Added July 6, 2004:
A GENERATION AGO.
livered Before the Pioneers'
Reunion at Hutchins.
ged Honesty -- Pioneer Apperson's
is the annual address delivered before the Pioneers' association
by Hon. Thos. F. Nash, county judge of Dallas county, at their
reunion at Hutchins last Wednesday:
to-day to survey the past, to contemplate the vicissitudes that
have transpired from the early settlement of our county, when
the Indian and the buffalo infested it, to its present proud,
populous and prominent position among the progressive countries
of the world.
and especially, my old pioneer friends: It is a very pleasant
thing to meet with you to-day. Some of you I have known from
your infancy, and as far back as fifty years ago. But, when
we consider the few that are left, how sad the picture. Our joy
is mingled with melancholy and sadness. I would like to know
how many are here that were here between the years of 1845 and
1850? Will you please stand up and remain until you are counted
and your names taken? This is the sad part of the picture.
There are but few semi-centenarian pioneers now. They have passed
over the river. The most of them fought a good fight and died
well. How happy the condition of the old pioneers from the '40s
to the '60s. This region of country was certainly the Egypt
of the United States of America. Were it possible, I believe
I would like to be transported back to the fleshpots of Egypt
again. What a panorama was spread out before us as we traversed
those prairies of Dallas and Ellis counties.
- o o o -
For the Annual
County Pioneers' Association
Met Here Yesterday
committee of the Dallas County Pioneers' association met Saturday
afternoon at the court house for the purpose of selecting a meeting
place for the annual picnic, which will beheld July 29, and to
renew old acquaintanceships. After some discussion, it was decided
to hold the annual gathering at Hutchins, although several favored
Oak Lawn park in North Dallas.
- o o o -
AND THEIR HISTORY.
Settlers' Association at Hutchins--The Orators,
the Dinner and the Guests.
is the man who blazes the way for others in new countries, new
thought and new fields of endeavor. After blazing the way and
bearing the brunt of the battle, he passes on to his reward,
and those who come after him, enjoy the blessings which his sacrifices
made possible. Dallas is the first county in the first state
in a union of states which form the greatest government that
has ever had an existence since man was born. Adam was the first
pioneer. He had to hustle in a new country when the Lord banished
him from Paradise. And, since the Paradise incident, man has
had a weakness for forbidden fruit and a new country. He is the
same old Adam to-day that he was in the Garden away back in the
morning of civilization when the apple crop was bountiful and
the serpent sought Eve and tempted her to stray from her moorings
and set at defiance the injunction of the Lord. Man is a pilgrim,
ever on his journey, which begins with the cradle and ends with
the grave. John Neeley Bryan was a pioneer. He was the first
white man to pitch his tent in Dallas county and to declare it
an earthly Paradise. No monument has been reared to perpetuate
his memory; no brass tablet to honor his name. A street was named
after him by a Dallas city council and his good deeds and patriotic
motives have been dwelt upon tenderly and lovingly by the men
who knew him and the children of the patriarchs who conquered
a wilderness and made it blossom as the rose. "In the days
that have fled, men were cast in a heroic mold and women were
something more than dummies for modistes and walking delegates
for milliners," remarked a pioneer in the hearing of the
writer the other day. He was old and bent. He lived in the past,
that past made glorious by trials and tribulations, daily sacrifice
and sublime deeds. He didn't know the present, he didn't care
for it and he wouldn't want to know it, if he could. His race
was nearly run and he was willing to join the companions of his
early days who had gone before. He was a rust-eaten link that
connected the Old and the New, a voice of the past speaking a
Hutchins had made elaborate arrangements for the reception and entertainment of its guests. Clark's grove is an ideal spot for a picnic or reunion. It is a short distance from town and overlooks a stretch of meadow, and in the distance, is a beautiful lake. At 10 o'clock, a goodly crowd had assembled, Dallas and Lancaster sending the largest delegations. It was, point of number, the largest reunion held in recent years, and in point of hospitality, equal to any reunion held since the birth of the organization. Rev. W. H. Hughes, who came in the early 50's from Tennessee and preached to the pioneers, is the chaplain of the organization and made the opening prayer, a simple, yet eloquent, petition to the Throne of Grace, such as ascended to the Master in the early days of a young commonwealth. Dr. A. W. Carnes made the address of welcome. It was not of the perfunctory sort, but a genuine and well-worded welcome to one and all present, and closed with a splendid tribute to the pioneers and their works. The Carnes' are among the builders of Dallas county. Of course, the elders came from Tennessee and had touched elbows with John Sevier. State Senator W. C. McKamy made the response. Senator McKamy is a gallant bachelor of uncertain age. His locks are tinged with grey, whilst his face is fresh and rosy. At any rate, he is to the manner born and his father was one of the pioneer settlers of the good old county. Senator McKamy was present at the birth of the association twenty-six years ago, but he might have been a small boy then. His response was exceedingly appropriate. He mourned the absence of dear old faces, eulogized the men and women who came to Dallas when the Indian, the buffalo and the panther were in possession of the country and narrated many interesting tales of the border days and times and border heroes and heroines. He did not fancy the idea of holding these reunions in the city of Dallas, in the noisy tumult caused by the maddening crowd. Spots sacred to the men of other days, towns throughout the county, where they toiled and wrought, were fitting places for these annual reunions. Hutchins was one of these. Hutchins had entertained the pioneers in 1895, and in response to this sentiment, and at the request of citizens of Hutchins, it was decided to hold it there again this year. The senator was warmly applauded. He is a pioneer who first saw the light here and grew up with the country. And, then came the tearful feature of these reunions, the reminder that all things must pass away, and men with them. There were only four deaths reported during the year--Mr. and Mrs. James Robinson, the venerable Perry Overton and that giant of the legal world, Captain James M. Hurt, for eighteen years a judge of the court of criminal appeals of Texas. He was a native of Tennessee, but passed fifty years of his busy life in Texas. There are honored names on the death roll of the Dallas County Pioneers' association.
And, now Kentucky had an inning. Hon. Thomas F. Nash delivered the annual oration. Judge Nash is a pioneer, but he doesn't look it. Forty-nine years ago, his parents and their children made the trip over land from Kentucky in wagons and pitched their tent in the White Rock bottoms. The judge was four years old then, and his memory never fails him. His father came here with his stock and chattels and negroes to make a new home in the wilds of Texas. In his boyhood, he knew all the pioneers, including that marvelous conqueror of Santa Anna. The address, from first to last, was most interesting and humorous anecdotes and touching incidents were sandwiched in with a deftness that kept the crowd midway between a laugh and a tear. After complimenting his venerable young friend, Flem G. Bledsoe, who came to Texas more than seventy years ago, the judge poke considerable fun at the Tennesseans and Missourians, who claimed the honor of wrestling the country from the Indians. As a son of Kentucky, he was positive that the Kentuckians had won the glory, as they would fight, knew how to fight and did fight. He complimented the old-timers and declared that the pioneers of every age and in every clime stood out in bold relief as the kings of their kind, giving special credit to John Wesley, Alexander Campbell, Roger Williams and John Knox, apostles of new crusades who were more mighty than any who came after them. Abraham Lincoln was another pioneer, who stood head and shoulders above those around him, and who took up the work where he laid it down. Speaking of the early settlers of Texas, the judge said that cavaliers and Puritans had divided the honors and glories as they had together shared the dangers, hardships and privations of frontier life. Sam Houston, Albert Sidney Johnston and Henry G. Burnet were of the cavalier type who fought for Texas and Stephen F. Austin, Anson Jones and Rusk were splendid specimens of the Puritan who came from New England and cast their lot with their fellow adventurers from the slave states. A blending of the cavalier and Puritan had produced a magnificent type of citizenship and has made Texas what it is today. The judge devoted some time to the heroism of the pioneers, their hospitality, regard for the Spartan virtues and their unflinching loyalty to country, family and friends. He spoke of the ingenuity of the Yankee of those early days, for all Northern men were Yankees then and they were numerous, too. Mr. George Jackson and a crowd of kindred spirits visited Jefferson for goods. This was before the railroad, before the mule team, in fact. The ponderous and slow-going ox was the beast of burden then. Well, one of the animals became tender-footed on the return trip, about ten miles this side of Jefferson, and Jackson and his companions were in sore dismay. Provisions were scarce at home, and it would never do to loiter on the way. "Let's shoe the ox," said a Northern man. "We put shoes on hosses; why not on oxen?" This was agreed to, but where were the shoes to come from? Again, the inventive mind of the Yankee came to the rescue. He solved the problem. He cut strips of tough bacon rind, the ox was thrown down, and for the first time in history, bacon-rind shoes were placed on the hoofs of a docile brute of the bullock persuasion. Among the groceries in the wagons were three barrels of Kentucky whiskey. The inventor of the new horse-shoe tapped a barrel, drew a quart, poured it down the throat of the ox, and all was well. The effect produced by shoe and drink was electrical. The ox set the pace for his companions, and the home trip was made in less than the scheduled time. But, the stimulant had its evil effect. Thereafter, whenever he saw a barrel, the ox made for it and bellowed for a drink. the judge said that the time had come for the association to appoint a historian in order that the early fragments of history of Dallas county and its pioneers should be put together and errors corrected. "I have no fight with the Times Herald," said the speaker, "it is a splendid newspaper and every Sunday, it contains well-written article anent early pioneers and early days. However, the story recently told of the fire in 1860, and the whipping of every negro in Dallas county, was a mistake. I was here at the time, or rather ten miles north of Dallas. The negroes were never whipped in my section of the county. I am not criticizing The Times Herald. They printed the story as they received it, but the whipping part of it was without foundation. To whip all the negroes because one was suspected of having applied the torch to the town, would have justified the charges made against Southern slave-owners by Harriet Beecher Stowe, in Uncle Tom's Cabin. The pioneers were humane and God-fearing men, just the reverse of blood-thirsty and tyrannical in their conduct toward the slaves. And, there is the great preacher and author, Edward Everett Hale. In one of his books, he states that when men fled for crome [crime?] or debt from the old states, 'G. T. T.' were placed on the door and 'G. T. T.' meant 'Gone to Texas.' This is a gross libel upon the pioneers of this commonwealth who were liberty-loving, conscientious and upright men." Judge Nash referred to Colonel Darnell, who, in the days of the Republic, resigned the office of lieutenant governor because he had discovered that belated returns had elected his rival by one hundred majority, and of the sterling manhood of Colonel A. Bledsoe, who was comptroller of state under the reign of E. J. Davis. The legislature had voted $6,000,000 in bonds to the International and Great Northern railroad. Comptroller Bledsoe, a citizen of Dallas county, who had been a Union man and was a Republican, refused to sign the bonds, defied his governor and his party and saved the people from the despoilers. Darnell and Bledsoe were types of the pioneers who made Texas glorious, and for that reason, he insisted that the services of a historian was needed to weed out fictitious and gather and perpetuate the truth concerning the early settlers and the early history of Dallas county. After a very eloquent tribute to the pioneer mothers of Texas, the judge exhibited the first mail sack ever seen in Dallas county, made in Lowell, Mass., for Charles H. Durgin, the first postmaster, and now owned by Will Cochran. A description of the sack and a biographical sketch of Postmaster Durgin appeared in The Times Herald a year or more ago. It is a small sack, but it held all the mail in those days and wasn't a bit crowded.
reunion without a bid dinner would be as barren as the play Hamlet
with Hamlet omitted. After feasting upon oratory, the large crowd
was invited to feast upon the substantials. Eight of the leading
families of Hutchins prepared the dinner and General R. M. Gano,
pioneer preacher and solider, pronounced it one of the best he
had ever encountered in his travels, and the general has been
about a good bit in his time. The entertainment committee was
composed of Messrs. B. D. Atwell, Sam Ayers, W. W. Cook, H. C.
Whisand, E. C. Hill, E. S. Wood, E. W. Hawley, J. V. Rawlins
and E. R. Mosler. The reception committee: W. H. Taylor, Sam
Ayers, Will Whisand, James Sears, James Choyce, J. T. Erwin,
W. H. Gaston and Claude Rawlins. Dr. Carnes, Flem Bledsoe and
Captain Dee Burgess served as members of all the committees.
The wives and daughters and sisters of the gentlemen named did
the honors and carried off the honors. It was a big day for the
pioneers and their friends. Judge Ed S. Lauderdale, remarking
to a companion: "It's up to Kimbrough and Mesquite again.
We had barbecued beef and mutton here to-day, pies and cakes
like mother use to make and all the dainties that go with a Waldorf-Astoria
dinner." Then, the rain came down, at the hour of 1:30 p.
m., and broke up the most successful reunion held since 1890.
The association held a short business session in the afternoon
and finished the routine business. The old officers were re-elected,
as follows: President, R. A. Rawlins; vice president, Elisha
McCommas; secretary, W. C. McKamy; chaplain, rev. W. H. Hughes;
treasurer, Emory Gracey; assistant secretary, Miss Ada Rawlins.
Executive committee: M. D. L. Gracey, William H. Beeman, Mrs.
Emily Guy, John Neely Bryan, Jr., Mrs. Rhoda Ann McCommas, Mrs.
Martha Beeman, Tolbert Lavender, John H. Cole, Mrs. Mary Greene,
Elisha Halsell, A. S. Clark, Lee Hughes and John T. Witt. It
was voted to give two days to business and pleasure next year,
and the executive committee was empowered to select the place
of meeting and name the dates.
- o o o -