Heritage, Volume 12, Number 4, Fall 1994 Page: 18
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On January 14, 1968,
despite a freezing rain that
failed to discourage any of
the ceremony participants,
including a bus full of
Texas legislators, Camp
Ford CSA was dedicated as
the first officialTexas
historical marker. Today
there are more than 11,000
historical markers in the
state of Texas.
Top: Lee and Ann Lawrence pictured on the front porch of the Cunningham
ranch house in rural Comanche County. The Lawrences restored the
ancestral home of Lee's great-great grandparents James and Susannah
Cunningham in 1985 to its 1870's state. Still participating in marker
ceremonies when his schedule allows, Lawrence, pictured on the right in the
photo below with his grandson Lee Lawrence Cannan, was the speaker at the
Newbury Cemetery marker dedication on September 24, 1994. Lawrence
was one of the original members of the Texas State Historical Survey
Committee that began the historical marker program in Texas almost 30
tine, Shelby, Gregg, and Rusk Counties in Texas. He is a founding
member and past president of the Smith County Historical Society
and was presented an award by them last year in "recognition of
your lifetime of leadership and untiring efforts to preserve and
record Texas history". Lee is also a founding member and first
president of the East Texas Historical Association at Stephen F.
Austin State University in Nacogdoches. In honor of this work
with that group he has received the Ralph Steen Award "for
distinguished service" to the Association and East Texas history.
He has served on their Board of Directors continuously since its
organization in 1962.
Before the Ruth Lester Award was created, Lee was given the State
of Texas "Award for Meritorious Service in Historical Preservation"
in 1963. The next year Dr. Glover and Lee published their book,
"Camp Ford, CSA: The Story of Union Prisoners in Texas", designed
by the late Carl Hertzog of El Paso. Lee extended his service to the
Texas State Historical Association as president and for nine years as
a member of the Executive Council. He also was president of the
Texas Historical Foundation and has been a member of the Board of
Directors since 1959.
This enormous body of contributions was capped off in 1985
when Lee and Ann Lawrence purchased the home place of his
great-great grandfatherJames Cunningham and hired the late wellknown
restoration architect, Raiford Stripling, to assist in restoring
his ancestor's home to its 1870's state. Their collection of authentic
Texas furniture includes many rare and precious items.
It is indeed past time to say "thank you" to F. Lee Lawrence of
Tyler, a Texan whose contributions to this state are numerous and
Shirley Caldwell, of Albany, is a member of the executive council of the
Texas State Historical Association and sits on the board of directors of the
Texas Historical Foundation.
18 HERITAGE * FALL 1994
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Texas Historical Foundation. Heritage, Volume 12, Number 4, Fall 1994, periodical, Autumn 1994; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth45414/m1/18/: accessed June 27, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas Historical Foundation.