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,…

The United States Post Office in Rusk, Texas, features a Bernard Baruch Zakheim mural titled "Agriculture and Industry at Rusk." Completed in 1939, Zakheim's powerful mural illustrates Rusk's rough agrarian and industrial history from multiple…

Just a minute’s drive from the 1925 county courthouse in Quitman, Texas, one may find the thoroughly modern, electric blue headquarters of the Wood County Electric Cooperative, Inc. (WCEC). Like many contemporary buildings, the WCEC headquarters…

The Rice Building at 909 Texas Avenue sits atop one of the most historic and fascinating pieces of real estate in all of Houston. Initially set aside by Augustus and John Kirby Allen for the Republic of Texas, the site served as home of the…

Born to Emmanuel and Helen Sterne in Cologne, Germany, on April 15, 1801, Adolphus Sterne spent his childhood in a community torn by religious and political discord. While working in a passport office at age sixteen, he learned that he would soon be…

Searching for authentic folk music, John A. Lomax made multiple trips to the Sugar Land area in the 1930s. First in 1933 and 1934, he and his son Alan visited the Central State correctional facility to document work songs of African American inmates.…

In 1933 and 1934, folklorist John A. Lomax and his son Alan visited the Darrington prison farm to record the music of African American convicts. At Darrington, they captured not only the vocals of inmates who sang as they worked in rhythm, but also…

The son of Jesse and Fannie Baker, Wendell Harold Baker (1922-2013) played a crucial role in the civil rights movement in Walker County. His parents provided him with a first rate public education, and he graduated with honors from Samuel Walker…

During their field recording sessions in fall 1940, John A. and Ruby T. Lomax visited the Lufkin area collecting songs that ranged from gospel music to blues to popular 19th century tunes. In Keltys, a lumber mill town then just outside of Lufkin,…

John A. Lomax first met Henry Truvillion, an African American in his mid-40s, in the company town of Wiergate in Newton County. Truvillion worked for the Wier Long Leaf Lumber Company which operated a large logging business in the East Texas…

In his pursuit of folk music, John A. Lomax visited penitentiaries throughout the South specifically to document the music of African Americans that, because of racial segregation and the isolation of prison life, remained pure or relativity free of…

To collect authentic, undocumented folk music, John A. Lomax and his son Alan specifically sought out "made up" songs, ones that had been created and developed by everyday people. In 1934, while searching for the local and secular music of African…

In 1866, a group of East Texas plantation owners working with the Polish merchant, Meyer Levy, formed the Waverly Emigration Society. This enterprising new group hoped to bring European farmers to the Waverly area in order to replace the…

Huntsville’s Andrew Female College was founded in 1852 and chartered by the Texas Conference of Methodist Churches on February 7, 1853. Its creation mirrored that of Austin College, a men’s institution in Huntsville that had admitted its first…

During the twentieth century, Minnie Fisher Cunningham (1882-1964) worked as a leading reformer on women’s issues, including voting rights and equal pay. Born near New Waverly, Texas in southern Walker County, Minnie was raised by her parents,…

As part of their Southern States Recording Trip in 1939, John A. Lomax and his wife Ruby Terrill Lomax attempted to expand their catalog of folk music by incorporating a wider variety of genres, and the contributions of Huntsville resident Grace…

Folklorist John Avery Lomax toured prisons in the South to record the voices and music of those who were incarcerated there, particularly African American inmates or as his records indicate, "Negro convicts." Lomax and his son Alan, a student at the…

Born in 1822, Joshua Houston was raised as a slave on the Lea plantation near Marion, Alabama. When his master, Temple Lea, died in 1834, ownership of Joshua was transferred to Temple's daughter, Margaret Lea. There seems to have been little change…

During the summer months of 2001, representatives from Huntsville’s Main Street Program worked with faculty members and students from Sam Houston State University to move the historic Roberts-Farris cabin from its location in West Sandy to a…

Huntsville's First United Methodist Church, located at 1016 Sam Houston Avenue, has served as a key institution in Walker County for over 150 years. Throughout its long history, First United Methodist has provided its parishioners with spiritual…

Samuel Walker Houston (1871?-1945) was the son of Joshua Houston and Sylvester Baker, two former African American slaves who worked for General Sam Houston in Huntsville, Texas. During the 1880s and 1890s, he attended the nation's leading black…