Old Settler's Association of Grayson County, Vol. 1. Page: 69 of 322 (Transcription)
Grand Close of the Old Settlers' Reunion--The Election of Officers--The Day's Sports.
The Rev. [abbr: Reverend] J. M. Binkley Makes a Speech on the Past, Present, and the Future of Texas.
Special to the Gazette.
Sherman, Aug. [abbr: August] 29.--At 4 o'clock yesterday afternoon, after the old settlers had exhausted the day's programme, Mr. J. W. Wilhite, who has a fine string of horses in training on the association track, had his stablemen bring out three handsome young horses and gave the old folks a nice matinee, which they enjoyed very much, as this was perhaps the first race of the kind ever witnessed by many of them.
The entries were Dr. Morrow's chestnut mare, Dixe Crooks, named in honor of the sweet singer of North Texas. driven by Ed. Smalley; Maj. [abbr: Major] D., driven by Stanley Keeling, and Sam Lazarns; chestnut mare, Casco, driven by Henry Waters (colored). The race was a single heat of one mile, and Dixie won. Time, 2:50 1-2. Col. [abbr: Colonel] T. J. Crooks of Denison was present and seemed highly pleased that the namesake of his charming daughter had come out winner in such good company.
The game of base ball between the Clippers of Sherman and the Denison city clubs resulted in a victory for Sherman by a score of 20 to 9.
After supper Rev. [abbr: Reverend] J. M. Binkley who was down on the programme for a speech at that houd delivered a very interesting talk. He said that after his notice he had thought much on the selection of a subject whether it should be political, religious or social and had concluded to avoid all this and talk of the past, present and future of Texas. He came here with his father's family thirty-one years ago when he was twenty years of age, and when the way-worn emigrants arrived on the public square they were cordially welcomed to the place by Bird Anderson and other old citizens, most of whom had long since departed to the spirit land. His father settled on a farm seven miles from town. He afterwards attended school at the old house near where the public school building now stands, and graduated there with Clem Fitch, Jesse Loving, and others of like age.
"We boys ate what was offered us in those days without asking any questions, except that Clem Fitch was too religious to eat fruit or melons unless he knew they had a straight record. We had good times those days and everybody prospered. No man would own a cow that did not raise five calves a year.
WE HAD FREE GRASS
and no dispute about it. We had better men those days than now. The brightest names in Texas history were our leaders then--Sam Houston, Burleson, Rusk and others were the leaders of Texas civilization, and better men than they
NEVER LIVED IN ANY COUNTRY.
"Our people were intelligent. They kept psted on what went on in the world by free communication with each other and were more social than this generation. Every latch string hung out and a cordial welcome was extended to the stranger at every cabin in the land.
"It required nerve to come to Texas and live in those days, but more nerve to stay here amid the privations and dangers surrounding us. On our road here we met hundreds who told us to go back to Tennessee that we could not get a good drink or a square meal in the whole state, but I found it different. The best people had was always yours when you called, either as friend or traveler, and then as now, if I wanted a good cup and solid meal [gap: illegible] days the [gap: illegible] the folks [gap: illegible] we know [gap: illegible] in olden times; everything was at home then. Those old people have passed away, but their sons and daughters are our honored citizens, and the equal of any in the land. The girls know how to make up their "bangs" and the boys how to raise a mustache and part their hair in the middle with the best of new comers. We have the best men and women, the best schools and churches in the county in the best state, in the best goverment in the whole universe. Some new comers don't like it and leave, but some of them who come don't get away when they want to, as the testimony of our sheriff and court records will show.
We who came first ought to be the best people. Those cows that raised five calves a year are all dead, but we have better ones now. We raise more corn, oats, wheat, hay, cotton, vegetables, and fruit than any other country now, but it was not so in olden times. Our supplies were not so abundant then, and our tables were only graced with a few articles of diet generously dispensed. I have made a dinner on onions and sweet milk alone, and slept out on the praire at night without danger of losing all my worldly possessions, the horse and saddle I rode.
Speaking of our schools. I told a citizen to send his children to one of our Sherman schools, and his complaint was that our rates were as high as those in Danville, Ky. [abbr: Kentucky] But I believe I told him a fact when I asserted that no school in Kentucky was superior to those of Sherman. I have always voted for free schools and am proud of the benefits conferred therby on the poor children of the state. Our schools in every town and neighborhood are so many invitations to others to come and make homes among us, and in the next thirty years we will see greater progress and enlightenment than in the past period of time. We will not be here to enhoy it, but we will leave a heritage and good name better than riches, and our examples will help to make them men and women of high character and moral excellence. Today there are not half a dozen men left who were here when I came. All but few of the pioneers have gone."
After Mr. Binkley had closed his remarks, of which the foregoing is an imperfect summary, there was still more time for talking, and the large audience seemed anxious to hear. Several calls for Alf Drye, an old-timer, failed to bring that gentleman to the front, and they switched off on J. H. Dills, Esq.[abbr: Esquire], who seldom fails to say something wise or otherwise when pressed into service. As most of the readers of THE GAZETTE know the speaker and your correspondent to be one and the same person, we hope they will pardon us in not attempting a report. The good people gave him a most respectful hearing and after he had concluded several friends assured him that his effort had pleased.
Yesterday afternoon Mrs. Jake Levy and children, with Mrs. Ed Levy and a little daughter of J. S. Kennedy were out driving wit h a horse that was thought to be perfectly honest and safe, but he took fright, ran away, threw the whole party out, and bruised them considerably. Kennedy's daughter is thought to be the worst hurt. Levy's two children are bruised badly but are not seriously hurt. Mrs. Ed Levy was thought at first to be badly injured, but later accounts report her in no great danger.
Mr. C. F. Stevens of the cotton firm of Stevens and Andrews, after spending the summer on the gulf coast of Alabama, returned home yesterday to be ready for business when the fleecy commodity comes into market. He reports that Thomas Forbes, Jr., with his family, will arrive from the same place in a few days.
Sidney Wilson, Esq. [abbr: Esquire], who has been rustication with an old friend on a cow ranch in the Nation, came home yesterday looking as brown as a nut and wearing such a ferocious set of whiskers that his best girl had to look the second time before she recognized him.
Today when the hosts assembled several speakers on the cards for talks were conspicuous for their absence. Rev. J. H. Clarke, Ridley Deane, Jack Jennings and Col. [abbr: Colonel] W. S. Terrell were called upon and responded to the entire satisfaction to all present.
The members were called to come forward and enroll their names. Among those who have passed over the dark river of death since the last year were: Robt. [abbr: Robert] Bell, A. S. Mangum, Ruth Hendricks, John A. Miller, Melvina Austin, Cynthia DeSpain, W. D. Davis and Sarah Gregg.
Officers were elected for the ensuing year as follows: J.D. Woods, president; W. S. Terrell, vice-president; J.P. Loving, secretary and treasurer; Capt. J. H. Lea, marshal; Wm. [abbr: William] S. Holt, assistant marshal. Executive committee: John W. Stewart, Ridley Deane, R. E. Shannon, Ben. DeSpain, M. D. L. Webster and, on motion, the president and secretary were added to the committee. They agreeed to meet on Thursday and Friday before the full moon in August, 1885, at Sherman.
About 130 names were entolled as members, the condition being twenty-one years residence in Texas.
It was announced that the after supper ceremonies would consist of a general experience meeting, the farewell address by uncle Ben Christian of Whitesboro and a parting hand shake all around. No less than 3000 people were estimated to be on the ground today, and notwithstanding the heat and dust outside, when they reached the cool shady grove every one seemed to feel comfortable and enjoyed himself.
The Mexican (cowboy) show have engaged the grounds for their show tomorrow evening. Their stock came up last night and the agents are out today hunting wild cattle, bucking ponies and vicious mules, on which to practice their peculiar arts tomorrow for the entertainment of such of our citizens as have never lived about a western ranch or been present at a grand "round-up."
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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/m1/69/transcription/: accessed November 22, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Old Settler's Association of Grayson County.