Historically, the first week of July is associated with some well know people and developing events in our area.
In 1798, Jake Chamberlain was born a slave in Tennessee. His life spanned three centuries, 18th, 19th and 20th. He gained freedom after the Civil War, moved to Texas, where he remained until his death. He is buried in Collin County.
In 1878, a Presbyterian Church was organized in Prosper.
In 1895, a law was enacted in Plano regulating the conduct of porters and “panhandlers” near the train station to control requests for excessive amounts to handle baggage.
In 1911, a statue of Governor Throckmorton, a native of the county, was presented to the city of McKinney by the Federation of Women’s Clubs and work was begun on the post office located on Virginia Street, which now houses the North Texas History Center. The same year, several buildings were opened in Celina that were part of the design of the square completed by J. Fred Smith, who would later become the first mayor of University Park in Dallas. Gravel was put on the streets around the square and Celina took on the appearance of a growing little city.
In 1921, the last service was held at the Mantua church, organized early in the development of the county.
In 1940, William Robert Abernathy, Jr., a second generation county founder, died.
In 1944, Sam Rayburn from Bonham and the longest serving speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives gave a speech on the square in Celina, during the Fourth of July celebration.
In 1949, the cornerstone was laid for the First Baptist Church in Plano.
In 1950, the McKinney Drive-In Theatre, owned by the Roy Lee Brockman family, opened on the northeast edge of town; just beyond the intersection of current Highways 380 and 5. The family also owned the Ritz Theater on the square.
Nationally, in 1776, the Declaration of Independence was adopted. Fifty and fifty-five years later on the same day, former presidents, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and James Monroe died.
In 1850, President Zachary Taylor died after serving only 16 months in office, shortest term for any President.
In 1981, President Reagan nominated Sandra Day O’Connor, who would become the first female justice on the U.S. Supreme Court.
By Don Newsom, contributing writer. Don is a former superintendent of the Celina ISD and a board member of the Collin County Historical Society. Don and his wife Carol have been residents of the North Texas area for over 30 years. For the last 20 years, they have resided in rural Collin County in a home built in 1890.