Tag Archives: history

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.


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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Kinmundy, Illinois


The Illinois Central Railroad Water Tower and Pump House

Every town has a story.  History.  If you think there isn’t much in Kinmundy, drive right on in and take a look around.  If you are going to cruise through this town of about 900 as a passenger and be on your mobile phone, the least you can do is log into the city webpage to find out what is there.  Don’t waste your time with meaningless texts. 

I’ve been through Kinmundy twice on way from Mt. Vernon to Decatur and I stopped both times at this water tower to call family and take a look at the map to find a road I had not been on before.  There are many.  Unfortunately I did not have time to spend here to explore Ingram’s Pioneer Log Cabin Village or drive around town.   Sadly I won’t be making these Illinois drives much in the future. 

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Posted by on January 13, 2014 in Uncategorized


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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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Mt. Vernon, Illinois

Mt. Vernon, Illinois

This summer’s road trip led me through a city I visit every year; another town my readers ask, “why?”. Every town offers something but you’ve been conditioned to be fully entertained by others in none other than the mainstream. Bleh.

This shot was taken at the Jefferson County Historical Village. The museum was closed but the grounds were accessible so we were able to walk through the area peaking in through the windows. It may have been too early. But the day was heating up and the humidity was high.

My very dear friend, R, lives in Mt. Vernon and this made for a most enjoyable day. You can visit the City of Mt. Vernon website to see what the town offers. Plenty. I’d return but more for the company of my best friend out in the corn fields.


Posted by on July 28, 2013 in Uncategorized


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Mission Concepcion, San Antonion, Texas


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. 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.


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


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