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
History of the Grimes County Courthouse
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.
GRIMES COUNTY HISTORICAL MARKERS
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
on FM 1696 in front of the Bedias Community
Bedias First Baptist
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)
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
Erected in 1986
From Bedias take SH 90 N approximately 4 miles to
(Marker is no longer there)
(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
Grave Marker, Erected 1993
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)
Old Bethel Cemetery
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.
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
579 S. Main, Anderson (Fanthorp Inn State
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
West side of Courthouse grounds, Anderson
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
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
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
NW corner of Courthouse grounds; Anderson (corner of Buffington and Main,
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
From Anderson take SH 90 N approx. 1.5 miles to FM 244; then take FM 244 NW
approx. 1 mile.
(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
(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
East side of Courthouse grounds; Anderson.
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
440 Fanthorp Street, Anderson
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
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
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
Historical Marker 8594
580 S. Main, Anderson, Texas
Opposite the road from the Fanthorp Inn, Anderson
in the Fanthorp Cemetery
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
Historical Marker 8608
151 Main Street
Marker has been moved to new Masonic Lodge location (local info)
Marker could not be located.
La Bahia Road / Upper
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".
St., Anderson, Texas
Erected April 20, 2008 by the Daughters of the Republic of Texas
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
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).
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
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.
Roans Prairie, Texas
Shiro Presbyterian Church
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.
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.
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)
Historical Marker 7010
Nothing else listed
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
From Stoneham take SH 105 W approx. 1 mile to Stoneham Cemetery Rd., then N
on cemetery road approx. .1 mile to 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
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
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
Picture submitted by Sharron.
Historical Marker 8587
White Hall, Texas
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
Navasota Historic District
Listed in the National Register
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
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
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,
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
Listed in the National Register
Railroad St., Navasota, Texas
H. Schumacher Oil
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
206 Duke St., Navasota
Lewis J. Wilson
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
100 W. Washington Avenue, Navasota.
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
Historical Marker 8601
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
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
Historical Marker 8592
From Navasota take SH 6 S approx. 12 mi. to roadside park.
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
Historical Marker 8597
211 E. Washington Avenue, Navasota.
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
Historical Marker 8580
Near the intersection of Brewer St. and Washington Ave.,
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
Historical Marker 8583
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
Historical Marker 8581
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
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
Near the intersection of La Salle (Bus. SH 6) and Bruce St. in Cedar Creek
Roadside Park; Navasota.
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