I Remember Pinkston
Navarro County, Texas


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Community of Pinkston || Biography Index || Schools Index

by Maxine Keathley Worsham - Aug 1980

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 Partain family.

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 filed.

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.

 


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