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Tag Archives: East Texas

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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Beckham Hotel, Mineola, Texas

One of my favorite stops on trips through East Texas is downtown Mineola. It’s usually a fast stop but one I always make even if it means running up to Sonic for a coke. The Beckham Hotel appears to be a private residence and you can find information right here.

 
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Posted by on May 18, 2011 in Photography, small towns, Texas

 

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Quinlan, Texas

It’s about 39 miles between Point and Rockwall if you take the 276. It’s a pleasant drive except for the 25 mph school zones that can cause grief. The drive time though is almost an hour and that’s if you are lucky not to get stuck behind an overloaded tractor/trailer hauling someone’s doublewide.

Just as I krept up on such a highway barge, I stopped in Quinlan, made a couple of phone calls while sitting under a tree in my car watching a mockingbird fussing over the squirrel running across the telephone cable. Funny, that bird was certain to take control of the city block. A man wearing a conductors hat walked out of his front door, sat on the squeeky plank of his old porch and lit up a cig. He watched me while I talked to my office manager about the day’s affairs. A breeze blew through my car flapping my loose notes on the seat. I started the car and drove off rounding the corner and discovering the Whistle Stop.

If it were open I would have gone inside.

 
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Posted by on March 24, 2011 in Photography, Texas

 

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