Delta County Historical Markers

Texas Lakes Trail Region

Map of Delta County Historic Sites

Topics (click on a topic to jump to that section).
Amy Settlement | Camp Rusk | Delta County | Delta Co. Centennial | Delta County Patterson Memorial Museum | DeSpain Bridge | Giles Academy | Lambeth, Thomas A. | Morgan, Abel | Rattan, Hiram | Smith Brothers | Stegall, Thomas Wilson | Texas Livery Stable

Amy Settlement

Marker Title: Amy Settlement
Address: FM 128
City: Cooper
County: Delta
Year Marker Erected: 1994
Marker Location: about 3 mi. north of Cooper
Marker Text: In 1875 brothers David, Harrison, Madison, and Addison Hobbs left Mississippi and settled here in what was then known as the Big Creek Thicket. A settlement named Hobbs Thicket emerged and in the early 1880s the 2-room Hobbs Thicket Schoolhouse was built. Although travel over the area's muddy roads was difficult, Hobbs Thicket grew and in 1894 local store owner Robert A. Nickolson applied for a post office. The U.S. Postal Service turned down the initial name request of "Hobbs" and substituted "Amy." Nicholson was selected Amy's first postmaster. By 1920 Amy consisted of a post office, doctor's office, telephone switchboard, general store, two churches, barber shop, blacksmith shop, and cotton gin with two large boilers fired by wood and coal. The gin burned down in 1924 and was never rebuilt. The cotton gin's closing precipitated a steady decline in the town. In 1928 the school merged with the nearby Mulberry School System, and in the 1950s Amy's last remaining church and general store closed. For many years after the town of Amy no longer existed a number of its former residents and their relatives continued a tradition established about 1920 of gathering together for homecoming activities.

Camp Rusk

Marker Title: Old Camp Rusk
County: Delta
Year Marker Erected: 1967
Marker Text: (Southern Bounse Committee on Counties and Boundaries. Gov. E.J. Davis named as commissioners to organize the county: Joel Blackwell, John P. Boyd, James Hamilton, J.W. Iglehart, and Thomas J. Lane. To supervise sales of lots in Cooper, Erastus Blackwell was appointed sheriff. The organizing election was held on Oct. 6, 1870, naming Charles S. Nidever as Chief Justice. Commissioners elected were John P. Boyd, J.F. Alexander, Alfred Allen, and J.M. Bledsoe.

Delta County

Marker Title: Delta County
Address: SH 154 and FM 1529
City: Cooper
County: Delta
Year Marker Erected: 1936
Marker Location: 1 mi. east of Cooper
Marker Text: Formed from Lamar and Hopkins counties; created July 29, 1870 The name describes its position and triangular shape. Cooper, the county seat 2nd: 1970 Named for shape, resembling Greek letter (triangle), and for evident origin of its land -- sedimentation at fork of North and South Sulphur Rivers. The first (1820-30) political activity here was oversight by the Sulphur Forks Indian Commission (of the United States) of the Caddo, Delaware, Quapaw, and Seminole inhabitants. After Texas Independence in 1836, the delta came under jurisdictions of Red River, Lamar, and Hopkins counties. Families and wagon trains from Kentucky, Tennessee, and other states -- and from other parts of Texas -- settled here as early as the 1830s. The people of the delta in 1868 petitioned for creation of the county; in 1870 the Legislature of Texas complied. The county seat, a new town to be in the geographic center, was named for Leroy Cooper, chairman of the House Committee on Counties and Boundaries. Gov. E.J. Davis named as commissioners to organize the county: Joel Blackwell, John P. Boyd, James Hamilton, J.W. Iglehart, and Thomas J. Lane. To supervise sales of lots in Cooper, Erastus Blackwell was appointed sheriff. The organizing election was held on Oct. 6, 1870, naming Charles S. Nidever as Chief Justice. Commissioners elected were John P. Boyd, J.F. Alexander, Alfred Allen, and J.M. Bledsoe.

Delta Co. Centennial

Marker Title: Delta Co. Centennial
Address: SH 24, 4.5 mi NE of Cooper
City: Cooper
County: Delta
Year Marker Erected: 1970
Marker Location: SH 24, 4.5 mi NE of Cooper
Marker Text: Erected in the Centennial Year, to commemorate founding of Delta County Named for shape, resembling Greek letter [triangle], and for evident origin of its land--sedimentation at fork of North and South Sulphur Rivers. The first (1820-30) political activity here was oversight by the Sulphur Forks Indian Commission (of the United States) of the Caddo, Delaware, Quapaw, and Seminole inhabitants. After Texas independence in 1836, the Delta came under jurisdictions of Red River, Lamar, and Hopkins counties. Families and wagon trains from Kentucky, Tennessee, and other states--and from other parts of Texas--settled here as early as the 1830s. The people of the Delta in 1868 petitioned for creation of the county; in 1870 the Legislature of Texas complied. The county seat, a new town to be in the geographic center, was named for Leroy Cooper, chairman of the House Committee on Counties and Boundaries. Gov. E.J. Davis named as commissioners to organize the county: Joel Blackwell, John P. Boyd, James Hamilton, J.W. Iglehart, and Thomas J. Lane. To supervise sales of lots in Cooper, Erastus Blackwell was appointed sheriff. The organizing election was held on Oct. 6, 1870, naming Charles S. Nidever as Chief Justice. Commissioners elected were John P. Boyd, J.F. Alexander, Alfred Allen and J.M. Bledsoe.

Delta County Patterson Memorial Museum

Museum Name: Delta County Patterson Memorial Museum
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 334
City: Cooper
Zip Code: 75432
Street Address: 700 W Dallas
Area Code: 214
Phone: 445-0632
County: Delta
Types of Exhibits/Collections: Local/Pioneer History

DeSpain Bridge

Marker Title: DeSpain Bridge
Address: SH 154 and SH 19
City: Cooper
County: Delta
Year Marker Erected: 1970
Marker Location: about 4 mi. east of Cooper
Marker Text: (Site 4.2 miles Southwest) Located where the Bonham-Jefferson Road crossed the South Sulphur River, this pioneer bridge served the area's rich cotton trade for some 20 years. It was constructed before 1850 by landowner Brig DeSpain and his neighbors to provide access to the county seat -- Tarrant -- in Hopkins County. The land was originally awarded to the family of Randolph DeSpain, a Texas Revolutionary soldier who was killed in the massacre at Goliad in 1836. Strongly built of native oak and bois d'arc wood, the bridge withstood heavy traffic of ox-wagons and horse-drawn vehicles. The narrow ridge of land where it was situated was known as "Granny's Neck," for Mrs. Mary Sinclair, who lived in the vicinity. Until cotton and corn became important crops, the South Sulphur River ran clear. Afterward, eroded dirt from plowed fields muddied its waters. Shortly after 1870 -- the year Delta County was organized -- heavy rains washed out the bridge. The State of Texas built a new one, which took the name of G.W. Harper, Toll Keeper. Later Hopkins and Delta counties assumed maintenance of this new bridge, which continued to channel cotton and corn wagons between the two regions for several decades.

Giles Academy

Marker Title: Giles Academy
Address: FM 128
City: Ben Franklin
County: Delta
Year Marker Erected: 1973
Marker Location: about 3 mi. SW of Ben Franklin
Marker Text: Early settlers, who came to this area from Giles County, Tenn., founded an academy at this site in 1859. Hired fellow-Tennessean Thomas Hart Benton Hockaday (1835 - 1918) as the first teacher, and named the new school in memory of their southern Tennessee homeland. Hockaday taught at Giles until his enlistment in the Confederate Army in 1862, and after the Civil War for several years before moving to Fannin County in 1870s. He presented a curriculum emphasizing arithmetic, reading the classics, and uses of the English language. (His daughter, Ela Hockaday, 1876 - 1956) founded the well-known Hockaday School for Girls in Dallas in 1913.) School expenses, including teachers' salaries, were paid by parents of the students. A small community center, with a blacksmith shop, general merchandise store, and church, grew up around the large log schoolhouse. After the organization of common school districts in Texas in 1883, the Academy became Giles School, District No. 4. The old log house was replaced with a frame structure in 1886. A more modern building, erected on this site in 1924, was badly damaged by a tornado in 1936. The Giles School never reopened, and its students were distributed between the Ben Franklin and Pecan Gap schools.

Lambeth, Thomas A.

Marker Title: Thomas A. Lambeth
Address: Oaklawn Cemetery
City: Cooper
County: Delta
Year Marker Erected: 1967
Marker Location: on FM 1529 and Sherman Rd.
Marker Text: Joined Confederate Army at 16; was captain in escort of General John B. Magruder, Commandant, District of Texas. Became sheriff of Delta County in 1879. During his six years as sheriff, the jail was set on fire 25 times, but no prisoner escaped. He shot only one man. Broke up horse thief relay stations and rid county of cattle rustlers. An outstanding peace officer, he also was a model citizen who taught Sunday School.

Morgan, Abel

Marker Title: Abel Morgan
Address: Shiloh Cemetery
City: Cooper
County: Delta
Year Marker Erected: 1962
Marker Location: off S 24 on FM 1531 about 7 mi. SW of Cooper
Marker Text: Star and Wreath Born in North Carolina December 23, 1792. Arrived at Bexar in late December, 1835, as private Thomas Smith in Captain J.O. Blair's Company. Discharged and later enlisted in Captain Ira Westover's Company, Colonel Fannin's Command. Escaped the Goliad Massacre "at which time I was saved for a nurse." Died October 12, 1873. Erected by the State of Texas, 1962

Rattan, Hiram

Marker Title: Hiram Rattan
City: Cooper
County: Delta
Year Marker Erected: 1967
Marker Location: about 3 mi. east of Cooper on SH 154
Marker Text: (homesite 3/10 mi.; grave 4/10 mi. north) Delta County pioneer, born 1805. Settled in Texas, 1835, on brother Larkin Rattan's 1,000-acre land grant; later became site for city of Paris. Both Rattan families moved to Delta County in 1839. Hiram obtained two third-class land grants for producing grain and livestock. Larkin later joined the California Gold Rush, then returned to his native Illinois. Four Rattan relatives were massacred by Texas Indians. Civil War and politics divided family but never their devotion to Texas. Descendants include educators, military and political leaders.

Smith Brothers

Marker Title: Pioneer Smith Brothers
Address: FM 64
City: Cooper
County: Delta
Year Marker Erected: 1968
Marker Location: about 3.5 mi. west of Cooper
Marker Text: Tall, strong men who helped to carve Delta County out of Texas frontier. Benjamin, Charles, Gilford and Mira J. Smith came to Texas from Arkansas before or during the 1840s. They obtained from heirs title to the Moses Williams land grant, patented 1849, and surveyed by Major George W. Stell. After 1853 several generations of the Smith family lived here. The brothers were each 6 feet, 4 inches or taller and weighed over 250 pounds. they cut logs and built their cabins with puncheon (split-log) floors, riven-board roofs and homemade furniture. Instead of nails, wooden pegs were used; instead of glass windows, board shutters. Chimneys were of black clay mud plastered over sticks. Bear meat was the main food, obtained by hunting with flintlock rifles in such dangerous places as Jernigan Thicket, 2 miles west. Charles Smith kept bees, and was known as "Honey." Mira J. Smith was a key man in settling of Delta County, because he was an early blacksmith. His first son, Moses, became a tanner; the second son, Henry, a blacksmith. The women of the four families carded cotton and wool, and spun, wove and sewed clothing. Young Moses Smith also made men's buckskin suits. Grant has produced over $1,000,000 worth of cotton. Marker sponsored by Lina M. and Melvin W. Smith, Margueritta and Ernest O. Smith

Stegall, Thomas Wilson

Marker Title: Thomas Wilson Stegall
Address: FM 198 and CR 4620
City: Lake Creek
County: Delta
Year Marker Erected: 1968
Marker Text: (July 28, 1832 - April 25, 1900) First promoter of Lake Creek community, Stegall was born in North Carolina. He served as a private in the Confederate Army, 1863 - 1865. He and wife Lucinda had eight children. They lived in North Carolina, Tennessee, and Mississippi, then moved to Delta County, Texas, in 1873. A Baptist preacher, Stegall was known for his kind deeds. He once cut an opening in his favorite rose hedge to give a neighbor an exit through his property. The blacksmith shop he built on his land became a community center, forming the nucleus of the town of Lake Creek.

Texas Livery Stable
Marker Title: Texas Livery Stable
Address: W. 300 block of Dallas St.
City: Cooper
County: Delta
Year Marker Erected: 1966
Marker Location: Courthouse lawn
Marker Text: Had animal-drawn vehicles and saddle horses for hire. Served doctors on calls; people arriving on or meeting trains; lawyers attending court;"drummers" (salesmen) on local rounds; land seekers; hunters and fishermen; young men courting; ladies out visiting. Usually housed in a good frame or brick building; stalls, harness rooms, office might cover a block. Pasture was nearby. Boarded teams of businessmen and townspeople. Provided hearses, funeral carriages. Stable was town's "club" -- for men trading, meeting visitors, getting news. After school, used boys for deliveries; they took along horses to ride back to barn. They painted, polished carriages; groomed, fed horses. Tramps cleaned stables, slept in hay. Manager often "doctored" animals, sometimes was an undertaker. Fine saddle horses and rigs stood out front, for show -- top buggies, with storm curtains; plush-lined hacks; Studebaker dray wagons. Rent: $3 to $5 a day. On this courthouse site (until 1912) was Blackwell Livery Stable. To the east (1880 - 1914) Nidever Livery Stable kept city fire engine team at its front. In minutes after an alarm, had fire wagon on its way. A centuries-old institution, the livery stable vanished about 1915. No true successor replaced it. Early travel, communication and transportation series. Erected by The Moody Foundation.

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