename because they already had a Byron Switch that had a post office. So Major said,” Well, we don't care what you call it as long as we can have a post office." Supposedly it was the federal man who named Salmon and it as named after Major because he was the one who inquired about a post office, the post office officially began 7-1-02 with Major Salmon as postmaster and closed 4-30-55 with H.L. Garrison as postmaster.
Major built a store which he stocked with dry goods of every kind, clothes, food, tools to work with, mops, brooms, etc. and he had a thriving business. As time went on, one day it was noticed that someone was stealing merchandise. Different people would sit up for days at a time and try to catch whoever was stealing. As soon as they would quit watching the store, there would be merchandise missing again One day while Major was out on the porch upstairs, he noticed that the putty was missing from around one of the window panes. He decided that the thief was coming up a tree that grew right besides the building and upstairs porch. It would be logical that this thief would remove the pane, unlock the window, and go inside. Once side he would gather up the things he wanted, unlock the front door, sit them outside, lock the front door, go back upstairs, go out the window, replace the pane, climb down the tree and be off with the goods. So, Major set a shotgun in this window so when it was raised the gun would shoot. By and by when the gunshot was heard they went to investigate. The person was not there but there was a trail of blood that led to a house not far out in front of the store. The person was apprehended and served time in the penitentiary for his crime.
Major was also a carpenter and another service he performed for his friends and neighbors was to build caskets. Whatever time of the day or night he learned there had been a death he would go up to the store and begin to build a casket out on the front porch of the store. When the neighbors around could hear the hammering they would know there had been a death. He built houses for people during the day. When he and "Lizzie" married, he built their house during the night while she held a lamp for him to work.
Major Salmon was the son of Joseph Salmon and Silvania Hardin. When Joseph came to Houston County he registered at the courthouse in Crockett in the 1800's. He is buried on San Pedro Creek in Houston County. Major's mother, Silvania, is buried atGuiceland Cemetery near Salmon. Major had eight brothers and sisters: 1. Josiah Salmon married Lou Squire, 2. Major Salmon married Angeline Elizabeth Lamance, 3. Louis Salmon married Catherine Brumfield, and 4. Ocar Salmon died as a small child. He is buried at San Pedro. 5. Rufus Salmon, 6. Ira Salmon died as a child and is buried at Guiceland Cemetery. 7. Julia Ann Salmon married Fred Carrol. 8. Dora Salmon married William Thomas Lewis. 9 Female, real name unknown but was known as the "Cinderella" of the family.
By the year 1872 Reynard was a well established and growing community known at that time as Trinity Chapel. Situated twelve miles southwest of Grapeland and fourteen miles west from Crockett, Trinity Chapel was placed in a most desirable portion of the far famed 'Big Elkhart' and Trinity River valleys.
Land deeds show that the Mexican government granted a league of land to a Spanish American colonist by the name of Daniel McClain on January 31, 1835. The community of Trinity Chapel was founded on this league of land along the banks of Big Elkhart Creek and Linwood Road.
Most of the pioneer settlers moved here from southern states such as Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi. They came in search of richer land and a better life. Many of them brought their slaves with them. Records show a good many were already settled in Trinity Chapel before 1850. These people were adventurous as well as courageous and have left us a great heritage.
The rich farmland around Trinity Chapel was surely a big attraction to our pioneer settlers in the area. As other pioneers, they found life to be hard but rewarding. This was a rugged land and there was much work to be done. There was timber to be cut, brush to be cleared, houses and barns to be built, rail fences to put up, crops to be planted and roads to be established. Because of the distance to town it wasn't easy to obtain supplies. The people relied primarily on their own available resources and the help of neighbors for survival.
Early records and the information available show such early settlers as the families of Merriwether, Beasley, Rials, Taylor, Chiles, Kyle, Smith, Fox, Driskell and others.
Research found Dr. Frances Louis Merriwether came to Houston County and settled at Trinity Chapel in 1850. He had medical experience with the Choctaw Indians and had taught them to take medicine by the sun. He practiced medicine from Corsicana toMadisonville and his life was the inspiration for the book 'Horse and Buggy Days'.
During the 1840s mail came to Antrim once a month. A post office was later established at Dalys and mail was delivered there more frequently. Mr. John Chiles rode horseback to Dalys and picked up the mail and carried it to Reynard.
Riverboats were a frequent sight along the Trinity River. Cotton was shipped out by boat to Galveston, Texas and supplies were often brought in the same way. There were several boat landings along the river. A favorite was the Driskell Landing located on what is now part of the Taylor farm. Ox teams were often used for loading and unloading the boats. A ferry crossing was located on what is now known as the Murray Farm.
The town continued to prosper and grow and a non-denominational community church was founded as early as 1873. AMethodist Church was founded in the early 1880s by Rev. White Scarborough. Some of the charter members were: Johnnie and Alice Chiles, Ralph and Hulda Rials, Dock and Mary Kyle, Polk and Joe Taylor, Tommie and Joe Beasley, John and Louiza Smith, Bill Smith and wife, and Jim Kyle and wife.
This Methodist Church later built a new church with lumber which was hauled by wagon from the 4C mill at Ratcliff. The church was built on the site where the old Reynard school now stands and the building was used for both church and school until the big storm of 1935 destroyed it. A few of the teachers were J. W. Sickles, Bertha Weisinger, Flora Brown, Ruth Waller, Pearl Ady, Gertrude Fox, Jessie Fox, Ruby Cook, Allene Beasley, Zelda Fox, -Ida Mae Herod and Zelda Woodell.
Around the turn of the century, two general merchandise stores and a cotton gin and mill were erected and considered a big asset to the community. One of the stores was built by Charley Beasley and was later operated by Gail Clinton and finally sold to Chris Smith in 1923. The other was built by Tom Kent and was later sold to Pat Fulgham.
Around 1900, a post office was established in the Kent store. There was already a post office by the name of Trinity Chapel and it was necessary for the name of the town to be changed. A new resident by the name of Thomas Jefferson Fox was now living in the area and it was decided to name the town Reynard which is French word meaning Fox. At this time Mr. Chiles was still bringing the mail from Dalys to Reynard. On November 7, 1907 a mail route was established for the first time. Mr. A. B. Spence was the first rural mail carrier and often made his delivery by horse and buggy.
Entertainment during this period was usually home spun fun which was primarily on Saturday night or Sunday afternoon. Getting together for a good game of dominoes after a hard week's work was always a regular treat. Community picnics were always a favorite with both the young and old.
The soil of this area varied from red, gray, sandy, black waxy and black sandy. The fertility of this soil was practically inexhaustible. Bountiful crops of cotton, peas, corn, oats, sweet potatoes, ribbon cane, fruits and other vegetables were harvested. Old settlers called this land the 'Garden Spot' of Houston County. Wildlife was also plentiful and cattle and hogs were raised on open range.
By 1901 coal had been discovered with a strong indication that this fertile land also had petroleum under it.
Since Reynard was near both the Trinity River and Big Elkhart Creek, flooding sometimes occurred. Before the flood control dams, water poured over onto the lowlands during wet seasons. A levee was constructed in 1925 to help control the flooding. The winters were often very hard with the creeks and ponds freezing over. The ice often had to be chopped for the cattle to drink.
For those who know this land, it is easy to understand why people continued to settle in Reynard. Many farms both large and small were added each year. Family names such as Murray, Kent, Musick, Fulgham and others were found in Reynard before 1925.
Many changes were made after 1925. The country began a slow move toward modernization only to be stopped by the depression.
During the 1930s Reynard was very heavily populated. In 1932 over eleven hundred people resided on the Murray farm alone. At that time the Murray Farm had a commissary for the benefit of those who lived there. Cotton was the main crop and the farm also had its own cotton gin.
After the depression years, many left the farm and moved to the cities in search of better jobs and the move continued up through World War II.
Although many left, those who stayed continued to work and the community continued to improve in many ways.
Disaster struck unexpectedly late on the evening of February 8, 1935. A Hugh funnel cloud rolled across the river dipping down on the heart of the Murray Farm. A total of 14 people were killed and 62 wounded in the terrible storm which left the community saddened and shocked.
The school was also completely destroyed before the cloud lifted and disappeared in the sky. The school was rebuilt and classes were continued until the 1938 school year when Reynard consolidated with Grapeland. Miss Zelda Woodell was the teacher at the time and she came to Grapeland with the children. The old school is still standing as a reminder of the past.
Oil was discovered on April 14, 1935. News spread like fire and people were filled with excitement over this new discovery. The early prediction in 1901 of petroleum under the ground turned out to be very true. The oil was rich and plentiful.
Another big step in modernization was the addition of electricity in the late 1940s. Electricity meant many new conveniences that made life better and easier on the farm.
The 1950s brought a paved road for several miles out from Grapeland to Reynard. It is still the hopes of the people of Reynard that this road will someday be completed.
There are probably many important facts missing in this history. A community that was over one hundred years in the making could never be completely or correctly recorded in a few short pages. Names and statistics have probably been omitted that were very important to the growth of Reynard.
For those who grew up in Reynard it has a special meaning and had a place in the hearts of the people that cannot be recorded and never replaced. All these emotions help make good people and good people make a good conmunity. Reynard was a 'Good Community' in 1872 and it is still a 'Good Community' now.
Excerpts of Reynard News Printed the Grapeland Messenger
July 6, 1905 P. L. Fulgham and hands gave the road a two days working this week.
July 20, 1905 Right sharp sprinkle of sickness.
January 30, 1906 we regret very much to lose Dr. Taylor and family, not only as a doctor but as neighbors.
June 18, 1906 T. S. Kent has had his house painted and papered and it looks real nice. He has the honor of having the first painted house in this part of the country. J
une 26, 1906 Reynard and Dalys united in one grand picnic at the lake on the river last Thursday.
July 10, 1906 Health of our community very good with the exceptions of a few fevers.
August 6, 1906 when the young people of Dalys and Reynard get together they make a very nice crowd in looks and will average up in morals and intelligence.
August 27, 1906 our gin turned out its first bale of cotton late Saturday evening.
September 13, 1906 we have but one gin and seem hard to get in good running order and should cotton go for 12 1/2 cents reckon our people would have a duck fit.
Oct. 10, 1906 Syrup making began today by G. B. Kent. New syrup will be on the market right soon. Jack Beasley and wife went toPalestine last Thursday hunting an unto- date dentist. Upon returning to your town he purchased a 'carry all' and will now ride in style.
Nov. 19, 1906 the woods are full of squirrels and the sale of bacon has been cut to a great extent.
Dec. 7, 1906 T. S. Kent has a brand new outfit to carry his family around in, with lamps on both sides so he can travel night and day.1907 Mr. Pat Fulgham purchased a new Ford automobile. He has the honor of having the first automobile in the Reynard community.
July 23, 1908 Pledger Chiles and sister went to closing exercises of the singing school at Hays Springs and reported a good time. School is very well attended and we are proud of our school. Our teacher is a stranger to us but as she is a minister's daughter, we have every reason to believe that she is all right.
June 21, 1909 Mr. Spence will soon begin work on his gin plant and will put in a good outfit for the season.
January 10, 1910 there was a moving picture show here Saturday night.
Guard the Babies Editorial- July 26, 1906
We were walking down the street the other night sometime about the midnight hour and we passed a bunch of knee pants cigarette suckers. They were having a good time; we caught a whiff of prohibition bust head. Sometime somebody's store or bank will be robbed or someone will lose their life in midnight carousal, then the parents will appeal to the courts, juries and the men for their wayward boy. Civil or criminal laws don't make men; they are reared and nurtured in the home. Around the hearthstone they learn the tenets of honesty, virtue, temperance, and the fear of God. Mothers, when the sun goes down, and the chickens fly up to roost, see that the boys are housed as well as the little chicken and goslings Treat them gently and kindly, use moral suasion and if possible make home a haven of rest--then if they just won't obey the parental law, get you a good dogwood switch and make the dust and fur fly--because it's more honorable to wear the stripes of the parental red than the stripes of a felon. How many of our good citizens can tell where their boys are tonight? And just what they are doing. Have you ever thought about the future of yours? Most assuredly you have, if you are a true father, but if we tell you that that dear boy of yours is the leader of a gang of loafers that prowl the streets at night absorbing the evil ways of the world into their youthful, impressionable minds, you get 'red-hot' about it.
Give your boys some useful employment when the school days are over and in after years he will reverence your wisdom and give credit to your honorable name by being a good, worthy citizen. Make your boy a partner in your business. Show him that you have confidence in him. Give him business training early in life. Inculcate high, honest principles into his healthy young mind and the good name you feel so proud of today will be perpetuated to generations ahead.
School Enrollment 1906
10th grade--Sam Herod, Warner Eaves, Dudley Eaves, Carl Sory. 9th grade--Balis Dailey, Columbus Woodard, Murdock Darsey. 8th grade--Porter Fulton, Ima Davis, John B. Selkirk, Luna Frank Hollingsworth, Chester Owens, Eulalia Lively. 7th grade--Mollie Fulton, Annie Lou Browning, Dora Leaverton, Lewis Sory, Edgar Brooks, Lee Darsey, Addie Eaves„ Eva Lou Faris, Joe Hill, Inez Haltom, Stella Lively. 6th grade--Maud McCarty, Martha Yarborough, Fannie Mae Woodard, One Sue Howard, Dottie Guice, Ethel Pelham, John R. Owens, Flora Home, Ida Horne, Ethel Guice, Mary Taylor, Speer Darsey and Martha Yargorough. 5th grade--Annie Rainey Hollinsworth, Esther Davis 4th grade--Campbell Lively, Susie Springman, LewisSelkirk 3rd grade--Bailey Taylor, Murdock Murchison, Winnie Davis, Lura Mae Owens, Neva Haltom 2nd grade--Clarence McCarty, Broadus Woodard, Joe Alexander, Mae Brown, Effie Downs, Birdie Mae Browning, Esther Darsey, Burnie Williams, Edgar Dickson, Georgia Belle Richards, Luna Guice. 1st grade-Carrie Spence, Jack Murchison, Joe Vada Davis.