It is amazing to me the people whose early days were connected with Grayson County. Austin College seems to be a magnet for them. I recently went to an estate sale, and as a collector of things I found a scrapbook of pictures and articles clipped from newspapers, old movie star magazines and occasionally a real treasure.
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Wherever I go in Grayson County I’m asked questions about something that either happened here or still might be around. I wish I could remember everything that I have written in these columns in the last 16 years, but unfortunately I don’t. Chances are pretty good though that I have something in one of my files that I’ve either written or placed there for future reference.
With all the like and dislike words being exchanged between the hopeful candidates for president this year, I remembered that several years ago former Denisonian Jim Sears, now of Bloomington, Illinois, sent me a couple of good stories he found with Denison datelines. Jim, who has the knack of finding information on the Internet, often shares his findings with me and that means I can share it with our readers.
If plans take place in the near future, we should have a new bridge over Red River at Carpenter’s Bluff. It has been talked about for years and it looks like it’s finally going to happen. The bridge that is there now is over 100 years old and is one of the spots that visitors to Denison are always taken when they come to town.
There are many people around Denison who have an interest in this area’s heritage and like to see memorabilia in the hands of family members or displayed for the public to enjoy.
I love getting mail from readers. First of all, it lets me know that someone is reading my columns and second, I feel like they are being enjoyed or are providing useful information. And that is my purpose for writing them. A column that was published Sunday about snakes in Grayson County really hit the jackpot. I have had numerous messages about snakes from readers and at least two people sent pictures.
I have been hearing horror stories about a lot of snakes this spring, possibly because of all the rain we have been having. I’m no expert on snakes and don’t want to be, but it sometimes can be helpful to be able to recognize one of them in case you see them slithering along or coiled in your path.
Several years ago, I wrote a column about an actual Denison Gate that was exhibited at the 1884-1885 World Cotton Centennial in New Orleans. Today, I have information about a very different gateway to Texas that was prepared to welcome visitors to Texas at that time on Highway 75 North as a project of a local artist.
People ask me how I come up with the ideas for the columns I write. I tell them I have no particular way or reason but they just seem to keep coming up. Monday being Memorial Day, I thought I would like to have something special but had no idea what. Thursday while looking for something else in one of my three ring binders, I came across the answer in a round about way.
In March of 1873, Denison had its own Alamo. There was no battle and Davy Crockett didn’t have a thing to do with it. The exact location of the Alamo Hotel is a mystery to this writer except that it was “convenient to the Union Depot” as listed in an Alamo Hotel business card and in an advertisement on page one of the Oct. 20, 1874 edition of the Denison Daily News. From a picture that accompanies this column, it was on the north side of Main Street.
“Our aim, nothing; our purpose, nothing; our inspiration, nothing; our motto, to learn more and more about less and less until eventually, we shall know everything about nothing!” — The Bonehead Club
A couple of weeks ago when Denison celebrated its first Doc Holliday Saints & Sinners Festival, we were honored to meet the Doc Holliday expert, Victoria Wilcox of Atlanta, Georgia. Everyone I have talked to who heard her presentation at the SNAP Center had good things to say about Victoria and her program.
I’m not sure that this fifth column in a series about Denison’s cemeteries will cover what I had hoped. Fairview, one of Denison’s oldest burial places with markers dating back to 1882, is so interesting that I may get a little carried away writing about it.
This is the fourth in a series of articles about Oakwood and other cemeteries in the area. I probably will write one more about later cemeteries unless someone comes up with some interesting stories about one of the many around Denison. There is no doubt that I will leave some out so I would appreciate an update after you read the column on any that I have missed.
During the past week or so, I have written two columns primarily about Dr. Lawrence Augustine Washington Jr., a great-nephew of George Washington, called the father of our country. Washington was buried in Denison’s oldest cemetery, Oakwood Cemetery.
Sunday I wrote about the Washingtons who are buried in Denison’s Oakwood Cemetery and that got me on a cemetery roll because there are some really interesting tombstones found there.
Armed only with a Jan. 15, 1967, page from “Texas Magazine” I began a search that has uncovered information that earned a Texas Historical Marker for the graves of a couple buried in Oakwood Cemetery.
Last week was a “coming home” of sorts for the late Joseph Clifton “J.C.” English, who was the last passenger agent on the Missouri, Kansas & Texas Railroad with an office here in the Katy Depot.
When I started writing the column about the dismantlement of Madonna Hospital for last Sunday’s Herald Democrat , I found very little information in my files. I knew there had to be more. And wouldn’t you know it, on Tuesday, after the column ran, I was searching for something else and found an entire binder filled with information on hospitals of Denison.
I have always thought it would be good to have a column or two in reserve for days that it was impossible to write a new one. This column seems to be the only one I have managed to have ready in a long time.
The remnant of Madonna Hospital that originally was Denison’s city hospital is almost gone. While there has been opposition to at least a couple of Denison’s demolition projects in recent years, this is one that the neighbors, at least, are glad to see disappear.
The plot has thickened concerning the George Denison whose name was taken by a very young Denison, Texas, back in 1872.
There is something about hearing old timers talk about “the good old days” that make the younger generation sometimes resent hearing about how things “used to be.”
While thumbing through columns and stories I had written in 1987 and 1988, I came across a column that was written on Aug. 14, 1988, that fits today’s political situation to a “T.” Here is a summation of some of the information provided to me by Gertrude Rushing.
Not many people alive today can remember going to the “dime” store and actually buying something for 10 cents.
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