• A member of the North Texas Color Guard pauses to honor the gravesite of James Carter, a member of the North Carolina militia who fought in the American War for Independence and then led his family on the long and arduous journey to the Republic of Texas in 1839. The Sons of the American Revolution and the Daughters of the American Revolution hosted a Patriot Gravesite Dedication at the Russell Family Cemetery on September 11, 2022, to honor the life and service of Carter.
  • The Harvey Lynn & Patsy Milton Scholarship Endowment was created by daughter Ruth Ann Jones and son Robert Milton to honor their parents.
  • Most people agree there was a lot to respect about Sam "Mr. Sam" Rayburn, but had at least one of what we today refer to as a vice – smoking. Mr. Sam had a habit of smoking unfiltered Camel cigarettes, and it's kind of hard to miss all the ashtrays he had around the house.
  • Kenneth Arnold's supposed encounter with flying saucers over Mount Ranier led to the U.S. Air Force study, Project Blue Book in 1952. But that was more than a century after the first UFO report in Fannin County.
  • When finished, the earthen dam will be about 2 miles long and 90 feet high with a width of 1,000 feet (approximately 3 football fields) at its widest point. About 95% of the entire site has been cleared of brush and trees for the dam floor. Dirt is being placed and compacted for the embankment on both the sides of the reservoir. Excavation is underway for the future spillway. Over the next few years, crews will place about 5 million yards of dirt and 200,000 yards of concrete to finish the spillway.
  • Having spent a good number of my formative years in Fannin County, I have a great interest in the rich history of Northeast Texas. An amateur genealogist and historian for the greater part of my adult life, my primary area of interest is that of the origins of the names of people and places. An honest historian in the purest sense of the word should deplore revisionism unless new facts (or old facts seen in a new light) overwhelmingly support previously unseen truth. In hopes of maintaining that approach, I wish to present some of my thoughts and research concerning the naming of Windom, Texas. I encourage any comments that the reader may wish to share in relation to the subject at hand in hopes that our common goal is further enrichment and knowledge of our local heritage.
  • (L-R) Benny Goodman and Bonham, Texas native Charlie Christian. Although it was overlooked for decades, the story of Charlie Christian is as compelling as that of legendary Mississippi Delta bluesman Robert Johnson. Charlie learned fast, he played fast and they say he even had a wicked fastball, too. Unfortunately, he was gone just as fast. Charlie Christian didn't live to see his 26th birthday, but in 25 years he went from those first steps in Tanktown to walking with Bennie Goodman, Count Basie, Lionel Hampton and the true masters of his day.
  • Approximately twelve miles east of Sherman, along Texas Highway 56 at its intersection with U.S. Highway 69, a traveler will find the City of Bells, Texas. Situated in the midst of the rolling hills and prairies of northeast Texas and only a few miles south of the Red River, Bells and its neighboring communities lie in close proximity to Mill, Cornelison, Choctaw and Bois d'Arc creeks. This is the fertile land that inspired Colonel David Crockett to proclaim in his last letter home to his family in Tennessee, just prior to his death at the Alamo, "I expect in all probilaty [sic] to settle on the Bordar [sic] or Choctaw Bio [sic] of Red River that I have no doubt is the richest country in the world." David Crockett portrait by Chester Harding
  • Lake Ralph Hall is the newest reservoir to be built in Texas in the last 30 years, right after completion of Bois d'Arc Lake which is also located in Fannin County. Major tasks currently underway include constructing a 1.1-mile pedestrian friendly State Highway 34 bridge, rerouting a portion of FM 1550 and building an earthen dam to create the reservoir.
  • Emma Trent, Program Coordinator at Sam Rayburn Museum in Bonham, and Stacie Flood, Stacie Flood, Assistant Site Manager at Sam Rayburn House State Historic Site, will be in the Civic Auditorium at Allen Public Library June 30, 2022, to discuss the life and legacy of longtime Speaker of the House Sam Rayburn.
  • At least eight people called the Rayburn House their home from 1916 to 1969. These people ate here, slept here, listened to the radio, and eventually watched TV here. We know the most about Sam Rayburn since he's the family member that has had the most written about him. These writings have told us about the food he likes (onion sandwiches), how he hated small talk, and what he thought about the presidents he served with. Some of these articles and books about Sam Rayburn feature insights from his family about him, their famous relative. However, there is much less written about his family members and their personalities, the little things they did in their lives that made them the main characters of their story rather than supporting characters in Sam's story. Unfortunately, I won't be able to tell you everything about these Rayburns. But I can look through their stuff and together we can try to figure them out. This month, I'm snooping through some Rayburn books (it's alright for historians to snoop) to see what they liked to read.
  • Seventy-seven years after the Battle of Iwo Jima there are very few survivors still living. And now there is one less. Henry C. Myric passed away on May 28, 2022, at the age of 96. In a flag-draped coffin with the famous Eagle, Globe and Anchor logo of the US Marine Corps proudly displayed, he was buried at historic Pecan Grove Cemetery in McKinney, in the company of hundreds of fellow veterans from the Civil War through today.
  • Dwight D. Eisenhower stands by a tank - courtesy of Eisenhower Library, National Archives. Join the Eisenhower Birthplace State Historic Site on Thursday, June 9 at 6:00 p.m. as we welcome guest speaker Dr. Hunt Tooley. Hunt Tooley is Professor of History at Austin College. As a historian, he studies war, revolutions, and peace in the modern world. He is the author of three books, including The Great War: Western Front and Home Front. Dr. Tooley will give a special talk, "Doughboys into GIs: From the Great War to D-Day," exploring how the legacies of the War to End All Wars molded the next battle for Europe. Admission is free.
  • North Texas Municipal Water District (NTMWD), in collaboration with Resource Environmental Solutions (RES), is celebrating the completion of one of the largest environmental restoration projects of its kind in the U.S. After four years of dedicated efforts, North Texas is now home to a new and growing forest of 6.3 million trees, thousands of acres of enhanced wetlands and grasslands and 70 miles of improved streams. This thriving, renewed ecosystem was completed as part of the Bois d’Arc Lake project, the first major reservoir built in Texas in 30 years.
  • This historical marker is on northbound Texas Highway 78, at the bridge over the Red River border with Oklahoma. This marker is a good place to begin the Judith Keene Sowell story.
  • There were many armed skirmishes between Mexico and the Texans between 1836 when Texas declared independence from Mexico and 1843/44 when Texas defeated Mexico in the battle of San Jacinto. One of the most famous incidents during this period was the Mier Expedition into Mexico from Laredo and the following "Black Bean incident." There were three Kentucky Keene boys involved with this incident. Edward Keene, Richard Keene, and George Washington Keene.
  • Martha "Mat" Clementine Waller married a man named William Marion Rayburn on May 14, 1868. With that marriage, the Waller became a Rayburn, but what happened to the Waller name? Although Martha didn’t really “lose” her maiden name, she and many other women throughout time who descended from Anglo-Saxon traditions took their husband’s name after marriage and continue to do so today. More than any of his siblings or his father, Sam Rayburn helped the Rayburn family cement their surname into the annals of history. “Rayburn” is all over the Sam Rayburn State Historic Site, from its name and its historic markers to the cattle brands on some of the posts holding up the tractor shed. You will find portraits of Martha and her father, Judge John Barksdale Waller, in the sitting room but the Waller name is much less prominent than the Rayburn one. Yet, there is something for the Waller side of the family that the Rayburn side lacks: a painting of a coat of arms hanging in the sitting room.
  • New York-based financier Jay Gould, along with his son George, toured North Texas in early 1891. Among his stops was a brief horse and buggy tour of Bonham on April 10. The April 11 Fort Worth Gazette noted that while in Bonham, Gould asked about the location and condition of the Denison, Bonham & New Orleans Railroad roadbed.
  • During a period of unprecedented difficulty, topped by the myriad of challenges presented by a global pandemic, Fannin County managed to complete the most complex and costly project in county history. The names and faces changed through the years, but not the vision, commitment and perseverance it required, because nothing about this project came easy. In the end, Fannin County will have a working 1888 courthouse to admire for generations to come.
  • Here at the Sam Rayburn House State Historic Site, we are constantly learning about the home we preserve and interpret. One of the ways we learn is through our visitors. Whether it's because of their personal connection to the Rayburn family, their historical knowledge, or their own curiosity, visitors provide us with new ways of thinking about the house and the artifacts within it. For example, one visitor asked if a bell, sitting atop a shelf in the sitting room of the house, was used to alert congressional representatives to the floor of the House of Representatives in Washington, D.C. Doing my best to find the answer, myself and the staff here soon discovered that this chrome-plated bell is actually described in our artifact system as a decanter, and may be more accurately described as a cocktail shaker. The staff quickly agreed that we needed to do some more research into this unusual novelty. It's five o'clock somewhere, so let's partake in this ring-a-ding-ding research about the bell-shaped shaker!
  • In a few short days, the 1888 Fannin County Courthouse will be rededicated and given back to the citizens of Fannin County. As I sit here looking back it doesn’t seem real. 3 ˝ years of working on this and it is hard to put into words what it means. It’s been close to 200 meetings, well over 3,000 emails, if I had to put a number probably well over 20,000 pictures. The Courthouse restoration team has been made up of Turner Construction (Ben, Tony, Linda, and Angel onsite), Architexas (Anne and David), THC (James) and the County (Judge Moore, Commissioner Lackey, Sherry, Michelle and myself).
  • Buried 80 years ago in Bonham, Texas, Charles Henry "Charlie" Christian was an American swing and bebop jazz guitarist and a member of the Benny Goodman Sextet. An important early performer on the electric guitar, Christian was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990 as an "Early Influence."
  • Wesley Clark Dodson, the pioneer architect of the Fannin County Courthouse, is considered one of the most important architects of Texas' "Golden Age of Courthouse Construction." In the period 1875-1902, he built fifteen magnificent Texas courthouses.
  • When Gideon Smith moved to Fannin County in the early 1850s, his lead slave, Sam, came to help carve a farm out of the fertile Red River Valley. Gideon knew Sam as his childhood friend and as a valuable and productive worker. What Gideon didn't know was that his lead slave was also his half brother.