History Reviewed

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    Our nation was still pretty young when Center and Shelby County came into being. "No man is an island unto himself."     And no city ever started without people.  The following events took place in the world, in the United States, in Shelby County and in Center over the years

--------------------Reba January James

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John Latham, first recorded anglo man to settle in Mexican Shelby County, built his home in East Hamilton in 1817.
First School built in Shelby County in 1825 in East Hamilton, Miss Mary Wilson teacher.
Elder William Brittain founded East Hamilton's first church in 1829. Some regard it as the first Baptist Church in Shelby County.


Shelby County created in 1836 and organized in 1837.
First political election in Shelby County held in Shelbyville in 1836. Hon Albert Gallitan, father-in-law of William Carroll Crawford, elected sheriff.
William Carroll Crawford and Sydney O. Pennington were sent as representatives of the Municipality of Tenaha to the convention at Washington on the Brazos for the purpose of writing a constitution and declaring Texas as an Independent Republic.
Siege of the Alamo, Massacre at Goliad, Battle of San Jacinto.
First court session held in Shelby County in 1837 with Judge Robert Williamson (three- legged Willie) presiding.
John Deere invented a superior new steel plow.
Sam Houston was elected President of Texas.
Homestead Act passed during term of President Mirabeau B. Lamar.
Richard Hooper, soldier, surveyor and congressman was elected to the First Congress of the Republic of Texas as a Representative from Shelby County.   He was the Surveyor who marked the boundary line between Shelby and Panola Counties (a distance of 43-1/2 miles)


William Henry Harrison, a Whig, was elected as the ninth President with the slogans, "log cabin and hard cider" and "Tippecanoe and Tyler, too."
Regulator Moderator War begins in Shelby County.
Colonists begin arriving in Texas and in Shelby County.


Texas admitted to Union in 1845. (Recognized in Texas February 19, 1846 when President Anson Jones lowered the Texas flag and said "The Republic of Texas is no more."
United States declares war on Mexico on May 13, 1846.
The poisioning at the wedding took place in East Hamilton.


The safety pin was invented by Walter Hunt.
"Uncle Tom's Cabin" by Harriet Beecher Stowe was published.
The first Texas census showed Galveston with a population of 4,117 people. It was the largest city in the state at the time.
Baylor University was founded.
First Railroad chartered by the State of Texas.
Judge Frank C. Powell born in 1851 in Shelbyville.


Gail Borden received a patent on the process for condensing milk.
The Texas Permanent School Fund was established.
Sam Houston, while President of the Republic of Texas, began efforts to procure lands for the Alabama Indians, continued to do so as Governor of Texas, and was finally able to get 640 acres for them in 1854 in what is now Polk County. They were later joined by the Coushattas' who combined their 640 acres. The group then became the Alabama-Coushatta Indians. Eventually they would receive a total of 4,351 acres.
In 1854 little Mary Fults, 5 years old, wandered away from a log rolling at the home of Mr. Estes, about 10 miles south of Center. She was found some 4 days later, fifteen miles away leaning against a tree, dead.
Shelbyville gets a post office.


Abraham Lincoln and Stephen A. Douglass engage in a number of great debates in Illinois. The subject was slavery.
Sam Houston left the Governor's office bitterly protesting Texas having voted to secede from the Union to join the Confederate States of America.
Cynthia Ann Parker recaptured near Weatherford.


Abraham Lincoln elected President of the United States.
On April 14, 1861, Fort Sumpter in South Carolina was fired upon by the Confederate forces and the Civil War began.
Richard Gatling perfected the machine gun, which came to be known as the "Gatlin" gun.
The first drug store in Shelby County opened in Shelbyville in 1860 by Dr. J. B. Bussey and John Rather.
Texas secedes from the Union.
Sam Houston dies July 20, 1863.
Emancipation Proclomation is enacted.


President Abraham Lincoln is shot April 14 - dies April 15, 1865.
The Texas State Treasury was robbed by a band of about 40 armed outlaws.
The first oil was discovered in Texas in 1867 at Oil Springs, a few miles south of Chireno.
Center becomes the County Seat of Shelby County in 1866.
On June 19, 1865, Gen. Gordon Granger arrives in Galveston to announce that slavery had been abolished.
The United States purchases Alaska.
Robert E. Lee surrenders at Appomattox.
Center gets Postoffice in 1866.
The jail house, the second building in Center, was built in 1867.
Horse driven cotton gin built at Fellowship.


Jesse Amason donates 50 acres of land for town site of Center. S. W. Weaver surveyed the town in 1869.
Center Masonic Lodge began when Truitt Lodge and Sam Samford Lodge consolidated.
Prohibition Party is founded.
On April 9, 1871, reportedly Mrs. O'Leary's cow kicked over a lantern in the barn and the great Chicago fire occurred. Estimated loss of property: 146 million dollars.
Texas readmitted to Union.
John C. Rogers born on September 6, 1869.


More than 100 banks throughout the nation failed in the Panic of 1873.
The first Kentucky Derby was held.
Bellevue Hospital in New York opened the country's first school of nursing.
Greatest rainfall ever recorded in Texas at Clarksville, 109.38 inches.
Texas A & M opens.
Battle of the Little Big Horn or Custer's Last Stand.
Elijah Morris appointed Postmaster at Center on January 6, 1874.


The American branch of the Salvation Army was begun.
Barbed wire began spreading over Texas.
An 18" snowfall comes to Shelby County.
The Champion was organized. J. C. Pullen was first subscriber.
Judge Spottswood Sanders was born December 31, 1880.


Clara Barton established the Red Cross.
Mark Twain published "Huckleberry Finn."
Shelby County Courthouse burns in 1882.
J. J. E. Gibson awarded contract for construction of new Shelby County Courtthouse in 1883 for $26,726.00.
Classes begin at University of Texas.
Shelby County voted "dry".


Erection of the Statute of Liberty was completed and the dedication was held.
George Eastman perfected the Kodak hand camera.
The State Capitol was built and dedicated in Austin.
Rev. James Morgan Truitt was killed in Timpson. A 25 year man-hunt was begun by Sheriff John Spradley. (See 1909-1912).
Shelby County Courthouse was completed and turned over to the Shelby County.
Elkanah Samford dies on July 30, 1888. A Masonic burial is held at Methodist Church.


Carnegie Hall was opened in New York City.
The Texas Railroad Commission was established.
College was established at Patroon in 1889.


Sears, Roebuck & Co. began a small mail order business.
Col. Alexander Horton, Aide to Gen. Sam Houston at San Jacinto, dies in San Augustine on January 11, 1893.
Cotton prices in Shelby County lowest ever known in 1894.
Oil discovered in Corsicana by workers drilling for water.
Polk Burns born on December 27, 1896 in the Snow Hill community of Shelby County.
Dr. J. W. Rogers appointed as Shelby County's first health officer.


Orville and Wilbur Wright flew their glider at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.
Carrie Nations began her campaign against liquor.
The Olds Automobile Company began mass-producing automobiles in Detroit, Michigan.
The first bank in Shelby County, the Cotton Belt, was opened in Timpson.
Coldest winter on record statewide in Texas 1898-1899.
Hurricane on September 8, 1900 destroys half of Galveston and kills 6,000 people. The greatest natural disaster in human terms ever to strike North America.


On January 10, 1901, a "gusher" called Spindletop blew in in Jefferson County near Beaumont.
First brick building was built in Tenaha.
Santa Fe Railroad comes to Center.
Center Independent School District was formed.
Center Daily News was founded.
Center Incorporated, with Hon. A. H. "Hearn" McKnight as Mayor and Frank E. "Old Hoss" Hunter as Town Marshall.
Poll Tax becomes a requirement for voting.
Stripling Drug opens in San Augustine.
Farmers State Bank Chartered.


San Francisco suffered a severe earthquake and fire.
Henry Ford introduced his now famous Model "T", or the "Tin Lizzie"
The timber industry in Texas came into its own, and has been going full blast ever since.
Cotton farmers in Shelby County began to prosper.
Center Chapter Order of Eastern Star organized.
Sam Weaver dies on May 4, 1902.


Boy Scouts of America founded on February 8, 1910.
In 1911 Jethro Holmes rode the last stagecoach out of Chireno.
The unsinkable British White Star ocean liner, The Titanic, struck an iceberg in the North Atlantic and sank before daylight on April 15,1912. 1,5l7 people lost their lives.
Sheriff John Spradley captures Bill Mitchell, killer of Rev. Truitt of Timpson, after a 25 year man-hunt. Mitchell was sentenced to 99 years, but escaped prison after about 2-l/2 years, disappeared, and was never seen again.


Payne & Payne opens in Center.
Work begins on Pickering Mill in Haslam.
John D. Rockefeller, Jr. donated $100,000,000 to establish the Rockerfeller Foundation, for charitable purposes. It was the world's greatest single philanthropic act.
Moving picture show comes to Center.
Fire destroys the Polley Hotel building.
Judge R. L. Parker dies on May 10, 1916.


World War I begins on April 6, 1917, 2477 Shelby Countians registered.
Norman G. Crocker was the first Shelby Countian to lose his life under the American flag when his transport ship was sunk by the Germans off the coast of Irish coast.
Clyde Chance was first to lose his life on the battlefield.
WW I ends at 11:00 on the 11th day of the 11th month. (November 11, 1918). It took congress until 1921 to declare that the War had ended.
Kings Nursery begins in Tenaha.
Mary Pickford stars in "The Hoodlum" at Crystal Theatre, price 35 cents.
Congress passed the Selective Service Act on May 18, 1917.
Average annual pay of public school teachers in Texas was $682.00.
The 18th Amendment, Volstad Act or Prohibition, was passed on December 18, 1918.
On June 14, 1919, Congress passed the 19th Amendment giving women the right to vote. Ratification was certified on August 26, 1920.


The Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D. C. was dedicated on May 30, 1922.
Time Magazine and the Reader's Digest were founded.
John Edgar Hoover was appointed head of the Bureau of Investigation.
Meeting held in Center to organize the Fox Hunters Association.
Center Music Study Club was formed.
Old Fiddlers contest held on Courthouse grounds. Bob Garrett was winner.
Warren Sanitarium opens.
First National Bank of Center chartered.
The public square in Center was paved in 1924.


Charles Lindbergh flew 3,610 miles non stop from Mineola, N.Y. to Paris, France.
Walt Disney released the first Mickey Mouse cartoon.
Texas elected it's first woman governor, Ma Ferguson.
Rotary Club formed in Center.
Three sets of twins born in Shelbyville within a 2-1/2 week period.
Shelby County Fair Association was formed.
Center Sanitarium opens.
F. L. Crawford & A. G. Roberts opens Texaco filling station in Center.
Rio Theatre opens.
Parker Motor Co. advertises Ford truck with stake bed for $390.00.
Weaver Reunion held at home of Mr. & Mrs. Marion Weaver on Pecan St.
Last Public Lynching in Shelby County 1928, Harry Burns was Sheriff.


On October 29, 1929, the stock market crashed, wiping out post World War I prosperity.
This day came to be called "Black Tuesday."
Boy Scouts form troop in Center.
Farmers State Bank building completed.
Isson Garrett of Shelby County has largest family in 1930 Texas 12th District census, 20 children.
Empire State Building opens in New York.
J. G. Harris Hdw. sells 125 lb. cork insulated ice boxes for $35.00.
Patroon school closes on March 20, 1931.
J. J. E. Gibson dies on September 21, 1931, age 82.


Beall Bros. opens in Center.
Franklin Roosevelt elected President and began "fireside chats".
Civilian Conservation Corps. organized.
Nylon developed by E. I. Dupont.
Social Security Act was passed on August 14, 1935.
Will Rogers and Wiley Post were killed on August 15, 1935, when their plane crashed at Point Barrow, Alaska on the Artic Ocean.
Texas celebrated its Centennial in 1936.
All steel and concrete bridge opened over the Sabine River at Logansport.
Fred Hudson's Hardware opens in Center.
Dawson Stride was 1936 Texas Champion hound.


The San Jacinto Monument was erected on the site of the Battle of San Jacinto, near Houston, and became the tallest monument in the United States. After the Washington Monument was in place there had been a unwritten law that no taller monument would ever be raised in the nation. Texas did not intend to violate this, but in preparing the plans, the five-pointed star, which sits atop the monument, was not taken into account.
W. Lee "Pass the biscuits, Pappy" O'Daniel took office as Governor of Texas in January of 1939.
New London School destroyed by a natural gas explosion.
New Center High School was built on Kennedy Street.
"Gone With The Wind" shows at the Rio Theatre.


On December 7, 1941, Japan bombed the U. S. Naval Base at Pearl Harbor and the United States entered World War II.
Rationing of goods by Ration Stamps begins, which ushered in the inevitable black markets which always accompany such restrictions.
The 12 year school program was introduced in Texas.
Bond drives were held on Center Square. Many celebrities visited Center.
Shelby County Fairgrounds became a German Prisoner of War Camp.


Texan Audie Murphy becomes most decorated soldier of WW II.
The United States dropped two atomic bombs, on Hiroshima on August 6 and Nagasaki on August 8, 1945. The Japanese immediately agreed to unconditional surrender, and World War II had come to an end on September 2, 1945, when Texan Adm. Chester Nimitz accepts thier surrender.
United Nations is formed.
Mrs. W. H. Wharton of Joaquin receives the first butane in Shelby County, delivered by Bu-Pane Gas Appliance Co.
The French owned S. S. Grandcamp carrying ammonium nitrate explodes in Texas City killing almost 600 and injuring 4,000 more on August 16, 1947. Over 3000 dwellings lost.
President Roosevelt dies at Warm Springs, Ga. on April 12, 1945.


Allen Shivers assumed the Governors office upon the death of Gov. Beauford Jester.
He was subsequently elected to three full terms.
G. I. Bill of Rights passed.
Big, classic type, automobiles came to Center.
Chicken broiler business was in its infancy. John O. Mooseberg was "Chicken Man".
Korean War begins.
Texan Tex Ritter writes the song "Tenaha, Timpson, Bobo, and Blair".
First Texas born President elected in 1952, Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower.


United States Air Force Academy opens
American Cancer Society confirmed that cigarette smoking can cause lung cancer.
Dr. Jonas Salk developed a successful vaccine for polio.
Segregation of schools ruled unconstitutional by U. S. Supreme Court.
Women gain right to serve on juries in Texas in 1954.


Federal troops sent to Little Rock, Ark. to enforce the intergration ruling.
Alaska was admitted to the Union as the 49th state on January 3, 1959.
Hawaii was admitted to the Union as the 50th state on August 21, 1959.
Soviet Premier Nikita Krushchev visits U.S.A. in September l959.
United States receives first domestic jet airline passenger service.
The old Center School on Nacogdoches St. demolished to rebuild modern facility.
Birth of the mico-chip at Texas Instruments.


John Fitzgerald Kennedy becomes the first Roman Catholic President of U.S.A.
Peace Corps established.
Alan Shepard, Jr. becomes first man into space.
On October 22, 1962, President Kennedy demands that the Soviet Union dismantle its nuclear missile installations in Cuba.
President Kennedy was assissinated on November 22, 1963 in Dallas.
Texan Lyndon B. Johnson becomes 36th President of United States.
The Civil Rights Act is passed.
On December 13, 1963, the Center High School burns to ground.
Shelby County Historical Society begins, with Malcolm Weaver as first President.
Texas Muster is held on Courthouse grounds to honor Texas soldiers.


Civil Rights leader Martin Luther King assinated in Memphis, Tennessee.
HemisFair opens in San Antonio.
Vietnam War escallates.
Medicare begins in United States.
Texan Ed White was the first man to walk in space.
Poll Tax repealed.
Shelby County Historical Society publishes first newsletter.
Huxley Incorporates as a city in 1967.


Richard M. Nixon elected President of United States.
Niel Armstrong becomes first man to walk on the moon. First word uttered from the moon was: "Houston"" the Eagle has landed, followed."
Liquor by the drink begins again in Texas after 50 years.
Toledo Bend Reservoir completed.
Nixon goes to Red China to re-establish diplomatic relations, first since WW II.
Voting age lowered from 21 to 18 by constitutional amendment.
Alabama-Coushatta's Indian Reservation awarded certificates for 12 State Champion trees.


Watergate Scandal erupts in Washington D. C. on June 17, 1972.
On January 27, 1973, Vietnam peace pacts were signed in Paris. U. S. troops left the county on March 29th.
On August 9, 1974, Richard M. Nixon resigns as President of the United States as a result of the Watergate controversy. Gerald R. Ford became the 38th President.
Lyndon Johnson died of a heart attact on November 22, 1973.
Billionaire Howard Hughes died on April 6, l976.
On July 4, l976, America celebrated its bicentennial.
Legionnaires disease struck 29 persons at he Bellevue-Stratford Hotel in Philadelphia.
American Legion national convention was in that city July 21-24, l976.
OPEC oil embargo leads to long lines at the gas pump in l973.
Roe-vs-Wade decision of Supreme Court was handed down in 1973.
Mrs. Iva Hurst sponsored a Bell Ringing Program on Courthouse yard to celebrate the 91st birthday of the grand old structure.
American Revolution Bicentennial celebrated in Center on December 13, 1975.


Jimmy Carter, first President from the old South, inaugurated as President of United States in January of 1977.
According to 1980 census, Texas has 3rd largest state population
Paul Ross appointed Sheriff of Shelby County. Ran successfully for several more terms.


Ronald Reagan elected 40th President of United States.
Blue Law repealed.
Assassination attempt of President Reagan. President Reagan fully recovered but his press secretary, James Brady, was permanently paralyzed from shots he received.
Texas celebrates Sesquicentenial.
Shelby County Museum moves to 230 Pecan St. in Center.
Pershing and Marcelle Hughes buy the old Haley Hotel. After renovation it becomes The Pine Colony Inn.
Shelby County Historical Society celebrates 100th birthday of Shelby County Courthouse.


George Herbert Walker Bush becomes 41st President of United States.
Persian Gulf War is fought.
Berlin Wall comes tumbling down.
Bill Clinton is elected 42nd President of United States.
Whitewater Scandal begins, and has not ended.
Shelby County Courthouse chosen by the Texas Alliance Project. Restoration begins.
Renovations begin on Shelby County Museum.
India and Pakistan test nucular weapons.
John Dean Windham elected Mayor of Center.
Floyd "Dock" Watson elected Shelby County Judge.
Carl Shofner elected Shelby County Sheriff.


George Walker Bush (son of George Herbert Walker Bush) becomes 43rd   President of United States.
Restoration of Shelby County 1885 Courthouse completed and is open for visitors.
Terrorist bomb hits USS Cole while docked in Yemen. Of the seventeen Americans killed, three were Texans - one from Ennis, one  from Kingsland, and one from Rockdale.
James Moore elected Shelby County Sheriff.
Rick Perry, Lt. Governor of Texas, becomes Governor.


On September 11, 2001 terrorists hijacked four commercial airplanes and drove two into the World Trade Center in New York. One into the Pentagon in Virginia. The other was headed for the US Capitol or the White House in Washington D.C., but the crew and the passengers overpowered the terrorists and drove the airplane into a field in Pennsylvania, saving many lives. All on the airplanes were killed, along with some 3,000 on the ground. Cleanup in New York took 8 months. Plans are being submitted for the rebuilding on the site. Pentagon has been repaired. A Memorial Monument has been placed in the field in Pennsylvania. 
Rick Perry elected Governor of Texas.
Floyd "Dock" Watson re-elected Shelby County Judge.