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Grimes County, Texas
Historical Markers

 

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This information came from the Texas Historic Sites Atlas with their permission. You may reach this site here Texas Historic Sites Atlas

Anderson Baptist Church

Anderson Historic District

Apolonia Cemetery

Bedias.html

Bedias First Baptist Church

Brooks Home

Katy Cobb

Davis Homes

Sarah Bradley Dodson

Evans Home

Fanthorp Inn

First Baptist Church of Navasota

First National Bank

First Presbyterian Church of Navasota

First United Methodist Church of Navasota

Foster Home

Foster-Weir House

R. B. S. Foster Home

Freeman Inn

Giesel House

B. B. Goodrich Home

Grimes County

Grimes County Courthouse

Grimes County C. S. A.

Jesse and Rosanna Grimes

Jared Ellison Groce

Harmony Baptist Church

Haynie-Sanders Farm Home

Robert A. Horlock House

James and Missouri Hurry House

Primus Kelly

Anthony Drew Kennard

Michael Moore Kennard

La Bahia Trail

La Bahia Road / Upper Coushatta Trace

Lake Grove Community

Leake Building

Lee Tabernacle Methodist Church

McAlpine Cemetery

Mickelborough Building

Andrew Jackson Montgomery

Munition Factory

Navasota Commercial Historic District

Lt. Gov. George D. Neal Home

Norwood House

Oakland Baptist Church

Old Oakland Cemetery

Orphans Friend Lodge

P. A. Smith Hotel

Piedmont Springs Archeological Site

Piedmont Springs Resort Site

Plantersville Baptist Church

Plantersville Cemetery

Red Top Cemetery

St. Joseph's Catholic Church

Saint Paul's Episcopal Church

Sangster House

H. Schumacher Oil Works

Henry Schumacher Home

Shiro Presbyterian Church

Steele House

Steinhagen Log Cabin

Stoneham Cemetery

Stoneham Community Center

Stoneham Methodist Church

Templeman House

Terrell House

Miss Sally Thompson School Building

Union Grove Baptist Church

Veteran's Memorial

White Hall School

Lewis J. Wilson Building

Jesse Youens Home

Old Bethel Cemetery

Old Oakland Cemetery

 

 

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Anderson Historic District

History of Anderson

 

LISTED IN THE NATIONAL REGISTER

 

 Anderson is a small East Texas courthouse town which has reflected the long history of Anglo-American settlements in Texas. Anderson is a remarkable historic entity in that the community contains a sizable number of intact structures reflecting the pre-Republic history of the state, as well as the periods of the Republic and the Lone Star state. This small rural community suffered an economic decline in the late nineteenth century and consequently, the physical appearance of Anderson has remained virtually unchanged since the turn of the century.

 

The Grimes County Courthouse.

Erected in 1891, this brick on stone structure is the third county courthouse erected on a site donated by Henry Fanthorp. The courthouse, which is an Edwardian-Victorian structure, has hand-made red brick walls, rusticated stone quoins and entrance compositions, and is surmounted by a central wooden cupola. The courthouse contains the original Mexican land grant recording dating to 1824. Among the colorful historic events which have taken place in the courthouse was the trial of a Clyde Barrow gang member in the 1930's.

History of the Grimes County Courthouse

Fanthorp Inn

Built in 1834 by Henry Fanthorp as a home for his third wife, Rachel Kennard, the Fanthorp home and Inn has been closely connected with events of early Texas history. The Inn is of clapboard-covered log construction. The rooms have random-width puncheon floors. The building was raised to two-stairs in height about 1850 to accommodate its usage as a hotel and mercantile establishment. The property was originally a compound of structures, none, however, except the principle structure have survived. The building was the first post office in the region. On July 3, 1845, Kenneth Lewis Anderson, vice-president of the Republic of Texas died at the Inn. The Inn has remained the property of direct descendants of Henry Fanthorp.

 

Dr. B.B. Goodrich Home.

The Goodrich Home is an unusual small two-story country Palladian style residence with a double porticoed two-story central section and flanking one-story wings. Two other residences, to the north of the Goodrich House, are of a similar style and create a most interesting and unusual cluster of Palladian, porticoed houses. Dr. Goodrich, a medical doctor, came to Texas in the early 1800's and was a signer of the Texas Declaration of Independence, a delegate to the convention of March 1836, and a signer of the Constitution of the Republic of Texas.

Anderson Baptist Church.

The Anderson Baptist Church was erected between 1853 and 1855 on the northwest corner of Fanthorp and Johnson Streets. The Greek Revival stone structure has three entrance doors with a prominent, larger and taller, central doorway. The tower is a replacement, post-dating a 1955 fire which destroyed much of the interior of the structure. The building, in style and composition is reminiscent of New England Greek Revival country churches.

 

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GRIMES COUNTY HISTORICAL MARKERS

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Bedias

 

Named for North and South Bedias creeks, which in turn were named for the Bidai Indians, an agricultural people reputed to have been the oldest inhabitants of the area. "Bidai" means "brushwood", which may refer to the building material used in their dwellings. The first white settlement in this vicinity was founded 1835 by Thomas P. Plaster, and for a while it was called Plasterville. In 1903, the community of "Old" Bedias surrendered most of its population to "New" Bedias after a branch of the International & Great Northern Railroad was built to the northeast. Townspeople from Pankey and Cotton also moved here. The name "Bedias" was retained, but only after a heated struggle in which determined citizens refused to have the town named for a railroad official. A famous, early resident of the Bedias area was Sarah Dodson, who in 1835 made the first "Lone Star" flag in Texas. She lived here from 1844 to 1848 and is buried in Old Bethel Cemetery, seven miles west. One of the most unique features of this region is the large number of Tektites (also called "Bediasites") found here. These are beautiful, glassy, meteor-like stones which fell to earth 34 million years ago. Amazingly, Indians called them "jewels of the moon."

Historical Marker 8564
Erected 1968

Marker located on FM 1696 in front of the Bedias Community Center.

Bedias First Baptist Church

The Rev. Anderson Buffington (1806-91) a Baptist Missionary who fought at the Battle of San Jacinto in 1836, organized this church in 1848.  Services were held in a small schoolhouse until the 1850’s.  In 1859 the congregation built this structure, which also served as a school until about 1903.  Members of this fellowship helped start several other Baptist churches nearby.  The congregation survived a split in 1913, but later dwindled because of population changes. The last regular service was held here in 1965.  Restored in 1974, the building was deeded to the Bedias Cemetery Association. (1975)

Sarah Bradley Dodson

Born in Kentucky in 1812, eleven-year-old Sarah Bradley and her parents arrived in Texas in 1823 with Stephen F. Austin's old three hundred colonists, settling near Brazoria. Sarah married Archelaus Bynum Dodson of nearby Harrisburg on May 17, 1835. As tensions mounted between Mexico and the Texian colonists, a call for military volunteers was circulated in September 1835, and Archelaus Dodson became First Lt. in Captain Andrew Robinson's Harrisburg Volunteers. Sarah offered to design and make a flag for her husband's company. Using blue, white, and red calico, she fashioned a flag of three equal squares, with a five pointed white star in the center of the blue square. Reportedly the first Lone Star flag, the banner was displayed in the town of Gonzales in October 1835, and in December flew during the Siege of Bexar. When the Declaration of Independence was signed, two flags were seen flying over Convention Hall. One was described as a Lone Star flag and is believed to have been the one made by Sarah Dodson. Following the Texan victory at San Jacinto, the Dodsons lived in Fort Bend County, then moved in 1844 to Grimes County. They donated the land for Bethel Cemetery (5 mi. N) where Sarah was buried in 1848. Texas Sesquicentennial 1836 - 1986

Historical Marker 8570
Bedias, Texas
Erected in 1986
From Bedias take SH 90 N approximately 4 miles to roadside park.

 

(Marker is no longer there)

 

 Sarah Bradley Dodson

 (January 8, 1812-October 9, 1848) Kentucky native Sarah Bradley came to Texas with Stephen F. Austin's Old 300 Colony in 1823. She married Archelaus B. Dodson in 1835, and made a blue, white, and red flag with a single white star for her husband's army company during the Texas Revolution. Her flag is believed to be one of two which flew as the Texas Declaration of Independence was signed and is considered Texas' first tri-color Lone Star flag. The Dodson’s donated land for this cemetery.

Historical Marker 8571

Old Bethel Cemetery
Bedias, Texas
Grave Marker, Erected 1993

Old Bethel Cemetery

During the Republic of Texas era, settlers in this area came together to form the Bethel Community.  In 1843 a visitor died of smallpox and was buried at this site, which became Bethel Cemetery.  Among those buried here is Sarah Bradley Dodson, known as the “Betsy Ross of Texas”. Part of an “old 300” family from Stephen F. Austin’s First Texas Colony, Dodson created a lone star flag in 1835 to send with her husband, Archelaus, during the Texas Revolution.  The flag was one of two that flew over Washington on the Brazos at the signing of the Texas Declaration of Independence on March 2, 1836. In 1852, four years after his wife died of pneumonia, Archelaus Dodson gave this burial ground to trustees of Bethel Presbyterian Church, who built a chapel next to the cemetery circa 1844.  In 1904 trustees of the burial ground opened an adjacent section for local African Americans.  That section of Bethel is sometimes known as Salem Cemetery.  Today, a link to a community long gone, Old Bethel Cemetery is the final resting place for generations of Texas pioneers and residents. (2009)

Historical Marker

Old Bethel Cemetery

Bedias, Texas

From Bedias take SH 90 N approximately 6.5 miles to CR 408; take CR 408 W NW approximately 2.3 miles to CR 1372; take CR 1372 SW approximately 2.9 miles to CR 410; take CR 410 S approximately .4 miles to gravel road; then E on gravel road approximately .4 miles to T in the road; then right at T approximately 2 miles to Old Bethel Cemetery.

 

Fanthorp Inn

Built in 1834 by Henry Fanthorp as a home for his bride, Rachel Kennard. Enlarged for hotel purpose. Served as first mercantile establishment and first post office (1835) in the region. Here Kenneth Lewis Anderson, vice-president of the Republic of Texas, died July 3, 1845. Stage lines from Houston to Old Springfield and Nacogdoches to Austin crossed here.

 

Historical Marker 8573
Anderson, Texas
Erected 1936
579 S. Main, Anderson (Fanthorp Inn State Historic Park).

 

Grimes County

On road used 1690 by Spanish explorer Alonso de Leon. In 1821 Andrew Millican began settlement. Henry Fanthorp opened his inn 1834, a post office 1835. Kenneth Anderson, last Vice-President, Republic of Texas, died at Fanthorp's, 1845. After his burial here town was named for him. County created and organized 1846. Named in honor of Jesse Grimes (1788-1866), a signer of Declaration of Independence and member of Congress, Republic of Texas. Anderson was made the county seat. During Civil War, 1861-1865, had a gun factory, furnished troops, food, cotton.

 

Historical Marker 8584
Anderson, Texas
Erected 1936
West side of Courthouse grounds, Anderson

Grimes County

Created April 6, 1846; Organized July 13, 1846; Named in honor of Jesse Grimes 1788-1866; Signer of the Texas Declaration of Independence; Member of the Texas Congress; County Seat, Anderson, originally known as Fanthorp.

Historical Marker 8627
Did not locate

 

Grimes County Courthouse

Unique Victorian Texas public building. Third courthouse here. Site, in an 1824 land grant from Mexico, was donated 1850 by Henry Fanthorp, first permanent settler in county. Built 1891 of hand-molded brick with native stone trim. Vault is same one used in previous buildings; has twice withstood fires. Tried here in 1930s, a Clyde Barrow gang member vowed he'd see court in infernal regions. Recorded Texas Historic Landmark, 1965

 

Historical Marker 8585
Anderson, Texas
Erected 1965

 

Grimes County C.S.A.

Civil War military concentration point for troops and ordnance. Rich farm land. By 1861 densely populated. Favored secession by 907 to 9 vote. Sent 5 cavalry, 4 infantry companies to Confederate Army. Arms and ordnance works at Anderson produced cannon, cannon balls, guns, pistols, swords, sabres, bayonets, and gunpowder. Military telegraph line from Houston to Marshall crossed the county. Five men charged with treason against the Confederacy were held in 1864 in Anderson Jail, under the wartime suspension of habeas corpus, in constant peril of mob violence. People were relieved when these men were deported to Mexico by the military. Cotton, "Gold of the South", and food were produced in abundance. Cotton hauled to Mexico by local men was traded for goods vital to the Confederacy. Yet shortages occurred. For lack of paper, The Rev. George W. Baines of Anderson (great-grandfather of President Lyndon B. Johnson) suspended "The Texas Baptist", first state organ for that church. In 1865 the Piedmont Springs Resort Hotel, 7 miles to the west, became headquarters and hospital for Walker's division on its return from Louisiana where it helped prevent a Federal invasion of Texas.

Historical Marker 8586
Anderson, Texas
Erected 1964
NW corner of Courthouse grounds; Anderson (corner of Buffington and Main, Anderson).

Munition Factory

Site of a munition factory of the Southern Confederacy. Established in 1861. In operation until 1865. Cannon, cannon balls, guns, pistols, swords, sabers, bayonets and gun powder were manufactured.

Historical Marker 8603
Anderson, Texas
Erected 1936
From Anderson take SH 90 N approx. 1.5 miles to FM 244; then take FM 244 NW approx. 1 mile.

Centennial Memorial

(FRONT) In memory of Colonel Benjamin Fort Smith, Dr. Robert C. Neblett, Veterans of The War of 1812; Colonel Benjamin F. Smith, Veteran of the Black Hawk War, 1832; Jared E. Groce, Joshua Hadley, William Robinson, delegates to the First Convention of Texas, 1832; Jared E. Groce, Francis Holland, Jesse Grimes, delegates to the Second Convention of Texas, 1833; Joshua Hadley, Dr. George M. Patrick, delegates to the Consultation, 1835; Benjamin Briggs Goodrich, Jesse Grimes, signers of the Texas Declaration of Independence, 1836; Francis Holland, Anthony Drew Kennard, soldiers in the Army, 1835; Sarah Rudolph Dodson, who made a flag for a military company, Army of Texas, 1835.

(BACK) In memory of Tapley Holland, John Camp Goodrich, Alfred Calvin Grimes, Martyrs of the Alamo; Anderson Buffington, Benjamin Fort Smith, Heroes of San Jacinto; Francis Holland, Michael Kennard, John F. Martin, Dr. Verplank Ackerman, William P. Zuber, Soldiers in the Army, 1836; Robert Holman Dunham who was massacred in Mexico, 1842; Kenneth Lewis Anderson, Vice President of the Republic, who died in Anderson, July 3, 1845; William Carley, Veteran of the Mexican War, 1846; And all other pioneers who lived in this vicinity during the days of the Republic.

Historical Marker 8599
Anderson, Texas
Erected 1936
East side of Courthouse grounds; Anderson.

 Miss Sally Thompson School Building

Miss Sally Thompson School Building, about 1840. Blue-back speller taught here. Fee: $3 a month. Now Allen Home. Recorded Historic Landmark, 1965

Marker 8622
Anderson, Texas
Erected 1965
440 Fanthorp Street, Anderson

Anthony Drew Kennard

Anthony Drew Kennard served in the Army of Texas 1835; born in Tennessee July 9, 1788; died in 1848; His wife Sallie Moore Kennard, born in Tennessee September 16, 1790; died December 6, 1877

Historical Marker 8593
Anderson, Texas
Erected 1936
From Anderson take FM 149 E approx. 5.1 mi. to FM 2562; take FM 2562 N approx. 1.6 mi. to Kennard Family Cemetery

 

Michael Moore Kennard

Born in Tennessee. In 1828 he and family joined Robertson's Colony, bound for Texas. Arrived in 1830, probably having stopped to "make a crop" along the way. Lived in present Grimes County; was granted a third of a league of land in Robertson's Colony. For his service in the Texas Revolution, received additional land in Menard and Leon Counties.  His mercantile business-- firm of Fanthorp, Womack & Kennard-- was the first in Grimes County.

Historical Marker 8594
580 S. Main, Anderson, Texas
Erected 1971
Opposite the road from the Fanthorp Inn, Anderson in the Fanthorp Cemetery

 

 Orphans Friend Lodge No. 17

Organized April 8, chartered June 30, 1842. Pioneered in education. Operated Masonic Collegiate Institute, 1846-1851. Reserving lodge room, gave school to St. Paul's Episcopal College, which was in operation until 1856. Later plant was used by various schools. In 1905 it was sold, and lodge relocated here.

Historical Marker 8608

151 Main Street
Anderson, Texas
Erected 1968
Marker has been moved to new Masonic Lodge location (local info)

Marker could not be located.

La Bahia Road / Upper Coushatta Trace

This short stretch of road is the last remaining local portion of two very important early Texas roads. La Bahia Road (early 1700's) was an old Spanish military road that forked southwesterly from the Old San Antonio Road west of Nacogdoches, to Presidio La Bahia near Goliad. It was later a stagecoach road.  The Coushatta Trace was an extension of the Opelousas Road, an early immigrant road into Texas from Louisiana. it got its name from being a Coushatta Indian hunting trail. Used by early smugglers trying to avoid Spanish officials, the Coushatta Trace was called the "Contraband Road" in some early references. The upper fork merged with La Bahia Road northeast of present day Anderson. They ran together for several miles as one road, being part of Postal Route #1 after 1835. During the Texas Revolution, this very road was used by settlers fleeing eastward from the Mexican Army, in what was later called the "Runaway Scrape".

Fanthorp St., Anderson, Texas
Erected April 20, 2008 by the Daughters of the Republic of Texas

 

Lake Grove Community

Grimes County law partners Ben Goodrich and H. H. Boone (Texas Attorney General 1876-78), donated four acres of land at this location to trustees of the Methodist Episcopal Church in 1874 for church, school, and cemetery use by the surrounding loosely-knit farm community of Lake Grove. The community promptly built a church structure that they used for religious and school purposes. 100 students attended the Lake Grove School in 1900. The still active Lake Grove Cemetery, with gravestones dating to 1874, contains the grave of a veteran of the American Civil War.

Historical Marker 8596
Iola, Texas
Erected 1992
From Iola take FM 244 south approx. 4 miles to CR 162; then east on CR 162 approx. 2 miles to CR 128; then south on CR 128 approx. 4 miles to Lake Grove Cemetery (marker is at cemetery entrance).

 

 Katy Holland McDowell Treadwell Cobb

In 1822, at the age of seven, Katy Holland migrated to Texas with her parents as a member of Stephen F. Austin's "Old 300" Colony. Her life reflects the harshness of frontier life in Texas. Twice widowed before her marriage to William Cobb in the 1840s, she was the mother of five children. Her first husband, Mill McDowell, was also a member of Austin's Colony, and a cousin, Tapley Holland, was killed at the Alamo.

Historical Marker 8567
Iola, Texas
Erected 1981
From Iola (downtown) take Main Street W approximately 1.2 miles to Zion Cemetery (SE area of cemetery).

 

Old Oakland Cemetery

Founded in 1867 in connection with the Oakland Baptist Church which stood here until moved to Roans Prairie in 1913. Graves of many pioneers are located here.  Oakland was once a popular way-station for the Bates and Black Stagecoach Lines which ran from Austin to Huntsville until 1880.  This road known as Coushatta Trace was originally a trail of the Coushatta Indians a friendly tribe that hunted this territory.  In 1838 a Mrs. Taylor the last known person killed by Indians in Grimes County was murdered not far from this site.

Historical Marker

Roans Prairie, Texas

 

Shiro Presbyterian Church

In October 1853, eleven early settlers of  the Prairie Plains community (3 Miles E) also known as Red Top, founded the Prairie Plains congregation of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church.  Brother Weyman Adair served as the congregation’s first pastor, although he became ill and died shortly thereafter.  He was buried in the Red Top Cemetery.  A few years later, in 1857, Jesse Bookman formally deeded five acres to the church; the property included the cemetery, manse and sanctuary.  The church building was the only one in the area and served local residents as a community center as well as a house of worship.

Due in part to a national rift within the Presbyterian church, the congregation did not hold regular church services between 1899 and 1906.  That year, the Prairie Plains church, like most Cumberland congregations, became part of the Presbyterian Church U.S.A. at that same time, community residents began moving to Shiro, where the Trinity and Brazos Valley rail line had been located.  On January 17, 1909 church members voted to move to this site and change the congregation’s name to Shiro Presbyterian Church.

As area population declined during the middle 20th century, so did church membership.  The pulpit was often filled by lay and missionary preachers, and the church held services once a month for many years.  In 1952, members discussed disbanding but two men, T. J. Slaton and Edwin Harman, encouraged them to continue.  With a new energy the congregation lobbied seminary students and others to preach.  Members organized church lunches and  a woman’s circle.  By 1970, they added Sunday school classes.  In 2003 the congregation celebrated it’s 150th Anniversary.

Historical Marker

Hwy 30

Shiro, Texas

Red Top Cemetery

In 1837, Daniel, Jesse and Joseph Bookman moved to Texas with their mother, Jemima, and sister Anna from South Carolina. They settled in Prairie Plains, which was later called Red Top. In October 1853, Members of the Bookman family joined with others to form the Prairie Plains congregation of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church.  Brother Weyman Adair was called as the First Pastor but he died the next month and was buried behind the church. His grave today is the oldest one marked in the cemetery, but at the time of his burial, the graveyard was called Martha’s Chapel in memory of 15-year old Martha Bookman who was already buried there. Her grave is unmarked, and other unmarked graves may also exist.

Jesse Bookman deeded the land in 1857 for the cemetery, sanctuary and manse, all of which were used by the community until 1905, when the railroad bypassed Prairie Plains and went through nearby Shiro. The congregation moved in 1909 and became the Shiro Presbyterian church.  The cemetery fell into disrepair until 1970, when Jessie Harman, a descendant of Prairie Plains settlers, left funds to endow the cemetery, which today provides a link to the early pioneer settlement of Prairie Plains. (2003)

 

Stoneham Community Center

 

Historical Marker 7010
Nothing else listed

 

 Andrew Jackson Montgomery

Apr. 4, 1801 - Dec. 3, 1863 Born in Blount County, Tennessee, Andrew Jackson Montgomery came to Texas in 1819 with the James Long Expedition. In 1823, as the first known settler in Montgomery County, he opened a trading post at the crossing of two Indian trails. From his post emerged the town of Montgomery from which Montgomery County took its name. A veteran of the Battle of San Jacinto, Montgomery married Mary Mahulda Farris at age 43, and they had nine children.

Historical Marker 8602
Stoneham, Texas
Erected 1986
From Stoneham take SH 105 W approx. 1 mile to Stoneham Cemetery Rd., then N on cemetery road approx. .1 mile to cemetery.

 

Plantersville Cemetery

Settlers from the southern United States began arriving in this area as early as the 1830's. A post office opened in 1856 as Plantersville, a name suggested by Sarah Greene to honor local planters. Members of her family are buried here.

This site was used as early as 1864 as a burial ground when young H. G. Jameson was interred here. His is the oldest marked grave. At least three other gravesites date to that same year and there may be earlier ones unmarked. In 1866, landowner and postmaster Peter Walton donated the land for use as a community cemetery, later enlarged in 1911 and 1958.

Today this burial ground is the final resting place of pioneers and their descendants, military veterans and notable Texas families. Mary Durst Blake (1830 - 1864), daughter of Texas Revolution figure John Maxie Durst and her husband Gen. Thomas Walter Blake (1822 - 1905), a circuit rider and lawyer, were both buried here. He was later reinterred in the Texas State Cemetery in Austin. Still in use, the Plantersville Cemetery remains a link to the community's history

Plantersville, Texas
Erected December 2005
Information and Picture from Tana Shaffer

 

 White Hall School

As communities were developed by early settlers in Texas, small rural schools were established. Primarily serving farm families, the schools were often closed when children were needed to help harvest crops or perform other farm chores. A number of such rural schools were established in Grimes County. White Hall School opened in 1913, following the consolidation of three earlier schools: East Academy, West Academy, and Retreat. Located at this site, the first White Hall School building was a two-story frame structure. A community gathering place, it hosted civic as well as scholastic activities. Many local residents credit the school with promoting a sense of community when the children of pioneer Anglo families and those of German immigrant families attended classes together during the time of the first World War. After serving the community through the difficult years of the Depression and two World Wars, White Hall School was closed in 1949. The school building was acquired by the White Hall Taxpayers Association in 1954. It was razed and a new community center was erected on the site in 1959.

Historical Marker 8624
White Hall, Texas
Erected 1989
on FM 263; White Hall

 

 Jared Ellison Groce

Site of the home built in 1833 by Jared Ellison Groce (1782-1836) Generally known as "Groce's Retreat." Here he died November 20, 1836. The name "Retreat" was continued for a post office and village two miles to the east after the house was torn down.

Picture submitted by Sharron.

Historical Marker 8587
White Hall, Texas
Erected 1936
From White Hall take FM 362 S approximately 2 miles to FM 2; then West on FM 2 approximately 1.3 miles to CR 323; then South on CR 323 approximately .7 miles.

 

 

 

Navasota Historic District

Listed in the National Register

View the narrative here Navasota Commercial Historic District

 

 

P. A. Smith Hotel

The three story structure is constructed of rough lime stone rubble with cast iron facade at the first floor and cast iron sills and arched decorative lintels on the second and third floor. The front facade is capped with a pressed tin cornice. The openings on the north and east facades have stone segmented arch lintels and cast iron sills. The east or rear facade has been stuccoed. All of the exterior windows are six over six lights.

The building measures approximately 50' by 80'. The walls are solid limestone and about two feet in width at the first floor reducing to 12 inches at the third floor. The first floor has been modified to accommodate various commercial establishments, but still retains the central stairway. The original hotel room organization is preserved on the second and third floor. This room organization consists of a central hallway from front to rear with rooms to either side. A smaller hallway, also running from front to rear, is found along the south wall and provides a back access for the rooms on that side. Natural light illuminates the central halls on the second and third floor from a roof skylight and lightwell. Other interior features include wainscoting in the halls, balustrated stair opening and lightwell and feather-graining finish on the paneled doors which still retail their painted room numbers.

The original canopy at the first floor exterior was supported by columns at the street and offered protected access to the nine sets of double doors. The canopy was later lowered and suspended from iron hangers imbedded in the wall. The original skylight cover on the roof was a small frame structure with double hung windows on all four sides. The windows could be raised and the air on the interior would be naturally drawn from the second and third floor through the lightwell and out the open windows in the skylight structure. Access to the skylight structure was provided by a small set of interior stairs. The stairs to the roof still remain but the functional skylight cover has been replaced with a sealed metal and glass cover.

The Grimes County Historical Survey Committee presently owns the building and is in the process of raising funds for its restoration. The first floor will continue to be used for commercial tenant space, the second floor will be used for community meetings and events and the third floor will be used for small private meeting rooms.

Although 19th century commercial architecture abounds in other Texas cities such as Galveston. The P.A. Smith Hotel in Navasota stands as a unique Texas blend of native lime-stone construction with the sophistication of cast iron detailing. Built in 1876 by Captain Philip Aurene Smith, the structure served as a hotel until the death of his wife in 1890. After that time, the upper floors were used as the private residence of the Smith family while the first floor was leased as commercial space. The building was maintained by members of the Smith estate until 1944 when it was sold to martin Allen. It was later sold to Eddie Coneley who deeded the property to the Grimes County Historical Survey Committee.

P.A. Smith was born in Lewis County, New York on March 21, 18?. He studied to be a schoolteacher and first accepted a job in Springfield, Illinois. A good friend of Smiths, Abraham Lincoln, failed to persuade him from his Copperhead (Northern Democrat) politics and Smith traveled south to join the Confederate Army, Company A, 12th Regiment, Parson's Brigade. By 1868, Smith, after having returned to school-teaching, settled in Hillsboro, Texas.

Smith soon found his way to Navasota in 1869 where he engaged in many business adventures. As well as building and operating the hotel, he organized the Navasota Weekly Tablet, a newspaper catering to the politics of the conservative Southern Democrats. In addition to a furniture store, a cotton business and extensive real estate, Smith built the Navasota Opera House that brought many plays and larger stage companies to Navasota. Smith is recognized in local history as a man whose public-spirited manner contributed greatly to the cultural enlightenment and commercial success of Navasota.

BIBLIOGRAPHY ON FILE IN THE NATIONAL REGISTER.

Listed in the National Register
Railroad St., Navasota, Texas

 

 

H. Schumacher Oil Works

Henry Schumacher (1832-1901), a native of Germany, opened one of the first cottonseed oil mills in this region in 1873, assembling the machinery with only the aid of an old encyclopedia. The oil works produced cottonseed oil, meal, and cake, and processed about 1500 tons of seed per year. Schumacher was honored for his contributions to the cottonseed oil industry about 1883 with a dinner at the White House given by President Chester A. Arthur. The first mill burned in 1910, but was soon rebuilt, complete with modern machinery. The oil works ceased operation in 1954.

Historical Marker 8615
Navasota, Texas
Erected 1974
206 Duke St., Navasota

 

Lewis J. Wilson Building

A native of Connecticut, Lewis J. Wilson (1832-1895) moved with his parents to Grimes County in 1851. His father Samuel opened a general merchandise business in Anderson. Lewis managed the store until 1861 when he left to serve in the Civil War. After the war he returned to Anderson and opened a mercantile store in partnership with W. R. Howell and John Quincy Yarborough. They completed construction of this brick building in 1871 for a second establishment. Wilson was the sole proprietor by 1881 and continued to manage the business until his death.

Historical Marker 8625
Navasota, Texas
Erected 1980
100 W. Washington Avenue, Navasota.

 

Mickelborough Building

Eliza Johnson (d. 1876) had this building constructed in 1874 following a fire which destroyed several structures on the block. It was made of limestone rubble to comply with a city ordinance requiring all new construction to include fireproof materials. August Horst (d. 1920), a local investor, bought the property in 1877 and sold it two years later to his wife's brothers, E. P. and J. H. Mickelborough. Members of their families owned it until 1929. The building has housed a saloon, grocery, confectionary, ice cream parlor, and offices for attorneys and dentists.

Historical Marker 8601
Navasota, Texas
Erected 1980
115 Washington Avenue, Navasota

 

Old First National Bank of Navasota

Local architect, contractor and stonemason James Davern and his brother-in-law C. C. Camp built this commercial edifice in the 1880s. Constructed of cement-covered stone rubble, it was remodeled with renaissance revival detailing in the 1890s, during the ownership of the First National Bank of Navasota. Occupied by the bank until 1952, it has also housed a hotel, offices, a telephone company, and a variety of stores.

Historical Marker 8576
107 W. Washington St., Navasota, Texas
Erected 1981

 

Primus Kelly

A faithful Negro slave. Came to nearby Courtney, Grimes County in 1851 with his master, John W. S. West from North Carolina. West was a prominent and wealthy pioneer planter and landowner. At the outbreak of the Civil War, West sent Kelly "to take care" of his three sons-- Robert M., Richard and John Haywood-- who joined the famous Terry's Texas Rangers, where they served with distinction. Kelly was not content "to wait on" his charges but joined them in battle, firing his own musket and cap and ball pistol. Twice Kelly brought to Texas the wounded Richard, twice took him to the front again. After war, bought a small farm near "Marse Robert", raised a large family and prospered. Died in 1890s. The courage and loyalty of Kelly was typical of most Texas Negro slaves. Hundreds "went to war" with their masters. Many operated the farms and ranches of soldiers away at war, producing food, livestock, cotton and clothing for the Confederacy. Others, did outside work to support their master's families. They protected homes from Indians, bandits and deserters and did community guard and patrol duty. At war's end, most slaves, like Primus Kelly, became useful and productive citizens of Texas.

Historical Marker 8592
Navasota, Texas
Erected 1965
From Navasota take SH 6 S approx. 12 mi. to roadside park.

 

Leake Building

Originally a one-story frame business house built in 1873 by Walter J. and Julia C. Peterson, this structure was enlarged in 1885. Native sandstone walls and a second story were added. John Wesley Leake (1852-1940), a builder, horse breeder, and race track owner, bought the property in 1886. He and his descendants owned the building more than 80 years. The Victorian commercial structure has housed many important firms. Recorded Texas Historic Landmark - 1977

Historical Marker 8597
Navasota, Texas
Erected 1977
211 E. Washington Avenue, Navasota.

 

Freeman Inn

Built by Ira M. Freeman, 1856; way station and hotel for passengers on several stage lines through city. Two-story pine building housed many travelers, among them, Sam Houston. Important visitors, officers stayed here in Civil War. Coaches and teams were kept in Freeman's barns.

Historical Marker 8580
Navasota, Texas
Erected 1968
Near the intersection of Brewer St. and Washington Ave.,

in front of the Navasota Medical Center, Navasota.

 

Jesse and Rosanna Ward Britton Grimes

Home of Rosanna Ward Britton Grimes (1803-1871) and Jesse Grimes (1788-1866). Signer of the Texas Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the Republic of Texas; Member of the Congress of the Republic; State Senator; in his honor Grimes County was named.

Historical Marker 8583
Navasota, Texas
Erected 1965

 

Giesel House

Situated near the Houston & Texas Central Railroad Depot, this three-story stone building was erected in 1860 by R. H. Giesel (1833-1872) and his German-born wife Fannie (1828-1881) to house a restaurant and hotel. A two-story frame porch originally extended across the front of the structure. Giesel, a Confederate veteran, served as temporary mayor in 1867, when a yellow fever epidemic struck Navasota. Fannie Giesel renamed her restaurant "The Good Morning John" in 1871. She managed the business until her death in 1881. Later owners operated the hotel as "The Exchange" and "The Hoyle".

Historical Marker 8581
Navasota, Texas
Erected 1977

 

Piedmont Springs Resort Site

In operation as early as 1850 as health spa and resort because of three nearby sulphur springs (varying in taste from mild to strong). Numerous drinking places and bathhouses allowed guests to move freely about grounds. Grand four-story hotel with 100 rooms, built about 1860, was social center for area, where guests enjoyed billiards, poker, horse races, and Gen. Sam Houston once danced the Minuet. In 1865, hotel became hospital, headquarters for John G. Walker's "Greyhound Division", Confederate Army. Owner closed the building after losing money in panic, 1870s. Recorded Texas Historic Landmark, 1967

Historical Marker 8609
Navasota, Texas
Erected 1967
From the intersection of SH 6 and FM 3090 (Navasota) take FM 3096 north approx. 11.2 miles

La Bahia Trail

Originally an Indian trail through Southern Texas and Louisiana; known to Spanish explorers as early as 1690, when the De Leon Expedition passed this site on the way from Mexico to East Texas. With 115 men, 721 horses, 82 loads of flour, and other supplies, Alonso de Leon, Governor of Coahuila, and Father Massanet, a Franciscan priest, entered the wilds of Texas. The purpose of the expedition was to discourage French encroachment from the north, as well as to explore, colonize, and Christianize the Indians. They followed the rugged trail from the present town of Refugio to Goliad and continued northeast to Navasota, probably following Cedar Creek through this town. Then they journeyed north until reaching the Neches River, where (near present Weches) they founded the Mission of San Francisco de Los Tejas. The church was called after the Tejas, or "Friendly" Indians, whose name was eventually given to the entire state. Although de Leon's party went no farther on the western section of the trail, known as Atascosito Road, the eastern section extended into Louisiana. In nineteenth century, the route gained importance as a cattle trail, the Opelousas Road, that moved Texas herds to market in the north and east.

Historical Marker 8595
Navasota, Texas
Erected 1967
Near the intersection of La Salle (Bus. SH 6) and Bruce St. in Cedar Creek Roadside Park; Navasota.

 

 

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