Looking Back: Five Flags (Plus) Over Wood County

The land which would some day become Wood County, Texas, USA has been the scene of human habitation for thousands of years providing sustenace and dwelling for various peoples because of the bountiful water, forest, land and lifestyle resouces which still attract people here today.

Evidence indicates human presence here in native American Clovis cultures in prehistoric times. Historical evidence points to the arrival of the native Americans known as the Caddos as early as the first Century, A. D. Living in the forests of the Sabine River Valley and its tributaries (including the Lake Fork and Big Sandy Creeks and their water sheds), the Kadhadacho (as the Spanish called them) were in their early period mound builders and the westernmost people of the Missippian Mound Culture. They had abandoned these practices by the arrival of Europeans in the 1500’s. The Spanish and French noted them as they moved through the Sabine Valley area and traded with the loosely allied groups described as the Caddo Confederation. Hasinai Caddo tribes populated this area during historic times.

Indian artifacts have been found from North to South in the county. Examples include the Caddo Trace area at Winnsboro where Indian and Spanish relics possibly from trading have been found and the discovery of Indian villages and burials in the Quitman area. Also, Native American relics have been found south in the Mineola Nature Preserve area just north of the Sabine River.

This first “nation” having dominiion over the area which is now Wood County had no real flag as they are known by us today.

The first European nation to claim the area of Wood County was Spain,

Spain

and Texas north to the Red River was a part of the vast Empire of Spain from the 14th Century until 1821 as part of Spanish Colonial America.

Following the end of the successful rebellion against Spain by Mexico, Wood County was a part of the Mexican State of Coahuila and Texas

Mexico

from 1821 until its own succesful rebellion against Mexico.

The Republic of Texas was born in 1836 and the area that would become Wood County was in the northermost area of the large orginal Nacogdoches County during the period of

Texas

the Republic. It was during this period that Martin Varner settled in Wood County. Varner is recognized as the first settler and also the person who cut the first road into the county (1840). Then, in 1846, Texas became a state of the United States.

That same year Texas became a part of the United States of America, larger counties were broken up, and Henderson County was formed. It included areas from Houston and Nacogdoches

United States of America

counties including the area of present-day Van Zandt and Wood Counties. Just two years later in 1848, Van Zandt County was created and it included the area that would become Wood County when it was created in 1850. (Creation timing was such that Wood County residents of 1850 are listed on the census of Van Zandt County.)

In 1861, Texas followed the actions of a number of Southern states and voted to withdraw from the United States of America and join the Confederate States of America. With the surrender of the Confederate government following four bloody years of warfare in 1865, Texas

Confederate States of America

entered a period of military government by the United States. In 1866 a nullification of the secession vote was passed by a Texas constitutional convention, and in 1869 Texans were again authorized to vote for members state officers. In 1870, Texas’ elected representatives were allowed back into the United States Congress.

Free Getting Started – or Refresher – Lessons

Just starting out in your family history search or wanting to to refresh your memory on researching how to and techniques is often available from classes or one-on-one tutoring. There are some online sources, however, which you can access at home (or library) on your own computer and at any time convenient to you.

Among the various choices, four seem to stand out in terms of organization, simplicity of use, and overall value.

Researching Your Family Tree at learnwebskills.com meets all of these criteria and offers exercises to practice what it teaches. It is easy to follow, and you can do one exercise, go off and do other life things for an extended time, and pop right into the next step with little difficulty. The lessons offer a LearnGen Group at Yahoo groups.com which does not seem to be too active, but you could always share you results and questions with us here with an email to the bulletin. (Our email address is netexas@gmail.com). You can access the Researching Your Family Tree lessons at http://www.learnwebskills.com/family/intro.html.

A long time standard of the genealogical community online is Kimberly Powell of genealogy.about.com. She has posted information and tips on a regular basis for many years. Her Introduction to Genealogy series takes a slightly different approach to the beginning or refresher lessons, but they are rich in content and easily understood. Either by themselves are in conjunction with the Researching Your Family Tree lessons above, they are going to give lots of information, tips, and ideas. You can access Kimberly’s lesson series starting at http://genealogy.about.com/library/lessons/blintro.htm.

The Rootsweb Guide to Tracing Family Trees has also been around for a while and proved it’s worth. Like the others, it offers lots of basic information and is easy to follow. Rootsweb is a premier free website devoted to genealogy and is the source of all kinds of resources which help beginning and advanced researchers. You can access the Rootsweb Guide to Tracing Family Trees at http://rwguide.rootsweb.ancestry.com/.

Also, if you have high speed internet at home (or can go to a library computer) you can access the RootswTV video series Research Process Overview. It’s a movie (and a talkie) which covers the basic getting started concepts and interviews various genealogists to illustrate the topic points of every lesson. It is also graphics-rich so that you can see examples of topics and techniques. You can access this RootsTV series at http://www.rootstelevision.com/players/player_howto3.php?bctid=232.

Updated Member Contact list posted on Member Only Page

The updated member contact list has been posted on the member-only page.

Query: Evans, Markham

Member Linda Evans writes from California that she is still searching Markham and Evans in Wood County. She would appreciate any contacts or information that any of you might have. Her mailing address is on the most recent member roster on the member-only page (password required). You can also post a comment here if you have information or wish to contact her.

Mallory Receives Honor

Member Lou Mallory was honored with special recognition for her work with Wood County history at a recent Wood County Commissioners Court meeting.

Lou received the Commissioners Court distinguished Service Award for outstanding preservation work during the previous year. Husband and also member Gene Mallory was present when she received the plaque from the county. Lou is Chairman of the Wood County Historical Commission.

Ya’ll: Our Other Donors

In saying thank you to our donors, we forgot to mention those who contribute out-of-pocket money for resources, programs, etc. which don’t pass through our accounts as bank deposits but which enrich the experiences we offer to members and the general public.

We are also remiss if we don’t mention the value of the time and energy devoted to society projects and meetings by various members. One of those we often fail to mention is the value members bring just by showing up for meetings and special work sessions. We are a true volunteer organization, and our work is made enjoyable and valuable by all the contributions of time, effort, money, and membership. We all contribute in the ways which are appropriate for us as individual members.

Thanks ya’ll!

Our $$$ Donors

Thanks to all members and non-members who have made monetary donations to the society since July or 2009. They are
Wayne Childers
Dorothy Harbin
K. N. Humphreys
Fred Kramer
David Pedry
Dianne Pierce
Ron Schell
Ronnie & Nan Vance.

Some of these donated in gratitude for research work we did for them, and some members donated for various reasons many adding an additional amount to their renewal of dues for the year. Their generosity helps us fund parts of our program by helping meet our budget goals for the year.

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