Heritage, Volume 6, Number 3, Fall 1988 Page: 18
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Although it is boarded up and has
not been occupied since 1975,
there are hopes in Red River
County that the home of Texas
newspaper publisher DeMorse may
be returned to its former glory.
By Ken Walen
Like an aged beauty queen past her
prime, the Charles DeMorse House
sits on an overgrown lot near downtown in
the old northeast Texas city of Clarksville.
Although it is boarded up and has not been
occupied since 1975, there are hopes in
Red River County that the home of pioneer
Texas newspaper publisher DeMorse
may be returned to its former glory as the
finest example of Greek Revival architecture
in the region.
DeMorse, an often-forgotten figure in
Texas history whose public service career
ranged from helping guard a captured
Santa Anna in 1836 to assisting with the
drafting of our present Texas Constitution
in 1876, constructed the house from a tworoom
log cabin that was one of the first
structures in Clarksville. He added seven
rooms to the structure to accommodate a
burgeoning young family, and by 1844 the
home was among the finest in the areafeaturing
such then-unheard of touches as
wallpaper, rugs and a fine piano.
The piano was ordered in New York and
shipped to the inland port city of Jefferson
via New Orleans. After a long journey by
oxcart from Jefferson, DeMorse is said to
have celebrated the piano's arrival with a
grand ball. The home was used as a meeting
place for city and county leaders and for
entertaining visiting dignitaries during
DeMorse's long involvement in Texas
publishing and politics.
But time has not been kind to the old
house, and it now entertains only an occasional
varmint or transient. Still, the obviously
sturdy construction and special
touches that remain visible in the house
make it possible to imagine when it was a
stately mansion occupied by a leader of
In converting the original structure,
DeMorse took pains to see that the logs
would not be visible under the new walls.
The only clue that this was once a log cabin
is in a closet, where the logs can be seen.
The original cabin is now the main part of
the home, with a living room on one side
and a study on the other, separated by a dog
run typical of early Texas homes. The dog
run was enclosed, but large double doors on
both sides could be opened to allow a
breeze to cool the house during hot summer
days. The living room features a bay window
and simulated burl painting on the
The study on the east side contains a
wood and brick fireplace that at one time
provided the only heat in the downstairs
living areas. The original kitchen, where a
wood-burning stove remains propped up
on wooden blocks, was separate from the
main house and not connected to it for
many years. Adjacent to the original
kitchen is a storage area that still contains
square nails in the walls for hanging vege.
tables or curing meats.
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Texas Historical Foundation. Heritage, Volume 6, Number 3, Fall 1988, periodical, 1988; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth45436/m1/18/: accessed December 15, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas Historical Foundation.