In the fall of 1920 my family, which
included my father, "Jack" Keathley, my mother, Della, myself, my two sisters,
Billie and Cleo, and my brother, Malvin, moved to Pinkston in our 1917 Ford
touring car ahead of the wagons with the household goods. Pinkston was
situated on old Highway 22 about half way between Barry and Corsicana, Texas.
The old highway was a graveled road and for about a quarter of a mile on each
side of Pinkston it ran parallel on the north side to the railroad in a north
west to south east direction. The railroad was a branch line of the Cotten
Belt and was laid between 1881 and 1887 from Corsicana to Hillsboro. In
addition to the freight train, a "motor" car made two trips daily from Hillsboro
to Corsicana. The "motor" car was a single passenger train car powered by
a gasoline engine. Later it made one trop a day until it was abandoned in
the late thirties.
On the north side of the highway was a
small house and an old store which was run by James E. (Jim) Jordon. At
one time there was a post office in the store which had been established in
1892. Our small farm was adjacent to the store and the northwest to
southeast section of the highway. It was the Hines place and had been
recently purchased by my mother's uncle, Jerry Scott of Frost.
Our house was up in the field on the
north side of the farm and faced the north as at one time the road ran along
this side of the farm.
Just across the highway from the store
was a brown pavilion type structure in which to wait if you wished to ride the
"motor" which had to be flagged down.
A large acreage of land south of the
railroad was owned by Jack Hodge and R. L. Hamilton of Corsicana. From
nine to ten families were tenant farmers on this land. Just behind the
depot and on the west side of the road that ran through Pinkston, was the Ed
McDonald home and beyond this were the tool shed, gin office, and blacksmith
shop. Otis Atkiesson remembers that the old post office pigeon holes were
used in this building for nuts and bolts. Behind these building were the
gin tank, a hugh barn for the many teams of mules, and the sheds under which the
farm machinery was kept. Across the road from the McDonald house and the
gin office was the the gin which at first was run by Jim Parks and his
brother-in-law, Albert Bell, but later for many years was run by Will Atkiesson
who lived just south of the gin. South of the Atkiesson house were two
more houses and across the road to the west of them was a seed house and other
sheds. A little farther down the road and turning to the right were a few
more tenant houses. At various time the families living in these houses
were those of L. B. Sparkman, Rube Crouch, Rance Holland, Joe Shivers, Sam
Blackmon, Gus McDonald and the Patterson and Sutton families.
South of these tenant houses and the
Hodge-Hamilton farm was the Guy Schuyler place and after this family moved away
the Webb Holland family settled there.
To the west of us on the hill was the
old Prince place on which was a large house and set back in the field a smaller
one. The Bob McDonald family lived in the large one and different families
including the Jim Jones family, lived in the smaller one. Later when Mr.
Hodge bought the acreage, the big house was occupied by various Pinkston
families including the Earl Spence family.
To the east of us was the W. W. Gage
farm on which lived the Lonnie Murphy family and then for many years the Lonnie
Kemp Family. South of this farm and still to the east of our farm was the
Will Watson farm.
My family and the McDonald family were
in School District #26 which was Little Brier created in 1867 and consisting of
one older large room with a newer room attached to the south side. It was
about 1 1/2 miles northwest of us if we walked up the railroad. Our
teachers were Mrs. P. M. Gladney and Miss Florence Robinson. After
attending there for two years Little Brier consolidated with Barry and we
attended Fish Tank, School District #42 which was created in 1884. Fish
Tank was about 1 1/2 miles south of Pinkston, beyond the Schuyler place on a
west to east road. This was a large one-room building and our teacher was
Miss Launa Renfrow, followed by Miss Erie Friday. A large curtain which
could be rolled up and down was installed which made the building a two-room
facility. My sister says that our mother and Mrs. Kemp constructed this
curtain out of cotton sacking. Our teachers were Miss Clara Stewart and
Miss Pearl Freeman and later a Mrs. Lassiter and Miss Marie Millard.
The school was the center of the
Pinkston community. Mr. Jack McDonald, who had built a house and garage
next to the Pinkston store, became concerned that the children of the community
needed to attend Sunday School and organized one. At times there would be
as many as 40 or 50 people in attendance. In the summer time picnics were
held as well as revival meetings. Almost every weekend there would be play
parties in someone's home. These were rather spontaneous affairs where we
gathered and played games, the most popular one being "snap". There were
also Sunday night singings where old pump organs were used until pianos began to
appear on the scene.
To the west of the School was the old
Aaron Prince place situated on a hill with a tree lined driveway in front.
To the north was another house and at various time these houses were occupied by
the Rob Chewning and Harold Hunter families. East of the school and across
the branch was the old Love homeplace. The Will Owens family lived there
first and was followed by the Rance Holland family. Other families in the
community were Clabe Jones, Elmer Russell, J. W. Nagy, Claude Melton and a
The Kemp girls, Fay and Themla, attended
the Black Hills School which was two or three miles east of their home.
After Fay, Thelma and I finished the ninth grade, we all, including my two
sisters and brother, attended Barry High School from which we all graduated.
Fish Tank was consolidated with Barry about 1930.
With the coming of the hard-surfaced
highway in 1932, which ran right across our farm, and mechanized farm machinery,
Pinkston began to slowly fade from the scene. Today, 1980, there is
nothing left but two small barns and a large cotton seed house which was built
between the gin and the railroad several years after we moved there. The
territory is fenced off from the highway and there is not even a road through
it. Where our house stood is a new modern house, except it is closer to
the crest of the hill.
And so what had once been a thriving
community, which holds may fond memories for many of us, is today just an open
FISH TANK SCHOOL
Back Row: Lucian Sparkman, Curtis
Hunter, Gracie Jones, Maxine Keathley, Marie Mallard, Aline Holand, Mrs.
Lassiter, Billie Keathley, Lucille Holland.
Middle Row: ___ Russell, Louise Jones,
Nina May Sparkman, Ruthy Holland, Faye Jones, Elizie Lee Russell, <?>, Edward
Blackmon, Arlee McDonald, Willie Harold Hunter, Floyd Jones, David "Bussy"
Sparkman, Edward Schuyler, Weldon Hunter, Malvin Keathley.