The story of Grant’s Colony complicates the narrative of the Reconstruction Era in Walker County, which is typically one of violence, despair, and intimidation. For while the Yellow Fever outbreak of 1867, the Walker County Rebellion of 1870-71, and…

On the eve of the great Texas yellow fever epidemic, Galveston was the largest city in Texas with a population of approximately 22,500, and served as a shipping and receiving hub for the rest of the state. The port city’s prosperity was to be…

In Hempstead, the first reported case of the yellow fever occurred when a man named J. L. Vorhees, a traveler from Galveston who arrived sometime in August, died shortly after reaching the town. Hempstead was under quarantine at the time, but Vorhees…

The yellow fever epidemic of 1867 first made its appearance in the port town of Indianola, Texas in early July. The fever first reached Indianola when the disease traveled from Vera Cruz, Mexico to the port town via boat. Upon arrival, a gentleman…

In August of 1867, the yellow fever blazed into Houston. This was not the first time the gulf city had experienced the fever—every mosquito season was accompanied by the threat of widespread sickness and death—but it was to become the deadliest. A…

From August to November of 1867, the yellow fever epidemic ravaged the little town of La Grange, decreasing the town’s population by nearly a fifth. As the bodies began to pile up, the people of La Grange had to make use of mass graves to stay on top…

Millican, a town in southern Brazos County, was decimated by the 1867 epidemic. The fever hit the town later than it did Huntsville, but by September 9th the postmaster sent one last telegraph to Houston to notify them that he was fleeing for fear of…

Bryan, located northwest of Millican, was like many East Texas towns begotten by the Houston and Texas Central Railroad. The construction of the H&TC, which began in the 1850s, led to Bryan’s founding along the railroad’s proposed route. The railroad…

Anderson, located ten miles northeast of Navasota, is the county seat of Grimes County and was once the fourth most populous town in Texas. Taking advantage of the stage lines which ran through his property, English immigrant Henry Fanthorp ran an…

“In 1867, Navasota seemed to be in a state of healthy growth and prosperity: trade was quite large and brisk. Numbers of buildings had been erected and many more projected. Our population was pleasing. Early in the summer the physicians encountered…

On September 5, 1867, shortly after Huntsville declared the recent string of yellow fever attacks an epidemic, “a general panic ensued.” By the end of the month, families hid in their homes or had fled to the country, schools had dissolved,…

Situated along the west side of the Trinity River in northern Walker County, Cincinnati was an important river port and ferry crossing during the nineteenth century. The settlement was founded by James C. Dewitt, a veteran of the Battle of San…

The Huntsville Branch Railway was a "tap" rail line which was chartered as the Huntsville Branch Railway Company in 1871. Support of a railroad through Huntsville was split in the community for a number of reasons. Concerns about loss of business and…

Following emancipation, many African Americans sought a place to gather and worship, and they formed churches. The Western Grove Baptist church was founded in 1885 and is the oldest African American church in New Waverly. The church began as Eastern…

Buck Foster Cemetery, also known as Foster or Loma Cemetery, is located about twelve miles west of Huntsville in the eastern part of the Loma Community. The cemetery was officially created when William Harrison "Buck" Foster (1835-1908) sold 100…

In 1867, Huntsville Methodists and Baptists shared the Union Church. Two years later, the Baptists built a separate church in the Rogersville neighborhood called First Missionary Baptist Church, which was organized by Reverend J.J. Rhinehardt with…

Noted for being Huntsville's oldest African American neighborhood, Rogersville is roughly situated between 7th and 10th Streets and Old Madisonville Road and Avenue N. Micajah C. Rogers, Huntsville's first mayor, originally owned most of the land and…

Oilman and Huntsville native Robert A. Josey donated funding for the construction of this log structure in 1933. Additional funding was obtained from the federal government's Civil Works Administration (CWA), and Gibbs Brothers and Company donated…

Bath Cemetery, near Union Hill Church, was established in the 1870s. The earliest recorded burila is that of William Arnold in 1877. The burial ground has served the Bath Community, locally called Possum Walk, since that time, and area residents and…

James Addison Baker was born to Jane Saxton and Elijah Adam Baker on March 3, 1821 near Huntsville, Alabama.  He was admitted to the Bar in 1843 and wed Caroline Hightower in 1849.  She died in 1852, and he moved that year to join her family members…

Austin Hall, the original building of Austin College, erected in 1851 and used continuously for educational purposes by Austin College to 1876, by a private academy from 1876 to 1879, and by Sam Houston State University from 1879. The Presbyterian…

German immigrant Baldwin Boettcher established a sawmill at Westfield, north of Houston, in 1898, along the International and Great Northern rail line. Boettcher and his mill workers produced 15,000 board feet of yellow pine, gum and cypress lumber…

Successful businesswoman Sallie E. Gibbs was born Sarah Elizabeth Smith in Winston-Salem, North Carolina on October 18, 1844 to Mary Washington (Ledbetter) and Thomas Jefferson Smith. Her parents operated a large plantation, and she received tutoring…

Considered to be one of the oldest homes in Huntsville, the Pritchett home was built by Joseph and Lenora Pritchett. A mathmatics professor at Sam Houston Normal Institute and father of six, Joesph Pritchett expanded the home as his family grew. The…

April 13, 1805 - September 29, 1867 Doctor Pleasant Williams Kittrell, a statesman in North Carolina and Alabama, moved with his family to Texas in 1850. While serving two terms in the Texas Legislature, the doctor authored the bill to establish…

Kentucky native Pleasant Gray and his wife Hannah (Holshouser) left Tennessee with their two children in 1834 and in 1835 settled here on land granted to them as part of Mexico's colonization effort. At that time natural springs located nearby served…

This Greek revival home, commissioned by Thomas Gibbs and constructed by W. M. Barrett in 1862, is now the home of the Walker County Historical Association. The home has housed generations of Gibbs and Powell families as well as female students…

Celebrations of "Juneteenth"--the anniversary of the June 19, 1865 emancipation of Texas slaves--were first held in homes and churches. Later, festivities took place outdoors. By 1915, Huntsville blacks, led by former slave Jane Ward (d. 1933), had…

According to local tradition this cemetery was established by deed in 1853 to prevent people of mixed Native American and pioneer American heritage from being buried in other area cemeteries. The first person known to be buried here was Martha…