History of Blanchard Texas
When the Beaumont and Great Northern Railway from Onalaska to Livingston in 1908 was completed, a railroad stop was established south of the West Tempe cemetery. William Carlisle, an owner of a sawmill in Onalaska, changed the name of this town from West Temple to Blanchard, after his brother-in-law, Ben Blanchard. Ben Blanchard lived in New York. Blanchard was first called West Tempe after a local creek. After the railroad stop was completed, Blanchard was the location of a stave mill and a post office was also built.
The railroad stop was closed in 1849. Blanchard’s population has stayed stable since the 1920’s with approximately 50. In 2000, Blanchard has a population of approximatley 200.
History of Coldspring Texas
Coldspring was originally located within the Mexican land grant made to Col. Robert Rankin. In 1847 the town had the name of Coonskin, then it became known as Firemans Hill. In 1850 the official name became Cold Springs. Later the name was changed to Coldspring which it is known by today.
The original town location was at the Trinity River near the community of Swarthout. The town later moved to the vicinity of where Old Town Heritage Center is today.
Coldspring was the home of several logging companies over the years. In 1880 to 1892 Mitchell and McGown operated a steam powered sawmill near Coldspring. A 100 ft long shed was the planning mill for Jim McMurrey in 1903. In 1925 Fred Jeanes opened a saw and planning mill.
Townsite of Coldspring
Location: Courthouse Lawn on SH 150
Before founding of town, this land lay in Mexican grant made to Col. Robt. Rankin, veteran of American Revolution. Post office here bore name; Coonskin; (1847), then; Fireman’s Hill, and finally; Cold Springs; (1850). Spelling later became Coldspring. Original town plat contained 14 blocks. First courthouse, of wood, burned 1915. Present stone building replaced it in 1918. By 1923 most of town had moved up the hill to present site. Early schools included an 1847 academy, the 1880 Male and Female Institute, and Mrs. India Grace’s private school of 1880s.
Big Thicket, C. S. A.,
Location: 2 mi. SE of Coldspring on SH 150 in picnic area
In early Texas, a paradise for settlers liking solitude. During the Civil War, became notorious as hunt of army deserters or men avoiding conscript officers and living off the country. The thicket was so hard to penetrate that it was the despair of commanding officers. Soldiers who remained loyal were somewhat demoralized by seeing that men camping in the Big Thicket were safe from punishment for desertion. On at least two occasions, however, the men were discovered, once a fire was set in a circle around them, and smoked them out. A later camp was located by a veteran hunter whose pack of bear dogs brought out the deserters. Before they were hunted out, the deserters found thicket life good. They feasted on game and wild honey. Their wives, living nearby, would visit the men occasionally. Except when conscript officers were in the locality, the wives would visit caches established by the men and remove meat, hides or honey to be marketed for the support of the family. These people felt justified in deserting. Many were foreign-born and had sworn allegiance to the U. S. only 5 to 10 years earlier. Confused by the onset of war, they had fled from their homes.
J. M. Hansbro’s Law Office
Location: across from Courthouse at SH 150 and FM 1514
Built 1870. First structure moved to new Coldsprings after fire destroyed first courthouse, 1915. A new town site was selected. The San Jacinto County Abstract Co. was housed in this building many years. County’s first telephone was installed here. Recorded Texas Historic Landmark – 1967
First Baptist Church of Coldspring
Location: 100 E. Pine, Coldspring
Formally organized in 1848 in the small community known as “Fireman’s Hill” (formerly “Coonskin”), Laurel Hill Baptist Church began with four members and the Rev. Joseph Warner Dossey Creath as its first pastor. The Rev. Mr. Creath came to Texas as a missionary for the Domestic Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention and later became a prominent figure among Texas Baptists. By 1850 the settlement was known as “Cold Springs.” In 1853 several church members participated in the formation of an educational institution known as the Cold Springs Female College or Institute. Recognized as one of the early educational efforts of Texas Baptists, the school flourished for a short time. General James B. Davis (1790-1859), a friend of General Sam Houston and former adjutant general of the Republic of Texas Army, donated land for a church building, baptismal pool and cemetery. A small building was erected across from the cemetery in 1855. The Cold Springs Male and Female Academy, as it was called by 1861, closed with the advent of the Civil War. The church building served on that site until a fire ravaged the San Jacinto County Courthouse in 1915. By 1918 a new courthouse had been completed nearby. Homes, businesses and the Laurel Hill Baptist Church were moved to the new site. The church was destroyed by fire in 1950; a new structure built that same year was renamed First Baptist Church of Coldspring. Buildings were added to the church complex as necessary. The first Baptist Church of Coldspring continues a tradition of worship and service established by its founders. The congregation celebrated its 150th anniversary in 1998. (1999)
Laurel Hill Cemetery
Location: FM 1514 about .75 mi. north of SH 150
Site given 1848. Named for laurel trees that grew around baptismal pool of Laurel Hill Baptist Church. Site was given by Gen. James B. Davis (1790-1859), adjutant-general of Republic of Texas army in 1842. Cemetery was opened for use in 1840s. Oldest gravestone is that of Frances California Snow, who died in 1854 at age two. Her father, physician Thomas Snow, was buried here in 1858; site donor, Gen. Davis, the next year. When present fencing was done, G. R. McKellar donated a small strip of land on north side and heirs of Dr. D. McCardell gave a nine-foot strip on the south.
General James Davis
Location: in Laurel Hill Cemetery on FM 1514 about .75 mi. north of SH 150, Coldspring
Born Va., July 17, 1790. As U. S. Army officer in War of 1812, was in Battle of New Orleans, married Anne Eliza Hill, of N. C. Had 7 children. Came to Texas in 1834. Served Republic of Texas on staff of Gen. Sam Houston, 1836; adjutant-general, 1842; member of Congress, 1843-1844; member of Constitutional Convention 1845. Gave site, 1848, for Laurel Hill Baptist Church (now First Baptist Church of Coldspring). D. Feb. 10, 1859.
Location: Hill Avenue, between Church and Butler St
Built in the 1880s, this home was purchased by local businessman and merchant Robert Hugh McClanahan, Jr., in 1913. He served as county tax collector and was postmaster of Coldspring from 1914 until his death in 1940. When the town square was relocated after a 1915 fire destroyed the old courthouse, McClanahan had his home turned to face the new town. The home was known as a haven for travelers and visitors to Coldspring for many years. Following McClanahan’s death, the house was owned by his son-in-law, Marshall Douglas Trapp.
Mount Moriah Lodge No. 37, A. F. & A. M.
Location: Byrd and Butler St.
Chartered by the Grand Lodge of Texas on January 15, 1848, this lodge first convened in the Mount Pleasant settlement. Early meetings were held at Fireman’s Hill in a schoolhouse owned by Henry Gillette. That building was moved to Coldspring in 1853. Early members of the lodge included many Republic of Texas pioneers, as well as distinguished public officials of Polk and San Jacinto counties. The town of Coldspring was relocated after a 1915 fire, and the lodge moved to the new townsite in 1923. A new lodge hall was built in 1962.
Oakwood CemeteryLocation: just east of SH 150/SH 156 split behind Coldspring Methodist Church
Located within the original Robert Rankin league of land, Oakwood Cemetery traces its history to the mid-19th century. Although there may be older unmarked graves, the earliest documented burial in the graveyard is that of John B. Mitchell, who died in 1853. Those interred here include pioneers and early settlers of San Jacinto County, children, elected officials, civic leaders, and veterans. The cemetery, which serves as a reflection of the area’s heritage, is maintained by a cemetery association chartered in 1979.
Old San Jacinto County Jail
Location: north of FM 1514 on Slade St. behind high school
Approved by the Commissioners Court in 1886 and completed the following year, this structure served as the San Jacinto County Jail until 1980. Interior space included second floor cells and jailer’s living quarters on the ground floor. Victorian detailing is reflected in the decorative brickwork and arched windows. The only remaining structure of the original townsite, it now serves as a historic reminder of Coldspring in the 1880s. Recorded Texas Historic Landmark – 1982
San Jacinto County Courthouse
San Jacinto County CourthouseLocation: Byrd Ave. at SH 150
A fire in 1915 destroyed the San Jacinto County courthouse. Landowners donated land at this site and relocated the center of county government to new town; Coldspring. The county hired builders Price and Williamson to construct the new courthouse based on plans by the Houston firm of Lane and Dabney. It was constructed in 1916-17 of brick fired locally from local clay. Merchants and citizens followed the courthouse to the new location, and by 1925, old town; Coldspring was deserted. Repairs in 1936 modified its appearance somewhat, but the courthouse retains elements of its original Italian Renaissance design in its arched doors and windows on the east and west elevations. Recorded Texas Historic Landmark – 2000
San Jacinto County Jail
Location: just north of FM 1514 on Slade St. behind high school
Noted for rare but never used hangman’s trap. Second jail for San Jacinto County which was organized 1871, this structure was built in 1887 by L. T. Noyes of Houston. Later, the Southern Structural Steel Company of San Antonio installed cells and the unusual execution device. That firm also built annex in 1911. In 1915 San Jacinto County’s frame courthouse burned. When a new brick courthouse was built a quarter-mile to the southwest, axis of the town shifted from area of the jail, which still serves its official role.
Governor George Tyler Wood
Governor George Tyler WoodLocation: Courthouse lawn on SH 150 at FM 1514
(1795-1858) Born in Georgia and married there in 1837 to Martha Evans Gindrat (1809-63), a widow with 3 children, George T. Wood came to Texas with his family in 1839 and settled along the Trinity River near Point Blank. Wood studied law and was elected to the 6th Republic of Texas Congress, 1841-42, and the Annexation Convention of 1845. As a state senator in 1846, he sponsored a bill creating Tyler County. Woodville, the county seat, was named for him, as was Wood County, created in 1850. Wood left the Senate in 1846 to fight in the Mexican War (1846-48). His military heroics helped make him the popular choice for governor in 1847. Under Gov. Wood, the recently-organized state government faced the problems of recurring Indian hostilities and a boundary dispute in Santa Fe County (now part of New Mexico). Gov. Wood urged sale of public lands to pay the large public debt. His administration saw the establishment of a state library and a penitentiary. Mrs. Wood, who raised silkworms and made her own silk cloth, did not accompany her husband to the State Capital at Austin, then a rough frontier town without an official governor’s residence. After failing to win a second term in 1849, Gov. Wood returned to his home at Point Blank. He died at age 63 and was buried nearby.
History of Huntsville Texas
Originally, Huntsville was an Indian trading post. It was founded in 1835 or 1836 by Pleasant and Ephraim Gray.In 1830 or 1831 Pleasant Gray camped near a spring. (present day, just north of the post office) The Bedai Indians inhabited the area, and were freindly and liked to trade. Since the area reminded him of his home in Alabama, he decided to settle there. He returned to Alabama for his family. On July 10, 1835 Plesant Gray was granted 7 square miles of land from the Mexican govennement. He built his house where the courthouse now stands, and across the street he built a trading post. His trade with the Indians was very successful, which attracted more settlers. The Town that sprang up was named Huntsville, after the Gray’s family home in Huntsville, Alabama. Huntsville was incorporated in January 30, 1835 as part of the Gammel, Laws of Texas, II. It was reincorpated in January of 1852 as a city.
In 1846 Huntsville became the county seat for Walker County. The first post office was established in 1837. In the 1840’s sawmill’s began to be built. Huntsville was also considered for the appointment of the State Capitol. However, Austin was chosen in 1850.
In October 1849 a log prison was built. The Texas State Penitentiary housed only three prisoners during its first year of operation. The prison soon was replaced by a more permanant brick structure, and other counties begain sending their prisoners there. The prisoners produced cotton and wool goods. During the Civil War, the prisoners, made the uniforms for the Confederate Soldiers
In 1867 yellow fever broke out in Huntsville. Many families left the area trying to avoid getting sick. It killed 10% of its residents.
Sam Houston and several other notables were buried in the Oakwood Cemetery in Huntsville. Sam’s grave is marked by a gray Texas granite monument erected in April 21, 1911, the 75th anniversary of the Battle of San Jacinto.
History of Livingston Texas
Livingston is the county seat for Polk County. It was founded in 1846 and incorporated 1902.
Livingston was originally called Springfield. In 1846 Moses L Choate donated 100 acres for the townsite on the condition that the name be changed to Livingston after his home town in Tennesse. Livingston was also to become the county seat. The legislature required that a town election be held to determine to name, and so in June 1846, Springfield’s name was changed to Livingston.
By 1847 Livingston established their first post office. By the late 1880’s Livingston served as a trading center for area farmers. The first Polk County Court house was built in 1884. It was demolished in 1923, the current Court House was built in 1924. After the construction of the Houston East and West Texas Railway through Livingston in 1880, Livingston started to grow. It had several sawmills located around the area. It became vital trade, educational and social center for people of sawmills and boat landings on the Trinity River.
Fire destroyed most of the town in 1902 however the town continued to grow. In 1903 the first telephone company was established. By 1905 Livingston had it’s first electric company. By 1908 Livingston had the following railroads, the Beaumont and Great Northern Railroad, and the Livingston and Southeastern Railway. By 1917 state highway 35 was constructed. In 1932 local oil fields were discovered, which again gave growth to Livingston.
From 1830 to 1840 five Indian trails (some several centuries old) crossed Polk County. the Coushatta and Alabama tribes started two trails and also traveled Long King’s, Kickapoo, and Battise traces. These routes helped settlers map roads; modern highways follow the trails in places.
Chief John Scott, chief of Alabama Indians for most of his life, came to Texas in 1830s. He served in Confederate Army in Civil War.
During the Civil War Livingston was headquarters, 1867-68, for the Federal Army of Occupation, 5th Military District, with Co. A, 15th Infantry and Co. B, 6th Cavalry, stationed here. . Throughout the war, old men, women, children and slaves produced food and cotton for support of the war effort.
Livingston is the home of Margo Jones, a World-famed genius of drama. She directed the “The Glass Menagerie” for Broadway. She established “theatre in the round” in Dallas.
Livingston Historical Markers
Village of the Alabama and Coushatti Indians
Location: 16 mi. east of Livingston on US 190 at entrance to reservation
Who came into Texas early in the 19th century and have always been friendly with the whites.
Site of Old Andress Inn
Location: 109 W. Mill St.
Center civic, social and business affairs, early Polk County. Built about 1848 by James Andress, from South Carolina. Contained restaurant, saloon, grocery store, post office, stage station. Had livery stable nearby. Among noted guests was General Sam Houston.
Confederate Service of Alabama and Coushatta Indians
Location: 16 mi. east of Livington on US 190, Reservation
Alabama and Coushatta Indians of Polk County were trained as cavalrymen in 1861 by Indian Agent Robert R. Neyland as the war between the states advanced. In April 1862, nineteen Alabama and Coushatta, including Chief John Scott, enlisted in the Confederate Army as members of Company G, 24th Texas Cavalry. They trained in Hempstead, Texas, and in Arkansas, where their commander, General Thomas C. Hindman, converted them to infantrymen. After voicing displeasure with the change from cavalry to infantry duties, they were permitted to return to their Polk County homes to await further orders. Following brief service in the Confederate Navy under Galveston Bay Commander W. W. Hunter, they were reorganized as a cavalry company in the 6th Brigade, 2nd Texas Infantry Division. In 1864 the company roster listed 132 men. Their primary job was to build and operate flat-bottomed boats (scows) to transport farm produce and other supplies needed by the confederacy down the Trinity River to the port at Liberty, Texas. Official correspondence of wartime Texas Governors Francis R. Lubbock and Pendleton Murrah refer to the Alabama and Coushatta Indians’ loyalty in their role as Confederate infantry, cavalry, and navy servicemen.
First Methodist Church of Livingston
Location: 302 W. Church St.
The Rev. Blackwell Dunnam organized this congregation in 1848, two years after Livingston became Polk County Seat. Early worship services were held in members’ homes. A sanctuary was erected on the corner of Church and East streets in 1859 during the pastorate of the Rev. D. M. Stovall. It was used by several congregations and also served as a community schoolhouse. The Methodists built a new structure at 302 W. Church Street in 1911; it was replaced in 1948-49. Upholding the traditions of its founders, the church continues to serve the community.
First National Bank
Location: 300 block of W. Church
Organized as a private bank — Polk County Bank — about 1898, by G. W. Riddle and C. H. Davison. Became Citizens National Bank in 1902, year the town burned. Rebuilt as Livingston’s first brick building. Was reorganized 1910 as First National Bank, with John W. Cochran president.
First State Bank of Livingston
Location: 122 W. Polk
Early state bank of Texas. Organized in 1910 as Guaranty State Bank with H. D. Reynolds as the first president. L. F. Gerlach, second president, operated one of city’s best-known stores. The descendants of J. L. Muller, third president, have served as leaders in the bank since 1910. Ollege Morrison, fourth president, owned Livingston Drug Company for many years. Miss May Andress, daughter of S. J. Andress (an organizer of the bank), was on board of directors longer than any other member. The bank took present name in 1925. This is third location.
Early Indian Trails
Location: Library grounds, corner of W. Church and Drew St
From 1830 to 1840 five Indian trails (some several centuries old) crossed Polk County. the Coushatta and Alabama tribes started two trails and also traveled Long King’s, Kickapoo, and Battise traces. These routes helped settlers map roads; modern highways follow the trails in places.
Birthplace of Margo Jones
Location: 517 S. Washington
(1911-1955) World-famed genius of drama. Won Broadway acclaim directing “The Glass Menagerie.” Led move to decentralize American theatre. Established, in Dallas, theatre-in-the-round (first professional, resident, repertory theatre of its kind) and wrote book on its technique. Premiered 58 new plays. Discovered Tennessee Williams, William Inge and others. A dedicated “artistic humanist,” she provided channels through which the spiritual qualities of creative people could be communicated.
Location: City Hall, Church and Jackson
Seat of Polk County, founded in 1846; incorporated 1902. Named by Moses L. Choate, donor of its 100-acre townsite. It became vital trade, educational and social center for people of sawmills and boat landings on the Trinity River. General Sam Houston was among guests dancing at Old Andress Inn in the early 1850s. The only Indian reservation in Texas, for the Alabama-Coushatta tribe, is located near here. The economy is agricultural, based chiefly on ranching and timber. Since 1930 there has been major oil and gas development. Pine forest capital of Texas.
Old City Cemetery (Old Livingston Cemetery)
Location: 300 E. Church @ corner of Houston St
This historic graveyard began in 1840 with the burial of four-year-old Josephus Choate, son of Moses Livingston Choate (1794-1867) and Ursula Choate (1807-c. 1880). Early pioneers from Kentucky, the Choates moved to Texas and received a league of land while this area was still a part of Mexico. On his land, Choate established a town he called Springfield. After Polk County was created in 1846, Moses Choate donated 100 acres of his land near Springfield for the county seat and changed the name of the town to Livingston. A one and one-half block section of land, which included the Choate family cemetery, was set aside for religious and educational purposes. A Masonic lodge (with a schoolroom) and a church were built on that property in the 1850s; after those institutions relocated later in the century, the cemetery expanded over this entire block. By 1906, burials in the Old City Cemetery had almost ceased, and the last interment took place in 1940. At least 25 Republic of Texas citizens, two Mexican War veterans and 30 Civil War veterans are buried here. A few memorial markers stand to honor persons interred elsewhere. There are 167 visible tombstones and at least 65 unmarked burials, with more than 70 grave sites destroyed over the years. As a reminder of the early heritage of Texas and Polk County, the Old City Cemetery is an important cultural resource for the community. (2001)
Livingston Telephone Company
Location: 501 N. Houston Avenue
Polk County’s oldest public utility, the Livingston Telephone Company was organized Aug. 3, 1903, with S. H. Smith as president. The locally owned, independent telephone exchange operated a 24-hour switchboard on the second floor of a building at 315 N. Jackson. the system started with 40 hand-cranked telephones in service. By the time creosoted poles were installed in 1909, there were 124 telephones in use. In 1959 the exchange was converted to a fully automatic dialing system
Locomotive No. 5
Location: Heritage Park, W. Church and Drew St.
Built in 1911 by Philadelphia’s Baldwin Locomotive Works, this locomotive was first used to transport timber in Florida. In the 1920s, it was purchased for use in Texas’ logging industry by the Angelina County-based Carter-Kelley Lumber Company. The locomotive traveled between Angelina and Polk County mill towns on Houston, East and West Texas Railway tracks, picking up logs and finished lumber that frequently had been hauled from local cutting areas by oxen. In use until 1952, the No. 5 contributed to the development of the area’s timber industry.
G. G. Nettles Home
Location: 400 block of E. Young St.
Built 1895 of long leaf pine with cypress siding and trim. Design, Victorian, with handmade gingerbread trim
Polk County Courthouse
Location: 101 W. Church Street
Polk County Courthouse Completed in 1924, this is the fifth courthouse to serve Polk County. Citing “lack of space and modern conveniences,” the Commissioners court hired the Houston architectural firm of McLelland & Fink to design their new building. Contractor Isaac Young completed demolition of the 1884 courthouse by July 1923, and the first court meetings were held in this building by the fall of 1924. Designed to include an auditorium, library, American Legion hall and post office, which were replaced in later years by administrative and judicial offices, the Polk County Courthouse features Classical Revival styling with Beaux Arts influences. It stands as a significant part of Livingston’s architectural heritage
“Polk County Enterprise”
Location: 506 N. Tyler St.
Founded in 1882 as “East Texas Pinery” by J. M. and J. C. Stockton. Changed name to “Polk County Enterprise” about 1903. when the office installed first linotype machine (1920), school was dismissed so pupils could watch it operate. Ben Ogletree family and Billy C. Dove, present publishers. (1970)
Polk County, C. S. A.
Location: 101 W. Church Street
During Civil War, 1861-65, an area of piney woods, farms, thickets, with an Alabama-Coushatta Indian reservation. Had only 600 voters in 1860 but sent 900 soldiers into the Confederate Army. Furnished 4 units to Hood’s Texas Brigade (Co. B, 1st Regiment; Co. F, 4th Regiment; Co. H and Co. K, 5th Regiment). Also organized Co. K, 14th Texas Infantry, Randal’s Brigade; co. E, 20th Texas Infantry, Harrison’s Brigade; Co. F, 22nd Texas Infantry, Waul’s Brigade, 21 of the Alabama-Coushattas joined Co. A, Indian Cavalry. In 1861, gave through Commissioners Court $1,600 to clothe its soldiers. Throughout the war, old men, women, children and slaves produced food and cotton for support of the war effort. County’s numerous ferries and rivers were used in transporting troops and supplies. Such ports as Drew’s Landing floated out goods on flatboats. Industries and facilities of importance included Moscow’s sawmill, cotton gin, drugstore and school operated throughout the war by the Masonic Lodge. Livingston was headquarters, 1867-68, for the Federal Army of Occupation, 5th Military District, with Co. A, 15th Infantry and Co. B, 6th Cavalry, stationed here.
The Sawyer House
Location: 110 S. Oak St
This home was built in 1900 by Albert Leroy “Roy” Sawyer (d. 1958) for his bride, Estella Marshall Sawyer (1882-1964). Sawyer was an investor in land, cotton gins, and local utilities. Mrs. Sawyer, known to her neighbors as “Miss Stella,” came to Texas with her family from Mississippi. the large one-story frame residence features an extended front side bay, front boxed bay window, side bay window, and a wraparound porch with paired pillars on brick pedestals.
Chief John Scott
Location: Indian cemetery on Alabama-Coushatta Reservation, 16 mi. east of Livingston on US 190
(1805-1913) Came to Texas in 1830s; served in Confederate Army in Civil War; was chief of Alabama Indians here most of his life.
Trinity Lodge No. 14, A.F. & A.M.
Location: 1105 West Church St
In 1840 this Masonic Lodge was organized in the pioneer town of Swartout (Swartwout) (6 mi. SW) in what was then Liberty County. After erecting a two-story building, the Masons assisted in organizing the first school in the area and furnished the lower floor of the Lodge for school use. Members gave money for salaries, tuition, and supplies. The Masons furnished the building for the first school in Livingston after moving the Lodge here in 1846. The school used their building until 1908. Trinity Lodge has met at this site since 1970 and has taken an active part in promoting education in Polk County.
History of Onalaska Texas
Onalaska was first settled in 1840 as a farming community. The Carlisle Company sent L.O. Jackson to the farming comminity in 1903 to purchase land for the sawmill. A small town sprang up, and L.O. Jackson is attributed to being the founder. Once the sawmill owned by Carslisle Company arrived, Onalaska became a boom town.
In 1904 William Carlisle named the town of Onalaska after his home town of Onalaska Wisconson.
The Beaumont & Great Northern Railroad in came to Onalaska in 1905. Its main purpose was to transport the lumber.
The lumber company continued to grow. In 1907 the sawmill employeed between 500 and 600 people. At one time it had 3 sawmills, and was believed to be the largest sawmill in Texas. In the beginning, the sawmill was capable of cutting 50,000 board feet per ten-hour day, after several expansions, when the sawmill was sold in 1912 it was cutting 225,000 board feet per 10 hour day.
By 1909 Onalaska had waterworks and electric street lights for about 200 houses, three hotels, one commissary, one two-room school house, a ten-ton ice plant, and a six-bed hospital.
The lumber company furnished all of it’s married employees with a home for $5.00 a month. The pay for it’s employees was very good for that time period. The employees earned $1.50 per day.
To promote the sale of cutover lands, William Carlisle organized the Onalaska Livestock Company. This was very uncommon for sawmill towns.
The town continued to prosper. In Dec. 1909 the Carlisle Company sold the saw mill for four million dollars to J M West from Houston. In 1915 the sawmill was destroyed by fire. It was rebuilt and continued to operate until 1928.
The Carlisle company was not the only sawmill located in Onalaska. The Philip A. Ryan Lumber Company was a Tennessee corporation which applied to Austin in December 1912 for a permit to run saw and planing mills at Onalaska, Texas. This sawmill had a daily cutting capacity of 50,000 feet. White and red oaks were the mill’s specialties. In 1915 the mill was sold to J M West.
History of Point Blank Texas
Point Blank was originally called Blanc Point. It was named by a Florence Dissiway, the governess of R. T. and Henry Robinson. R. T. Robinson established the first store in Blanc Point. The Robert Todd Robinson House is currenlty the oldest home located in current day Point Blank. The home was built as a log cabin in 1857. The log house was covered with siding in 1919, and facade was modified in 1970s. A descendant owns and preserves it. It is now a Recorded Texas Historic Landmark – 1975
Governor George Tyler Wood lived near Blanc Point. He was a member of 6th Congress of the Republic of Texas, 1841-1842; a delegate to the 1845 Annexation Convention; a member of first Senate of the state, 1846-1847. He resigned from the Senate to raise a regiment and fight in the Mexican War
Isaac Jones was born in Mississippi. He moved near Blanc Point in 1834, receiving Mexican land grant on west bank of Trinity River. He served 3 months in army of Texas Republic 1836-38. Operated ferry at Jones Bluff 1858, 1861.
The first post office was established in 1884. The population remained stable at 75 until Lake Livingston was built.
Point Blank Historical Markers
Location: Isaac Jones Cemetery at Jones Bluff just west off US 190, about 4 mi. east of Point Blank
(October 4, 1793 – May 27, 1878) Individualistic pioneer of Texas. Born in Mississippi; moved here 1834, receiving Mexican land grant on west bank of Trinity River. Served 3 months in army of Texas Republic 1836-38. Operated ferry at Jones Bluff 1858, 1861. Wife: Elizabeth (Martin).
Mount Capers Cemetery
Location: Take US 190 E about 3 mi. to FM 980, go north on FM 980 2.5 mi. to Old Staley Rd., go west about 2 mi. to Mount Capers Cemetery Rd., go south to cemetery
Sarah Washington Ricks Durdin Chrznowski (1819-94) donated land for this cemetery from estate of her late husband, James. T. Durdin (d. 1859), probably in 1860s, although no deed exists. Cemetery was named for adjacent Mount Capers Baptist Chapel, built by the Rev. L. R. Capers. According to tradition, first grave was for Elisha Williams; James Tarpley Knight, an infant grandson of land donor, was interred in Dec. 1871. Oldest legible headstone is dated 1873. The Mount Capers Cemetery Association received in Aug. 1971 a deed to four acres of land here. There are 100 or more graves.
Mount Zion Cemetery
Location: South of SH 156, 3 mi. SE of Point Blank
John R. Johnson, whose 1849 land grant included this property, gave 4.25 acres in 1850 to Mount Zion Methodist Church. Churchyard burials may have begun earlier, but oldest gravestone is dated 1870. The church building was dismantled in 1928 after it fell into ruin. In 1958, descendants of Harrells’ settlement, Mount Zion, and Stephens Creek pioneers began a yearly homecoming here at the sole public landmark of their ancestors, the cemetery. As of 1976, there are about 250 graves– most of them identified and a number marked through efforts of a special committee.
The Robert Tod Robinson House
Location: SH 156, .75 mi. south of Point Blank
Adjacent to property of Governor George T. Wood, and on high ground near juncture of waterways and land trails important in early Texas, this was originally a log house with wide front verandas on the two floors. It was built in 1857 by Point Blank planter Robert Tod Robinson (1826-1878), copying style from his native state of Alabama. He brought up a large family; his descendants include soldiers, statesmen, and civic leaders. The log house was covered with siding in 1919, and facade was modified in 1970s. A descendant owns and preserves it. Recorded Texas Historic Landmark – 1975
Governor George Tyler Wood
Location: east off SH 156 in Point Blank near entrance to Robinson Cemetery (follow signs to Gov. Wood monument)
(1795-1858) Born in Georgia, where he fought in Indian wars, was a merchant, and member of State Legislature. In 1839, he moved with family to Texas, settling in this area. He was a member of 6th Congress of the Republic of Texas, 1841-1842; a delegate to the 1845 Annexation Convention; a member of first Senate of the state, 1846-1847. He resigned from the Senate to raise a regiment and fight in the Mexican War. While a senator, he introduced a bill to create Tyler County. Woodville, the county seat, was named for him. So was Wood County, created later. Governor of Texas, Dec. 21, 1847 – Dec. 21, 1849, Wood rallied state defenses against recurring Indian depredations, particularly around Corpus Christi, in Navarro County and along the Red River. Boundary disputes arose in Santa Fe County (then in Texas, now in New Mexico). Governor Wood advocated sales of public lands to liquidate the public debt. He also urged establishment of public schools. Texas laws were coded at his request. He established the state library and had state penitentiary built. Wood married in 1837 in Georgia Mrs. Martha Evans Gindrat, a widow with three children. Several other children were born to George and Martha Wood.
History of Riverside Texas
Riverside was founded in 1872. Like most other communities in the area, it served as a station for the Houston and Great Northern Railroad. Riverside was surrounded by cotton fields, and later lumber replaced the cotton economy importance.
When the lumber economy slowed down, Riverside became a stockyard. In the mid-1880s Riverside had a population of 200, a gristmill, two hotels, and two general stores. Ten years later it had three churches, two schools, two sawmills, a cotton gin, a saloon, and a restaurant. In 1914 the population declined to 50 people.
In 1921 two refineries were opened in Riverside. This helped boost the economy and population.
History of Trinity Texas
Trinity was founded in 1872 – 1873 by a land purchase from Texas Land Company and New York. Trinity was originally called Trinity Station because it served as a station on the Houston and Great Northern Railroad. The railroad station was the center of Trinity’s activity. The Great Northern Railroad connected Triity to Houston.
The Sabine Branch of the Missouri, Kansas and Texas (known locally as the Miss Katy and Tom) served as the east – west connection. It connected Trinity to Corrigan and Colmesneil. These railroads were followed by Texas Southeastern, Groveton-Lufkin and Northern, Beaumont and Great Northern. Trinity’s station had over 160 miles of railroad track. It served over 30 sawmills.
Between 1873 and 1874 Trinity served as the county seat for the county of Trinity. In 1874 Trinity was the largest town in the county with a population of 900. By 1906 Trinity acquired it’s first electric plant. Trinity’s business section suffered two fires. In 1909 the entire business section burnt down. Another fire in 1915 hit the business section.
During its early years, Trinity had 6 cotton gins and more than 30 sawmills.
Trinity was the home of Isaac Newton Parker, his wife, Mary Ashley Parker. Isaac came to Texas in 1822. He fought in the Civil War in Company D of Hood’s Fifth Texas Infantry. The home in which Isaac and Mary lived is now a bed and breakfast. It is thought that the ghost of Mary haunts the house. The home is listed in the book titled “Texas Guide to Haunted Restaurants, Taverns and Inns.”
Trinity Historical Markers
Jacob Pope And Elizabeth Ann Barnes
Location: Cedar Grove Cemetery, on FM 230
Mississippi natives Jacob Pope Barnes (1832-1877) and Elizabeth Ann Rankin (1834-1912) were wed on June 12th, 1860. They moved to Texas in 1866 and came to Trinity in 1872. Jacob opened a mercantile store in partnership with Frank Lister and was serving as county treasurer at the time of his death. Widowed at age 43, Elizabeth reared nine children and operated the mercantile store with the help of her eldest son, Samuel Edward (1861-1914).
Cedar Grove Cemetery
Location: FM 230 five blocks west of downtown Trinity
The first documented burial in the cemetery, that of Phebe A. Martin, took place in 1875, three years after the town of Trinity was laid out on the George W. Wilson survey. Nearly 100 graves, many of them from an 1897-98 diphtheria epidemic, date to the 19th century. In 1914, a cemetery association was chartered to manage and maintain the public burial ground. Among those buried here are founders of Trinity, professional and business leaders, and local citizens who served in the United States armed forces.
First United Methodist Church of Trinity
Location: Elm and Caroline
This congregation was organized in 1872, the same year the City of Trinity was founded. The Rev. John Woolam is credited with the establishment of the church and also served as its first itinerate minister. Woolam held services in Trinity one Sunday each month. his preaching circuit at that time consisted on 12 to 15 stations, including Trinity, Nevilles Prairie, Blackland, and Lovelady. Early worship services were held in the Barnes-Lister store in Trinity. In 1873 a one-room log schoolhouse was constructed, an it served for a tiem as a community church building as well. The Methodist congregation built the first sanctuary during the early 1880s at the corner of what is now Robb and Madision. The one-room building soon became too small for the growing fellowship, and additions were made in 1902 and in 1913. The current sanctuary was completed in 1928. Throughout its history, Trinity United Methodist Church has provided significant service and leadership to the community. With its emphasis on christian education and missionary programs, the congregation continues to uphold the ideals and traditions of its founders.
Location: 6 mi. NE of Trinity on SH 94; 1 mi. N on Glendale Cemetery Road
Trinity County was created in 1850. Settlers came to this area by 1854. By 1886, a town of about 100 had grown up near the large antebellum Tullos Plantation. In 1887 the Glendale Post Office was established. The earliest known graves in the cemetery are those of four-year-old Ida J. Arnold, who died in 1884, and infant Albert Munson, who was born and died that same year. The earliest adult grave on this site is that of H. W. Threadgill. By 1899, the year of Threadgill’s death, Glendale was a boomtown of 1,200 residents due to the success of the J. I. Cameron Lumber Company and the Glendale Orchard Company. Local industry declined after 1900, and by 1914 the population had dwindled to 75. Area residents continued to care for the cemetery, which remains a chronicle of Trinity County history. (2000)
Ranald McDonald House
Location: Maple and San Jacinto
Married after 1876 to Mollie Turner (1857-1919), daughter of an early Trinity pioneer, Ranald McDonald (1846-1931) settled on his land along the Trinity River. He bought this lot in 1890 and hired John Denton Gibbs to erect this victorian structure, which stands on stone piers, McDonald kept bees, honey, buggies, and wagons. His son Alexander (d. 1944), the second owner of the house, built a power plant on this property to provide Trinity’s first electrical system.
I. N. Parker House
Location: 304 North Maple
Built about 1888, this was the home of local merchant Isaac Newton Parker (1841-1918) and his family. Parker, a Confederate Civil War veteran, and his first wife, Mary C. Ashley (d. 1905) reared eight children here. After Mary’s death Parker married Lou Palmer, who lived in the house until her death in 1955. According to family history, Parker changed the original Victorian appearance of the house to a simpler classical style about 1911.
Trinity Chapel A.M.E. Church
Location: 980 South Robb
The Trinity Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church traces its beginnings to 1882 when it was established as a mission church. The Reverend W.M. Apling was appointed as the first pastor. Land for a church was donated in 1887 by the New York and Texas Land Company, Ltd. A small one-room building was erected by 1890. To house its growing numbers, the members redesigned the sanctuary. Changes included relocating the entrance, adding a bell tower, and attaching a wing to the north and south sides. The pews were hand-hewn wooden benches, supported by backs decorated with nine-inch spindles. Several prominent area citizens have been members of this church. The congregation promotes programs such as Sunday school and vacation Bible school, and supports civic responsibility through local scholarships and financial patronage of Paul Quinn College in Dallas, and the Trinity Community Cemetery. The Church also sponsors a clothing bank, promotes an African American parade and contributes to other social outreach programs. The Trinity Chapel A.M.E. Church continues to serve the Trinity area as it has for more than a century.
Dorcas Wills Memorial Baptist Church
Location: 200 Robb St.
Originally known as the Trinity Baptist Church in Christ, this congregation was formally organized on January 23, 1876, by the Rev. D.S. Snodgrass. Charter members included J.R. and Rachel Shaw, Mrs. S.J. Knox, O.G. Shaw, Dr. and Mrs. J.M. Arnold, and Catherine Turner. During Snodgrass’ pastorate, which lasted until December 1877, a Union Sunday school was organized and a sanctuary was built on land donated by the International & Great Northern Railroad. Despite early setbacks, such as a 1909 fire that destroyed the church building, the congregation grew in numbers and provided significant service and leadership to the community. The current name was adopted in 1934 upon the completion of anew sanctuary in memory of Dorcas Sheffield Wills. Over the years, several members of the congregation have been licensed to preach. The Calvary Baptist Church of Trinity was formed by a group from this fellowship. An important part of the religious heritage of Trinity, Dorcas Wills Memorial Baptist Church continues to uphold the ideals and traditions of its nineteenth-century founders. (1985)