Grayson County TXGenWeb
Denison, Texas


Denison, Texas 1886




Photos of Denison on the Grayson County Government Website


Denison, Texas official website

Frontier Village Museum

I Grew Up In Denison

I Love Denison, Texas and It's History!

New Books
 Images of America : Denison

Lives in Photography: Denison, Texas


Early Denison

Early Railroading out of Denison

Denison's First Year (1873) - by Harrison Tone

Denison, 1874
Sunday Gazetteer, 30 July 1893

 Denison Genealogical Society's Online Document Collection - Denison Tax books

Denison Daily Herald
1906 - 1907

Denison Centennial Program, 1972

"Road Improvement in Denison"
.  Good Roads Magazine : Devoted to Street & Highway Improvement
February 1907
Contributed by :

Denison Schools

Fine Arts


1876 City Directory, Denison Part 1    Part 2

Morrison & Fourmy's General Directory of the City of Denison, 1887-1888

Morrison & Fourmy's General Directory of the City of Denison, 1891-1892

1893-1894 Denison City Directory

Denison, September 24, 1894

Maloney's Denison - Sherman City Directory, 1898-1899

1899-1900 Denison City Directory

History & Business Guide of Sherman, Denison, & Grayson County

Denison Telephone Directory, 1955

Post Cards
showing buildings, schools & views of Denison, Texas



Biographical Page


Alexander W.  "Sandie" Acheson, Jr. ~ Physician & Civic Leader

Sarah C. Acheson ~ Suffragette & Temperance Reformer  

Horace Alexander ~ Real Estate Agent

Lottie Johnson Rockwell Anderson ~ Rockwell's Jewelry

Vice-Admiral Adolphus Andrews ~ U.S. Navy

Berenice Waples Platter Andrews

James W. Aynes ~ Denison Herald employee, 1878

2nd Lt. Eileen Badgett Olson ~ Denison War Nurse

Dr. D.H. Bailey

Richard Baker ~ Song Writer

Electra Wilson Biggs ~ Sculptress

Albert D. Bethard ~ M K & T employee, 1888

Godwin Lewis Blackford ~ Banker

James Boyd ~ Gent's Outfitter

Dr. William T. Booth

Patrick J. Brennan ~ Cashier, National Bank of Denison

Dr. W.A. Bristol ~ Collin Co. & Denison

Hiram Brooks ~ Staples & Fancy Groceries

William H. Brown ~ Dairy Farmer

Clora Bryant - Jazz Musician

Bryant, David Monroe "Bud" ~ Austin College Professor

Joseph Burnam ~ Veteran of Mexican-American War; Denison merchant  

E. F. Bush ~ Fruit grower & Stone merchant

Sterling Van Buren Camp ~ Denison & Montague Co., Texas

John T. "J.T." Carroll Family

Dr. James C. Carter ~ Eye, Ear, Nose Specialist

Constantine "Mack" Christman & Anna Öster

Maguerite E. Pluss Clark ~ Osteopathic Doctor

Samuel Porter Clark ~ Men's Merchant

Lafayette W. Clarke ~ Businessman & Agriculturalist

Charles Simeon Cobb ~ Banker

Ralph Covington ~ Architect

William "Bill" Covington ~ Architect

William Wilkes "Tex" Covington ~ Professional Baseball

Joseph Martin "Joe" Crumpton, Sr. ~ Hotel Manager

James Alexander Cummins ~ Texas Ranger & Denison resident

Nathan H. Lee Decker

Alexander L. Douglass ~ Tailor & Men's Clothing

Floyd W. Duffey ~ Grocer

James F. Dunn ~ Denison & Clay Co., TX

Tobitha Ingram Dunn

William Esler, owner of  Esler Paint & Paper

Frank Fanning ~ Magnetic Healer, 1888

Matthias "Mack" Fletcher

James Mitchell Ford

Robert Coleman Foster ~ MKT Attorney & Texas Legislator, 1878-1887

Thomas James "Tom" Fox, Sr.

Jesse Saunders Freels, Sr. ~ attorney & store owner

Edward D. Gentry ~ barber, 1885 - 1908

Anne Clymer Goddard

Dr. Luther Gohlke

Dr. Benjamin Franklin Hall

Giarraputo Family

Wilfred Hallenbeck Family

Gladys Riddle Hampton

Alexander D. Hay

James William "Will" Hayes

Dr. James Ernest Mitchell 
Heffelbower ~ Dentist

Esther Louise Logan
Henderson, 1885 - 1996 (part 1, part 2)

Hendricks family

Hibbard Family

Henry & Rosa Hill family

Dr. Matthias Hook, D.O.

T.E. Horan ~ Buggy & Harness Shop, 1887 - 1905

Rogers Hornsby

Gustavus A. Henry "Gus" Howard (1847 - 1904) ~ Denison Saloon Proprietor

Joshua E. Howard (1850 - 1935) ~ Denison Businessman

Isaac Hudson ~ Grayson Co & Jones Co TX cattleman

Frank Ben "F.B." Hughes ~ Superintendent of Schools & Postmaster

Benjamin Pierce Hull ~ Sherman & Denison contractor

Lillian Imparato ~ Dance instructor

Clark Alexander Ingram ~ early Preston Bend settler

Adolph Benjamin Johnson, Jr ~ Rockwell's Jewelry

Adolph Benjamin Johnson, Sr ~ Tailor

John T. M. Johnston ~ Banker

Dr. James L. Jones (1840 - 1903) ~ Physician

Minnie Marsh Jones

Sydney C. Kennedy ~ Insurance Agent

Walter Kinney

Charles Davis "Charlie" Kingston ~ Druggist

Knaur family

George Alfred Lake ~ Carriage maker

Leon Lallier ~ Garden Marketer

Mary Elizabeth Lease

John Palmer Leeper ~ Art historian

Brainard J. Lindsay ~ Insurance Man

Mary Veronica "Vernie" McInerney Lindsay ~ Insurance Business Woman

Isaac Lindsey

Edward H. Lingo ~ Lumber company owner

Rosie Long

Maddox, Robert E. ~ Denison & Ft. Worth livestock trader

Angelina Maggia

Jack Russell Maguire ~ Texas Historian

Winston Baird Markham, M.D.

Tommy Martin

Rice Maxey ~ Attorney & Judge

Donald Mayes

Rose Marie Riddle Mayes

Dr. Isaac D. McCoy ~ Physician & Surgeon

John Bue McDougall

Charles T. McElvaney

Maude Ella Stuart Megginson

Mikels, Rev. Frank ~ Fruit Agriculturist

Patrick J. Mulen ~ Grocer

Eloise Munson

Thomas Volney Munson

Bredette C. Murray

James Nimon ~ Horticulturist

Charles W. Nimon ~ Funeral Director & Soldier

John D. Ourand ~ Hotel & Saloon Owner

Andrew Fox Platter
  ~ Businessman & Dairy Farmer

Francis "Fannie" Waples Platter

Paul Waples Platter

Sophia Porter

Francis "Frank" Newton Puckett ~ Bookstore manager

Justus Garfield Puckett ~ MK&T employee & co-owner of Rockwell's Jewelry

Dr. Garth Arthur Riddler ~ Denison & Dallas

Findley N. Robertson ~ Sherman & Denison attorney

John B. Rockwell ~ Rockwell's Jewelry

Dr. William C. Rutledge ~ Collin Co., Texas & Denison

Edward M. Seay

Herber M. Scott ~ Grayson Co Road Engineer

Will J. Scott ~ Denison Postmaster

John F. Simmons ~ Parker Co., TX Livery Businessman, 1880s

Hugh C. Smisson ~ Physician

Willard J. Smith ~ Lumber Businessman

William Aubrey Smith ~ Lawyer

Clara Godwin Blackford Read Smith ~ Philanthropist  

Erwin Jesse Smith ~ Attorney, 1890

Ralph St. John ~ Baker, confectionery, caterer

Stephens family

Wade Taylor, Chief of Denison Police 1930s

Zeb Terry

Thomas - Hallenbeck Family

Elwin A, Thompson ~ Denison Herald Owner & Editor

Patrick Henry Tobin ~ M.K.T. Engineer & Denison businessman

Harrison Tone

Martha Carey Tredway

Noshie M. Urquhart

Voigt, Mody

John G. West

William Richard White, Sr. ~ Produce Retailer

Eliza A. Ray Williams

Frederick B. Williford ~ telephone company mgr. & real estate agent

William H. Winn ~ Denison Mayor & Businessman

Rufus Sinclair Wootton

Inaugural Parade

Photo from the National Archives
Eisenhower's Birthplace


Armstrong Ave.

600 block, Chestnut Street

631 W. Chestnut Street

201 W. Texas Street

815 W. Gandy

Elks Lodge

Exhibition Hall

Knights of Pythias

Security Building

Woodmen of the World Building

Women's Christian Temperance Union

Missouri - Kansas - Texas Railroad

Denison Was Home to the Katy Railroad
Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railway Company

MKT Railroad Repairs Shop

MKT Athletic Event, 1929

Interurban Loop Line & MKT bridge

1922 Railroad Strike, Denison



1888 Denison Police Force
A. B. Johnson & Son ~ Tailors, 1887 - 1911
Air Port Dairy
Alex Campbell Grocery
Alex L. Douglass Clothing, 1909
Adolph Arn's French Dry Cleaning & Dyeing Establishment, 1908
Antler's Cafe & Hotel, 1908
Artic Ice ~ 1883
Ashburn's Ice Cream
B. J. Lindsay, The Insurance Man, 1913 - 1934
Bailey & Howard Drugs, 1887
Barrett's Drug Store ~ Cosmetic Department, 1980s
George F. Bauerfeind Gun & Locksmith, 1908
Beall's Department Store
Beck's Hotel and Restaurant, 1891-1894
W.M. Boone Grocery, 1908
Urb Bradley Druggist, 1908
Bratcher Funeral Home
Braun & Kohfeldt : New York & Baltimore Oysters
Brucker Bros. Restaurant, 1908
Buster's Piece Goods Center
Bank Palace Saloon
Brudrett Bros. Bicycle & Automobile Shop, 1908
Buck Horn Saloon, 1891
Buddy Clay's Grocery
Burton-Lingo Lumber Company
Busy Bee Confectionary
Campbell & Co. Plumbers, 1908
Campbell & Groves Family Grocery
Alex Campbell Grocery, 1908
City Bottling Works, 1908
Clark & Douglass ~ Tailors, Men's Furnishings & hats, 1900
Clark & Loving ~ Merchant Tailors, 1905
J.C. Coker Pool Hall, 1908
Congress Hall Saloon
Crowdus Bros. & Co. ~ hides & wool, 1908
Crown Piano and Organ Store
Cutler's Saloon, 1887
D.W.C. Davis Hardware, 1880
E.E. Davis Livery, 1908
Davis Motor Co.
Denison Barber Shop, 1908
Denison Cotton Compress, 1872 - 1940s
Denison Cotton Mill, 1890 - 1977
Denison Crystal Ice Co.
Denison Daily News
Denison Driving Park & Fair Association
Denison Fire Department
Denison Foundry & Machine Works
Denison Grain Co., 1908
Denison Grocer Co., 1908
Denison Herald ~ Owned & Operated by Elwin A. Thompson
Denison Hotel, 1908
Denison Lumber Co., 1908
Denison Main St. Businesses, 1908
Denison Marble Company
Denison Marble Works, 1908
Denison Nursing Center
Denison Opera House
Denison Peanut Co.
Denison Post Office
Denison Poultry & Egg Co.
Denison Transfer Co., 1875
Denison Transfer Line, 1908
Deuce Cut-Rate Liquors
~ owned & operated by Dansby & Mary Carroll Pierce
Diamond Ice Company
Diamond Steam Bakery, 1908
Dickson & Leeper Gin
Dickson & Leeper Saw & Planing Mill
Dollarhide Hardware Stand
Drovers & Planters Bank
W.C. Dowdy Groceries
C.B. Dunn Men's & Boy's Clothing, 1908
Eat Well Cafe
Educational Institute
Electric Supply Co. ~ Electricians, 1908
Elite Catering Co., 1908
M. Emilstein's Eagle Grocery Store, 1908
Esler Paint & Paper Co.
Esler's Paint Store, 1908
F. W. Duffey & Co. ~ Grocer, 1896 - 1901
S. W. Faber, Inc.
H.H. Fatum ~ Butcher, 1908
First Republic Bank
First State Bank, 1908
First State Bank, 1972
The Flag Store,
French Kitchen, 1908
Chas. E. Fritsch ~ carriage & horse shop, 1908

Gate City Hosiery Mills
Gate City Laundry, 1908

Gate City Pressing Club, 1908
Gates & Melton Grocer, 1908
Grayson County Sub-Courthouse
Green Cable Cafe
Hall ~ Leeper Hardware
Hall ~ Leeper Hardware Co., 1908
Halton & Swank Undertakers & Embalmers, 1917
W.H. Halton Coffins, Caskets, & Mouldings
W.H. Halton Funeral Director & Embalmer, 1908
W.H. Halton Music Store
Hanna Drugs, 1908

Hanna, Leeper & Co.
Harvey Bros. Drug Store, 1908
Hanna Bros. Lumber, 1908
Hayes, Gault & May Clothing
Hayes & Harris Clothing
Hendricks & January Grocery, 1908
John Herbert Meat Market, 1908
John L. Higginson Livery Stable
John Holden Blacksmith Shop, 1908
Home Steam Bakery
T.E. Horan Harness Shop
Hotel Denison
Hotel Simpson
Howard & Reardon Real Estate
Howard Race Track
J.E. Howard Real Estate, 1891 - ca 1919
J.E. Howard Real Estate, 1908
Finley S. Hull Grocer
C.F. Hutchins Grocery, 1908
I X L Blacksmith & General Repair Shop, 1908
Jacob's Well, "Center of Health"
Jennings Rug Laundry
J. Alex. Jennings Meat Market, 1908
Johnson-Moore Funeral Home
Kat's Kitten Cafe
Eward H. Keller ~ Carriage Depository, 1901 & Ft. Worth Businessman
Kentucky Whisky Depot, 1880
S.P. King & Co. Groceries & Feed
, 1908
C.D. Kingston ~ Pharmacist, 1908
J.S. Knaur Company, Real Estate
Knaur Cheese Factory
Knaur Grain Company
Knaur Grocery
Kraft-Phenix Cheese Corporation
International Fine Arts Society (IFAS)
Lawn Dairy Farm
Leeper & Lee ~ Dension Cement Works
Leeper Hardware Co.
Leeper, Lingo & Co. ~ Hardware
Levi B. Moore Jewelry, 1908
Levi Strauss Co.

Ladies Temperance Society

Lingo - Leeper Lumber Co.
Little's Steam Dye Works, 1908
Lone Star Flour & Lumber Mills
L.A. Lowe's Cash Grocery, 1908
Madden Department Store
Fred Marcus Jewelry, 1908
Martin & Hobson ~ grocers, 1896
Mastin's Radiator Shop
M.T. Mathes Livery

C.C. McCarthy ~ real estate, grower & shipper of fruit
Mrs. B. E McDonald's Dining Hall, 1908
James J. McInerney ~ Alton, Illinois newspaper editor
Mercy Hospital (1925 - 1971)
Michael Sweeney's Bar
W.M. Milburn ~ Inventor, sheet metal worker, 1908
The Model Market, 1908
G.W. Moore Photography, 1908
Mosse & Co. ~ Buggy & Wagons

P.J. Mullen Grocery, 1898 - 1920
T.V. Munson Nursery & Vineyard
National Bank of Denison
Nelms & Carr Furniture, 1908
Nelson D. Chamberlain Small Machines, 1908
A. A. Nilson Watchmaker & Jewelry, 1908
The Nook Cafeteria
North Texas Compress
O K Wagon Yard, 1908
OK Wagon Yard, abt 1910
O'Maley's Jewelry & Watch
C.J. O'Maley Jewelry, 1908
Opera House Saloon, 1896 - 1900
J.B. Orr Grocery, 1908

Ourand Hotel
Ourand's Furnished Rooms, 1908
Owl Drug Store, 1908
A. S. Pace Furniture Company
W.L. Pace Piano & Organ Store
Palace Barber Shop
~ 1898
Palace Hotel 
Parham & Douglass Groceries, Produce, & Feed, 1887
Patti & Parlat Confectionery, 1908
W.A. Peck Jewelry, 1908
Willis A. "Will" Peck ~ Jewelry  
People's Pharmacy, 1908
Perkins Bros. Co. ~ dry goods, 1908

Phelan - Quinn Meat Market
Pierce Grocery ~ owned & operated by Dansby & Mary Carroll Pierce

Pioneer Custom Corn and Feed Mill
Pittman Handle Factory, 1913
Jos. H. Proskauer Expert Hatter, 1908
Puckett's Book, Stationery, Wall Paper and Paint Store, 1900 - 1917
Railroad Headquarters Saloon
Red Front Meat Market, 1908
Red River Manufacturing & Bottling Co., 1908
Red River Mattress Works
Red Store
John F. Rennie Dry Goods, 1908
Reynolds Drug Co., 1908
M.C. Richardson Groceries, 1908
A.B. Riviere Real Estate, 1908
W.H. Robert, Jr. Druggist & Manufacturing Chemist, 1908
Rockwall's Jewely Store, established 1900
Rod & Gun Club / Denison Country Club
Roller Bowl ~ Sherman & Denison  
A.J. Routon & Co. Hardware, 1908
Safeway Grocery Store
Scott & Burch Furniture, 1908
Sears, Roebuck & Co.
F. A. Sherburne Shoe Factory & Repair, 1908
Shields & Short Funeral Home
Bridges, Jennifer :   Skiddy Street : Prostitution & Vice in Denison, Texas, 1872 - 1911,  Master's Thesis, Denton, Texas, Dec 2011
Simms Tobacco & Candy Co.
Snow White Laundry
Southwestern Telegraph & Telephone Co., 1913
W.J. Stanford Grocery Store, 1908
State National Exchange Saloon, 1896
State National Bank, established 1883
State National Bank, 1908
Stevens Barn ~ livery stable, 1908
Dr. H.F. Stevens ~ Veterinary Surgeon, 1908
John Stinson Signs, Paper Hanging, House Painting, 1908
Sugar Bottom Second-Hand Furniture & Repair Shop, 1908
Thompson & Lott ~ barber shop, 1887
D.K. Thompson New & Second-Hand Furniture, 1908
Tom-Tom Cafe
Tony's Palm Garden
U.S. Barrel House Saloon, 1900
Union Passenger Depot Burns ~ March 1874
Waldron Drug Store

early Denison businesses owned by Christian Waltz
Chris Waltz Plumbing, 1908
Waples - Platter Co.
Waples - Platter Grocery Co., 1908
Weaver Shop ~ Tires
F.W. Wells Confectionery, 1908
Western Union Office - Denison
White Elephant Restaurant & Saloon
White Produce Co.
Whitney's ~ The Capitol Tailor
Wide-Awake Grocery, 1908
Willard J. Smith Wood Preserving Co.
William H. Brown's Cash Dry Goods, 1896
Williford Insurance Co., 1910 - 1940
Woodmen of the World Building Fire
Wootton & Hayes Clothing
XXI  Club
Yellowjacket Boat Co.
V.J. Zienter ~ Tailor, 1908


Real photo postcard made by J. Bowers Photographic Company of London and Topeka, Kansas
ca 1912
Looking to the northwest - this shows several churches in the 400, 500, and 600 blocks of Woodard Street.
On right is St. Luke's Episcopal Church
To the left of it can be seen the first Methodist church
At left side of photo is the First Baptist Church.

Calvary Baptist Church

First Presbyterian Church

German Evangelical Church

Haven Chapel Methodist

Hopewell Baptist Church

Methodist Episcopal Church, South

Pleasant Grove Baptist Church

St. Luke's Episcopal Church

St. Patrick's Catholic Church

Waples Memorial Methodist Church

Photo Gallery

Panoramio - Denison

Beauty Shop with Francis Carro, Nonnie Hellerman, Marguerite Morrison

Boys' Club

Joe Burtis

Family Albums from Denison Herald, 19 August 1945

Girls ~ Clara L. Ball, Gwyneth Gwen; Francis Hosford; Cleo Dalton

Annie/Gertrude Lay

Mary Agnes Hutching

Mary Latoua

National Guard Armory, 1950s

Mrs. B. A. Price

Louise & Jean Ray

Rutherford Famiy ~ fishing trip


Unknown Party in Denison - purchased in a Denison shop


The Boulevard
Forest Park
Grey Field
Legacy Park
Munson Park
Munson Stadium
"Sugar Bottom"
Woodlake Park


World War I soldiers

Newspaper article about WWI men from Denison

Army tank

WWI Camps

Gray Field

Perrin Air Force Base

National Guard
1922 Railroad Strike



Y M C A Boiler Explosion in Denison 1926

"Denison Doings"
short articles in the Dallas Morning News

Denison's Ice Cream Soda invention

Murder of four women at 207 W. Morton St. - 18 May 1892

1873 Cholera epidemic in the Denison area

Misc. newspaper articles about Denison Happenings and people

The Center for American History owns the original card indexes for the papers below:

"Biographical index compiled by the Works Progress Administration, arranged

alphabetically, indexing selected Texas newspapers, 1829-1936"
(the index is not online, but they will answer letters and help you get copies)
  • Denison Gazette
  • Denison Herald
  • Denison Daily News


Excerpt from:  The Great South: A Record of Journeys in Louisiana, Texas, the Indian Territory, Missouri, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, and Maryland (1875)
By Edward King, Illustrated by James Wells Champney
Read entire transcript of the book.

Playing Keno in a gambling house in Denison, Texas.
Standing in the main street of Denison, Texas, the new town near the southern border of the Indian Territory, six hundred and twenty-one miles south-west of St. Louis, it was hard to realize that only four months before my visit its site was almost a wilderness, not a building of any kind having yet been erected there. For all around us was Babel, a wild rush of business, a glory in affairs, an unbounded delight in mere labor, by which I was at once oppressed and appalled. 
        The slightest indication of progress was pointed out as a gigantic foreshadowing of the future preeminence of Denison. "There are from 2,500 to 3,000 people here now," said one gentleman to us; "how's that for four months? That'l make some of the incredulous folks take their frame houses off from the rollers!"--an expression intended to open up a startling prospect for the future of Denison. But, indeed, all these enthusiastic pioneers of a new civilization were justified in their seemingly wild prophecies of greatness. Northern Texas, under the beneficent influences of railroad pioneering, is assuming a prominence which had never been imagined for it until within the last five years.
        As soon as the Missouri, Kansas and Texas railway had crossed the Red river, a stream of immigration, which the most sanguine had not hoped for, set in. The North-west seemed to move in mass. The tracts of fertile, black-wax land, which literally needed but to be tickled with the plow to smile a harvest, were rapidly taken up, and Denison sprang into existence as the chief town of the newly developed region. It was organized four months before my visit, and since that time the Denison Town Company had sold $90,000 worth of building lots. The town stands in a county absolutely free from debt, and is at the outlet of one of the most fertile farming regions of the world. Two railroads, coming to it from opposite points, and not costing it a cent, laid the foundation for its remarkable advance, an advance more like magic than like the normal growth of a pioneer settlement. All the lumber for the houses and business establishments was brought hundreds of miles, there being none suitable in the vicinity; and the car-loads of material were changed into rough but commodious structures in a twinkling. It was exceedingly remarkable, also, that in a community one-half of which was undoubtedly made up of professional ruffians, "terminus" gamblers, and the off scourings of society, and where there was not yet a regularly organized government, there was not more of terrorism.

"Men Drunk and Sober Danced to Rude Music.
        Every third building in the place was a drinking saloon with gambling appurtenances, filled after nightfall with a depraved, adventurous crowd, whose profanity was appalling, whose aspect was hideous. Men drunk and sober danced to rude music in the poorly-lighted saloons, and did not lack female partners. In vulgar bestiality of language, in the pure delight of parading profanity and indecency, the ruffian there had no equal. The gambling houses were nightly frequented by hundreds. Robberies were, of course, of frequent occurrence in the gambling hells, and perhaps are so still; but in the primitive hotels, where the luckless passengers from the Missouri, Kansas and Texas railway awaited a transfer by stage to Sherman, and where they were packed three or four together in beds in a thinly-boarded room through whose cracks rain might fall and dust blow, they were as safe from robbery or outrage as in any first-class house. Rough men abounded, and would, without doubt, have knocked any one upon the head who should find himself alone, unarmed, and late at night, in their clutches. But the carrying of concealed weapons is so expressly forbidden by the laws of Texas, that cases of shooting rarely occurred, and there was no more danger to the life or limb of the traveler than may be met with on Broadway. I was too late to see the Denison where rascals had held supreme sway. Their régime vanished when the railroad crossed the Red river.
        The business men of Denison are a stern, self-reliant, confident company. They have a thorough belief in Northern Texas; intend to tame its wildness, and make it one of the gardens of the world. The Kansas and Missouri and Illinois and Western New York character crops out everywhere in Denison, and is the chief reliance of the town.
        The aboriginal Texan looks on, and admires the energy displayed, but he takes good care not to mix in the fray too much himself. There is something sublimely impudent, charmingly provoking, in the manner in which he disappears from work and the street when a cold "Norther" comes on; in the cool, defiant way in which he forces others to work for him, and the utter surprise he manifests when he is accused of droning. He is a child of the sun; he dislikes effort; it gives him no gratification to labor in the rough ways of a new town like Denison.
        Yet this same man can leap to the level of a hero when his rights are assailed; can bathe a San Jacinto plain with his best blood; can stand at an Alamo's breastworks until covered with wounds, and can ride at the head of a brigade into the very gates of death without losing one iota of his magnificent equipoise.
        But the old population of Northern Texas is rapidly assimilating with the new-comers, and there is no longer any vestige of the intolerance which made a Texan regard a stranger as an intruder. Neither is it safe in a new town like Denison to judge a man, as we are forced to do in large cities, by his outer garb
and manners. The huge hulking fellow with one cheek distended with tobacco, and with his clothes all so disposed that they seem to have been thrown upon him, will answer you with all the courtesy and grace of a high-bred gentleman, and will show a consideration for your opinions and your remarks which you do not always receive from the habitués of a city. The roughness is exterior only, and he who contents himself with a passing glance will not penetrate to the sterling qualities which that exterior conceals.
        The earnestness of the new town, the almost religious quality of its ambition, were amusing as well as inspiring. Every one talked in exaggerated phrase; land values were fictitious; the estimates of immigration were overdrawn; the "probabilities" were certainly elastic, but there was such hope! Many men who had only been in Texas a year or two had already become rich, enhancing, at the same time, the value of property in the localities in which they had settled. In the little boarded newspaper office there was the same dauntless ambition; in the saloon, again the same. "Sherman ain't nothin' to this yer," said one man to me; "we've got the riffle on her on saloons." He could not even allow a neighbor town a preëminence in vice. "General Sheridan's going to build a supply depot here, 'n' then you'll see!" was the final, annihilating rejoinder administered to a carping Shermanite in our hearing. All the inhabitants were determined to make a magnificent city out of this irregular group of one-story wooden buildings, confusedly located on the high rolling land four miles south of the Red river, and their zeal was both to them and to us "like new wine."
        He would, indeed, be a brave man who should, at this writing, prophesy that the great new route to the Gulf will redeem the Indian Territory from its present isolation, and bring it into the Union first as on probation, and finally as a State. Nevertheless, the people of the south-west are firmly convinced that such will be the case, and, for various important reasons, the inhabitants of Northern Texas earnestly desire it. The existence of such an immense frontier, so near to the newly settled districts of Texas, enables rogues of all grades to commit many crimes with impunity, for, once over the border, a murderer or a horse-thief can hide in the hills or in some secluded valley until his pursuers are fatigued, and can then make his way out in another direction"

 "Red Hall."
       " So frequent had this method of escape become, at the time of the founding of Denison, that the law-abiding citizens were enraged; and the famous deputy-sheriff, "Red Hall," a young man of great courage and unflinching 'nerve' determined to attempt the capture of some of the desperadoes. Arming himself with a Winchester rifle, and with his belt garnished with navy revolvers, he kept watch on certain professional criminals. One day, soon after a horse-thief had been heard from in a brilliant dash of grand larceny, he repaired to the banks of the Red river, confident that the thief would attempt to flee.
        In due time, the fugitive and two of his friends appeared at the river, all armed to the teeth, and while awaiting the ferry-boat, were visited by Hall, who drew a bead upon them, and ordered them to throw down their arms. They refused, and a deadly encounter was imminent; but he finally awed them into submission, threatening to have the thief's comrades arrested for carrying concealed weapons. They delivered up their revolvers and even their rifles, and fled, and the horse-thief, rather than risk a passage-at-arms with the redoubtable Hall, returned with him to Denison, after giving the valiant young constable some ugly wounds on the head with his fist. The passage of the river having thus been successfully disputed by the law, the rogues became somewhat more wary.
        "Red Hall" seemed to bear a charmed life. He moved about tranquilly every day in a community where there were doubtless an hundred men who would have delighted to shed his blood; was often called to interfere in broils at all hours of the night; yet his life went on. He had been ambushed and shot at, and threatened times innumerable, yet had always exhibited a scorn for his enemies, which finally ended in forcing them to admire him. When he visited me on my arrival in Denison, he remarked, "I shall see you in Sherman Monday, as I have some prisoners to take to court there;" but Monday morning, as I was starting for Sherman, he informed me that when he awoke in the morning, he was surrounded by armed men; a pistol was held under his nose; and he was told that he was arrested at the instance of the United States Marshal, to whom some one had been retailing slanders concerning him. Even as he spoke he was vigilantly guarded by armed men. But in the afternoon he was free again--once more in authority, and awing the ruffians into a proper respect.
  The tracks of the great railway connecting Northern Texas with the outer world had but just been completed to Denison when I visited the town, but the huge freight-houses were already filled with merchandise awaiting transportation to the interior. The Overland Transportation Company was closing its books, for the Texas Central railway line was expected in a few weeks to reach the Red river, and the great Gulf route would be complete.
        "Staging to Sherman, we passed immense wagon-trains of merchandise, creaking forward through the wax-like soil, which clung in such masses to the wheels that the teams stopped from time to time, discouraged. Gangs of stout fellows from Illinois and Missouri were marching along the highways, en route for the railroad lines which they were to aid in constructing; mule-teams, drawing loads of lumber, each team driven by a six-foot Texan with a patriarchal beard, passed us; wild-looking men mounted on horses or mules, with rifles slung over shoulders, and saddle-bags stuffed with game, cantered by. Sometimes we met a discouraged company, painfully forcing its way back toward sunrise, the paterfamilias driving a span of sorry mules which dragged a weary wagon-load of grumbling and disheartened family. So, faring forward through forest and brake, over creeks and under hills, beside smiling fields and along mournful wastes, into primitive clearings and out of forsaken nooks, and crannies where civilization had only made the wilderness look worse, we reached Sherman, the forty-year-old shire town of Grayson county.
.... The Book continues with a description of Sherman, click here to read this account.
He concludes his account of his visit to Grayson County and Denison....
     "Denison was a yearling when I saw it for the second time, and the most wonderful changes had meanwhile taken place. The Texas Central railway line was completed. Northern and Southern Texas were connected, and Pullman cars were running through the untamed prairies. The gamblers and ruffians had fled. Denison had acquired a city charter; had a government, and the rabble had departed before law could reach them. A smart new hotel, near the railroad, was doing a driving business, hundreds of people thronging its dining-rooms."
        "Above Denison, at the river, another town had sprung up, a child of the Texas Central, and ambitiously named "Red River City." Newsboys called the daily paper about the streets of Denison; we heard of the opera-house; we saw the announcement of church services; and the notices of meetings for the discussion and advocacy of new railroad routes were numerous."
        "I confess to a certain feeling of disappointment in not having found more marked peculiarities of the people of Texas. There are, of course, phases and bits of dialect which distinguish them from the inhabitants of other sections; but even the rude farmer in the back-country is not as singular as he has been represented. In extreme Southern and extreme Northern Texas, the visitor from the North or West sees but little variation from his own types in the cities; and yet in the remote districts he may find more ignorance and less idea of comfort than he would have thought possible in America."
        "There are a good many instances of rude and incult rich men; people who are of the old régime, and who, while owning thousands of cattle, sheep, and horses, live in log-houses, eat mean food, and have scarcely more than one suit of clothes in ten years. But these people are quietly disappearing before the newcomers. At first they are fierce against innovation, and indignant at frame houses, railroad stations, and saloons; but finding that they must yield or retire, they acquiesce."
        "The general characteristics of an old style Texan farm were unthrift and untidiness; the land was never half tilled, because it produced enough to support life without being highly cultivated. When a fence fell into decay, if by some strange chance there was a fence, the rails or boards lay where they fell; people grew up like weeds, and choked each other's growth. Those who held slaves counted their wealth in "niggers," and sometimes boasted that they were worth a hundred thousand dollars, while living in meaner and more uncomfortable fashion than the poorest Irishman at the North."
        "The only amusement of the paterfamilias was a hunt, or a ride to the county seat in court time, where, in days when every one carried arms, there was usually some exciting event to disturb the monotony of existence perhaps to disturb existence itself. There was no market, no railroad within hundreds of miles, no newspaper, no school, save perhaps some private institution miles from the farm or plantation, and no intellectual life or culture whatever."
        "The rich slave-owner was a kind of patriarchal savage, proud of his own dirt and ignorance. The heroic epoch of the struggle for independence being over, thousands of persons settled down to such life as this, and thought it vastly fine. What a magnificent awakening has come to them!"
      "The mass of people in the interior still have a hearty scorn for anything good to eat. The bitter coffee, and the greasy pork, or "bacon," as it is always called, still adorns the tables of most farmers. A railroad president, inspecting a route in Northern Texas, stopped at a little house for dinner. The old lady of the homestead wishing to treat her guest with becoming dignity, inquired in the kindest manner, after having spread the usual food before him, "Won't ye have a little bacon fat to wallop your corn dodgers in now, won't ye?" This was the acme of hospitality in that region."
        "Now and then, in these days of immigration, a housewife will venture a timid "Reckon ye don't think much of our homemade fare, do ye?" when the visitor is a stranger; and, indeed, he shows upon his face his wonder that a well-to-do farmer's stout sons and pretty daughters are satisfied with pork and molasses and clammy biscuits, with no vegetables whatever."
        "The negro is responsible for the introduction of such oceans of grease into Texan cookery; it suited his taste, and the white people for whom he cooked mutely accepted it, just as they insensibly accepted certain peculiarities of his dialect, notably "dat 'ar" and "dis yer," and "furder" for further; mis- pronunciation which it makes one stare to hear good-looking white people use, as if they supposed it correct. The Texan has one phrase by which he may easily be recognized abroad: "I reckon so," with the accent on the last word, is his common phrase of assent. In the country, when riding on horseback, and inquiring how far it is to a certain place, you will now and then be told that it is "two sights and a look," which you must understand if you can."........
End of the section of the book that covers Grayson County 


Grayson County Index

 Elaine Nall Bay