Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Fannin County Folks and Facts

James DeLay
About 1850 two families came to Texas by covered wagon and became my great-grandparents. James and Harriet DeLay came with their family from Arkansas and settled in Gober.
Robert Henderson and his family came from Alabama and settled in Bonham. Uncle Bobbie, as was affectionately called, was a Church of Christ minister. 
When the Civil War broke out James DeLay fought for the Confederacy and was killed in the battle of Chickamaga, September 30, 1863. His son Jerome, my grandfather, enlisted and served in the commissary department. Jerome was only 16 years old. 
When the war ended my grandfather kept some Confederate money, some printed in Richmond and one bill in the state of Louisiana. I still have these bills.
On November 3, 1869 Jerome DeLay and Margaret Henderson were married and settled in Gober. My grandfather was a farmer. Their family included five boys; Bob, Leo,Sam, Wallace and Warren. There were three girls; Florence, Laura, Zora and Elsie Henderson, a niece who lived with them.
About 1890 the DeLay family moved to Hunt County and stayed several years. In 1899 they came back to Fannin County and settled in the south part of town.
By this time all the boys had gone to employment, one a school teacher, one a real estate dealer and one working for the electric company in Oklahoma. 
The three older girls all attended Carlton College. Elsie went to school at the old high school, later Duncan Elementary. Florence and Laura worked in a millinery shop and Zora worked as a telephone operator. Laura was the first to marry. Bacon S. Titsworth and Laura DeLay were married June 10, 1903. Florence and Zora had a double wedding. Florence married David Shaver and Zora wed Sam Arledge. Elsie married Paul Coleman. Florence and David had three children; twins Mary and Louise and Minnie Lee. Of these Louise, now Mrs Jack LeCroy lives with her husband at Ivanhoe. Laura and Bacon Titsworth were my parents. Elsie and Paul Coleman had a son Paul Henderson.
I started to school at Duncan school; all grades went there. In 1914-1915 a new high school building Was erected. It included a nice auditorium, used during school as the study hall. The manual training shop and the home economics rooms were in the basement.
When I was a child, we enjoyed the streetcar very much. My Uncle Leo was a motorman. He would ring the bell and I’d run out to tje corner and watch the car. Often he would throw off a small bag of candy for me.
In the summer there was an open car that was very comfortable. Often in the summer mother and I would ride to the end of the line and back-just for fun. There were very few cars in town and the hansom cabs met the trains: of course they were horse-drawn. They were replaced by jitneys that cost five cents to ride. 
The fire trucks were also horse drawn. When a fire alarm was turned in, a bell would ring long and loud. When the bell rang, the horses were ready to go. Their harnesses were dropped over them. It was quite a sight to watch the fire truck race by.
The basement barber shop had four big bathtubs and furnished big thick towels. On Saturdays the men could come in and have a bath and a shave and haircut if they wanted it. The barber shops stayed open until midnight on Saturday nights.
I saw my first picture show in the old opera house. Later to opened on the square. They had serials, one episode a week very similar to the soap opera as we have now.
After the show, most everyone went to the ice cream parlor. They had small tables usually glass topped and four wrought iron chairs. Some called they candy kitchens and the proprietor always had homemade candy for sale.
The townspeople enjoyed the band concerts, too. The bandsmen were local talent. Sometimes it would be on the courthouse lawn and often it would be in Simpson Park. 
The first Fannin County Fair was held on fair grounds where the junior high football is now.
My father showed a registered Jersey cow once. The undertakers were a part of the furniture stores then. Halsell and Caldwell and Wise kept undertakers employed who also helped in the stores.
(Jerome) DeLay lived to be one of Fannin County’s oldest citizens. He died in 1936 in the 90th year. One of (Jerome) DeLay’s great grandsons Warren B. Wisdom was killed in the Korean conflict. he was officially declared dead December 1953. Jerome’s youngest daughter Mrs. Zora Arledge celebrated her 90th birthday this year. Mrs. Elsie Coleman reared as a sister, lives in Bonham.
By Zora Wisdom.
(date of article unknown) pgs 165-166