Old Settler's Association of Grayson County, Vol. 1. Page: 68 of 322 (Transcription)
wanted the rising generation deucated as the surest means of building up State and adding to its prosperity. He spoke with great earnestness, was listened to with marked attention, and was frequently applauded.
Col. Terrell, an old pioneer, and a well preserved specimen of true and noble manhood, was next introduced. He spoke of the security which we now enjoyed. In the early days it was not so. Then, when you lied down at night, there was no certainty that you would rise up in the morning. No certainty that the tomahawk and scalping knife would not do their work, or their burning houses light up the midnight darkness. He dwelt upon the hardships and dangers of those who came to Texas in early times, and rejoiced that those days had passed away, and that peace and plenty now reigned supreme. His address was brief, pertinent, and to the point.
After Mr. Terrell had taken his seat, and the band had discoursed some excellent music, Secretary Loving introduced the Rev. [abbr: Reverend] W. S. Clark, who entertained the assembly with a very neat and appropriate speech, in which he paid a glowing tribute to the old pioneers. The speaker remarked that there was only on sad thought connected with these annual reunions, and that was, that every year there was a missing link--gradually their numbers were being lessened by the hand of death, and feeling alluded to one who had passed away since the last meeting. He felt to love and honor those who had blazed the way for civilization, and they and their services should be held in grateful rememberance--should never be forgotten. He appealed to the young men never to commit any act that would bring dishonor upon the names of the old pioneers. The speech of Mr. Clark was listened to with marked attention.
The last speaker introduced was W. R. Dean. Although Ridley was taken somewhat unawares, he felt it his duty to say a word in behalf of the Old Settlers. Ridley said if he would tell of the changes which even he had witnessed in Texas, the impression might go abroad that he too, was growing old, and for that reason he would desist. He showed what strides Texas had made in progress even in his day, and alluded briefly to the railroads and printing press. No State, said Mr. Dean, has grown like Texas, and her career was bound to be upward and onward. Progress was the word. Although Mr. Dean's remarks were brief, they were appropriate and well received.
After the address of Mr. Dean the dinner hour was announced.
We noticed upon the grounds the venerable and portly form of Mr. John Haney. Although his eyes are sightless, his counenance was beaming with smiles; and while he could not behold the form and visage of his early friends, their voices were familiar, and we saw no one who seemed to be enjoying himself better.
We venture the assertion that more real good feeling prevailed upon the grounds today than has been experienced by any like assembly in a long time. It was as a band of brothars [corr: brothers] had met after years of separation. The old folks were evidently happy and the younger ones easily caught the contagion.
There was plenty of good water on the grounds and plenty to eat. We noticed hundreds of well filled baskets, and besides any amount of baked meats and chicken could be procured at the stands.
Considering the numbers present this was one of the most quiet and orderly assemblies ever congregated together in the county.
There was a great deal larger crowd upon the grounds today than yesterday.
At two o'clock the annual election of officers was held and the remainder of the afternoon was spent in social conversation and in witnessing the various games on the grounds.
The picnic taken altogether has been a decided success.
Tonight at 8 o'clock, Jarrett Finney of White Mound, is expected to deliver an address, and all who know Mr. Finney, no doubt anticipate a rich treat.
The valedictory address will be delivered by Mr. B. F. Christian, of Whitesboro. After which, as secretary Loving announced from the stand, there will be a regular old-fashioned love feast.
The exercises last night.
There was a good attendance at the picnic grounds last evening, and those who attended were amply repaid, for we are informed by those present, that Rev. [abbr: Reverend] J. M. Binkley, the speaker of the evening, delivered a very eloquent address. It is highly spoken of by all who were so fortunate as to hear it.
Many camped upon the grounds and the scene presented was one of interest as well as pleasure.
The Old Settler's picnic a grand success--speeches--music--a big dinner--a jolly time.
the old folks engaged in reminisence [corr: reminiscence] while the young folks trip it on the green.
Special to the Gazette.
Sherman, TEX. [abbr: Texas] Aug. [abbr: August] 28.--In addition to the families located at the old settlers picnic grounds last night, a large number joined the throng this morning, and pitched their tents in the beautiful grove that has been the scene of such gatherings for several years. After a general hankshaking [corr: handshaking] and cordial greeting all round the ceremonies of the occasion were in augurated by a welcome address from Judge C. W. Cook of Sherman. The gentleman made a regular Fourth of July spread-eagle speech, full of eloquence and patriotism, but a little novel as a reception speech to Texas veterans and pioneers. He held the audience in fixed attention for over half an hour, when he announced that owing to neuralgic affection of the jaw he would be compelled to stop. This is the first time on record where a lawyer's jaw failed him, and many an auditor is ready to swear that the excuse offered is a gross subterfuge.
Capt. J. D. Woods responded in a very practical talk that abounded in happy reminscences of the olden times, "when you and I were young, Ben." When the captain concluded, Jesse P. Loving announced that dinner would be spread and all parties were cordially invited to come out to the tables and partake of the feast with the same freedom that characterized the custom of the old pioneers. He also announced that the afternoon would be spent in social intercourse, and at 7:30 this evening an address would be delivered by Rev. [abbr: Reverend] J. M. Binkley.
When the old folks met at the table many a warm hand was extended to the friends of early days, and many a tear stole forth unbidden to attest the warmth of heart of the old veterans when the memory of the long ago was suggested by the sight of a once familiar but long absent face.
Among the visitors from a distance we gathered the names of Judge James Holt of Barry county, Mo., Alonzo DeSpain of Thorp Springs, Uncle Dick Riddle of Denton county, Dr. [abbr: Doctor] N T. Bomer of Cooke county, Mrs. S. P. McLean, Mrs. Elizabeth Petty and Mrs. Hattie Sevier of Cooke, Judge James Porter and Aunt Sophy [abbr: Sophia] Porter of Preston, the first man who ever drove a freight wagon from Red River to Dallas, Elijah Emerson of Pilot Point, the oldest native now living in North Texas, having been born here about sixty five years ago, Uncle John Hendricks, 87 years old, Uncle Andy Thomas of Kentucky-town, who once whipped off three stalwart Indians with no better weapon than an axe helve, Alf Drye of Pilot Point, and many other citizens of the surrounding neighborhood.
Among the novelties shown was a block cut from a post-oak tree by Porter Davis, who lives six miles east of Sherman on Choctaw creek, containing a well defined land-mark in raised letters that he made with his own hands while surveying forty-four years ago.
During the afternoon Alonzo Despain of Thorp Springs, a preacher by profession, was called on for a speech and responded by a brief review of the early times about Sherman, lauded the good work he had done in the cause of religion and branched off into a temperance harangue that no body thanked him for on such an occasion as this, unless it was some fanatic who like himself takes every occasion to ventilate his hobby. Why it is that public speakers of experience can so often fail in selecting a suitable theme for a promiscuous audience and then forget when to quit is a mystery to all sensible people.
At 3 o'clock a game of base ball was announced to come off in front of the grand stand between the Denison and Sherman clubs, and many persons repaired thither to watch the play.
At intervals through the day the Sherman Silver Cornet band, now grown to be one of the best in Texas, under the instruction of Prof. [abbr: Professor] J. F. Kohler, who has been trainig them for several weeks, rendered some excellent music and were much complimented for their proficiency. Their little drummer-boy, "Guy Button," only ten years old, was the center of attraction to all the little folks on the ground and is one of the most remarkable musicians in this state of his age. His skill with the drum is a source of wonder to all, and his performances on th French harp are simply wonderful for a child who does not know a note or understand the first principle in the science of harmony.
Wagons loaded with families continued to arrive during day, and before night there was perhaps the largest gathering ever assembled at any previous meeting of the old settlers.
When your reporter left the grounds the young folks had assembled in the dancing hall at the grand stand and were tipping "the light fantastic" to the music of a piano, while Col. Sim Johnson was calling the figures of some old time dances. Everything was running smoothly, and both old and young were enjoying a season of joy.
The advance agent for the "Wild West" show is now here negotiating for the use of the associaion grounds to give their exhibition. They want to show Sunday, the 31st, and if they do not secure that date will perhaps turn their cow-boys, stage-robbers and mock rangers loose on Saturday, August 30.
The Texas and Pacific pay train rolled into Sherman this evening and made the railroad boys all happy.
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Old Settlers Association (Grayson County, Tex.). Old Settler's Association of Grayson County, Vol. 1., book, 1879 - 1899; (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth11279/m1/68/transcription/: accessed May 28, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Old Settler's Association of Grayson County.