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Category Archives: Texas

New Pleasant Hill Baptist Church, Germany Community, Crockett, Texas Forest Trail Region

If you read my last blog entry, you will have found me driving around in the Davy Crockett National Forest in search of cemeteries, historical markers, and massacre sites.  That is what brings me to write and share this post.

While on the 1655 headed toward disappointment I found this quaint little treasure, New Pleasant Hill Baptist Church, tucked away in a clearing.  I stopped on the road, looked at my watch and wondered where everyone was since it was church time.  I sat in my car, studied the map, made some adjustments to my camera and shot this picture of New Pleasant Hill Baptist Church.  I waited around a bit in hopes that church would begin if it hadn’t already and I could attend worship services and meet church members and gather some valuable information to share with you here.  I didn’t see a soul.

Once home I googled the name of this church and found very little information about it. But I did find this:  Texas Forest Trail.  If “Germany, TX” is searched then more information on the church can be found.  How I’d love to interview anyone associated with that community.  If you have any additional information, please send it to me via Email

The historical marker reads as follows:

Settled by families of former slaves following the Civil War, this community received its name, according to local tradition, in reference to the homeland of the German immigrant family that had settled in the area in the 1830s. Several freedmen, including George Smith, John Burt, Lewis Hall, and Van Benton and their families, obtained pre-emption land grants in the area in the 1870s and 1880s, and soon a close-knit community was formed. Although the Germany community did not have its own post office and never was incorporated formally, its citizens organized the New Pleasant Hill Baptist Church and a public school. The church still serves a loyal congregation. The school held classes in a building shared with the church. It was expanded, possibly with Julius Rosenwald Fund assistance, and continued in operation until 1949. Still a rural community, Germany is home to a few resident families and serves as a gathering place for former residents. Many former citizens are returned here for burial in the community cemetery, which dates to the 1880s. Maintained by citizens and volunteers, the cemetery contains marked and unmarked graves of pioneer settlers and their descendants. (1997)

 

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Posted by on March 17, 2017 in Churches, Texas

 

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Augusta, Texas

At the time of my return home to North Texas I veered to the west toward Houston County to see the area where the Edens-Madden Massacre took place, one of several significant events which occurred during the uprising in 1838 known as the “Cordova Rebellion”.  While on leave my hosts and I scoured the worldwide web looking for information and maps.  Remaining fond of Google Maps, although not always so accurate, I, without question drove West on the 103 towards Crockett out of Lufkin.  I’ll take you to that remote location in a following paragraph or more.  As for the story of the massacre there are a dozen or so versions.  Everyone has their angle, you could say, both fictionalized accounts and slightly accurate recollections.  I am not too concerned about the exactness of it all for this violent attack ended the lives of many.  The Kickapoo and Cherokee were eventually expelled from this region.   This is one of many of my own personal excursions for family history research.

While a stack of Madden history lies on a manila folder on the table, I take a sip of favorite beverage with little bubbles while listening to Gregory Porter’s “Children, Your Line is Draggin’”.   I am unable to read some of my scribbled notes taken while skimming the pages of books and notes left on my Grandmother’s desk last month.  There’s enough to figure it all out.  She used to tell me about the Edens Madden Massacre years ago and I actually have that recorded on a cassette tape.

Let me take you down this interesting and scenic route through the Davy Crockett National Forest.  If you haven’t been through there I suggest you alter your next East TX drive right on through it.  It’s pretty.  And there are so many historical markers, it will take hours to get to the other side if you stopped to read them all.  I had no time at all except for the ones that had anything to do with the Madden family.

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The pin shows this site to be on the edge of the Davy Crockett National Forest.  I followed the 21 and found the 1543 that winds and curves and changes becoming a dozen or so other numbers and  you must pay attention to the direction you are driving.  At the least have a compass because GPS can vanish on narrow unpaved sandy road of the dark forest.  My Droid maintained contact with the virtual world so I had little problem.

This is a Sunday morning, mind you, and this is the Bible Belt.  People go to church out here  as remote as this area is I passed ten or more car/truck loads of churchgoers headed one way or another to congregate in rural worship houses, some with their own Texas historical marker firmly planted front and center of the church building.  I got invited to church by a passerby  who stopped while I was seated in my car on the edge of the red dirt road looking at my bewildering Google map.   Onward I traveled and the road became more narrow and sandy.  I’m now on the 544.  Want to know what’s back there?  Trees.  Tall pine trees.  And a gate.  There was nothing but a gate with more trees on the other side.  This is exactly where the map said the place was but there was nothing to see except for pine trees.  I’m miles from civilization and no public restrooms or refreshment stands to be seen.  One must do what is necessary and move on.

I drove West to the 2022 where a historical marker stood right on the corner.  I was as happy to find it as I was to see pavement.

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I suspect the area described above was the Edens land.  I should have conducted more research.  But alas, there was more Edens-Maddens history a few miles ahead in Augusta.

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This is one of four markers located in Augusta at the site of the massacre according to Dana Goolsby of TexasEscapes.com.  A mile or so and a left turn the Augusta Cemetery sits long the 1680.  The gate was closed but there were no “do not enter” signs so I opened and drove through toward the back.  Edens and Maddens can be found buried there. I did not take a log with me and mark off who is who on the massacre list.  Some were buried on Edens cemetery and others apparently here.

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When I pulled out of the cemetery closing the gate behind, I drove slowly through town in hopes to find a local walking along the road carrying groceries or sitting on the porch watching people like me read the historical signs so that I could interview them.  I met one man with his wife researching the DeWitt family.  They were from Georgia.

Turning East toward Alto, a patch of bright yellow daffodils swayed in the breeze while the sky darkened threatening rain.  I rolled the window down halfway and turned up the radio to listen to “Back Roads” by Brandon Rhyder.

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on March 17, 2017 in Texas

 

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Larissa, Texas

From my driveway to “X-marks-the-spot” in East Texas is roughly a five hour drive.  It takes me seven  hours or more because there is plenty to see along  US 69.  It is a lovely scenic drive once in the Piney Woods region, otherwise a pleasant stretch of open countryside with cows and horses grazing in the fields pass by.  There are plenty of historical markers on the way and if you stop at all of them and read them the drive may take an additional hour or two.  It all depends if you meet others along the way with similar interest in the Lone Star State’s story.

I’ve driven this route for the past 12 years and I must add I never tire of it.  That’s because each time I take a trip there, I look for something new to visit.  East Texas offers a rich historical heritage that swings way back to the early years of Civil War.  I’m not going to write the history of Texas here right now.  Or ever.  But I will share one little treasure I found while seeking “ghost towns” on the internet last month for my week long excursion to visit family.

North Cherokee County has a tucked away and pretty much abandoned rural townsite known as Larissa.  The town is about 20 miles northwest of Rusk.  If you search for information on anything north, west, south, etc of Rusk, you will be delighted to find plenty to explore but you must gather information for there are no large billboards or adverts welcoming tourists to these areas.  These are the back roads of the back roads.

Larissa is known for the Killough Massacre that occurred October 5, 1838 and documented as “believed to have been both the largest and last Native American attack on white settlers in East Texas”.  The purpose of this blog entry is to share with you my journey and my picture(s) and not to go on about the history.  You can look that up yourself.  I will tell you how to get there for it’s not shown on many maps and did not pop up on any of my GPS maps.

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This was shot with an IR converted Nikon D70 in case you are wondering why the trees and grass are white.  The effect gives a more eerie feel.  The site is located far back in the woods and appears to be well maintained although it is apparent that over the years some vandalism and partying have taken place as evidenced by a condom package and a few flattened beer cans scattered across the empty parking lot.

IMG_20170221_150712752[1] A chain link fence surrounds the memorial and a maintained road and parking lot lie to the north.  And the entrance is shown in the photo below.  The site is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.  I spent about half an hour there reading all the markers and enjoying the cool air of the February Monday. Nothing could be heard but the breeze soughed through the tall pines with a cawing of a hawk overhead.  For a moment I had forgotten the rest of the world, the daily routine, who was where and why.  I sat on a large rock and looked over my shoulder toward the dense forest of brush and pine imaging the life of the settlers in the 1800’s starting anew, building from scratch as they migrated West.  My phone rang.  I had to get to Lufkin in time for supper.

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How do you get to this monument?  Follow me.  North of Jacksonville on State Highway 69, hop onto the 855 in Mt. Selman.  Drive West.  Turn left on FM 3405.  I saw no sign about the Killough Massacre but another blogger wrote there was one there.  Once on the 3405, drive a short distance and look for the 3411.  The sign is clear.  Turn right.  Keep going until you reach a split.  This will be the 3411 and the 3409.  Stay on the 3411 veering to the left.  You are going to drive a bit and begin to feel like you have driven too far.  Keep driving.  The road is going to curve to the right a bit and then to the left and you’ll pass some farms.  It all looks the same in the woods doesn’t it?  Keep your eyes open on the left for the gate.  It’s CR 3431 with a sign for the Killough Massacre site.  Enjoy your visit.

 
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Posted by on March 15, 2017 in Photography, Texas

 

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Winter Likes and Dislikes

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Many where I live long for the Winter months.  I’m really unsure why.  Perhaps its the enjoyment of being warm and snug inside home with family, the joy of the holidays, comfort food, hot chocolate.  I have no use for Winter but it is inevitable so I make the most of it.   I’ll share my likes and dislikes here.

Dislikes:

1.  See the above photo taken in town after a snow/rain/pellet day.  Does that look like a lovely morning to you?  Of course not!

2.  Snow and ice.  It’s pretty to look at from the window for a few hours.

3.  Cold wind.  It’s just terrible for your complexion.

4.  Being snowed in.  Who on earth lives for that?  Not a single soul benefits from being snowed in.  There are people in need in the world and if you can’t leave your house, you cannot help them.

5.  Gray winter skies.

6.  Short days.  At least the sun is now coming up at 7 am end of January.

7.  Seasonal affect disorder.  Results from short days.

8.  The flu.

9.  Heavy winter clothes

10.  Not so many good IR photography opportunities.

Likes:

1 . On clear days, the sky is a deeper blue.

2.  Orion is visible all Winter long.

3.  The geese at the wildlife refuge are abundant.

4.  A good cold frozen winter reduces many of the summers insects (for a while).

5.  Many more yellow finches at the bird feeders.

6.  Valentine’s Day.

7.  Planning for the Spring planting.

8.  Butternut squash.

9.  Comfort food.

10.  All things leather.

 
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Posted by on February 1, 2014 in Black and White, list, Photography, Texas

 

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Walnut Street Church of Christ, Sherman TX.

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The historic Church of Christ building is located on East Cherry and South Walnut in Sherman, Texas and is owned by the Sherman Museum.  According to a staff person at the Sherman Museum, located next door, much of their 20,000 plus collection is stored here.  What drew me to take a closer look were the stained glass windows, all 48 of them (http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth256954).

Never had I paid much attention to the property although we have driven up and down Walnut innumerable times.  It was not until our tour of the museum (the Carnegie Building) during their Dino Days exhibit did I have any interest in seeing what was at the church building.  At this point as I stood just under the neck of “Bucky-the T-Rex” did I ask how we could get inside and could I take photos.  Obviously it is not open to the public for it is for storage only.  My request for a private tour was denied.

 

 

 
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Posted by on January 5, 2014 in Churches, small towns, Texas, windows

 

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Mission Concepcion, San Antonion, Texas

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Time flies when there is not enough of it.  The sun was perfectly positioned yet the night comes fast.  I wanted to explore, draw, right, photograph, blend, renew.

Next to the doors propped up on the stone wall was a driver.  No other golf clubs to be found.  Unsure of its significance,  I could hear the chanting inside the doors.  I strolled toward the convento cloister and placed my camera bag on the grass, leaned against the archway and left the day for a while to the rest of the world.  Only a few moments had passed.  That was all that was necessary.

 
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Posted by on July 13, 2013 in Texas

 

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Traveler’s Hotel, Denison, Texas

Careful I am of writing about images I post on the web when researching other websites, photo galleries, etc. I won’t write too much about the subject of an image such as the one shown above. There are all kinds of stories, legends, and wild fabrications written by people who “claim to know” all over the internet.

Texasescapes.com shows to be pretty accurate with Texas history. According to Texasescapes
Built by a German sea captain named Ernst Martin Kohl, who opened it as a grocery store and saloon in 1893, it was converted into a hotel for railroad travelers in the 1930’s. You can go to the webpage to read more about this interesting structure. It’s occupancy is unknown by me although I’m sure if I ran across the street to the history Katy Rail Museum, there might be someone who knows the comings and goings of individuals associated with that property. It appears that someone is managing it for there are flower pots on the porch and some chairs that appear in good condition.

It’s always been one that I like looking at. It had its day in the sun I’m sure and it certainly stands with some authority. I sure would like to see it used as a lodge/bed & breakfast. Denison’s one of those kinds of towns—artsy, historic, rural.

If you have spent any time in the Traveler’s Hotel in Denison, tell me about it.

 
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Posted by on October 23, 2011 in Photography, small towns, Texas

 

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