Archive for the ‘ Slow Travels ’ Category

Slow Travels-Oatmeal, Texas

Oatmeal, Texas (5.6 miles southwest of Bertram on FM 243)

A German family reportedly named Habermill came into the area in 1849 and spent a season or two in the vicinity of the headspring of the stream now known as Oatmeal Creek. The town name is either an alteration of the name of a Mr. Othneil, who owned the first gristmill in the area, or a supposed translation of the name Habermill (Haber is a German dialect word for Hafer, “oats”). An Oatmeal post office was established in 1853, and the first schoolhouse was built in 1858. A second school, marked by a state historical marker and still used as a church in 1990, was erected in 1869. The first orchard in the county was located in the community, and the first and only cheese press in the county operated there. A gin built by George Naguler in the 1870s served as a local landmark until 1907, and the community at one time had a general store. A cemetery plot was deeded in 1871, though burials had occurred there as early as 1854. After the American Civil War a colony of former slaves settled in the eastern part of Oatmeal. They built homes along a straight lane, constructed a building for use as a church and school, and established the only all-black cemetery in the county. The settlement, known as Stringtown (among other names), ceased to exist by the 1920s. TSHA Online

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Elijah Bullion was born Oct. 24, 1809, in Franklin Co., Georgia, and died October 19, 1888, at Oatmeal in Burnet County. He was buried in Oatmeal Cemetery. On January 29, 1839, he was married in Itawamba Co., Mississippi, to Elizabeth Mariah (Betsy) Bumgardner.

 

 

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Forgotten Landmark–A.H. Holloman House and Holloman Gravel Pit (Frederick, Oklahoma)

A.H. Holloman House (421 N. 12th Street, Frederick, Oklahoma)

AHHolloman House

In the Holloman home was once a collection of fossils and stone implements taken from the Holloman Gravel Pit, which was located north of Frederick.  Below is a newspaper article from The Stanford Daily on January 18th, 1929:

The Stanford Daily, January 18th ,1929.

The Stanford Daily, January 18th ,1929.

Below is an excerpt from the article titled “The Antiquity of Man in America” by J.D. Figgins, published in Natural History Magazine on September 16th, 1929:

Having read an article dealing with the question of man’s antiquity in America by Mr. Harold J. Cook, which appeared in the November, 1926, issue of the Scientific American, Dr. F. G. Priestly of Frederick, Tillman County, Oklahoma, wrote Mr. A. G. Ingalls, editor of that publication, briefly describing the finding of artifacts associated with fossil mammal remains in that vicinity. After some correspondence, and with Doctor Priestly’s consent, Mr. Ingalls forwarded this letter to Mr. Cook. Doctor Priestly’s account of these discoveries was of such a convincing nature that it could not be doubted that the Oklahoma material was of great importance. With the view of making studies of both the material and physical character of the deposits from which it was taken, Mr. Cook and the present writer joined Doctor Priestly at Frederick in January.

It was at once apparent that while Doctor Priestly recognized and understood the importance of the finds he described in his letter to Mr. Ingalls, it was equally obvious he had followed a very conservative course and the writer was not prepared for the discovery that in addition to the artifact mentioned, several others had been unearthed and no less than five of them preserved.

In his account of these finds, Doctor Priestly stated all had been personally made by Mr. A. H. Holloman, who owns and operates a sand and gravel pit about one mile north of the city of Frederick. To Mr. Holloman, therefore, the writer is indebted for a history of the discoveries, their stratigraphic position, and other items having a bearing on them.

As Mr. Cook’s account will cover the geological history of these deposits, and the immediate vicinity, here it is necessary merely to say the sand and gravel pit consists of an open cut on the east face of a ridge approximately half a mile in width and running for some miles in a generally north and south direction. Sand and gravel from an area of about two acres have been worked out near the crest of this ridge, which, with the overlying stratum of clay, silt, etc., varied from ten feet to twenty-five feet in thickness. At the time of our visit, a nearly vertical cut of not less than 150 yards in length and varying from fifteen feet to twenty-four feet in height was exposed, in which every phase of the several strata was clearly defined.

Independent of the opportunities thus offered for studies of the exposed formations, it also made it easily possible for Mr. Holloman to point out the horizons at which artifacts and the several varieties of fossils had been found. That a great deal of fossil material has been uncovered since the opening of the pit, there can be no doubt, but not until during the past year was an effort made to preserve any part of it. Accounts are unanimous in showing that quantities of such material have gone into the refuse heap, now comprising thousands of tons; into the surfacing of roads; the cement mixer, etc. Seven known artifacts are buried somewhere in this refuse pile or carried away: a metate and six pestles or manos, but these cannot be considered here. (The Colorado Museum of Natural History has arranged to keep a representative constantly on the ground to search for and preserve all artifacts and fossils hereafter uncovered.)

Although fossils are found throughout the entire stratum of sand and gravel deposits, a superficial study of all the evidence suggests the possibility that two faunal and cultural stages are represented.

In an abstract published in the Academy of Science for 1930, O.F. Evans of the University of Oklahoma concluded that “This deposit contained the Cretaceous and Tertiary fossils now found in the Holloman pit, while the arrow heads and metates were on the surface where they had been left a comparatively short time before,”.  The entire abstract is available with this link: Probable history of the Holloman Gravel Pit 1930

Site of Holloman Gravel Pit (0.3 mile west of U.S. 183 on Highview Avenue)

The pit covers three acres, but the formation is far more extensive. Here have been found clay balls inside of which, say local reporters, were living frogs. Bones of prehistoric animals and stone age implements have also been taken from the pit.  Because of all of the controversy about this site in the scientific community, Mr. Holloman decided to close it to researchers, and little has been said about it in scientific circles after that.

Retracing A Segment of Oklahoma’s U.S. Highway 70

In Oklahoma: A Guide to the Sooner State, on which this guide is based, the travel route of U.S. Highway 70 is indicated as turning south at the junction with U.S. 277 on D1990 Road.

 

US 70 crosses over a long bridge spanning a wide expanse of river-bed sand and a narrow stream to the TEXAS LINE, 268.5 m., at a point 2.5 miles northeast of Burkburnett, Texas (see Texas Guide).

 

This earlier route of U.S. Highway 70, 277, and 281 connected with Oklahoma Highway 36 at that highway’s current junction with E1990 Road, south of the present Kiowa Casino. That earlier route then continued to the present intersection of Oklahoma Highway 36 and Interstate Highway 44 (Exit 1).  The current route of Interstate Highway 44 and U.S. Highways 277 and 281 south from Exit 1 to the Red River bridge follows the earlier route of U.S. 70 into Texas.

Today’s traveler can follow D1990 Road southwest from Randlett southwest to a point at the east side of Interstate Highway 44.  However, that highway bisects the old route and the traveler turns south, parallel to the current expressway, to an intersection with E1990 Road, 0.7 miles east of Oklahoma Highway 36.

The aerial photo below clearly shows the earlier curved route of the highway beyond Interstate 44 to Oklahoma Highway 36.

Aerial US 70

The portion of the Rand McNally map of Oklahoma (1927) below shows the earlier route of U.S. Highway 70.

RandMcNally 1927

This map was created prior to the designations of U.S. Highways 277 and 281, and predates the designation of Interstate 44 on the H.E. Bailey Turnpike by 55 years.  On March 3, 1945, the route of U.S. Highway 70 from Randlett was realigned to follow Oklahoma Highway 32 west to Davidson, Oklahoma, before turning south with U.S. Highway 183 to Oklaunion, Texas.  U.S. Highway 277 still followed the previous route to Burkburnett.

1948 Highway Map

Forgotten Landmark-Taylor & Howard Building, Leigh, TX

P1010219 P1010220

Leigh (10.6 miles north of U.S. 80 on FM 134 at FM 1999)

Leigh, also known as Antioch, is on a site said to have been the location of a large Indian village. In the early 1840s, J. J. Webster built a plantation home, Mimosa Hall, a mile southwest of the site; Webster’s descendants occupied the house until 1984, when the property was sold. The community of Antioch, which had a predominantly black population, was founded before 1900 and was centered on the Antioch Baptist Church. In 1900, the forerunner of the Louisiana & Arkansas Railway was built through Antioch, and Reverend James Patterson built a restaurant and a general store on land adjoining the railroad. Residents of Blocker, three miles to the northeast, moved to the railroad community. Antioch was renamed Leigh in 1901, after the wife of John W. Furrh, who owned much of the land on the railroad, and that same year the Leigh post office opened. In 1904, Leigh had one school with five white students and four schools with 297 black students. By 1914, the community had a population of fifty, three general stores, two cotton gins, a drugstore, a blacksmith shop, and telephone service. After attaining a peak population of 126 in the 1920s, Leigh declined to 100 in 1930, when it had a church, two schools, and three businesses. The railroad was rerouted to the north in the 1950s. By 1978, Leigh had two churches (St. Paul’s Episcopal and Antioch Baptist), a community center, the Antioch Cemetery, and a number of dwellings.[i]

[i] Leigh, TX; Texas State Historical Association; https://tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hll33

Taylor&HowardBldg_LeighTX

Point of Interest:

Mimosa Hall (9.4 miles north of U.S. 80 on FM 134) (Private)

Virginia-born John Johnston Webster (1796-1854) brought his family to the Republic of Texas, petitioning for land on which to establish a home in 1842.  Built in 1844, Mimosa Hall was part of a 3,000 acre plantation. The estate and one-hundred and fifty acres that went along with it was deeded to Douglas V. Blocker within a partition deed in 1932.  Blocker continued to own the property until 1984 when he sold it to Michael Howard. At some point, Michael Howard deeded the property to his son Nicholas Leon Howard III, who then deeded it to his mother, Virginia Dyke Hamilton in 1989.  Virginia sold the home in 1993 to the present owners, Andrew and Katherine Ann Hirsch. The Hirsch family have maintained the home and kept it in pristine condition. The front façade remains in its original state but the remainder of the home has had many changes throughout the years as well as a rear addition which was built on in 1932.[ii]

In 1844, Webster’s son-in-law, the Reverend George F. Heard, became the first person to be buried in the cemetery at Mimosa Hall Plantation. He was followed by Mrs. Mirriam (Brown) Webster. Other notable graves include those of the Reverend William Moore Steele and five Webster slaves or ex-slaves. Veterans of several wars also are interred here. The wall surrounding the oldest graves was constructed by plantation labor.  The cemetery is located southwest of the house on private land.

[ii] Mimosa Hall; Stephen F. Austin University Center for Regional Heritage Research; http://www.sfasu.edu/heritagecenter/4992.asp

Historical Cities-Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas now available

Historical Cities-Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas is now available for the Amazon Kindle and will shortly be available in the iBookstore and Nook Store.  This installment in the Historical Cities series explores the  metropolitan area of Dallas and Fort Worth, Texas.  Over 175 historic  points of interest are presented, along with reference maps for the  centers of the cities and GPS coordinates for all listed sites.  Sources include the American Guides series and local historical societies.  Retail price is $2.99.

DFW Title

 

New Release–American Trails Revisited-Texas’s Old San Antonio Road

The Old San Antonio Road was, for two centuries,
the main artery of travel between San Antonio and Nacogdoches. Religion was the
strongest influence during the era of the rule of Spain (1519-1821). Missions
and presidios were built at strategic locations, and the homes of the settlers,
usually of palings or stone, clustered near their walls. Beside the El Camino
Real (The King’s Highway), the Nacogdoches Road and other dim highways of the
wilderness, isolated settlements sprang up. However, the failure of the east
Texas missions caused Spanish colonization to center in the area between San
Antonio and the Rio Grande, and the eastern towns of San Augustine and
Nacogdoches soon became Anglicized.

 

This historical travel guide explores
approximately 250 historic sites and landmarks along the route of the Old San
Antonio Road, from the Louisiana State Line at the Toledo Bend Reservoir to the
city of San Antonio, including the cities of Nacogdoches, Crockett, San Marcos,
and New Braunfels.  Reference maps and
GPS Coordinates for listed sites are included.

$2.99

Smashwords

Amazon Kindle

New Release for E-Readers in America’s Lost Highway Series–Washington’s U.S. Highway 99

 

Available June 1st for the Amazon Kindle and currently available at Smashwords.com for other e-readers.

Coupon available for Smashwords.com purchases:

Promotional price: $1.49
Coupon Code: WH59P
Expires: June 30, 2011