Sessions Reflections


Various courthouse uses over the years

Written May 2006
Courthouse Uses
A recent inquiry from Molly Fryer at the Freestone County Museum on past uses of the courthouse and if there ever a concession stand in the courthouse hall? When advised her yes, she asked me to write on this and it’s other uses.
During the hard years of the Depression before all the government welfare programs that are available today, the Commissioner’s Court approved letting a disabled person operate a small stand. The cold drinks sold for 5 cents and candy bars for a nickel and some penny candy. Located on the first floor in the hallway near the stairs, the drinks were cooled in an old type drink box with block ice that was delivered by the iceman.


Buzzards in Wortham

This article was written by A.C. Black some years back and appeared in the Mexia Daily News. I only knew Mr. Black a short time before his death, but I am sorry I didn’t know him much longer as I really enjoyed our short friendship.
Mr. Black a World War II Navy veteran with service in the South Pacific. “I grew up in Wortham during the 1920-30’s. The big oil boom had followed on the heels of the big one in Mexia and was approaching an end about 1926. The large influx of oil field workers and others began departing
rapidly. Soon the town had settled back down to a thriving little farming community of about two thousand or so citizens.


WWII veterans, Battle of the Bulge

Although I didn’t participate in this I have always felt I probably would have if I had gone into the Army instead of the Navy and the Pacific. I had many friends who were. This was a surprise to the Allies and occurred in terrible winter weather with few of our troops having proper clothing or training, many suffered from frost bitten feet there and the rest of their lives.
Troops with no combat training were thrown in with very high casualties. In Woodland Cemetery many World War II veterans are buried, the only one known whose disinterred body is buried here lost his life in this battle. Ernest Orville Payne was born August, 31, 1925, to Charlie and Mae Bryson Payne in Streetman.


Alcohol, prohibition in Freestone County

Alcohol in Freestone County
Published November 2006
Probably the most controversial issue ever in our county from its beginning to now is the use and sale of alcoholic beverages, legally or otherwise. Earliest criminal records involve this problem with charges filed for offenses such as selling less than a quart of whiskey, giving or selling to a slave – it was legal to make and sell with certain restrictions.
Saloons were very common and in most areas, Teague had quite a few in its early years. Carrie Nation, the old gal with the hatchet who fought alcohol, visited here. Not sure why but Teague voted dry the next year, not sure if she had anything to do with this as not much information available.


A history of Freestone County's prison land

Published September 26, 2007
When Texas bought the large tract of land in Anderson County they also bought a small tract, about 600 acres in Freestone County, for the iron ore deposits to be used on roads and a low water crossing was made on the Trinity River to cut the hauling distance to Coffield. That’s another story that will come later.
Coffield was named for a generous citizen, I think, from Milam County, who was a strong supporter of Texas Department of Corrections (TDC). The land in Freestone County had served as an entrance to the river by the public since the earliest days of Freestone County.
The area known as Tyus Bluff and Board Pile was in this. It also included the old Tyus Cemetery – which created another problem – the public and friend, Bill Tyus, of Teague, was opposed to all of this being closed to the public.


Local hide tannery and its Civil War history



Steward's Mill and its relationship with Troy

Last week I wrote about the community of Troy/Pine Bluff located on the west bank of the Trinity River in Freestone County. This inland port played a very important role in the progress of growth for several counties located westward from the town, especially Freestone, Navarro and Limestone but other communities farther to the north and northwest. 
Most of the time, steamboats could go as far upriver as Troy but any other shipping points farther upstream were very limited depending on the water table within the river channel. Since the boats could reach Troy/Pine Bluff, a lot of cargo going in either direction was either received or shipped from Troy. 

History, memories surround Ft. Parker Memorial Park

Located just west of Groesbeck, in Limestone County, this historic cemetery originated while Freestone County was still part of Limestone. I have deep roots here where many of my mother’s family and ancestors are buried. A large, impressive monument remembering the Indian massacre and its victims is located on a circle drive in the middle of the well-kept grounds to greet you. 
If you haven’t visited this historic place it's well worth a trip to see. This is the resting place of early settlers and many Limestone County officials, including my friends Judge Fountain Kirby and Judge Norton Fox, and many former sheriffs, including my mother’s great-grandfather Anthony Sharp who served as confederate sheriff.

Plum Creek once bustling, community now gone

Abe Jones

Information courtesy of Sessions Reflections,, and Patricia Pratt


Lt. Col. Joseph H. Bennett, family cemetery

This historical marker, discussing Bennett's life and army career, is in Montgomery County.

Photo courtesy of

Published November 2006

A few miles east of Streetman and north of FM 3059 lay the remains of a hero of the Texas Revolution Battle of San Jacinto, Colonel of a regiment defending its frontier, a Representative in the Congress of the Republic of Texas, who was involved in the Somervell Expedition and other early events. Colonel Bennett's head rights were located in Freestone and Navarro counties. More than 25 years ago I became interested in Col. Bennett and the small cemetery he and family members were buried in.

At that time Miss Sally Epps and Mrs. Stella Jo McCowan, two lovely elderly ladies living in Streetman who were granddaughters, became concerned the little cemetery had been destroyed.

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