Cherokee County, Texas
Bachelor Girl's Library Club
Marker location: 207 E. Sixth Street in Rusk, (1993)
Text: Formed by 15 young single women in 1902 with fewer than 50 books, this library club would later donate to the City of Rusk a volume of books that greatly contributed to an inventory in excess of 23,000 books. The Book Club, originally housed in downtown Rusk at the Acme Hotel, is believed to be the first public library established in Cherokee County. In 1904 the club changed its name to "The Maids and Matrons Library Club" and rescinded its rule prohibiting married members in order that several of its original founders who had since married could continue in the organization. The name of the club was changed once more in 1916 to the "Library Study Club." In 1936 the members formed a club for younger women called "The Thalian Study Club." The size of the library's holdings continued to grow so that by 1966 the club had for some years required the services of a paid librarian. That year the club donated all of its books and furnishings to the City of Rusk. In 1969 they became part of the permanent collection at the newly constructed Singletary Memorial Library building. The Library Study Club and its offspring the Thalian Club continued to support the Rusk Community Library.
Candice Midkiff Bean
Marker location: Selman-Roark Cemetery on State Hwy. 21 in Linwood,
Text: Wife of Peter Ellis Bean born near Nashville, Tenn. in 1802. Died near Douglass, Texas in December 1848. One of those pioneer women who braved the Indian menace and rocked the cradle of Texas liberty.
Ellis P. Bean
Marker location: 2 mi. E of Alto on SH 21 at CR 2610, (1999)
Text: (Peter Ellis Bean) (June 8, 1783 - October 3, 1846) Born in Tennessee, Ellis P. Bean came to Texas with Philip Nolan's mustang hunters in 1800. He was captured by Spanish troops in 1801, and taken to Mexico as a prisoner. In 1810 he was freed in exchange for service to the Royalist Army, but he quickly deserted to the rebels under Morelos. Fifteen years later, Bean returned to the U. S. as a Mexican colonel to seek aid for the rebel cause. He joined Andrew Jackson's army at the Battle of New Orlenas, but returned to Mexico within the year. In 1816 he barely escaped the Royalists by leaving his wife to flee to the U. S. He married a Tennessean in 1818. They moved to Texas in 1823, where Bean served Mexico as an Indian agent. After Texas independence, Bean made his home near this site. He disappeared in 1843 to return to Mexico, dying in the home of his first wife in 1846. (1999)
Benge, Chief Samuel
Marker location: 4.2 miles north of Jacksonville on US 69, then 5 miles west on FM 855 and 2 miles north on FM 2137 to CR 3601
Text: A leader of the Cherokee Indians in Texas during the 1830s,
Samuel Benge was present at the negotiations with General Sam Houston,
John Cameron and John Forbes in early 1836 to secure a treaty with the
Cherokee in return for neutrality during the imminent war for
independence from Mexico. As a condition of the resulting Houston-Forbes
Treaty, the Cherokee were to occupy specific lands in east Texas, and
Chief Benge, a signer of the treaty, was required to move east across
the Neches River into what is now Cherokee County. The Cherokee upheld
their part of the treaty during the war, but the Republic of Texas
senate later nullified the treaty, a step toward the ultimate removal of
the Cherokees from Texas. (2001)
Berryman Family Home
Marker location: 5.5 miles northeast of Alto, near Linwood community
Text: Built by Captain Henry Berryman in 1847 of great hand-hewn pine logs, this is one of the most notable and interesting houses of East Texas. General Zachary Taylor, later President of the United States, visited here, as did Doctor Rufus Burleson.
Berryman, Helena Dill
Marker location: private cemetery, FM 241, 5.5 miles NE of Alto (1969)
Text: Helena Dill Berryman (September 8, 1804 -- March 13, 1888) first Anglo child born in Texas, according to tradition. Grew up in Nacogdoches when it was ruled by Spain. Married Lt. Henry Berryman in 1823. They moved later to the estate she inherited in present Cherokee County. Built log home in 1847, named it "Forest Hill." There entertained many noted Texans. Took active part in county development. Had 5 children; 3 lived to adulthood. After death of husband, reared 30 orphans.
Bonner Bank Building, Old
Marker location: Hwy 69 and Euclid St. in Rusk (1968)
Text: Built 1865 by C.Chaffee, a New Orleans promoter-cotton buyer. Served 1868-1883 as law office of S.A Wilson, member of 5-man commission to codify Texas law under Constitution of 1876; Later judge in State Court of Appeals. In this building, 1884-1892, leading East Texas attorney and Tyler banker F.W. Bonner had the first bank in Cherokee county, serving New Birmingham. Retained Bonner Building name through school and other occupancies. RTHL (1968)
Bowles', Chief, Last Homesite
Marker location: 2 miles north of Alto on US 69 to CR 2405, (2001)
Text: In 1836, General Sam Houston negotiated a treaty with the Cherokees in Texas allowing possession of the lands they occupied in east Texas. The leading figure among the Cherokees at that time was Duwali (also known as Bowl, Chief Bowles and Bold Hunter). After the Texas Revolution, the Senate of the Republic of Texas declared the treaty invalid. Near this site in 1839, Chief Bowles learned of Texas president Mirabeau B. Lamar's orders to remove the Cherokee from Texas. Bowl mobilized his people to resist the expulsion, but they were defeated and the chief was killed at the Battle of the Neches on July 16, 1839, in what is now Van Zandt County. (2001)
Bowles, Great Chief (Last Home of Bowles, Great Chief of the Cherokee Nation)
Marker location: near Alto
Text: Here he received President Lamar's decree of expulsion form Texas of the Cherokees and associate tribes in June 1839. Chief Bowles was killed in a decisive battle in the present Van Zandt County, July 16, 1839 and the tribes expelled.
Bowman, James H.
Marker location: Old Mount Hope Cemetery, near Wells
Text: A soldier in the Army of Republic of Texas, 1836. Born in 1820. Died in February 1886.
Bowman, John Joseph
Marker location: Mt. Hope Cemetery near Wells (1983)
Text: (Aug. 15, 1807-Mar. 30, 1890) Tennessee native John Joseph Bowman came to Texas with his family in 1822 and settled in Stephen F. Austin's colony on the Colorado. He later resided in Matagorda County, where, in 1835, he enlisted in the Texian Army, and served in the Texas War for Independence with his father, Joseph, and his brother James, who also is buried here. After the war, Bowman lived in Nacogdoches County before making a permanent home in Cherokee County.
Marker location: 9 mi. W of Alto on SH 294 (2000)
Text: John M. and Sally Box, along with John's brother Stephen F. and his wife Keziah Box and their families, came to Texas from Alabama in 1834. John and Sally's son, Roland W. Box, and his wife Mary Hallmark Box purchased 1/3 of the Stephen Burnham land grant and built a log fort on a hill near its northern boundary. Within the enclosure they built a log house and a dugout, and Box's Fort became the center of a settlement as the extended Box families made their own homes in and near the fort. John A., Stillwell, Thomas G., and Nelson Box and their cousins Samuel C. and James E. Box fought in the Texas revolution. The home of John A. and Letty T. Box was a post office called Box's Creek from 1851 to 1866. Over time, several churches and stores operated in the vicinity, but by 1900 Box's Fort no longer appeared on area maps. (2000)
Brown, Judge H.T.
Marker location: Resthaven Cemetery on N. Pineda St. in Jacksonville (1968)
Text: Judge H.T. Brown (August 17, 1885 - April 3, 1958) Judge of the 2nd District for over 13 years. Respected for his quiet, studious and careful handling of cases. Taught in country school at 20. Was chosen County School Superintendent, Judge. Served 8 years in the legislature. Married Mary Ethel Evans.
Burning Bush Colony
Marker location: US 69 right-of-way, .25 miles south of Bullard (1984)
Text: From 1913 until 1919 a religious community operated in this vicinity on the former Joseph Pickens Douglas Plantation. The colony was established by the Metropolitan Church Association, commonly called the Burning Bush Society, an evangelical organization founded in Chicago about 1900. This 400-member Burning Bush colony was set up to be a self-sustaining agricultural community. It operated its own school, sawmill, power plant, water system and sewage disposal facility. Unable to pay its debts, the colony disbanded after the close of World War I.
Camp Alto, World War II Prisoner of War Camp
Marker location: SH 21, 0.5 mi W of FM 294, Alto (2006)
Text: The U.S. Army built stateside camps by early 1942 to house prisoners of war (POWs). Camp Alto south of this site was a small branch operation of the Camp Fannin base facility in Tyler. The military set up branch camps to address local labor needs brought about by wartime shortages. With approximately 100 German POWs living in tents, Camp Alto began operating in the fall of 1944. The majority of POWs cut pulpwood for the East Texas ice storm salvage project. With the end of the war imminent, branch camps sent POWs to larger base camps as a step toward eventual repatriation. Its mission accomplished, Camp Alto closed in the spring of 1945 under direction of the War Assets Administration. Texas in World War II - 2006
Campbell, Thomas Mitchell
Marker location: Old Rusk-Gallatin Road, 4 miles NE of Rusk (1970)
Text: Second native Texan to serve as governor. Born here April 22, 1856, the son of Thomas Duncan Campbell and Rachel Moore Campbell. Elected in 1906, he was re-elected in 1908. His administrations were characterized by the passage of a pure food law, attempts to regulate lobbying, reform of the state prison system and regulation of insurance. Under Campbell the Texas State Library and Historical Commission was set up. He died April 1, 1923.
Cannon, Ben, Ferry
Marker location: 6 miles west on US 84 right-of-way at Neches River, Maydelle
Text: Native American and early Anglo settlers in this region forded the Neches River at this site, called Duty Crossing for early settler Richard Duty. A significant link in the history of transportation across the river, the Ben Cannon Ferry is first documented in Cherokee County Commissioners court records in 1848. Pioneer settler Ben Canon operated the Ferry until 1851. A toll bridge operated north of the ferry site from 1854 to 1924. The route of the Texas State Railroad crosses the Neches just north of the ferry site.
Carey Lake-Boggy Creek Oil Field
Marker location: 11 miles NW of Jacksonville on
FM 747 (1995)
Text: Cherokee County's first commercial oil field was discovered here in the area of Carey Lake and Boggy Creek by the Humble Oil and Refining Company in 1927. A discovery well drilled at the northeast corner of Carey Lake revealed the unique geological relationship between recoverable oil deposits and subterranean salt domes. In its operations in this area Humble Oil introduced innovative recovery techniques using seamless tubing, oil-gas ratios and well pressures that subsequently became industry standards. Oil production in this area continued into the 1950s.
Cherokee County C.S.A.
Marker location: Courthouse Square, corner of 6th and Main (1963)
Text: Civil War manufacturing, supply and military center. Field Transportation Bureau shop made and repaired wagons, saddles, harnesses. Gun factory produced "Mississippi rifles" and pistols. Two iron works cast plows, skillets, pots, irons. Salt works provided a scarce item. Confederate commissary stored sugar and military supplies. Texas conscript district office directed drafting activity. Additional military activities included Union prisoner confine and two camps, one a camp of instruction for raw recruits. C.S.A. Men and Units Two thousand men from Cherokee County were in the Confederate Service, including Brigadier General Joseph L. Hogg who died in Mississippi in 1862. Companies organized were: Co. A, 2nd Texas Cavalry Co. C, 3rd Texas Cavalry Co. K, 4th Texas Cavalry Co. F, 7th Texas Cavalry Co. I, 10th Texas Cavalry Co. B, 17th Texas Cavalry Cos. F and I, 35th Texas Cavalry Co. B, 28th Texas Cavalry, Dismounted Cos. A and D, Border's Cavalry Co. K, 1st Texas Partisan Rangers Co. E, 7th Texas Infantry Cos. A, C,K 18th Texas Infantry
Marker location: Courthouse Square, corner of 6th and Main (1986)
Text: Cherokee County has a rich and varied history. Spanish and French explorers of the seventeenth century found Tejas and Hasinai Indians living in this area, and Spanish missions were established in the region. Driven out of the United States, the Cherokee Indians migrated to this area about 1822, and were here at the time of early Anglo-American colonization in the 1820s and 1830s. Under the administration of Republic of Texas President Mirabeau B.Lamar, the Cherokee were expelled from area in 1839. Following formal creation of Cherokee County from Nacogdoches County in 1846, settlement of the area increased rapidly. Family farms and towns soon sprung up throughout the county. The building of roads and the advancement of railroads and river navigation contributed further to settlement. The chief economic base of the county from its beginning, agriculture remained a vital force as industrialization and business interests developed. The establishment of schools and churches formed the basis for the area's social history. Cherokee County has been the birthplace of two Texas governors, one governor of Wyoming and one Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives.
Cherokee Furnace Co., C.S.A.
Marker location: about 6 miles south of Rusk via FM 52 then west on CR 2323 (1965)
Text: Made crude kettles, plow tools on this site in 1864-65. Slaves fled from Louisiana's Red River Campaign battles were the workers. This county had 2 war plants working easily-mined, abundant local ore. Smelting fuel was charcoal made of timber growing nearby. A phase of manufacturing that made Texas "Storehouse of the Confederacy."
Civil War Iron Works, Texas
Marker location: about 8 miles west of Jacksonville on US 79 (1965)
Text: To make farm and kitchen tools need in wartime, Chapel Hill Manufacturing Co. in 1863 set up plant on this site, processing native iron; used Cherokee limestone to purify the ore. Nearby hardwood supplied charcoal. Crew included 100 Louisiana slaves. Ore from hilltop fed through smokestack into furnaces on lower ground. Slag caught in furnace grates. Melted iron fell through and was cast into molds. Plant had associated sawmills, brickyards and commissary -- freighting goods form Mexico. By the 1880s, at least 16 iron works operated in East Texas.
Confederate Gun Factory
Marker location: .25 miles west of courthouse on 6th (US 84) (1936)
Text: Built in 1862 by John L. Whitescarver, William H. Campbell and Benjamin F. Campbell. When unable to secure materials and tools for the manufacture of rifles, Colt-model pistols were made. A number of Negroes were employed.
Confederate Training Camp
Marker location: Old Crockett Road (1984)
Text: During the Civil War this area along the road from Rusk to Crockett served as a training camp for Confederate soldiers. Located in a bare field with an available water supply from the nearby Pryor Branch, Camp Rusk was used for training new recruits as well as for reorganizing and equipping veteran units. Several units that spent time here went on to serve with distinction in such battles as Mansfield and Glorietta Pass. The training camp was occupied by Union soldiers after the war ended and was abandoned once the occupation period was over.
Marker location: about 3 miles south of Rusk on FM 241 (1936)
Text: Named in honor of Joseph T. Cook; native of North Carolina; Early settler in Nacogdoches; Owner of land on which a military company under Captain Black built a fort never attacked by Indians; On adjacent land, James Cook built a store and blacksmith shop; About them a village grew up; Population in 1846, 250; After establishment of Rusk, inhabitants moved there.
Marker location: junction of US 69 and FM 22 on NW corner (1985)
Text: Known first as Independence, the town of Craft grew up in the 1890s on the railroad. When a post office was established in 1891, the name Craft was chosen to honor Thomas J. Craft, first postmaster and community leader. In 1896, C. D. and S. H. Jarrat and W. R. Stout began commercial tomato growing and production here. By 1917, 90 percent of Texas' tomatoes were shipped from this area. The town declined in the 1930s but is important for its early role in the East Texas tomato growing and shipping industry.
Marker location: US 175 and FM 3327 (1982)
Text: The earliest area settlers were Andrew "Andy" Bragg and Nelson Sneed, black farmers who moved here in 1870. Former slaves, they were later joined by other freedmen farmers, landowners and tradesmen. The settlement that resulted was known as Andy. In 1916 former Palestine banker H. L. Price moved to the community. Encouraged by the area's potential as a commercial and agricultural center for blacks, he directed formation of the Andy Real Estate Company. He was joined in the operation by his son Cuney Price, W. D. Thomas, J. Z. Thomas, W. A. Hall, and John Bragg. The firm renamed the town Cuney for Price's son, who was named for the prominent black business and state political leader Norris Wright Cuney. Statewide promotion of the town resulted in rapid growth for Cuney, which soon included churches, stores, gins, sawmills, a railroad station, a hotel and a baseball team. Nelson Sneed donated land for the establishment of community schools. Cuney declined after World War I as agricultural prices decreased and area residents moved to other towns for work. Today it serves as a reminder of the area's pioneers and the significant contribution they made to the heritage of Texas' black community. (1982)
Davis, Nicholas A. Davis, Chaplain, Church Founded by
Marker location: Corner of Nacogdoches and S. Boulton
Text: Born in Alabama in 1824. Entered Presbyterian ministry. Moved to Texas in 1857. Farmed and preached. At start of Civil War joined the 4th Texas Infantry and went with troops to Virginia. As a Confederate chaplain had same pay and rations as a private, and no status privileges. Duties included religious services, lessons, counseling, funerals, baptisms, sick visits, removal of wounded and dead from battlefields. Handled mail, with special attention for men who could not read and write. Worked to get better troop living conditions. Established hospital wards. Because newspapers gave Virginians credit for Texas boys' victories, published 1863 in Richmond his "Campaign from Texas to Maryland." A Houston edition gave homefolk news few soldiers could tell. After war returned to farming, building churches and preaching over the state. For many years was a Trinity University trustee. Established the first commercial orchard in Jacksonville and started the development which makes the area foremost in Texas fruit growing. Pioneered use of insecticides, better farming methods and new machinery. Died in 1894 in San Antonio
Dean, Thomas Jefferson
Marker location: City cemetery at west end of Kickapoo Street (1986)
Text: Thomas Jefferson Dean (Aug. 5, 1883 -- Feb. 5, 1949) Born on a farm in Gregg County, Tom Dean became a pastor of the First Christian Church in Jacksonville in 1909, four years before graduating from Texas Christian University. He led efforts to establish the town's public library and Boy Scout troop. Returning to farming, he headed the local Farm Security Administration office in the 1940s. As Chamber of Commerce manager he helped establish "Farm Family Days," an annual fair which ended in the 1950s.
Delaware Indian Village
Marker location: about 2.5 miles west of Alto on SH 21 (1936)
Text: Noted as interpreters and messengers of peace, the Delawares were chiefly instrumental in bringing other tribes to the General Treaty at Bird's Fort (in the present county of Tarrant) in 1843.
Marker location: FM 347 in Dialville, 5 miles south of Jacksonville (1985)
Text: In 1866, Confederate John J. Dial (d.1928) joined a group of 60 wagons headed for Texas. He arrived in this area the same year and soon began farming the land. With the 1882 arrival of the Kansas and Gulf Short Line Railroad, Dial opened a general store near the rail line. The following year, Dial and his wife, Ida Mae (Jones), deeded eight acres of land to the railroad for a flag stop station. The town site he platted at the site of the station was named Dialville when the post office was established in 1885. There was little growth in Dialville until 1897, when the flourishing tomato and peach production and shipping business revitalized the area. In that year, John T. Bailey opened a store and reactivated the post office. Dialville's first school was established in 1899. C. D. Jarratt, a leading East Texas fruit and vegetable sales agent, arrived about 1900 and helped develop the town into a leading shipping point for tomatoes and peaches. Dialville was the scene of much commercial activity during the early years of the 20th century, but by the mid 1920s had begun to decline. It remains an important part of the regional and agricultural history of Cherokee County.
Durham, W. W., Home
Marker location: private property (1964)
Text: Social, cultural, political center. Built 1873 by W. W. Durham (1827-1910), veteran of the Mexican War, who served as a national organizer for the Farmer's Alliance and was People's Party nominee 1892 for Texas State Treasurer. Annual Durham reunion site.
Earle's Chapel Cemetery
Marker location: on CR 3128, 4 miles west of Jacksonville off US 79 (1992)
Text: Elijah Earle (1804-1880) and his second wife, Mary Elizabeth Jarratt Tatum (1824-1904), set aside land for this graveyard in 1858. Elijah selected his own burial site at the time, marking it by carving his initials on a tree trunk. He was buried here on New Year's Day 1881. His is the earliest documented grave in the cemetery. W. J. Ragsdale (1811-1884), a veteran of the Texas War for Independence, is buried here, as are veterans of the Civil War, World War I and World War II. Other graves include those of area pioneers and several generations of their descendants; T. J. Skelton and Robert Tatum, who built the Earle's Chapel Methodist Church building in 1889; and a number of victims of the 1918 influenza epidemic. The original four-acre plot was enlarged in 1889 when Elijah's son, Lon Earle, donated an additional two acres of land. Three more acres were added in 1972. The Earle's Chapel Cemetery Association, founded in 1966, maintains, beautifies and promotes the cemetery in honor of past, present and future citizens of the community. As part of Cherokee County's cultural heritage, the Earle's Chapel Cemetery stands as a testament to the area's early pioneer heritage.
Elm Grove Common School
Marker location: SH 110, 6 miles northeast of Rusk (1997)
Text: Elm Grove, a Freedmen's community, was part of the county school system by 1884, when 69 school districts were set up by the Commissioners Court. Classes were held in a local church or in homes until the 1890s when a schoolhouse was erected on land given by R. B. and Caroline Wood. Built by Elm Grove citizens with donated materials, the building was originally one large room. A merger with other schools in 1917 increased the student population, and the interior was divided into three classrooms. The school closed in 1957 when it merged with Rusk schools.
Fastrill, Site of
Marker location: FM 23, 11 mi. S of Rusk (1999)
Text: The property of the Southern Pine Lumber Company, Fastrill took its name from three men connected with logging in the area: Frank Farrington, postmaster at Diboll, the company headquarters, in the early 1920s; and P. H. Strauss and William Hill, both lumbermen. Fastrill was a company town. All its residents were employees of Southern Pine, which purchased the site in March of 1922. A post office was established in July of that year. Fastrill's residential sections were divided among Anglos, African Americans and Mexican Americans. The company provided a general store which began in a boxcar, a barber shop, cleaning and pressing shop, gas pump, electrical power at certain hours, structures in which to hold worship services, farming equipment and a cannery. The company also supplied extra funding for the public school to operate on a nine-month year. At the height of Fastrill's production, the town had a population of 600. The monthly payroll to employees was $30,000 divided among 200 loggers. They cut and shipped 50,000,000 feet of logs annually. During the Depression era, the company operated at least two days a week, keeping Fastrill's citizens from unemployment. By 1941 most of the timber owned by Southern Pine in this area was exhausted. The post office was discontinued in September, and the company closed the town. When the men finished their final workday, they were instructed to take the train to Diboll, where they found their families had been relocated to new homes. Once the largest and longest-lived of the southern Pine Lumber Company's towns, Fastrill quickly disappeared. Two graves are all that remain of twenty-one years of settlement and human habitation on this site. (1999)
Ferguson-Ford Mill, Site of
Marker location: FM 1248 at CR 2103, 4 mi. W of Rusk (1999)
Text: In November 1847, James Ferguson, a land speculator, bought 1,600 acres including this site and built a mill. He successfully operated it for several years, employing five workers by 1852. He lost the property in a legal judgement, and it changed ownership several times in the next seventeen years. Charles E. Ford, a New England Quaker, brought his family to Cherokee County in 1869 and purchased the mill with 335 acres of creek bottom land for $442.50. An entrepreneur and inventor, Ford modernized the mill and reopened it in 1872 to grind corn, saw lumber and repair machinery. The mill's value by 1880 was $1,250. "Miller" Ford's fortune expanded to include 14 cotton gins and grist mills in the county. His son continued the mill's operation until 1917. All that remains is the mill pond and vestiges of the mill race. (1999)
Frazier, I. K., Dr., Home
Marker location: 704 E. 5th Street in Rusk (1969)
Text: Typical Texas house of the 1850s, when it was built. Deeded 1873 to Dr. Frazer, who in Civil War had been in 3rd Texas Cavalry and Brigade of Gen. Joseph Hogg. For over 40 years, until his death in 1908, Dr. Frazer was a leading physician of Rusk. RTHL 1969
Marker location: 3 mi. NW at int. of CR 3305 and CR3306 (2002)
Text: Fry's Gap A gap in a ridge near Gum Creek headwaters made a natural trail for early travelers, including Kickapoo Indians. The Fry family settled along the creek in the 1840s. Early industry in the Fry's Gap Community included Joseph Fry's grist mill and blacksmith shop, as well as Rhome Ragsdale's brickyard, kiln, paint factory, cotton gin and corn mill. When the Texas & New Orleans Railway came through in 1902, it used the old trail for the line. The depot at Fry's Gap soon became a shipping point for produce, lumber and oilfield supplies. Fry's Gap was also winter home to the J. Doug Morgan traveling tent show in the 1920s. Fry's Gap faded, but descendants of its early settlers remain. (2002)
Marker location: FM 2138 about 3 miles north of Maydelle (1983)
Text: Located on top of Gent Mountain between two creeks, the village of Gent was settled in the 1850s primarily by families from Alabama and Tennessee in search of good farmland. The early settlers quickly established religious and educational institutions, and by 1900 the village boasted several stores, mills and cotton gins as well. Construction of the Texas State Railroad from Rusk to Palestine and the founding of the town of Maydelle (1.5 mi. s.) in 1910 pulled business away from Gent. Gradually the village was abandoned, and today not a single structure remains.
Gregg Family Home
Marker location: East 4th Street about .5 mile form Main St. in Rusk (1967)
Text: One of the oldest houses in Rusk; Built 1847-48; Dog-trot styling, pine construction. Modernized in 1919 and 1935. Three former owners were Confederate captains; Daniel Egbert, E. C. Williams, Elbert L. Gregg. Owned by Gregg family since 1876; Community leaders. RTHL 1967
Marker location: Approx. 4 mi. N out of Jacksonville center on Elberta St. (2002)
Text: Grimes Cemetery Benjamin Franklin Grimes came to Cherokee County in 1852 with his parents, Isaac and Sara Wilkinson Grimes. In 1859, Benjamin married Mary Jane Wallace, and to this union were born ten children. For a living, he operated freight wagons. He also served in the Confederate army. On April 20, 1883, Grimes buried his daughter Cassandra Gabriella here on his family's land. Her grave was the first in what became the family cemetery; several of the other Grimes children, as well as Benjamin and Mary Jane, would later be interred here. Still in use, the cemetery has more than 80 graves, including those of 12 veterans. Historic Texas Cemetery - 2002
Marker location: 2 miles SW of Alto on Hwy 21
Text: In the present county of Cherokee was the home of the exalted Grand Xinesi-Chief Priest and Custodian of the Sacred Fire of the Hasinai Confederacy of Indians. If fire was allowed to die out, it was his duty to carry more fire with proper ceremony to their homes to be rekindled. It was to the Hasinai -- the principal tribe of this Confederacy -- that the word "Texas" was generally applied.
Hatchett's Ferry Inn
Marker location: FM 343, 7.5 mi. E of Rusk
Text: Hubbard G. Hatchett (1808-1889) moved to Texas with his family in 1846. They bought property in Cherokee County on this site two miles west of the Angelina River in a community called Atoy. Hatchett built a two-room double pen cabin, common in his native Tennessee, in 1847. In January 1850 Hatchett leased the Rusk Ferry on the river crossing and took over its operation. Among those who used the ferry was Gen. Sam Houston in 1857. Ferry passengers often lodged in private homes within a few miles of the river. A second story was added to the Hatchett home, which the family operated as an inn. After Hatchett's wife Evlina died in 1862, other family members continued to operate the ferry until 1888 when the county installed a bridge nearby. The house remained in the family until the mid-1930s, and was demolished in 1977. (1998)
Hill, Stella Salmon
Marker location: off US 69 on Cemetery Street,
Alto, TX (1966)
Text: Moved to Texas, 1908, from Arkansas. Taught in Rusk and Alto before marrying Dr. James C. Hill in 1919. Teacher, civic, social and religious leader who championed her beloved East Texas. Stella Hill Memorial Library honors her name.
Holcomb Family Reunion
Marker location: about 3 miles SW of Alto on SH 21, then 1 mile on FM 220, Alto, TX
Text: Members of the Holcomb Family have been holding reunions in this location since 1897. George Creagor Holcomb moved to Texas from Arkansas in 1842 and later brought his father Joseph and uncle Zachariah Holcomb and their families to Texas. The Holcomb family acquired land in Cherokee County and soon became active in local churches and communities. A family reunion was organized in 1897 to honor Joseph and Zachariah Holcomb and to allow kin to renew acquaintances with long absent family members. Held at Cold Springs near Alto, the first reunion was attended by about 200 Holcombs. They arrived by horse and buggy and camped out in tents at the site. The reunion continued year after year and drew more family members from near and far. In the 1950s family members contributed to the construction of a pavilion and changed the Tuesday meeting to a Saturday and Sunday schedule. Held the second week in July, the Holcomb family reunion has met for six generations and more than 100 years to share food and entertainment along with the events and accomplishments of its members. (1997)
Marker location: intersection of US 69 & FM 1911, 10.5 mi. S of Alto
Text: As the population increased in Angelina and Cherokee counties in the 1860s, a formal system of roads began to take shape. Until that time, roads were usually forged by farmers and other pioneers carrying goods to market or traveling to new homes, as in other areas of Texas. Construction of a road from Homer (at that time Angelina County seat) to Alto began in 1860. The survey crew followed buffalo and Indian trails to determine the best route for the new road. Once open, it was the official mail route from Homer to Alto, and then on to Rusk, the Cherokee County seat. It led through a community known as Denman Springs until 1882 when Lufkin was created there and the road became Denman Avenue. The main part of the Homer-Alto Road became State Highway 40 in the 1930s and later U. S. Highway 69. (1999)
Houston, Site of Speeches of Sam
Marker location: northeast corner of 4th and Barron Streets
Text: Two speeches were delivered by Sam Houston in Rusk. The first, in 1855, was a debate with politician Frank Bowden. Houston, a U.S. Senator, was on a tour through central and east Texas trying to regain public favor after voting against the Kansas-Nebraska Act. Political debates were popular entertainment of the time, and were well attended. Houston campaigned for governor here in 1857. A newspaper account states his speech lasted three hours, but brought little enthusiasm from the crowd. When he finished speaking, applause was weak and many of the benches were empty. (1996)
Marker location: Jacksonville, TX
Text: The East Texas Educational Society was formed in the spring of 1899 to establish and maintain a Baptist college in East Texas which would provide academic and cultural training with a religious influence. The group chose Jacksonville for the college because of the convenient transportation offered by three railroad lines and good roads. Property on this site was purchased in July 1899, and work began promptly on the first building. When finished, the structure was the tallest building in Jacksonville. The college opened its doors to 34 students in a temporary space in the fall of 1899, taking up residence in its newly completed facility in November. By the end of the first session enrollment had reached 85. The first Jacksonville College president was the Rev. J. V. Vermillion, former president of East Texas Baptist College in Rusk. Among the first students in the graduating class was future Jacksonville College President B. J. Albritton. The school offered a bachelor of arts degree, placing a strong emphasis on Greek, Latin and math, as well as Biblical and Christian studies. The East Texas Educational Society proposed to transfer control of the college to the Baptist Missionary Association in 1904; in 1908 the transfer was accepted. The school grew steadily throughout the 20th century. The original 1899 structure long referred to as "Old Main" was razed in 1968. New, modern structures were erected as needed. In 1998, Jacksonville College continued to thrive, following in the footsteps of its founders with a program of religious and academic study.(1999)
Jacksonville Independent School District
Marker location: East Commerce at Austin Street, at entrance to Tomato Bowl
Text:Jacksonville Independent School District Jacksonville's early settlers valued education and had a school as early as 1846 at the original townsite. The Texas Legislature authorized creation of county school districts in 1854, and by the 1860s, Old Jacksonville supported at least two schools. In 1872, residents moved closer to the railroad, and by 1873, they established their first public school. More schools opened, including, at this site, the town's first free public school. Between 1905 and 1907, the city formed its own district with campuses for both white and black students. The schools integrated in the late 1960s. The district's notable graduates include Olympic and professional athletes, Grammy winners, Tony award nominees and many other successes. (2003)
Marker location: about 4.5 miles southeast of Jacksonville on FM 22 then south on cemetery road
Text: In 1850 Devereux and Polly Ann Jarratt of Virginia settled in this area. In 1858 their sons Henry Morris Jarratt and Wade Jarratt set aside the original cemetery plot for family and public burial. The first burial was a transient worker, Mr. Watts, in 1858. Additional land was acquired later from contributions of many. An association was formed in 1961 and a permanent foundation fund incorporated in 1963. Original members of both boards: Dave Cole, Troy D. Haws, Gordon Sharp, J. J. Cole, Bruce Bounds, Dave Josey, John Ousley, Fred Thompson, A. C. Jenkins, Buck Fling, Earl Morton, and M. D. Arrington. Descendants, friends, neighbors and the public have joined to make this a hallowed resting place for loved ones.
Kelly House, C.R. and Jennie
Marker location: 1201 S Jackson Street in Jacksonville
Text:C. R. Kelley and his wife Jennie (Cary) and their family moved to Texas in 1905. A cement artisan, Kelley was hired to build the Alexander Institute (Lon Morris College) and several churches in Jacksonville. Built in 1910, this house reflects elements of the Victorian era. Once the centerpiece of the South Side Heights Addition, it is the only remaining residence from that project. It remained in the Kelley family until 1922.
Marker location: 7 miles northwest of Jacksonville on US 69, north to FM 855 then southeast on CR 3405 to monument site on CR 3411
Text:In this area, on October 5, 1838, the Killough, Wood and Williams families were attacked by hostile Indians and Mexicans: 18 were either killed or carried away; 8 escaped on horseback; 3 women with a baby fled on foot and were saved on third day by a friendly Indian. Was biggest Indian depredation of East Texas. Bodies of the victims found were buried here.
Kilraven, Site of
Marker location: 12 mi. S of Alto on FM 1911
Text: Merchant and miller William Henry (Bill) Spinks rebuilt his sawmill near this site in 1891 after a fire destroyed his earlier venture in southwest Cherokee County. The mill occupied 20 acres of land beside the railroad called Spinks' Switch. Many employees lived near the mill in company houses. In 1900 Spinks sold his mill to the Arkansas Lumber Company, which improved milling facilities and added a boardinghouse. The village was renamed Morton when a post office was located there from 1902 to 1904. Harry C. and Allen Kiley and Alfred Craven purchased the mill in 1909, combining their names to form "Kilraven." The mill supported a community of about 250 people until it was dismantled in 1921 due to the depletion of raw materials. The town disappeared, and only the mill pond remained in the early 21st century. (2000)
Marker location: about 7 miles north of New Summerfield off SH 10 down CR 4706, New Summerfield
Text: n 1854 Thomas Norman (1812-1859), a native of Tennessee, sold 2/3 interest in a 30-acre tract to William A. Pope and Archibald Carmichael. They sold town lots for Knoxville and in 1856, they gave 3/4 acre for a community church. Soon mercantile stores, a mill, distillery, blacksmith shop and a new school opened. Knoxville never had a saloon although all the stores sold whiskey. In 1872 the International Railroad Company opened the Palestine-Troup line. Businesses moved to Troup and Knoxville declined. The Knoxville cemetery is all that remains.(1979)
Lacy's Fort, Site of
Marker location: about 2.5 miles West of Alto on SH 21
Text: Built before 1835 as a home and trading post by Martin Lacy, Indian agent for the Mexican government. Used as a place of refuge after the massacre of the Killough family, October 5, 1838.
Larissa College, Site of Old
Marker location: 3 miles west of Mt. Selman
Text:A prominent school before the Civil War. Established in a log hut in 1848. Placed under the control of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church in 1855. Chartered February 2, 1856. With splendid equipment, Larissa offered the strongest science work of the day in Texas. Closed in 1866. Dr. F. L. Yoakum, President, 1855-1866. (1936)
Marker location: Shiloh Cemetery, FM 752 about 3 miles northwest of Alto
Text: (February 8, 1788 -- October 4, 1880) A native of Georgia, Isaac Lee lived in Mississippi and Arkansas before coming to Texas in 1828. He settled first at present San Augustine and later near Nacogdoches. He was a participant in the Battle of Nacogdoches in 1832 and served in the Republic of Texas Army. He and his wife, Mary, were the parents of four children. Lee moved to a farm near Alto to live with his daughter, Mary Ann Anderson, in 1870 and died there ten years later.(1989)
Marker location: 3 miles east of Linwood on SH 21
Text: Star and Wreath On land inherited by Delilah Dill Durst from Helena Kimble Dill, whose daughter born in 1804 was thought to be first white child native to Texas. Built about 1830 by Delilah's husband, Joseph Durst, who settled in Texas in early 1800s and rose by 1826 to office of Alcalde in Nacogdoches. During troubles of 1832, the battle of Nacogdoches ended here with the surrender of Colonel Piedras' army to 17 Texans. Later was home of Geo. Whitfield Terrell (1802-1846), who served Republic of Texas as attorney-general and as Minister to England, France and Spain. Birthplace of Geo. B. Terrell (1862-1947), State Representative, Commissioner of Agriculture, and Congressman-at-Large. (1965)
Little Bean's Cherokee Village
Marker location: 3 miles west of Rusk on US 84 at FM 347
Text:n the winter of 1819-1820 Chief John Bowles led about sixty Cherokee families from Arkansas to East Texas. Near this site a small settlement was established by a leader named Little Bean. They remained until 1839, when the Republic of Texas government forced the tribe to move to Oklahoma. The land later was opened to Anglo settlers. Early owners of the Indian village were Reza J. Banks and Lewis Rogers. Little Bean, who died in 1839, is thought to be buried in the vicinity of the village. (1999)
Lon Morris College
Marker location: 800 College Ave. at campus of Methodist Junior College
Text:Oldest junior college in Texas. Founded in Kilgore by Dr. Isaac Alexander, pioneer educator. In 1875 it became property of the East Texas (now the Texas) Conference of the Methodist Church. It was moved to Jacksonville in 1894. A junior college since 1912, renamed Alexander College (1916), it was retitled in 1924 to honor Pittsburg (Tex.) banker R. A.(Lon) Morris. First junior college in Texas with a Phi Theta Kappa scholarship fraternity; Also member Southern Association of Colleges longer than any other junior college in the state. (1971)
Marker location: 4 miles southwest of New Summerfield on FM 235
Text: The ante bellum community of Lone Star, a center of trade, education and culture in the 1880s, experienced its greatest growth after the Civil War. Known first as "Skin Tight," it was named Lone Star when a post office opened in 1883. The town once had several businesses, a public school, four churches, two lodges and the Lone Star Institute. The town began to decline after a disastrous fire in 1893. Decline continued when the T & N O Railroad bypassed Lone Star. Hope for the community's revival died when two oil field discoveries did not prove to be profitable. (1985)
Love Home, John Wesley
Marker location: 724 Cherokee Street, Jacksonville
Text: Known as "The Peach King" for his large peach orchards, John Wesley Love was born near Jacksonville in 1858. He and his wife, Texanna (Pickens), had this home built in 1902-03 to accommodate their family of twelve children. The turn-of-the-century Victorian-style house features a two-tiered, wraparound porch with hand-finished millwork ornamentation. The Love home is a stately reminder of Jacksonville's rich heritage and traditions. (1982)
Marker location: roadside park on Us 69, 4 miles north of Jacksonville
Text: On this nine mile long ridge there are two historic lookout points which command a view of 30 to 35 miles. Between this site, with an elevation of 713 ft., and Point Lookout (1/4 mi. NW), lies a narrow valley. An Indian trail and later a pioneer road crossed this valley. The pass became known as McKee's Gap in 1846, after Thomas McKee led a group of Presbyterians here from Tennessee and began the town of Larissa (3.5 mi. nw). Named by McKee's son the Rev. T. N. McKee, the village flourished as the location of Larissa College from the 1850s until the 1870s. Point Lookout was a popular recreational area for citizens of Larissa until the railroad bypassed the town and it declined. Around the turn of the century, John Wesley Love (1858-1925) bought this land and developed a 600-acre peach orchard. Known as Love's Lookout, the scenic point was used for outings by area residents. After Love's death, his family gave 22.22 acres, including the lookout site, to the state for a park. The City of Jacksonville bought 25 adjoining acres and developed both tracts as a WPA project. J. L. Brown (1866-1944) and Jewel Newton Brown (1873-1966), former Larissa residents, gave the city 122 acres next to the park in 1940 in tribute to pioneers of Larissa. (1978)
Lynches Chapel United Methodist Church and Cemetery
Marker location: SH 294 6 miles west of Alto
Text: Although Methodist worship services may have been held in this area before 1860, the first written records of this congregation date from that year, with the Rev. J. A. Srugs as the earliest known pastor. The church has been informally called "Blackjack" throughout its history, probably for the grove of blackjack trees that once stood on this property. The name Lynch's (later Lynches) Chapel was adopted in honor of the Rev. Samuel Lynch, who was serving as pastor at the time of his death. Early leaders in the church were Alexander Black and his son, John, who also served as the first teacher for Hendrick School. School classes for many years were held in the Lynches Chapel sanctuary, built near this site in the 1870s. Preaching services were held once a month, with annual summer revival meetings. The cemetery associated with Lynches Chapel Methodist Church began in 1885. Pioneer family names reflected on the tombstones include Landrum, Wallace, Schochler and Moffett. One unusual grave is that of an Indian girl, who died while her family was in the area. Over the years, Lynches Chapel United Methodist Church and cemetery have been important elements in this rural farming community. (1985)
Marker location: US 84, in front of Texas State Railroad depot
Text: Maydelle In 1906, the Texas State Railroad built to this area for timber to fuel iron manufacturing at the penitentiary in Rusk. The branch prison established at the railhead was called Camp Wright. When Rusk native Thomas Campbell became governor, he persuaded the legislature to extend the line to Palestine, where it met the I&GN railway. The line brought new settlement to the Camp Wright area, and in 1910, residents platted the new town of Maydelle, named for the governor's daughter, who sang at the town site's dedication. The town was an early center for cotton, timber and tomato production, but its population, like in other rural Texas towns, declined by the latter part of the 20th century. (2003)
Marker location: 1 mi. south New Summerfield
Text: Located on the original homestead of William and Clarissa Johnson and their family, this community cemetery began in the 1850s. Although there may have been earlier interments (possibly including William Johnson) the earliest documented burials, those of two young daughters of Dr. and Mrs. J. C. Privett, took place in 1856. Dr. Privett died in 1857 and was buried next to his daughters. After Clarissa Johnson married Thomas McDonald in 1858, her homestead became known as the McDonald Farm. By 1870 the small graveyard on Clarissa's farm had become a community burial ground known as McDonald Cemetery, although it was not formally designated as such in deed records until 1930. Among those buried in the McDonald Cemetery are members of the Johnson and McDonald families. There are over 550 documented burials, as well as a number of unmarked graves. The original one-acre plot of land set aside for the graveyard was enlarged in later years by additional land acquisitions. For well over a century, the McDonald Cemetery has served as a reminder of Cherokee County's pioneer heritage. It remains one of the area's important cultural resources. (1990)
Mewshaw State Sawmill and Maydell CCC Camp
Marker location: US 84 at FM 747, 4 miles west of Maydelle
Text:In operation from 1908 to 1912, the Mewshaw State Sawmill at this site produced 35,000 board feet of lumber daily and was staffed by convict laborers form the nearby Rusk State Penitentiary. The village of Maydelle later developed on the rail line that ran between Rusk and Palestine, and in 1933 a forest conservation camp under the auspices of the Federal Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) was established here. The camp was closed in 1937, but the benefits of its programs are still evident in the I. D. Fairchild State Forest, now a wildlife sanctuary. (1991)
Mitchell, Robert F.
Marker location: off US 69 on Cemetery Street in Alto
Text: (Nov. 13, 1801 -- Apr. 10, 1878) Ohio native Robert F. Mitchell came to Nacogdoches County, Texas in 1837. Briefly associated with John Durst in a mercantile firm, Mitchell moved to Cherokee County in 1849 and, soon after, his land on the upland divide between the Neches and Angelina Rivers was used for the town site of Alto (Latin for high). He later ran a store and gin in Alto and a hotel north of the Old San Antonio Road and served as a leader in the development of the town and area.(1986)
Morrill Orchard Company
Marker location: 3.7 mi. S of Alto on FM 1911
Text: Peach farmer Roland Morrill (1852-1923) came to Texas from his native Michigan with W.W. McFarland in 1901 to start a large-scale peach farm. They purchased acreage in this area near a rail line and began the Morrill Orchard Company. A community known as Morrill grew up around the orchard operation and included a school, commissary, post office and worker housing. The panic of 1907, followed by a blight in 1914, killed the peach orchards, but the company continued in operation with other produce until the economic collapse of 1929 signaled its demise. At the turn of the 21st century, the superintendent's house stood as the only visible reminder of this part of the county's agricultural history. (2002)
Marker location: 8 miles west of Alto on SH 2, just past Caddo Mounds State Park
Text: Bulging out of the earth a few yards form this point, three prehistoric Indian mounds interrupt the prevailing flat terrain. Long overgrown with grass, the mounds and adjacent village (covering about 100 acres) constitute one of the major aboriginal sites in North America. From about 500 to 1100 A.D., Caddoan Indians inhabited the village, which lay near the southwest edge of a great mound-building culture. Called "Mississippian," this culture once flourished throughout the present eastern United States. Excavations during 1939-41 and 1968-69 showed two of the mounds to have had ceremonial purposes. One may have been capped with bright yellow clay and both apparently supported temples. The tallest mound (about 20 feet) revealed several major burials. The village, surrounding the mounds but not settled before they were built, contained many round houses that probably resembled giant bee hives. Thousands of pot fragments, some pipes, charred corn cobs and nuts, and flint points were found in the area. Centuries after its abandonment by the Indians, this region was again a center of civilization when, in 1690, the first Spanish mission in Est Texas was built nearby to minister to the Neches Indians. (1969)
Marker location: 1 mile east of Rusk off US 84 on Park Road 50 in state park
Text: Birthplace of James Stephen Hogg, son of Lucanda McMath Hogg and Joseph Lewis Hogg. Born March 24, 1851. Died March 3, 1906. First native Texan to serve as governor. Inspirer of the passage of the Railroad Commission Law, Stock and Bond Law, Alien Land Law.(1936)
Mt. Hope Cemetery
Marker location: 1.5 mi. NW of Wells on CR 2626 (Homer-Alto Road)
Text: Joseph and Mary Bowman were married in Tennessee in the early 1800s. They moved their family to Missouri, then Mississippi and finally came to Texas with Stephen F. Austin's colony. Joseph, John J. (1807-1890) and James H. (1820-1886) Bowman fought in the Texas War for Independence from Mexico. James H. Bowman never married. In 1875 he offered one hundred acres of land to the Rev. W. D. Lewis (1819-1898) of the Barsola community to come to Mt. Hope community and establish a Methodist church at that location. Bowman gave adjacent land for a cemetery. The Rev. Mr. Lewis accepted his proposal. In November 1875, Mrs. Margaret (Ruby) Hicks, the wife of farmer Jasper Hicks and mother of Jess Hicks, died and was the first person to be interred on this site. The church was moved to nearby Wells after the railroad came through in 1886, the year that James H. Bowman was interred in Mt. Hope Cemetery. Among the early settlers buried here are members of the Bailey, Beasley, Bowman, Chapmon, Creekmore, Chandler, Cravens, Dubose, Doyle, Humphrey, Falvey, Hillencamp, Hicks, Lees, Lockhart, Luce, Lewis, Ruby, Spinks, Shamess, Stokes, Sneed, Sessions and Tyra families. Those interred here include area farmers and ranchers, teachers, doctors, business and civic leaders, and elected officials including former mayors, county commissioners and state legislators. Of the more than 1800 people interred on 13.2 acres at the dawn of the 21st century, more than two hundred were veterans of major wars and military conflicts, including eight Confederate veterans. The cemetery is a memorial to the pioneers of this area. (2000)
Mt. Zion United Methodist Church and Cemetery
Marker location: 4 miles northeast of Alto on FM 241
Text: Although few written records of this church exist before 1871, it is thought that the congregation was organized just prior to the outbreak of the Civil War. In 1871 the fellowship built a sanctuary at this site during the pastorate of the Rev. Jehu John Allen. The Mount Zion Church has produced several Methodist ministers from its membership. Part of the land deeded to the church by William Collier in 1871, by Wiley P. Cole in 1872, and by H. N. Lusk in 1882 has served the area as a public cemetery. The earliest marked grave, that of Hester Cole, is dated 1874. (1980)
Myrtle Springs Cemetery
Marker location: 3 miles south of New Summerfield on rural road between FM 235 and FM 2274
Text: Begun during the 1860s, this cemetery served as a burial ground for citizens of the town of Lone Star as well as other scattered settlements in the area. Many homesteads were located nearby, and a union church was attended by many families until the 1920s. The cemetery is located on land deeded to the Myrtle Springs Church by area pioneer Thomas Garrison. Though several hand-cut sandstone markers are illegible or contain only initials, the earlier marked grave is that of Martha C. Wallace, born in 1852, and buried here in 1866. At least fifteen veterans of the Civil War are interred here, and more are believed to rest in unmarked graves. In October 1950, an additional tract for land was added to the original cemetery plot. In 1963 a group of area citizens formed a cemetery association for the care of the burial ground. The state of Texas granted a perpetual care charter of the association in 1967. Although the settlement of Lone Star became a ghost town, the cemetery has served a widespread rural community, including the town of Ponta and area farms and homesteads. Texas Sesquicentennial 1836 - 1986
Neches Indian Village
Marker location: 8 miles west of Alto on SH 21 just past Caddo Mounds State Park
Text: Here at the opening of the 18th century stood a village of the Neches Indians. Their name was given to the river and later to a mission, San Francisco de los Neches, established nearby. With the Cherokees, the Neches Indians were expelled from Texas in 1839. (1936)
Neches Saline Road, Old
Marker location: US 175, 2 miles northwest of Jacksonville
Text: Originally an Indian trail. Used in 1765 by the Spanish priest Calahorra on an Indian peace mission. Gained importance, 1820s, for use in hauling salt from Neches Saline to Nacogdoches. Survivors of the Killough family massacre of 1838 fled via the road to Fort Lacy. The Texas Army used it en route to fight Mexican rebel Cordova in 1838 and in Cherokee War, 1839. Some of Kentucky volunteers went this way to the Mexican War, 1846. After Indian wars, road brought in many settlers. Jacksonville, Dialville and Larissa grew up along its path. (1970
Nelson, Helena Kimble Dill
Marker location: family cemetery off SH 21, 2 miles east of Alto
Text: (1770 -- 1848) Mother of child thought to have been first Anglo-American born in Texas, in 1804. Helena Kimble was born in Maryland. Married James Dill in 1786. Moved to Nacogdoches, then under Spanish rule, 1793. There he became an Indian trader and served as alcalde (mayor), 1821-1823. He died 1825. She gained title in 1828 to Dill's land grant, in present Cherokee County. Moved here and soon after married Wm. Nelson. (1969)
Marker location: 1 mile southeast of Rusk on US 69
Text:Born during iron rush of 1880s. Population about 3000. Had 2 iron furnaces, "The Tassie Bell" and "The Star and Cresent," 15 brick business blocks included banks, ice plant, electric plant, pipe foundry, school and palacial southern hotel where Jay Gould and Grover Cleveland were guests. Street railway connected with Rusk. Became ghost town in 1890s due to financial troubles of iron companies.
New Summerfield Public School
Marker location: New Summerfeld Public Schools campus
Text: Public education in the Union Chapel community, which developed here at the junction of the old Tyler-Rusk and Jacksonville- Henderson roads, began in the 1850s. Early classes were held in the Union Chapel Church, an ecumenical worship facility and community center. A one-room schoolhouse was built in 1895, and after an U.S. post office was established in 1897 under the name Summerfield, the school name changed from Union Chapel School to Summerfield School. The post office closed in 1905. As new facilities were built, surrounding schools began to consolidate with the Summerfield School. A two-room structure built in 1906 was destroyed in a 1920 windstorm. It was replaced that year by a new brick building, the first brick structure in Summerfield. By 1929 the Summerfield Independent School District was formed. A new post office for the community was established in 1938. Because another Texas town was named Summerfield, this became New Summerfield. Throughout its history, the New Summerfield School has been the center of scholastic and social activities. It continues to serve as the focal point of the community. (1991)
Marker location: 406 W. Kickapoo St., Jacksonville
Text: The Rev. John Madison Newburn (1868-1926), a native of Mississippi, came to Jacksonville from Neches, Texas, in the winter of 1896 to assume the pastorate of the First Baptist Church. He and his wife Lula purchased property on this site in 1901 from F. A. Fuller and R. B. Longmire. Built in 1903, this house is a late example of a Victorian residence with transitional classical revival elements, including a two-story balustraded porch and four ornamental gables. The Newburn family formed close ties with Jacksonville College and other family and friends in the community. When housing facilities were limited at the school, the Newburn home served as a dormitory. Two Jacksonville College presidents, the Rev. J. V. Vermillion and Deacon B. J. Albritton, were among those who penned a special memorial record of Newburn's work with the First Baptist Church after his death. The Rev. Mr. Newburn had served 22 years as pastor. In 1928, after a fire destroyed the small Newburn Hospital owned and operated by J. M. Newburn's brother, C. L. Newburn, M. D., Lula Newburn offered her home to serve as a temporary hospital until a new facility was erected five months later. The home was owned and occupied by Newburn heirs until it was purchased by Dallas and Thelma Rawlinson in 1945. In later years the home served as a day care facility for area children. The house was returned to the friends of its first owners in 1994 when it was sold to Jacksonville College. Recorded Texas Historic Landmark - 1998
Norman Law Firm
Marker location: 106 E. Fifth St., Rusk
Text: Wyatt Thomas Norman and William Harrison Shook, both Cherokee County natives, opened a law office on the Courthouse Square in 1898. George Gibson became a partner in 1918. He later moved to Jacksonville and opened a branch there. Wyatt T. Norman's son joined the firm in 1930, becoming a partner in 1932 and later maintaining the Jacksonville office. Throughout its history, the firm has retained the Norman name in its title. It remains widely known as the Norman Law Firm. The firm has contributed to Texas legal history, successfully representing both individuals and national corporations. The Norman firm has prduced judges, politicians and local, county and state leaders. It continues in the traditions of its founders. (2000)
Odom -Crawford House
Marker location: .75 mile north of Us 84, Maydelle
Text: The Rev. Randal Odom moved here in 1847 and constructed this house for his family. Using hand-hewn logs, he built the original two rooms and connecting "dog trot" hallway. A detached building served as the kitchen. After the Civil War he sold the property to his son R. N. Odom. Isaac Crawford and his wife Edie Ann (Clark) purchased the residence in 1882. Although not continuously occupied since that date, it has remained in the Crawford family. (1980)
Old Palestine Cemetery
Marker location: 6 miles east of Alto on SH 21
Text: Henry and Helena (Dill) Berryman deeded four acres of land at this site to trustees of the old Palestine Baptist Church in 1853. Seven years later Helena, by then a widow, gave an additional two acres on which a schoolhouse and community graveyard already were in existence. Many early graves are undocumented, but records indicate stones once marked interments that occurred as early as 1861. Among the pioneer settlers interred here are James and Martha Boyd, their son Benjamin, daughter Martha Donegan, and infant granddaughter Lara Donegan, all of whom died in 1862. Enlarged in later years with additional land donations, the cemetery stands as a reminder of the area's pioneer heritage. (2001)
Perkins House, James I. and Myrta Blake
Marker location: 302 E. 5th Street in Rusk
Text: Attorney James N. Thomas (b. 1816) erected the one-story portion of this residence before 1851. James I. Perkins (1847-1923) built the two-story wings and added Victorian detailing after he purchased the property in 1893. Head of a leading Rusk family who owned the home for 94 years, Perkins served as district attorney, district judge, and a member of the State Legislature. His son James I. Perkins, Jr., (1887-1952) and daughter-in-law Morinne (Taylor) (1905-1974) shared a law practice and held offices in city and county government(1977)
Marker location: 7 miles west of Alto at Caddo Mounds State Park
Text: In 1807, under commission from Gen. James Wilkinson, Governor of the Louisiana Territory, Lt. Zebulon Pike led an expedition to explore the headwaters of the Arkansas and Red Rivers and to report on Spanish settlements in the New Mexico area. Heading south from present Colorado, where the party saw the mountain later named Pike's Peak for the expedition's leader, they were arrested by Spanish authorities. Under escort back to the United States, the party camped near this site on June 24, 1807. The Pike expedition furnished an important account of Spanish Texas and New Mexico. (1982)
Pine Grove School
Marker location: On CR 1804, 10 miles southwest of Jacksonville
Text: Earliest county school records indicate that the Pine Grove School was in operation by at least 1885, serving African American students in this part of rural Cherokee County. One teacher taught all grades in a community schoolhouse. After World War I, a growing student population led authorities to apply to the Julius Rosenwald Fund, from which they secured funding to help build a new schoolhouse. Completed in 1926, the two-teacher type school was enlarged in 1935-36 to make room for two more teachers. Pine Grove, which produced a number of students who went on to very successful careers, operated as a segregated institution until it closed in 1968 and merged with the New Hope school district. (2001)
Marker location: CR 4401, Ponta, 1 block NE of SH 204
Text: In 1901, a new town site was laid out on the Texas & New Orleans Railroad. Promoted by brothers Lee D. and William T. Guinn, it was named Hubb for county surveyor Hubbard S. Guinn. It was renamed Ponta (an adaptation of the Latin "Ponte," which means bridge) when the post office was established in 1903. Ponta was a shipping center for such local products as lumber, cotton, tomatoes and peaches. In time, the town boasted such businesses as general stores, restaurants, banks, blacksmiths, cotton gins and sawmills, as well as a hotel, a Masonic lodge, churches and schools. Large scale greenhouse cultivation began in the area in the 1950s. The railroad ceased operation after World War II and the post office closed in 1972. Ponta Plant Nurseries remain a major factor in the Cherokee County economy. (1999)
Prisoner of War Compound C.S.A.
Marker location: 2 miles south of Rusk on FM 241
Text: Prisoner of War Compound at this site housed some of the more than 3,000 Federals captured at Mansfield, LA., on April 8, 1864, in Red River campaign to prevent Federal invasion of Texas. Camp Ford, at Tyler, was largest P.O.W. camp west of the Mississippi. Texas had two others, at Hempstead, Waller County, and Camp Verde, Kerr County. (1965)
Public School, First Free
Marker location: E. Commerce at Austin St. at entrance to Tomato Bowl stadium, Jacksonville
Text: In 1885 a two-story frame structure was built on this site and served as the first free public school in Jacksonville. It was destroyed by a tornado in 1890. A three-story brick building was erected here in 1910-12. Known as the East Side School, it served elementary and secondary students at different times until 1939. After decades of use for school purposes, the hillside stood bare until 1940. In that year a sports stadium, known as the Tomato Bowl, was begun by the Federal Works Progress Administration and the Jacksonville Independent School District. (1988)
Marker location: City limits of Rusk
Text: Founded 1846. Named for Republic of Texas Statesman Thomas J. Rusk. Industrial site and supply depot in the Civil War. Birthplace of Texas governors James S. Hogg, Thomas M. Campbell. City and county rich in historical sites marked for visitors.
Rusk Cherokeean, The
Marker Location: 618 N. Main St., Rusk
Text: The first newspaper in Rusk was the short-lived Rusk Pioneer, which began in 1848 and moved to Palestine the following year. On February 27, 1850, the first issue of the Cherokee Sentinel was published. This is the publication to which the current Cherokeean/Herald can trace its origin. After the Civil War, the name of the weekly paper was changed to the Texas Observer, and it was at this paper, as a typesetter, that Texas' first native governor, James Stephen Hogg, began his work in the newspaper business. This weekly publication underwent a series of name changes and consolidations over the years but remained in continuous operation. Among its significant publishers have been: Samuel A. Willson, a noted judge, who was appointed by Governor Richard Coke to help codify the laws of Texas under the 1876 Constitution; John Benjamin Long, a U.S. Congressman, state legislator and mayor of Rusk; and state representative Wallace M. Ellis. They and other publishers and editors have kept the citizens of Rusk and Cherokee County informed of news and events throughout the years. The Rusk Cherokeean published its first issue in 1919 and purchased the Press Journal (a successor to the Cherokee Sentinel) in 1923. In 1959, the paper's name was shortened to the Cherokeean. It has been known as the Cherokeean/Herald since a merger with the Alto Herald in 1989. At the beginning of the 21st century, the publication could lay claim as the oldest, continuously operated, weekly newspaper in Texas. (2001) Text of supplemental plate: June 1, 1950, Emmett and Marie Whitehead bought this newspaper from Frank and Marie Main. They and their family have owned it since. (2001)
Rusk College, Site of
Marker location: South Main Street, in front of city park in Rusk
Text: After efforts to relocate a Methodist school to Rusk fell through, the community convinced the Cherokee Baptist Association to establish a school on 12.2 acres donated by local resident Georgiana Bonner. Chartered in 1894, the East Texas Baptist Institute was housed in a grand 3-story structure and offered classes from first grade through junior college. Renamed Rusk Academy of Industrial Arts in 1907 and Rusk College in 1919, the six-building campus was closed in 1928. In 1937 the main building was razed and its cornerstone later put on display at the First Baptist Church. (1992)
Marker location: end of 5th and Lone Oak in Rusk
Text:(546 feet long; 4 feet wide) First built 1861 as the means for residents east of valley to get to town during rainy seasons. Rebuilt in 1889 by T. H. Barnes, engineer building New Birmingham (now ghost town, to the east). Maintained by city of Rusk until 1950. Restored 1969 on plans by Barnes. (1969)
Rusk Penitentiary Building
Marker location: Avenue A and US 69, Rusk
Text: The abundance of iron ore for use in manufacturing prompted a commission appointed by Gov. Richard Coke in 1875 to select this region for a state penitentiary. In 1877 this 19,000-acre tract was purchased form T. Y. T. Jamison and his wife. Contractors Kanmacher and Denig of Columbus, Ohio, built this structure the following year. The walls are of two-and-a-half foot thick sandstone. The administrative offices, a hospital, chapel, dining area, and cells were housed here. The prisoners helped construct the Texas State Railroad from Rusk to Palestine. They built the "Old Alcalde" iron ore smelting furnace adjacent to this structure. The furnace produced iron products for construction throughout the United States and for use in the erection of many state buildings. Convict labor was used in the area at contract prices. In 1917 the Texas Legislature changed the facility to a state hospital for the mentally ill. The building was renovated and ready for occupancy by 1919 and operated under the name of Rusk State Hospital. The Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation was designated as the governing body in 1963. This structure became the administrative center for the hospital.(1979)
Rusk Public School No. 2 for African Americans
Marker location: 1/4 mile west of Courthouse on US 84, Rusk
Text: By 1884 the Rusk Public School District maintained two schools: No. 1 for its Anglo students and No. 2 for its African American students. A yearly average of 50 students met in a small house built here about 1895 to house Rusk Public School No. 2. In 1939 the Rusk Independent School District erected a new school building southeast of downtown Rusk for its African American students. Named after long-term principal G. W. Bradford, the facility was used until Rusk integrated its schools in the 1960s. Many graduates of this school became highly respected professionals. (1993)
Marker location: FM 347 4.5 miles south of Jacksonville
Text: Equipped with pine rails that warped out of shape and running at a speed often exceeded by mule wagons, the Rusk tram began operations in 1875. Bypassed two years earlier by another railroad, citizens rejoiced over the tram. Rolling stock included a used streetcar, three flatcars and a steam engine called the "Cherokee". Passengers often had to help replace the train on its tracks before it reached the end of its 16-mile line at Jacksonville. In 1879 the tram was sold. It had fostered growth by helping attract industry to the area. (1989)
Marker location: 8.5 mi. W on FM 1857, then W on CR 2218
Text: Several families came to this area from Edgefield District, South Carolina, where they were members of the Church of Christ in Salem. Among these settlers were the Berry, Martin, Coleman, Nickolson and Jennings families. They established the Edgefield community in 1848 and the Sardis Baptist Church in 1854. The landscape in this vicinity reminded them of their home, and most of those buried here are early settlers and their descendants. The earliest burials on this site may have taken place during the measles epidemic of 1857. The first marked burial was that of Rebecca Bolton Neal (1791-1873). The cemetery was known as Meazle Cemetery for a time because William Meazle purchased the property in 1866. His heirs, Elizabeth Meazle and George Masters, sold the land in 1899 but made provision for the graveyard in the deed. Other graves of interest include that of Peter Berry (1818-1898). Berry, a great-grandson of one of the signers of the U. S. Declaration of Independence, was a veteran of the Seminole Indian War in the Florida Territory and was a member of the Texas State Troops during the Civil War. There are at least two other Confederate veterans and several veterans of later wars interred here. The Sardis-Edgefield Cemetery Association was chartered in 1982. By 1999 there were more than 323 marked graves in the cemetery. There are a number of unmarked graves, believed to be those of early settlers and slaves. The Sardis-Edgefield Cemetery continues to serve the people of Cherokee County and remains a chronicle of its early settlement. (1999)
Marker location: on SH 21 5 miles east of Alto
Text: In 1834 surveyor William Roark (1803-1862) and his family came to Texas from Tennessee. Roark's mother Nancy (Chambliss) and brother Napoleon were buried in the one-half-acre graveyard about 1837-38. Joseph, Delila and James H. Durst deeded this cemetery to Roark in 1838. Roark's daughter Elizabeth married Benjamin Franklin Selman in 1855 and the site became known as "Selman-Roark Cemetery". As Linwood community grew, more families used the burial ground. In 1861 a Roark descendant deeded an additional 0.8 acre adjoining the cemetery. (1979)
Slover, George Washington
Marker location: 5 mile west of Dialville on FM 1910
Text: (March 27, 1816 -- August 22, 1864) Baptist minister and carpenter. Of French descent, he was born in Jefferson County, Tennessee. Said to have built the Atlanta Hotel depicted in "Gone with the Wind", famous novel of the South during the Civil War. Moved to Cherokee County in 1848, where, on April 8, he helped found the Rocky Springs Baptist Church. He also served as pastor. On March 2, 1837, at Danridge, Tennessee, he married Adelia Wood. They had seven children.
Smith Homesite, Samuel
Marker location: SH 110, Blackjack Community, 4 miles north of New Summerfield
Text: Samuel Smith (1800-1873), a native of Switzerland, came to Knox County, Tennessee, at the age of 19. In 1823, he married Oney Karnes and received his United States citizenship four years later. In 1849, the Smiths joined a group of immigrants from North Carolina and Tennessee who journeyed to Texas and founded the town of Knoxville in northeast Cherokee County. Samuel and Oney Smith brought six of their seven children with them to Texas. They purchased land three miles southwest of Knoxville in the Blackjack community. Smith built a farmhouse at this site in 1859, and the homestead remained in the family until 1874. As the patriarch of a family that made significant contributions to the rural Blackjack community, Samuel Smith is an important figure in the context of northeastern Cherokee County history. Members of the Smith family deeded land for the church and cemetery, operated the first blacksmith shop in the settlement, and were associated with the International and Great Northern Railroad when it came through the area in 1872. (1986)
Marker location: city cemetery in Jacksonville
Text: A blacksmith by trade, Kentuckian Jackson Smith came to Texas in the 1830s and participated in the War for Independence. He later visited this area as a Republic of Texas scout. In the 1840s, he settled southwest of here in the Gum Creek community. Near there he platted a townsite he called Jacksonville. Smith served as a Confederate officer in the Civil War. In 1972, Jacksonville was moved to its present site along the new railroad.
Stadler, Robert Graves
Marker location: Fitch Cemetery, Blackjack Community, 12 miles northeast of Jacksonville east of FM 2750 and SH 110 intersection
Text: Born in Granville County, North Carolina, Robert Graves Stadler was a veteran of the War of 1812 and the Texas War of Independence. He purchased land in this area in 1845 and settled near the already established community of Griffin (2 mi, SE). By 1853, Stadler had encouraged relatives from North Caroline to make their homes here. He died just as the Civil War began, having laid the foundation for what became the farming community of Blackjack. (1985
Tassle Belle and Star and Cresent Iron Ore Furnaces
Marker location: US 69, 3 miles south of Rusk
Text: New Birmingham was a boom town nearby in the late 1880s built around local iron ore operations. The furnaces, capable of producing 50 tons of iron daily, were named "Tassie Belle," after the wife of the town founder A. B. Bevins, and the "Star and Crescent." About 275 workmen were required to keep furnaces in continual operation. The town grew to over 3, 000 people with a business district of 15 blocks including 32 mercantile houses, an ice plant, the spacious Southern Hotel, bottling works, and an early electric power plant. The 1883 panic bankrupted the industries and killed the town. (1996)
Templeton, David Greene
Marker location: Jacksonville City Cemetery
Text: (Aug. 5, 1815 - June 29, 1871) Cherokee County pioneer David Greene Templeton arrived in the county shortly after the legislature organized it in 1846. Settling in the Gum Creek Community (later Old Jacksonville), the North Carolina native became a prominent landowner and civic leader. In 1850, Templeton was appointed one of nine original trustees to the Presbyterian College at Larissa (later Larissa College). Active in his local Masonic lodge, he was part of the Confederate home guard during the Civil War. His descendants served prominently in the early development of Jacksonville. Recorded - 2001
Tennison, Dr. William Reuben
Marker location: McDonald Cemetery, 1 mile south of New Summerfield on SH 110
Text: (March 18, 1855 -- November 12, 1936) Born in a log cabin in rural east Cherokee County, William Reuben Tennison earned a degree from St. Louis Medical School in 1878. He returned home to open an office in the home of his father, Mathew Tennison. For the next fifty-eight years he provided health care for the people of Cherokee County, often treating indigent patients without payment. He continued to treat patients until shortly before his death. (1988)
Terrell Lodge No. 83
Marker location: Ochiltree and SH 21 in Alto
Text: Organized in 1851, this Masonic body was chartered by the Grand Lodge of Texas in 1852. Meetings were originally held in the Linwood Community (7 mi. E). The lodge was named for George Whitfield Terrell (1893-1846), who served as attorney general of the Republic of Texas. He also represented the Republic as an Indian commissioner and foreign diplomat. Terrell Lodge moved to Alto in 1852. Two previous buildings served as lodge before the present facility was constructed in 1966. (1978)
Texas State Railroad
Marker location: about 2.5 miles west of Rusk, Rusk terminus of Texas State Railroad
Text: In the late 1880s the Texas Prison System built a short rail line from the state penitentiary facility in north Rusk southward to hardwood timber stands, where charcoal was made for use in firing the prison's iron ore smelting furnaces. The line served as the foundation of the Texas State Railroad, which was organized in 1894 in an effort to make the prison more self-sufficient by providing new markets for prison products. Two Texas governors, James Stephen Hogg and Thomas M. Campbell, both natives of Cherokee County, were instrumental in the railroad's development. Built by prisoners and supervised by the state prison system, the line was completed in 1909 to Palestine (30 mi. w), where it connected with existing routes. Setbacks, including the closing of the furnaces and the prison unit, limited the railroad's success; however, under a board of managers appointed by the Legislature, the line was later leased to the Texas & New Orleans Railroad and the Texas & Southeastern Railroad. In 1972 control was transferred to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission for development as a state park. It now symbolizes the significant role the railroad industry played in Texas history. (1982)
Marker location: About ½ mile from Forest at the south end of CR 2754.
Text: Thompson Cemetery Wiley (1799-1866) and Cynthia Ann Suttle (1811-1884) Thompson brought their eight children and a number of slaves to this area from Alabama in 1847. They purchased a 636-acre tract of land along Larrison Creek where they built a log home on a hill overlooking the creek bottomland. The community that developed nearby became known as Forest and included a store, saloon, mills and cotton gin owned by the family. Four more offspring were born here to the Thompsons, but around 1850, two of their children died and the family reportedly buried them in the corner of the yard where the house once stood. These first burials that began this cemetery are now among the more than thirty that are unmarked; the earliest dated grave is that of Mrs. L.N. Williams, who died in 1863. Those laid to rest here include veterans of the Civil War, World War I, World War II, Korea and Vietnam. Descendants of the Thompsons and families of the forest community continue to contribute to the care and upkeep of this burial ground. The original Thompson home and other early structures are gone, but this cemetery remains as a chronicle of the pioneers and generations who settled and developed this area of Cherokee County. Historic Texas Cemetery-2002
Travis Memorial Hospital
Marker location: 501 S. Ragsdale, Jacksonville
Text: Originally known as the Cherokee Sanitarium, this hospital began in 1919 as a nine-bed facility in a small Jacksonville apartment house. In 1925, a larger facility was constructed, and five years later, the hospital was renamed to honor Nan Travis (1854-1919), the mother of staff doctors J. M. and R. T. Travis. Over time, the medical institution has grown to serve citizens from all over East Texas. Building expansion programs accommodated the growth and changes in health care during the 20th century. In 1997, Nan Travis merged with a larger system to become the East Texas Medical Center - Jacksonville. (2001)
Union Grove Cemetery
Marker location: FM 2138 5 miles south of Jacksonville
Text: Established in 1868 with burial of Mary Ann Patton, the first wife of John F. Patton (1829-1900). He was Jacksonville postmaster, Confederate Army officer during Civil War (1861-1865). In 1871 he deeded this land to the Union School and Church. Kept up by gifts, cemetery is still in use. (1971)
Union Hotel/ Bracken House / Acme Hotel
Marker location: northwest corner of Main and 6th (US 84) in Rusk
Text: The first hotel to occupy this site was the Union Hotel, a wood frame building erected in 1849. Renamed Bracken House for a subsequent owner, it continued to serve the city until 1889. Civil War General Joseph L. Hogg, father of future Governor James Stephen Hogg, gave a rousing patriotic speech from the front steps in 1861, and infamous outlaw John Welsey Hardin was held for two weeks in the hotel by the local sheriff in 1872. Architect Theodore Miller razed the wooden structure and built the 65-room brick Acme Hotel in its place in 1889. It was destroyed by fire in 1905. (1996)
Walker's Chapel Cemetery
Marker location: 3 mi. NW on CR 4404, W of FM 235
Text: This cemetery has historic ties to Walker's Chapel Methodist Episcopal Church, South, founded by and named for John Walker, who moved to this vicinity by 1839. Harvey N. Cooper later conveyed this site to the church and its trustees in 1879. The church became the heart of a rural community known as Walker (Walker's) Chapel. The oldest legible marked grave in the community cemetery dates to 1879. There are also several other marked graves from the late 19th century. A number of veterans are buried here, including those who served in military conflicts dating back to the Civil War. Noteworthy features in the cemetery include vertical stones and curbed plots in the older section. By 1965, an association formed for the care of the cemetery and grounds. An annual memorial service is held here each July. Today, although many reminders of the community are gone, the cemetery continues to chronicle the lives of early settlers of Walker Chapel. Historic Texas Cemetery - 2004
Wildhurst, Site Of
Marker location: FM 1911 at FM 1247, 1 mile north of Forest
Text:One of the many sawmill towns in East Texas in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Wildhurst was established by the Chronister Lumber Company in 1895. Operations included sawmills, mill ponds, drying kilns, a planing mill, commissary, locomotive and logging tram. Production peaked at 75,000 board feet of yellow pine cut daily in 1918, and the population of the company town reached 400 by the 1920s. Records indicate that three-fourths of the workforce was African American, and the town plat included segregated housing, schools and churches. Labor shortages during World War II and the lack of reserve trees in the region led to the demise of sawmill operations at Wildhurst by December 1944. (2000)
This information comes from The Texas Historical Commission Markers.