Tag Archives: Backroads

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.


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.


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.


This is one of four markers located in Augusta at the site of the massacre according to Dana Goolsby of  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.


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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Dexter, Texas


If it weren’t for this church and a stop sign at the 678 and the 106 I’d never know I was in Dexter.  Are there even a hundred people there?  Ranches are scattered throughout the region just south of the Red River.  According to historical data, Dexter was named after a race horse.  Not surprising really since one will pass many horse ranches to get to Dexter regardless of what route taken.  Let me not forget to mention the cemeteries, two I believe dating back to the beginning of Dexter’s history.  Many of the original business including a hotel and barber shop have since decayed and been carried off in memory.  But the church remains and fortunately is still in use.  As it should be.


Go to church!

I want to know about this race horse named Dexter.


Posted by on January 8, 2014 in Uncategorized


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Josephine, Texas

With a population of 984 in 2009 I call it a town but they call it a city: City of Josephine. It’s along a route I sometimes take when making my rounds to visit clients each month. And as you can guess, it’s named after somebody’s sweet daughter and there was probably a train and some cotton involved. That’s how it is in these parts.

This Methodist church is situated across the street from the Baptist church. Now I didn’t stop in to talk to anyone but there was a suspicious neighbor who came out to see why I drove by and circled in the Baptist parking lot several times. In fact, I used that parking lot to make calls to the office and do some of the usual business I do for seniors. I should have gotten out and gathered information. As my devoted readers always know….the clock ticks.

Josephine United Methodist church has its own facebook page so I got to see some “inside” pictures. The front of the building as seen in the above photo led me to beleive that this structure was not being used.


Posted by on September 24, 2011 in Churches, Photography, small towns, Texas


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Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge

A very welcomed morning last weekend led us out of Sallisaw, OK down the road a bit on one of our favorite types of drives.  The air was cool, the sun bright and a very blue sky was filmed with high clouds that rapidly changed throughout the day. 

This was our first time at this refuge.  We know however what to expect at different times of the year the types and populations of wildlife, particularly birds.  The 20,800 acre refuge has suffered this long summer with little rain and hot temperatures.   The soggy, boggy areas of of the refuge are not so soggy.  Much of the lush adequate habitat is declining to drought related stress.  We saw few birds. 

A huge portion of the state of Oklahoma is in extreme to exceptional drought.  Pray for rain.


Posted by on September 10, 2011 in Oklahoma, Photography


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Fun At The Farm

Right here you can find it.  Always a warm smile and a good laugh is shared.  Never a dull moment. 

I like people like that; people you can drop in on for a short afternoon visit.  People you can share a glass of tea with and get all the latest on ages of kids, grandkids, who graduated from what school, and who is playing what sports.  The cost of Medicare.  That’s important. 

It rained today. It rained all morning.  I tilled another section of my Iris garden and will plant my new rhyzomes after the next period of triple digit temps that will last two more weeks. 

The fall garden is now in the planing stages.  If only it will rain more.  If only.


Posted by on August 13, 2011 in Illinois, Photography


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Maramec Spring Park, Missouri

A pretty place to visit after 12 hours on the road.  A windy road to get there though but most scenic. 

I don’t care how hot it’s been, I still love the summer months.  Right now it’s so pretty outside with threatening sky looming in the West.  They say it will rain over the Red River this evening.  If only that will dip down just a few miles and get our town a little wet.   The cost of hay…

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I-
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.      ~Robert Frost


Posted by on August 12, 2011 in Missouri, Photography


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Odd Fellows Home, Checotah, Oklahoma

Taken about 2 years ago, I shot this photo from my car as I was driving home from a job in Muskogee, Oklahoma. I don’t recall why but I got off the road in Checotah and drove through town.  I had never seen an Odd Fellows Home and thought that it might be a shelter for local indigents.

This evening while surfing the web looking for information on this Odd Fellows Home, I found the following:
The land in this region had an abundance of wildlife and fertile soil. Cotton and grain, and orchards thrived. Much of the area also was grazeland for cattle. In 1901 the building was a home for orphans and elderly that was constructed on a 153-acre farm near Checotah. In 2001 the Oklahoma Odd Fellows Home at Checotah was added to the National Register of Historic Places (NR 01000660). It was also known as Odd Fellows Widows and Orphans Home.

The Independent Order of Odd Fellows “strive to make the world a better place in which to live, seeking To Improve and Elevate the Character of Mankind.” I could find very little information on this particular home but it appears that it is now privately owned and may still be used for the care of elderly. There were a few photographs on some of the geneology websites. Perhaps a phone call to the IOOF will result in some interesting facts and stories of this home. Maybe you know.


Posted by on July 20, 2011 in Oklahoma, Photography


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