Freestone County makes headlines in 1887

Fairfield Recorder newspaper – Sept. 2, 1887 edition
Mad Dogs
A dog belonging to Mr. J.I. Bonner, of our town, showed signs of hydrophobia Tuesday going about town biting every dog that came its way. It was decided that he was mad and the doctor had him and another valuable dog killed at once. For fear of a sad accident, let everyone watch his dogs carefully for two or three weeks; and where a dog is known to have been bitten, it ought to be promptly killed. Dogs are much valued sometimes, but the risk is too great to always wait and see if the bitten dogs become diseased. Dogs have been known to go mad a month after they were bit, that is, after they had been turned loose after they had been tied or kept confined. The first premonitory signs of rabies, we believe, are the emitting of a frothy slobber from the mouth, a disposition to be restless, and then snapping at everything in its way.
The Dallas Weekly Herald – January 13, 1877


The Good Docs of San Antonio

Early Texas doctors, as the old saying goes, buried their mistakes. But 19th century physicians were not without their skills. James H. Cook, for one, found himself badly in need of a doctor. A buffalo hunter and later cowboy, Cook and several of his colleagues encountered a party of hostile Indians somewhere in Southwest Texas. Cook did not know he and his friends had ridden into trouble until he heard someone fire a shot.

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Rob's Drive In New Chapter In Family Story

The following article was written by Sandra Phillips and published in the October 21, 1971 edition of The Fairfield Recorder.


Texas icons cowboy boots

Wearing cowboy boots today? Unless you've been horseback riding, you're wearing those boots more because they are Texas icons than for practicality. Boots were specifically designed for saddle sitters: The narrow toes facilitate placing your feet in the stirrups, the high heels help keep them there, the strong soles make it easier to stand in the stirrups and the high tops protect your ankles in brush country. These days, of course, most Texans who wear boots pull them on because they represent us. Yankees expect their vision of a Texan to wear boots.

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The story of Sarah Creath

Few Texas women ever lived a harder life than Sarah Creath McSherry Hibbens Stinnett Howard. A lady with true grit and more, the way she came by her long name is one of Texas' more gripping tales.

Born Sarah Creath on Jan. 7, 1810, in Jackson County, Illinois, she grew up on her prosperous family's large plantation. Described as "a beautiful blonde...graceful in manner and pure of heart," at only 17 Sarah married John McSherry, a hard-working Irishman.

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Red's, Burleson's lakes and the men who built them

This is not a researched history of the lakes, but as related to me by various individuals and personal knowledge. Red’s Lake is located several miles east of Fairfield on U.S. 84; this is a small lake (by today’s standards) but was the largest in county when built. Known for its privacy, beauty, and peacefulness, it's not very noticeable from U.S. 84 but more conspicuous traveling the Freestone County Road known by many as Rabbit Ridge Road where the dam is crossed.
Built in the late 1920’s about the same time as what is now U.S. 84 was built. Located on natural water springs and slough, some call Jolly Slough and others call Jollico Slough. Before the lake was built Walter Durham’s grandfather operated a steam-powered cotton gin, the steam engine boiler remains under water in the lake. 

Various courthouse uses over the years

Written May 2006
Courthouse Uses
A recent inquiry from Molly Fryer at the Freestone County Museum on past uses of the courthouse and if there ever a concession stand in the courthouse hall? When advised her yes, she asked me to write on this and it’s other uses.
During the hard years of the Depression before all the government welfare programs that are available today, the Commissioner’s Court approved letting a disabled person operate a small stand. The cold drinks sold for 5 cents and candy bars for a nickel and some penny candy. Located on the first floor in the hallway near the stairs, the drinks were cooled in an old type drink box with block ice that was delivered by the iceman.


Mexia host of POW camp during WWII

The choral theater group was comprised of prisoners of war at Camp Mexia.

Photo courtesy of National Archives and Records Administration/Arnold Krammer

Many today don’t remember the German Prisoner of War Camp built between Mexia and Tehuacana on then U.S. 84 during World War II. It was built to accommodate some of the thousands of General Rommel’s elite Afrika Corps who were captured in the Middle East by British and U.S. Forces.
This was probably the best thing that ever happened to these German soldiers, who received possibly the best care they ever seen before. During the German soldiers stay they were very inventive and made their life more bearable, many very talented and their work remained here for many years after the war. It not unusual to see them doing farm work locally as many from the area left for the cities and defense work.


The life, times of resident John Karner

Published November 2006
One of the most colorful and historical characters to live in early Freestone and its adjoining counties was John Karner. Born in Bavaria in 1817, he was often called "Dutch John." Karner emigrated to America in 1831 with his family and, leaving them, he came to Texas in 1835. At San Augustine, John Karner joined the forces then forming the defense against the invading Santa Anna and the Mexican Army. This command joined General Sam Houston at Gonzales and was with them at the Battle of San Jacinto. At the Battle of San Jacinto, John Karner had charge of a wagon and team which was used after the battle to haul the wounded General Sam Houston and General Santa Anna, who was taken prisoner.


Buzzards in Wortham

This article was written by A.C. Black some years back and appeared in the Mexia Daily News. I only knew Mr. Black a short time before his death, but I am sorry I didn’t know him much longer as I really enjoyed our short friendship.
Mr. Black a World War II Navy veteran with service in the South Pacific. “I grew up in Wortham during the 1920-30’s. The big oil boom had followed on the heels of the big one in Mexia and was approaching an end about 1926. The large influx of oil field workers and others began departing
rapidly. Soon the town had settled back down to a thriving little farming community of about two thousand or so citizens.


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