Good morning Austin:
When the Texas Historical Commission convenes today at 1 p.m. at the Stephen F. Austin State Office Building on North Congress Avenue, it is expected to approve 174 new historical markers across the state. The full list of all 174 new markers being considered by the commission is at the bottom of today’s First
Reading, by county. In Travis County, it includes a marker for the black settlement of Kincheonville, founded in 1865, and the Broken Spoke, that venerable honky tonk on South Lamar, which celebrated its 50th anniversary last year. For the most part, county historical commissions have submitted applications to the state Historical Commission requesting the markers, but, very occasionally, there is a disagreement locally about the merits of a marker.
In December, I wrote about one such disagreement in Anderson County about if and how to mark the 1910 Slocum Massacre. The story began:
SLOCUM — Slocum is a speck on the map — an East Texas crossroads in Anderson County about a dozen miles southeast of Palestine. It is home to a couple of hundred people, about what it’s always been.
According to the Handbook of Texas, published by the Texas State Historical Association, Slocum’s defining struggle to get its own post office back in the 19th century was a “slow come,” and it’s now long gone. In 1929, Slocum was flattened by a tornado that killed eight people, injured as many as 150 others and left a mule stuck high in a tree.
There is no mention anywhere in the handbook of the 1910 Slocum Massacre, in which a marauding mob of local whites went on a rampage, killing blacks pell-mell, and sending much of the local African-American population fleeing for their lives, abandoning homes and property, never to return.
“I do feel like (Hollie-Jawaid) had great intentions of having this recognized as to what happened, but you can’t take all these newspaper accounts and give an accurate description of what happened,” said Jimmy Odom, who chairs the county Historical Commission.
Despite his misgivings, Odom passed the application on to Bob Brinkman, director of the Historical Markers Program for the state Historical Commission in Austin, who, with his staff of one, must review and make a recommendation on this and 173 other marker applications, submitted by the Nov. 15 deadline, to the 12-member state Historical Commission meeting at the end of January in Austin.
Odom didn’t check the box indicating approval by the local historical commission, and he included with the submission his commission’s critical commentary: “The Massacre of 1910 was an atrocity committed by a group of ignorant white men. Those men should have paid for their crimes. This event should never be forgotten in the history of Anderson County. However, it is the general view of the Historical Commission that historical markers should represent people, places and events that had a positive influence on our community. This event absolutely did not have a positive influence on anyone and it is a scar to the community of Slocum.”
“History is history,” said Hollie-Jawaid. “It’s the lens that you look at it that determines whether it is positive or negative.”
Here are a three videos I shot, two of Hollie-Jawaid explaining why she felt the marker was essential, and a third by David Franklin, a Dallas police officer who lives in Slocum and pastors a local church, expressing his concern that any marker stick to proven historical facts.
Among the other 173 requested markers are one for Machine Gun Kelley in Wise County, the Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1862 in Matagorda County, and, also in Matagorda County, the Matagorda Incident.
I do not know for sure what the Matagora Incident refers to, though it is likely this tragic episode described here by Shirley Brown.
The Matagorda Incident may not be as well-known as larger events of the Civil War, but it is just as memorable to the families and friends of the young men who gave their lives for the cause in which they believed. The horrors of war were brought to the front doors of the residents of Matagorda, Texas, when twenty-two men perished in the midst of an expedition against Federal troops. They perished not as the result of hostilities but as the result of severe weather.
But I noticed that the entry on Matagorda County in the Handbook of Texas describes this 1887 “incident,” foreshadowing events in Slocum 23 years laters:
Matagorda County’s social and political life in the late nineteenth century was marked by racial tension and conflict. The Ku Klux Klan, an organization dedicated to restricting the social and political activities of the newly freed slaves, was active in the area during Reconstruction. Nevertheless at least some area blacks remained active in local politics, and the county consistently supported the Republican tickets in presidential elections between 1872 and 1896. One of the most violent episodes in the county’s history occurred in 1887, when the black community known as the Vann Settlement, or the King Vann African Settlement, was attack by armed white vigilantes from Matagorda, Wharton, Brazoria, and Fort Bend counties. According to one local history, the incident convinced the area’s black population “that they had best remain in the background and leave the government of the county to the whites.” A White Man’s Union Associationqv was formed in the county by 1894. Though a majority of the county’s voters supported Republican William McKinley in 1896, the number of Republican ballots in the county dropped off dramatically in elections held over the next twenty years. McKinley had won 561 votes in 1896, for example, but Theodore Roosevelt was able to win only ninety Republican ballots in the county in 1904. The area’s Democrats had apparently reestablished their control by driving blacks from the political process.
There is this proposed marker for Two Civil War Hangings in Corpus Christi.
From the Corpus Christi Caller Times, April 26, 2006
Every town in Texas had its hanging tree. And many were put to use when Committees of Public Safety – better known as vigilantes – were not much bothered by questions of innocence or guilt.
Schoolchildren in this part of Texas, because of classroom trips, know that the most famous hanging tree stands on the courthouse square in Goliad. Elsewhere in South Texas, hangings and lynchings often took place at the nearest tree. There were hanging trees all over South Texas.
During the Civil War, two New York boys were hanged in Corpus Christi with placards were pinned to their chests reading, “Traitors Take Warning” and “Union Men Beware.”
And there is the marker application for the Battle of Freshwater Fork of the Brazos (aka Battle of Blanco Canyon), Crosby County.
Here from the Handbook of Texas,
BLANCO CANYON, BATTLE OF. The battle of Blanco Canyon marked the climax of Col. Ranald S. Mackenzie‘s initial campaign against Comanche bands in West Texas. In September 1871 Mackenzie received permission from Gen. William T. Sherman to mount an expedition against the Kotsoteka and Quahadi Comanche bands, which had refused to come into their reservation in the aftermath of the Warren Wagontrain Raid. Mackenzie gathered eight companies of the Fourth United States Cavalry, two companies of the Eleventh Infantry, and a group of twenty Tonkawa scouts at the site of old Camp Cooper on the Clear Fork of the Brazos in late September. The column set out in a northwesterly direction on October 3, hoping to find the Quahadi village, including the warriors led by Quanah Parker, encamped in Blanco Canyon near the headwaters of the Freshwater Fork of the Brazos River, southeast of the site of present Crosbyton. On the fourth night out a base camp was established at the junction of the Salt Fork of the Brazos and Duck Creek, near the site of present Spur. The next day the infantry were left behind at the camp while the scouts and cavalry continued on.
On October 9 the cavalry column reached the White River and Blanco Canyon. Late that evening Quanah Parker and a Comanche force stampeded through the cavalry camp, driving off sixty-six horses….
I will stop there with the mention of Quanah Parker.
In 2007, a state historic marker was placed at 131 E. Exchange in Fort Worth for Quanah Parker.
Here is the text on that marker:
Comanche chief Quanah Parker was a son of two cultures. He was born about 1845 along Elk Creek, Indian Territory (Oklahoma). His Anglo mother was Cynthia Ann Parker, taken captive in a May 1836 raid and adopted by Qua-Ha-Di (Antelope) Comanches, and his father was Comanche chief Peta Nocona. Texas Rangers reclaimed Cynthia Ann in an 1860 fight at the Pease River. Nocona died soon after, and Cynthia Ann lived with relatives near Birdville in Tarrant County before dying with no further contact with her Comanche family.
Becoming chief upon his father’s death, Quanah refused to sign the 1867 Medicine Lodge Treaty that sent many Plains Indians to reservations. Instead, he led raids in texas and Mexico for another seven years, likely including the last foray into Tarrant County in June 1871. That winter, Quanah’s band eluded Col. Ranald MacKenzie’s Fourth U.S. Cavalry across the Texas panhandle. Comanche losses during the 1874 Panhandle Battle of Adobe Walls, in which Quanah was wounded, followed by a harsh winter, finally brought him and fewer than 100 remaining Qua-Ha-Di to the reservation at Fort Sill, Indian Territory in May 1875.
Quanah served as liaison between his people and the Bureau of Indian Affairs. He proved to be a pragmatic leader, encouraging the Comanches to take up ranching and farming, and to educate their children in government schools. Quanah prospered through his investments and built his spacious “Star House” near Cache, OK. He traveled widely, giving speeches and interviews and participating in wild west shows, the Texas State Fair, Texas Cattle Raisers Association gathering and the Fort Worth Fat Stock Show. Quanah visited Fort Worth and the Stockyards on many occasions. He died in 1911 and is buried at Fort Sill.
The story of Quanah Parker brings us back to Slocum’s Anderson County, because that is where his mother was originally buried – there is a state marker at her gravesite – until he had her body removed and reburied in Oklahoma.
Here, from the Handbook of Texas, part of their entry on Cynthia Ann Parker:
December 18, 1860, Texas Rangers under Lawrence Sullivan Ross attacked a Comanche hunting camp at Mule Creek, a tributary of the Pease River. During this raid the rangers captured three of the supposed Indians. They were surprised to find that one of them had blue eyes; it was a non-English-speaking white woman with her infant daughter. Col. Isaac Parker later identified her as his niece, Cynthia Ann. Cynthia accompanied her uncle to Birdville on the condition that military interpreter Horace P. Jones would send along her sons if they were found. While traveling through Fort Worth she was photographed with her daughter at her breast and her hair cut short-a Comanche sign of mourning. She thought that Peta Nocona was dead and feared that she would never see her sons again. On April 8, 1861, a sympathetic Texas legislature voted her a grant of $100 annually for five years and a league of land and appointed Isaac D. and Benjamin F. Parker her guardians. But she was never reconciled to living in white society and made several unsuccessful attempts to flee to her Comanche family. After three months at Birdville, her brother Silas took her to his Van Zandt County home. She afterward moved to her sister’s place near the boundary of Anderson and Henderson counties. Though she is said in some sources to have died in 1864, the 1870 census enrolled her and gave her age as forty-five. At her death she was buried in Fosterville Cemetery in Anderson County. In 1910 her son Quanah moved her body to the Post Oak Mission Cemetery near Cache, Oklahoma. In 1957 her body and that of Quanah’s were reinterred in the Fort Sill Post Cemetery at Lawton, Oklahoma. In the last years of Cynthia Ann’s life she never saw her Indian family, the only family she really knew. But she was a true pioneer of the American West, whose legacy was carried on by her son Quanah. Serving as a link between whites and Comanches, Quanah Parker became the most influential Comanche leader of the reservation era.
And, bringing this full circle, David Franklin of Slocum – who, above, expresses his concerns about a marker for the massacre – is a Parker descendant:
Yes sir. My great-great-great grandmother was Rebecca Parker, daughter of Ben who was killed at Fort Parker when the Comanches attacked. That would make her first cousin to Cynthia Ann. My fifth great grandfather was John Parker, also killed there, who was Cynthia Ann’s grandfather.
Finally, closer to home and still very much alive and kicking, is the Broken Spoke.
Here, from the Statesman’s Peter Blackstock’s report on that institution’s 50th anniversary:
When you set eyes on the Broken Spoke, the vision seems impossible: Flanked on both sides by imposing new apartment structures, the 50-year-old reddish-brown honky tonk with the crushed-granite parking lot stands its ground, a final holdout from an Austin that is all but gone with the winds of generational change.
Today, it stands out much like the Alamo, the iconic monument to Texas’ independence now surrounded by modern hotels and office buildings in downtown San Antonio. The comparison isn’t lost on Broken Spoke owner James White, 75, who has spent two-thirds of his life turning a traditional country dance hall into a treasure of Texas cultural history.
“I did feel like the Alamo,” he concurs. “You go down to San Antone to the Alamo, and you’ve got all those buildings all around it. But once you go inside the Alamo, you don’t see those buildings. It’s kind of like a step back in time: You can imagine Crockett and Travis and Bowie and everybody right in there. Just like here: When you walk in the Broken Spoke, you get the vibes of people who were here 30, 40, 50 years ago.”
Crockett and Travis and Bowie and … W, bringing enormous intensity, below, to a game of bar shuffleboard at the Broken Spoke in December 1994, when he was governor-elect.
Here is the list of proposed new state historic markers.
|Anderson||15AN01||Mount Moriah Baptist Church|
|Angelina||15AG01||Page Cemetery (HTC)|
|Aransas||15AS01||Hynes-Balthrope House (RTHL)|
|Aransas||15AS02||Jackson Family Maritime Companies|
|Aransas||15AS03||Rockport Volunteer Fire Department|
|Atascosa||15AT01||Robert E. Neill|
|Atascosa||15AT02||Captain Peter F. Tumlinson|
|Atascosa||15AT03||Thomas Ransdell Brite|
|Austin||15AU02||First National Bank of Bellville|
|Austin||15AU01||St. Paul Lutheran Church|
|Bandera||15BN03||Big Foot Wallace|
|Bandera||15BN01||Hendrick Arnold Survey No. 59 Burial Ground|
|Bee||15BE01||Glenwood Cemetery (HTC)|
|Bell||15BL02||Ralph Wilson, Sr.|
|Bell||15BL01||Blackburn Cemetery (HTC)|
|Bexar||15BX01||Juan Ignacio Pérez Land Grant|
|Bexar||15BX02||Alfred Giles Home (RTHL)|
|Bexar||15BX04||Santa Anna’s Third Column|
|Bexar||15BX03||Don Jose Miguel de Arciniega|
|Bosque||15BQ01||St. Olaf Lutheran Church (RTHL)|
|Brazos||15BZ01||Santa Teresa Catholic Church|
|Brewster||15BS01||Lajitas Cemetery (HTC)|
|Burnet||15BT01||St. Frederick Baptist Church|
|Calhoun||15CL01||Mission Refugio – Original Site|
|Callahan||15CA01||Cross Plains Review|
|Cameron||15CF01||Kraigher House (RTHL)|
|Camp||15CP01||Abernathy House (RTHL)|
|Collin||15COL05||Allen Water Station|
|Collin||15COL03||Farmersville Post Office (RTHL)|
|Comal||15CM04||New Braunfels Post Office|
|Comal||15CM01||Slumber Falls Camp|
|Comal||15CM02||Woolen Mill -Comal Steam Laundry|
|Comal||15CM05||New Braunfels Methodists|
|Crosby||15CB01||Big Four School|
|Crosby||15CB02||Battle of Freshwater Fork of the Brazos (aka Battle of Blanco Canyon)|
|Dallas||15DL06||Samuel Dealey, Jr.|
|Dallas||15DL04||Sunset High School|
|Dallas||15DL02||The Interurban Land Company’s Travis College Hill Addition|
|Dallas||15DL03||Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church|
|Denton||15DN01||City Hall (RTHL)|
|Denton||15DN02||Christal House (RTHL)|
|DeWitt||15DW01||Proctor-Green House (RTHL)|
|Duval||15DV01||Merchants Exchange Bank (RTHL)|
|Ector||15EC02||Earl Rodman and William Noel|
|El Paso||15EP01||Bailey Cemetery (HTC)|
|Erath||15ER01||Audie Murphy Arena|
|Falls||15FA01||Buck Family Farmstead (RTHL)|
|Fort Bend||15FB01||Imperial Prison Farm Cemetery (HTC)|
|Fort Bend||15FB03||Williams Family|
|Fort Bend||15FB02||Church of the Living God|
|Galveston||15GV01||Galveston Orphans Home (RTHL)|
|Garza||15GR01||The Brazos River in Garza County|
|Gregg||15GG04||Elmira and A. T. Castleberry II|
|Gregg||15GG01||Red Oak Missionary Baptist Church|
|Hardin||15HN02||Waldo Mathews High School|
|Hardin||15HN01||David Choate, Jr.|
|Harris||15HR02||Greater Ward Chapel AME|
|Harris||15HR04||Howard Cottonseed Oil Co.|
|Harris||15HR03||Mack H Hannah Jr.|
|Harrison||15HS01||Bethel United Methodist Camp Meeting and Church|
|Hidalgo||15HG02||Bethel Baptist Church|
|Hidalgo||15HG01||Percy Herman House (RTHL)|
|Hill||15HI02||Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church|
|Houston||15HO01||Old Shady Grove Cemetery (HTC)|
|Jasper||15JP01||Springhill Missionary Baptist Church|
|Jeff Davis||15JD01||Granado Mountain|
|Jim Hogg||15JH01||Agua Nueva Cemetery (HTC)|
|Johnson||15JN01||Confederate Memorial Arch|
|Kendall||15KE01||William George Hughes|
|Kendall||15KE02||Ottmar von Behr|
|Kerr||15KR01||Center Point Christian Church|
|Kinney||15KY01||1886 Kitchen/Mess Hall (RTHL)|
|Knox||15KX01||Brazos River Bridge (RTHL)|
|Lamar||15LR01||Mt. Canaan Baptist Church|
|Lampasas||15LM01||First Presbyterian Church|
|Lavaca||15LC04||Moulton’s WWII Observation Tower|
|Lavaca||15LC01||American Legion Hudgeons Post 230|
|Lavaca||15LC02||Geiger Cemetery (HTC)|
|Lavaca||15LC03||Hallettsville Public Library|
|Lee||15LE01||Washington Cemetery (HTC)|
|Limestone||15LT01||Bassett House (RTHL)|
|Live Oak||15LK01||Live Oak County Jail (RTHL)|
|Live Oak||15LK02||J. B. and Margaret Mary Healy-Murphy Ranch House and Stagecoach Inn (RTHL)|
|Lubbock||15LU01||Arnett House (RTHL)|
|Lubbock||15LU02||Immanuel Lutheran Church (RTHL)|
|Marion||15MR01||Godfrey-Singleton House (RTHL)|
|Matagorda||15MG01||Sargent-Rugeley-Herreth House (RTHL)|
|Matagorda||15MG02||Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1862|
|Matagorda||15MG03||The Matagorda Incident|
|Matagorda||15MG04||W.C. Williams Building (RTHL)|
|McLennan||15ML01||Wesley United Methodist Church (RTHL)|
|McLennan||15ML02||Stratton-Stricker Building (RTHL)|
|Milam||15MM01||Rainbow Courts (RTHL)|
|Montague||15MU01||City of Bowie|
|Nacogdoches||15NA01||Gov. Marquis de San Miguel de Aguayo|
|Nacogdoches||15NA02||Gov. Martin de Alarcon in East Texas 1718|
|Nacogdoches||15NA04||Franciscan Friars in East Texas\|
|Nacogdoches||15NA05||Captain Domingo Ramon|
|Nueces||15NU02||Two Civil War Hangings in Corpus Christi|
|Nueces||15NU03||St. John Nepomucene Catholic Church|
|Nueces||15NU04||Completion of Corpus Christi Seawall 1941|
|Ochiltree||15OC01||Gray Community Church|
|Orange||15OR01||Cox House (RTHL)|
|Orange||15OR02||Orange Dairy Company|
|Orange||15OR03||Winfree Baptist Church|
|Orange||15OR05||West End Park|
|Parker||15PR03||Bankhead Highway in Aledo|
|Parker||15PR01||Millsap Cemetery (HTC)|
|Parker||15PR02||John J. Hamilton Log Cabin|
|Polk||15PK01||Bluewater Cemetery (HTC)|
|Presidio||15PS01||St. Paul’s Episcopal Church (RTHL)|
|Robertson||15RT01||Love High School|
|Sabine||15SB01||Rosenwald/Thomas Johnson School|
|San Saba||15SS01||Terry Cemetery (HTC)|
|San Saba||15SS02||T. A. and Emma Sloan House (RTHL)|
|Tarrant||15TR01||Grammer-Pierce House (RTHL)|
|Tarrant||15TR04||Crystal Springs Dance Pavilion|
|Terrell||15TE01||Sanderson Flash Flood 1965|
|Travis||15TV05||George A. Peterson House (RTHL)|
|Travis||15TV01||Cranfill Apartments (RTHL)|
|Travis||15TV03||The Broken Spoke|
|Travis||15TV02||James M. & Leana B. Walsh House (RTHL)|
|Trinity||15TN01||Texas Long Leaf Lumber Company|
|Val Verde||15VV01||Langtry Cemetery (HTC)|
|Van Zandt||15VN01||Benjamin Franklin Wheeler|
|Van Zandt||15VN02||Edmond A. Wynne|
|Walker||15WA02||Powell Sanctuary (RTHL)|
|Walker||15WA01||Broyles Chapel Missionary Baptist Church|
|Walker||15WA03||Jasper Missionary Baptist Church|
|Washington||15WT01||Brown’s Prairie School and Building (RTHL)|
|Washington||15WT02||William H. Watson|
|Washington||15WT03||Mercy Seat Baptist Church|
|Wichita||15WC03||The Zale Legacy|
|Wichita||15WC01||Burkburnett Masonic Lodge 1027|
|Wichita||15WC02||Joe and Lois Perkins Estate (RTHL)|
|Wilbarger||15WG01||T. Edgar Johnson|
|Williamson||15WM01||First Baptist Church Georgetown|
|Wilson||15WN01||Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church|
|Wise||15WS01||“Machine Gun” Kelley|
|Wise||15WS02||St. John the Baptizer Catholic Church|
|Wise||15WS03||Lake Bridgeport WWII Training Site|