WCGS to Host FREE Genealogy Help County-wide Workshops

The Wood County Texas Genealogical Society will be hosting free workshops at the libraries throughout Wood County this spring. The workshops will provide an opportunity to use available computers to aid in genealogical research. Researchers will be able to access Heritage Quest and Ancestry.com. Included in the workshop will be a short session on getting started with one’s research.

The first workshop will be on Thursday, February 21 at the Mineola Library from 10 a.m. until noon. The second workshop will be on Tuesday, March 5 at the Winnsboro Library from 2 until 4 p.m. The next workshop will be on March 26 at the Hawkins Library beginning at 2 p.m. and ending at 4 p.m. The fourth workshop will be on March 28 at the Alba Library from 10 a.m. until noon. The final session will be a night meeting at the Quitman Library on April 2. This workshop will be in the Shamburger Room beginning at 6 p.m. There is no pre-registration. Just show up and be ready to work.

If you have any pictures of old Wood County families, buildings, or events, the Society would love to be able to scan these into our collection.

 The society meets every third Monday in the Quitman Library and help is always available at 6 p.m. and the meeting begins at 7 p.m.

Wood County Late 19th Century

WOOD COUNTY TEXAS.  This is the most westerly of the counties along the line of the Texas & Pacific Railway having extensive forests of pine timber. All of the county is heavily wooded but the eastern half contains the great pineries from which the supplies for the large number of saw mills are drawn. In the western half the forests partake more of the characteristics of the timber of the black land counties, further west. The general surface is more level than in the other woodland counties, though there is little material variation as to soils, climate, temperature, rainfall, or yield of crops per acre. A larger part of the area, which comprises 702 square miles, can, however, be profitably cultivated. There are about 50,000 acres, in 1,400 farms, under cultivation, producing annually a value about $600,000. The harvest generally consists of 10,000 to 11,000 bales of cotton, 400,000 bushels of corn, 50,000 bushels of oats, 30,000 bushels of sweet potatoes, 35,000 to 40,000 gallons of molasses, 6,000 tons of cotton seed, and orchard and garden products to the value of $35,000 $40,000. As in all of the woodland counties, the raising of live stock is part ordinary farming operations. The live stock in the county, in 1897, was valued at $220,301 and consisted of 5,744 horses and mules, 9,607 head of cattle, 1,211 head of sheep and goats, and 12,465 head of hogs.

The county was organized in 1850 and has 14,000 inhabitants, 3,000 of whom are residents of Mineola, the junction the Texas & Pacific Railway, the International & Great Northern Railway and the Missouri Kansas & Texas Railway; 500 of Quitman, the county seat; 400 of Winnsboro, and 250 of Hawkins, smaller trading points in the county. The assessed values of taxable property, in 1897, amounted to $2,695,113, of which $1,619,538 was assessed against real estate, $499,465 against railways, which have 49 23/100 miles of tracks in the county. The school census reports 3,870 children of school age, for whose education 61 houses are maintained and teachers are employed.

The industrial pursuits run mainly in the manufacture of lumber, railroad ties, shingles, etc., there being about 17 sawmills at work . The other enterprises, principally located at Mineola, consist of 81 mercantile establishments, 1 bank, 1 flour mill, 2 fire brick and tile factories, 1 cannery, 1 furniture factory, and the repair shops of the railways.  Improved lands range in price from $5 to $25 per acre; unimproved $2 to $10 per acre.

Source: Along the line of the Texas & Pacific Ry.,  published by the Passenger Department of the Texas & Pacific Railway, Dallas Texas, corrected to and reissued November 1909, pages 35-36. (Digitized version accessed from Google Book Search May 7, 2012)

Portal to Texas History Contains Wood County Resources

Wood County references are available online at the Portal to Texas History at http://texashistory.unt.edu/. Billing itself as “a gateway to Texas history,” the portal is a project of the University of North Texas. A search at the portal main page (link above) for Wood County, Mineola, Quitman,and Winnsboro yields many digital pages of documents, publications, maps, etc. concerning people and places in the county ranging from the mid-1800s to the late 1900s.

Civil War Vet Dedication Oct. 22

Mark you calendars. The dedication of the Civil War stone for John T. Potter, on Oct 22 (his 164th birthday), at Shady Grove Cemetery, Winnsboro, TX, at 10 a.m.

Mark Calendars for Oct. 22 Veteran Ceremony

The dedication of the historical cemetery headstone for a Civil War veteran who is an ancestor of WCGSTX member Vi Shirey is scheduled for Oct. 22 this fall.

Vi sent us the following information to share with the membership and the public:

” Just wanted to bring you up-to-date on the dedication of the Civil War stone for John T. Potter, on Oct 22 (his 164th birthday), at Shady Grove Cemetery, Winnsboro, TX, at 10 a.m..”

“The program is set. Participating in the ceremony will be a g granddaughter, a gg granddaughter and a gg grandson, and two ggg grandsons. In addition, the names of the ten Civil War veterans buried in Shady Grove will be read with appropiate gun salute.”

“Probably five veterans’ units will be participating–furnishing honor guards, flag bearers, musketry, and bugler for “Taps.”
American flags will be placed on all veterans’ graves other than the ten Civil War veterans. A Confederate flag will be placed on their graves.”

“We feel this will be an impressive ceremony and would like to invite all of the members of the Wood County Genealogy Society and their relatives and friends to this ceremony. It is a time in history that will probably never be repeated.”

She added she would appreciate us spreading the word about the dedication.

It would be a generous gesture to one of our loyal members who lives away from East Texas for us to attend the ceremony and help honor her ancestor. Please mark your calendar and plan to attend.

Free Search of Historic American Newspapers

What can you learn at the Library of Congress’ FREE Chronicling America Historic American Newspapers site? (link: http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/)
As an example I searched on Quitman in Texas newspapers and came up with these two of many hits. You might find your own ancestors’ names there either in Texas or other states.

Prisoner returned to Quitman
From the Palestine Texas Daily Herald, Jan. 05, 1906, Image 5
http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn86090383/

Winnsboro hosts Educational Conference
From the Jefferson, Texas Jimplecute, Nov. 5, 1904, Image 5
http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn86089977/

Thanks to Randy Seaver for calling this site to my attention today in his daily tips.

Correction on John T. Potter Burial Site Dedication

Member Vi Shirey has updated us with a change on the date for the John T. Potter dedication at Shady Grove Cemetery. It “has been changed to October 22, the 164th birthday of John T. Potter.” This is a better date for the honor guard which will conduct its ceremony. “This will also allow for a more elaborate ceremony, flags, gun salute, taps, and the reading of the names of other Civil War veterans buried at Shady Grove.” She added that this also coincides with Winnsboro’s annual Autumn Trails celebration.

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