In the years between 1880 and 1959 if you were homeless, orphaned, had no family and were either feeble minded or maybe insane with no place to go, there was a place that became known as the Grayson County Poor Farm that might have been a haven for you.
Subscribe to Donna Hunt RSS feed
Since Hillary Clinton has announced that she is running for the nation’s top office, it brings to mind a column I wrote a number of years ago about her the connection her husband, former U.S. President Bill Clinton has with Grayson County.
This really isn’t a “Yesterday” column, but the happenings did take place 50 years ago. My husband and I have observed a 50th wedding anniversary at the end of last week and I have been thinking about all the things that took place about the time we said “I do” and spent out first year of married life.
The Oct. 4, 1925, issue of the Sunday Gazetteer in Denison carried a front page article about a brief visit by Jack Dempsey, champion prize fighter of the world. An article next to it told about The Denison News of September 9, 1877, reporting that the James Boys were in town. There was no connection between the two stories except that they were on the same newspaper front page.
Once upon a time there were two excursion boats on Lake Texoma. First was a wooden paddle wheel Wanderer that once was written up in Fortune Magazine. Second was the Idle Time, a steel excursion boat that was first on Lake of the Ozarks, then brought to Lake Texoma. Both made news in their time.
At one time the area around Denison was “cotton country.” Not only did we have the largest cotton mill this side of the Mississippi, but almost every farm in Grayson County had fields of cotton. Cotton gins were numerous and most every smaller town in the county had one.
In discussing female fashions of Denison’s earliest days in last Sunday’s Yesterday column, we also talked about an appearance on Main Street 40 years earlier of a young woman who attracted a lot of attention because of the way she was dressed. We all know her as the famous Belle Starr, who walked along Main Street dressed appropriately as a cowgirl.
Women in Denison are lucky today that a certain ordinance concerning misdemeanors written by the City Council shortly after Denison received its charter in 1873 is no longer observed today. Otherwise a lot of us could find ourselves in jail at hard labor.
Those of us who have lived in Denison for any length of time are aware that the Missouri, Kansas & Texas Railroad actually founded our town. Several years ago when it merged with the Union Pacific Railroad, Denisonians were devastated when long-time employees moved from town to keep their jobs and many retired or changed from being Katy employes to become UP workers.
Last Sunday’s column about the brick, “Don’t Spit on Sidewalk” being returned to Denison City Hall 40 years after it was taken as a souvenir of a visit to Denison prompted a message to me that is similar, yet in a little shorter span of time.
A young man named Joshua West rode into this area in 1845, 27 years before Denison was established. There already was a need for law enforcement in the newly formed Grayson County.
I have heard of letters or cards being delivered many years after they were mailed, but a blog on the Internet took a very different twist recently involving a package from a Dr. Kim Roberts in Salt Lake City to the city of Denison.
Last week I attended a meeting and heard a review of the book, “The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio (How My Mother Raised 10 Kids on 25 Words or Less).” The review brought back a lot of memories.
Lee “Red” Hall, our illustrious deputy sheriff at the time, stood with gun in hand defying the Denison police authority to place him under arrest one evening in September, 1879, according to a 1929 article in Judge M.M. Scholl’s monthly publication, “Historic Denison.”
In the late 1800s and early 1900s most towns the size of Denison had a wagon yard. A lot of people know what a wagon is and they know what a yard is. But if you put the two together it has a totally different meaning.
I spent all of Sunday afternoon looking for a plastic bag filled with treasures that my mother had kept in her cedar chest from the time that she was a child. Every year when Valentine’s Day approaches I get them out and display in a tray in my living room.
Sleek, shiny new automobiles are considered necessities by today’s standards. Most households have at least two at their disposal. But the “gasoline buggies” of the early 1900s were something of a novelty.
I have never written a review of a funeral celebration of life before, but I’m sure that the one I attended Saturday had never before happened in Denison, Texas.
A transplanted Yankee who was among the first in North Texas to become interested in the automobile is credited with the transition from horse to horse drawn carriage to horseless carriage in Denison.
In Sunday’s column, Riverside Park, north of present day Denison, was mentioned as the place where the Annie P Steamboat anchored on its first trip from New Orleans, proving that the Red River was navigable.
If you read this column very often you probably know that I get a lot of mail with questions about people or events in Denison’s past. I wish I had the answers to all of them or could quickly find the answers among my many records, but unfortunately, I often get bogged down and have other things to do.
With all the emphasis on eating healthy today, local residents may have eaten fresher food back in the town’s earliest days. Denison was rich in farming and fruit raisers in the 1890s and, as a result of this natural asset, a canning factory set up shop in town.
If I was going to make a list of New Year’s resolutions to begin 2015, my first would be to be more organized and more prompt in getting my columns written. But since it already is past the middle of January and here I sit writing a column for Thursday’s paper – I missed the deadline for my usual Wednesday space – I would have already screwed up.
Through the years I’ve written columns about the “stuff” that accumulates on my desk and much of it I have no idea where it came from. Some of it is good “stuff” with good information and some of it is notes I have written at various times impossible to read because I may write gibberish.
We don’t think of Denison as a mill town, but in the late 1800s and early 1900s, it certainly was. Last Sunday we talked about the Grist Mill that found its way to Denison by way of Europe, New Orleans, Oklahoma and Bonham. In about 1900 a report titled “Industrial Denison” hailed the town as an industrial city because of the industries that employed labor here.
- Page 1