Happenings of Grayson Co. before 1872


This column usually covers events in Denison that took place after the town was founded in 1872. Today’s is a little different. I ran across a copy of a report that someone had made of the chronological history of Grayson County, taken from “History and Business Guide of Sherman and Grayson County, 1940.”

To this bit of information, which dates back as far as 1750, we have interspersed historic years for Denison that are taken from our files.

While many of the events in the history are familiar, some have been heard of separately. It is sometimes hard to visualize the sequence in which they happened. I hope this chronological listing will be helpful.

1750 – Francis Harve established a trading post on Red River at the mouth of Boggy River. Two years later the post was moved to a spot near Archer City.

1759 – Spaniards were defeated by Indians in a great battle on Red River. The Spanish never again attempted to establish themselves in North Texas.

1770 – North Texas was ceded to Spain by France.

1816 – Claiborne Wright of Tennessee established first Anglo-American Settlement in Texas at Jonesboro on the Red River, near the mouth of the Kiamichi River.

1822 – Texas became a Mexican territory.

1834 – Judge Gabriel Martin was killed by Indians while on a hunting trip in what now is Grayson County.

1935 – Andrew Thomas and Davy Crockett exchanged guns while sitting beneath a tree near the settlement known as Honey Grove. Thomas took Crockett’s 27 pound long rifle in trade for a shorter gun and Crockett went on to death and fame at the Alamo.

1836 – Red River became an original county of the Republic of Texas. Daniel Dugan and family of Arkansas settled in what now is Northeast Grayson near Orangeville. This became the nucleus of the first settlement in this section.

1837 – Fannin County was created from part of the Red River County. Col. Holland Coffee established a trading post in what now is Northwest Grayson County on Preston Peninsula.

1838 – Daniel Dugan moved to a spot near the present town of Bells be cause of the lack of Water.

1839 – Col. Holland Coffee led an expedition against the Indians. Samuel Washburn was killed in action.

1840 – Daniel Dugan and Charlie Green were killed by Indians near Bells. Sam Houston established a fort at the great bend of the Red River near the present village of Preston and named it Fort Preston in honor of its first commander, Col. William Preston. The first steamboats came up the Red River, where previously only flat boats had navigated.

1845 – On Dec. 5, exactly 167 years ago today, W.R. Caruthers, who had distinguished himself in several battles against Santa Anna, received a grant of 1,000 acres of prime land near Red River in the northern part of the new nation and from this soil, the city of Denison was built.

1846 – In February Texas was annexed to the United States; in March Grayson County was created from part of Fannin County. First Grayson officials were elected and the first county seat was selected at a spot three miles west of the present city of Sherman.

1847 – The first post office was established in Sherman and the courthouse was erected at a cost of $232. The county ordered a highway constructed from Sherman to Preston, the first in the county.

1847 – William T. Lankford, having received 1,400 acres of land for his services in the Texas Revolution, settled on his grant about four miles east of the present city of Denison and to him is credited the first flour mill in the region.

1848 – Present site of Sherman was selected as a new county seat. Eighty acres were donated for the new town site by Thomas J. Shannon. The first court session in new Sherman was held under a pecan tree at the Southeast corner of the square.

1850 – A lot at the corner of Houston and Travis in Sherman was valued at $44.

1853 – B.F. Colbert obtained from the Chickasaw Tribe a charter for a ferry across Red River. A road was built from Sherman to0 Colbert’s Ferry.

1857 – The first jail was erected on the south side of the square in Sherman.

1858 – A log cabin near the old pecan tree on the square served as the courthouse and Hall of Records.

1859 – Sam Houston delivered a campaign address in a cow lot in Sherman. A brick courthouse was erected on the square.

1860 – County commissioners appointed patrols to insure against disturbances.

1861 – Delegates to Texas Secession Convention were elected. Grayson County purchased arms as ammunition for the Confederate Army. William C. Young raised 1,000 men for the Confederate Army from Grayson and bordering counties and it became the 11th Texas Cavalry.

This brings us up to 10 years before Denison was actually established. The list of events continues on to 1896 and our next column will relate the happenings through those years.

Donna Hunt is former editor of The Denison Herald. She lives in Denison and can be contacted at d.hunt_903@yahoo.com.