THE OLD SETTLERS' PICNIC.
In answer to the invitation of the committee of arrangements of the old settlers
association of Grayson county, a large number of our fellow citizens met at the grounds
south of Sherman yesterday, the 16th, to enjoy the annual reunion and have their
accustomed two days of social chat, and good cheer generally. After the usual
preliminaries were gone through with, it was found that J. P. Mills, Esq., who was
appointed to make the address of welcome, and J. D. Woods, who was selected to formally
respond thereto, were both absent, so that other gentlemen, not previously prepared by a
timely notice, were called upon in the emergency to take the place of the absent speakers.
F. C. Dillard, Esq., was fortunately chosen for the first speech, and delivered a most
felicitous address. His happy and eloquent reference to the early struggles of the old
pioneers, whose tottering footsteps were year after year directed to this shady shrine, to
look once again on the faces of friends of other days, and grasp the hands that had helped
in the battles of pioneer life, touched the tender chords of sympathy in many hearts, and
dimmed many an eye with manly tears.
His remarks were responded to in behalf of the old settlers by Rev. J. M. Binkley, in a talk full of sound sense and practical adaptation to the occasion. It was the common remark of the audience that both speakers had discharged their voluntary duties so well that they deserved the thanks of all present. When Mr. Binkley concluded dinner was announced, and a general invitation extended to all present to come to the well filled tables, and eat without money and without price. Ample provisions had been made for all and the generous hospitality with which it was dispensed left no excuse for any one to go away hungry. The afternoon was spent in mixing around and general handshaking among old friends, many of whom had not met since the picnic last year, and some who had not enjoyed such a privilege for many years. In our peregrinations about the grounds we obtained the names of the following members of the association, who were present: Judge James Porter, Jesse Loving, Jack Jennings, Ed. Sacra, Billy Mullins, Mr. Bennett, of Vanalstyne, Riley Staleup, Billy Wheat, Bob Wheat, Ed. Stiff, of Collin, Jeff Belcher, Judge Elliott, John Hendricks, James Stowe, Geo. Jenkins, Cy Collins, Conner Burgess, JOe Roberts, James George, Robt. George, Wm. Jackson, James M. Jarbae, JOhn Talbot, Andrew Thomas, Wm. Wilson, Hugh Archer, S. E. Marshall, Thos. J. Jarbae, E. C. Towns, of Johnson county, Amos Junius Page, of Brown county, P. S. Campbell, Thos. H. Bowen, Wm. Jennings, Jim Kersey, A. T. Cook, Maj. Bright, Calvin Dale, J. R. Collins, Carey Watson, Capt. Horace Lea, John Haning, Henry Vaden, J. W. Vaden, Billy Bean, Wm. Crow, Eb Douglas, -- Baxter, J. W. Whiteaker, R. P. Whiteaker, Ben Despain, J. J. Furguson, Porter Davis, Robert Bell, J. J. Robertson, J. W. Stirmett, S. R. Blair, Robt. Keaton, Wm. Yarborough, J. E. Elliott, Finis McFarland, Wm. Pallett, JOhn Kerr, Calvin Kerr, C. W. Batsell, G. A. Dickerman, Captain L. F. Ely, and J. W. Stewart. There were many others on the grounds whose names we did not ascertain, and there being no enrollment to refer to, these are imperfectly given.
In the evening after a hearty supper had been indulged in by those camping on the grounds, and the people of the city had turned out in every sort of conveyance, the place presented a more crowded appearance than at any time during the day. Judge Hare, who was down on the cards for an address, came promptly to hand and entertained them with a very able and interesting speech, and when he had concluded, Dr. M. Y. Brocket was called upon and addressed the multitude for a few minutes. His remarks were pertinent to the time and occasion, and were well received. Many of the younger visitors, however, found no pleasure in speeches but betook themselves to the lard dancing platform and amused and enjoyed themselves in the giddy mazes. Harry Mitchell brought out his fireworks on the open ground and soon had a big crowd of eager folds watching his display. After a sufficient number of explosives had ascended on high, a beautiful baloon was inflated with rarified air, and amid the shouts and huzzahs of a thousand throats, rose straight up on the balmy night breese to an altitude of three hundred feet when a western current caught it up and carried it majestically out on the track of the setting sun. The bold, bright light which burned beneath it and furnished the gas for its ascension, looked beautiful as it sped away, and we followed it with eager eyes until growing smaller and smaller it at last disappeared from view, and the attention of the people was once more turned to the attractions near by. With dancing, promenading and merrymaking among the young, and camp-fire chats among the elders, the night wore away and the people dispersed to their homes to prepare for the pleasure of today. The Pottsboro band, which by mistake was not on hands yesterday, was sent for last night, and will be there this morning to furnish music for the people between acts. An interesting programme will please all who may attend.
THE OLD SETTLERS' PICNIC.
Yesterday morning the Old Settlers organization met to hold the annual election of
officers for the ensuing twelve months.
Thomas H. Bowen was made president; I. V. Stark, vice-president; Jesse P. Loving, secretary; John W. Stewart, marshal. A. T. Cook, J. H. Lea, Tom Richards, W. W. Wheat, J. P. Furguson and J. P. Loving, were elected to constitute the executive committee.
The secretary was instructed to procure a substantial book in which to keep the records of the association.
Col. Bob Taylor, of Fannin county, who was down on the programme for an address, failed to attend, and Rev. Jarrett Finney, of Sister Grove, was called upon for a speech. This versatile and humorous gentleman soon convinced the audience that they had lost but little by the change, for his remarks were very appropriate to the occasion--full of wit and anecdote, and left his hearers in an excellent humor with the speaker.
Ridley Deane, Esq., who is a native Texan, always loaded to the muzzle with pride and enthusiasm for his State, was next introduced. He gave the audience a graphic picture of the scenes and traditions of his boyhood days, and drew from a fountatin full of bright hopes and anticipations for her future greatness and prosperity. "In the midst of all our present blessings," said the fervid speaker, "let us not forget that we owe it all to the brave and self-sacrificing men and women, who, in spite of the dangers of her early settlement, won the blessings of that peace we now enjoy. No Texas pioneer can tolerate the thought of dividing our territory. They demand that the present expansive limits of our glorious state shall be felt in the councils of government, and her majesty and greatness become the admiration of the world."
On the conclusion of his remarks dinner was announced, and all present repaired to the sumptous tables about the grounds, to partake of the solid comforts of life.
The afternoon was spent by the old folks in chatting over old times, while the youthful members dispersed to witness the base ball game between a picked up nine and the Lone Stars, of Howe. This game resulted in a victory for the Lone Stars by a score of 19 to 20.
Sherman's two rival Hook and Ladder companies, composed of little boys from eight to fourteen years of age, had a match race on the grounds during the day. Our Boys, or the "Red Jackets," commanded by Wm. Batsell, foreman, made a run of one hundred yards and hoisted a man (?) to the top of an eight foor ladder in 14 seconds. The "Blue Jackets," with Albert Foute, foreman, made the same run in 15 seconds, as reported by the official timer.
The ruling passion, ever strong in the breast of Jesse Loving, was bound to crop out in something more exciting than a set-down chat, so he hunted up Capt. J. H. LeTellier, Jo. Logsden and John Farris, four as willing sons as ever fingered a "taw," and had a spirited game of marbles. LeTellier and Farris against Loving and Logsden. They played quite a number of games and when the lengthening shadows from the sinking sun forced a truce, the score stood--games for the former, and--for the latter couple.
In addition to the amusements above described some of the assembly repaired to the dancing platform, while other chose to pair off and ramble arm in and about the shady groves to do a little old fashioned courting, as a more congenial pastime.
After supper was over the crowd was largely increased by the people of the town, who turned out en masse to witness the concluding ceremonies. Rev. T. W. Caskey addressed them in a very happy and interesting speech. Mr. Jacob Gumm, Jarrett Finney, and Ridley Deane also made brief talks. [ ] well address, delivered by Maj. W. G. Reynolds, was one of the most appropriate and truly eloquent speeches made by any speaker during the meeting.
By special request of the Executive Committee, J. H. Dills, Esq., thanked the assembly for the good deportment observed, the patient attention given from the proceedings, and dismissed them [ ] meet one year hence on these same grounds.
An exhibition of fireworks similar that of the previous evening was given and the visitors gradually dispersed to their several homes, well pleased with the meeting, and with a settled resolve not to neglect the old settlers nor the annual reunions so long as the organization is maintained in Texas.
Old Settlers Association (Grayson County, Tex.). Old Settler's Association of Grayson County, Vol. 1.. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth11279/. Accessed July 31, 2014.