History

Wed
28
May

Tehuacana goes from college town to ghost town

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The Westminster University campus in Tehuacana today.
Contributed photos

Tehuacana is situated at the intersection of State Highway 171 and Farm Road 638, six miles northwest of Mexia, in northeastern Limestone County.
Part of the community is also located in Freestone County.
Named for the Tawakoni Indians - who lived in the area until the late-1840s - the Tewockony Springs Post Office opened in 1847.
The post office was discontinued during the Civil War, but service resumed in 1869.
Tehuacana has a rich history

 

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Wed
21
May

I-45’s arrival meant big change for Fairfield avenue

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In the days of US 75 this one-time commercial center had restaurants and some remember a Buick dealership nearby or part of this center that has fallen to hard times today.
Photos by Mike Reddell

Editor’s note: This is the second of a two-part story about US 75 through Fairfield. The second part talks about the changes after I-45 carried the Houston-Dallas traffic west of town and away from the US 75 corridor through Fairfield.

It’s almost been 42 years since US 75 traffic through Fairfield was moved to I-45.
The cars and trucks on US 75 were so thick “you couldn’t get between cars , they were so close,” remembers Albert Bonner.
Bonner worked at two service stations at the intersection of US 84 and 75.
There was a station at each of the crossroad’s four corners - the traffic light

 

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Wed
14
May

US 75: ‘Where the Two Great Highways of Texas Meet’

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Like this old sign along US 75 north of Fairfield, there remains reminders and memories when the highway and its Houston-Dallas traffic flowed into the city.

Fairfield might have missed out on the railroad sweepstakes in the early part of the 20th century, but the town didn’t miss out being crossed by two major highways.
The east-west US 84 and US 75 crossroads at Fairfield even prompted a colorful boast – “Where the two great highways of Texas meet” – remembers Gordon Small.
US 75 was important to Texas and Fairfield.
The highway began in 1926 – part of

 

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Wed
07
May

History Club a charitable presence in Fairfield

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The History Club helped purchase this fire truck - Fairfield’s first - in 1936, said Kathryn Davis. Davis has been a member of the club for 41 years. She said helping to purchase the fire truck was one of the first club projects for the community.

Photo by Fairfield Historical Museum

From humble beginnings in the women’s restroom of the Freestone County courthouse, over the past 89 years the Fairfield History Club has established itself as a center for culture and community generosity.
Since 1925, the club has been at the forefront of projects benefitting Fairfield and Freestone County, from establishing the community library, to selling bonds

 

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Wed
30
Apr

Battle anniversary recalls cannon’s service to South

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Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper: Battle of Pleasant Hill, the day after Battle of Mansfield.

The old Val Verde Cannon was captured at the battle of Mansfield, La. on April 8, 1864.
It later participated as part of the Val Verde Battery against Federal forces in Louisiana, including the Battle of Mansfield.
Normally standing in front of the Freestone County Courthouse in Fairfield,  the field piece was taken to the 150 anniversary reenactment of the battle April 26-27 at Mansfield, La.
The cannon, a model 1861 three-inch ordnance rifle, was made of wrought iron, weighs 816 lbs.,

 

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Wed
23
Apr

Boyd directed oil industry’s WW II efforts

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Ralph K. Davies (left), Deputy Petroleum Administrator for war, and William R. Boyd, Jr. (right), Chairman of the Petroleum Industry War Council, carrying telegrams, circa 1942, from the Executive office of the White House regarding the progress of the Rubber Stockpile Drive which they and Secretary Harold Ickes have just exhibited to the President.

Photo from Harry S. Truman Presidential Museum

 William Rufus Boyd, Jr., banker and chairman of the War Council of the Petroleum Industry during World War II, the son of Judge William R. and Lizzie (Self) Boyd, was born in Fairfield, Freestone County, Texas, on January 7, 1885.
He attended Fairfield public schools and after high school was employed as a printer at the Fairfield Recorder.

 

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Wed
16
Apr

Rock House lived on in later landmarks

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This undated photo shows people at what appears to be the Johnson Cemetery with the Rock House in the background. The house is gone and the Johnson Cemetery remains were removed to the Fairfield Cemetery.

Photo from USGenWeb

Northeast of Fairfield is the Grange Hall community.  
Gen. Joseph B. Johnson, a wealthy large plantation owner, built a mansion of native sandstone rocks.  
It is reported it took 100 artisans a year to complete with stone quarried on his land in 1860.  
It was the scene of many social and political gatherings.  
After the General’s death, the two story mansion

 

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Wed
09
Apr

USS Freestone: A fighting troop transport

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This photo shows replacement troops for the army air forces in the Marianas boarding the Freestone. These September 1945 photos from the Seattle Post-Intelligencer show the first troops to go overseas from the Seattle Port of Embarcation since Japan’s surrender the prior month. Copies of the newspaper are from the Freestone County Historical Museum.

USS Freestone, one of 117 Haskell class attack transports, was built to a modified Victory ship design at Vancouver, Washington, and was commissioned in November 1944.
Freestone arrived at Pearl Harbor in January 1945 with passengers and cargo from the West Coast, and six days later sailed to land troops from Pearl Harbor on Saipan.
Moving on to Ulithi, Freestone loaded U.S. Marines and their equipment and

 

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Wed
02
Apr

Ports, ferries part of county history

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Ferries made it possible to cross the Trinity River at several locations in Freestone County. Bonner’s Ferry, above and below, was one of the principal ferries - operating until it was replaced by a one-lane span in 1927 at Bonner’s Ferry location on US 84 and 79 today.

Photos from Freestone County Historical Museum

The Trinity River has been identified as the stream which the Caddo Indians called Arkikosa in Central Texas and Daycoa nearer the coast.
In 1687, the famous French explorer Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle called it the River of Canoes.
Named in early 1700s by Spanish Explorer Alonza De Leon who crossed the river on Trinity Sunday.
The Trinity River has played a big part in Freestone County

 

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Wed
26
Mar

Henry Brown county sheriff, farmer

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Henry Brown

I have lived in Westwood - a subdivision off Texas 27 - all of my life, and always wondered who the Henry Brown road (CR 1171) was named for.
Brown lived at the north end of this road long before it was part of a subdivision.
My father, Mickey Ward gave me a little information about who Henry Brown was,

 

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