The following events, some of which forever changed the course of history, took place during the week of November 20.
In 1789, President Washington proclaimed Thanksgiving Day to be November 26. It became an American tradition of gathering with friends and family to observe a day of thanksgiving. That particular day was observed until 1863 when President Lincoln proclaimed that the observation be the last Thursday in November, which we will observe this week.
In 1846, a post office was established in the community of Buckner, the area west of McKinney on Highway 380 where Third Monday Trades Day is currently located. The post office was closed two years later and moved to McKinney when it replaced Buckner as the county seat.
In 1852, A. H. Burns and his family settled in McKinney. Burns originally was from Tennessee. His wife, Lucinda Summers, was born in Texas and a member of one of the original families that migrated to Texas with Stephen Austin.
In 1853, Lewis Shepard married Mary Ann Huffman. They were the parents of J. W. Shepard who married Mollie Haggard and established the community of Shepton in the Plano area.
In 1888, the Princeton post office was established. It is still in operation as one of the seventeen main post offices in Collin County
In 1904, the cotton gin in Blue Ridge burned. It was the largest industry and employer in the community. The same year, McKinney and Plano played a football game against each other for the first time. McKinney won 11 to 5.
In 1963, President Kennedy was shot in Dallas. The events that followed would forever identify our area and remain in our memories. I was a student at Centenary College in Shreveport, Louisiana. At the moment it happened, I was sitting at the counter of a café across the street from the campus. I had just ordered a hamburger, fries and a glass of water with extra lemons so I could make a glass of lemonade. We heard something on the café radio ( there were no television in the cafe ) that got our attention and asked the waitress to turn up the volume. As the patrons of the café heard the news there was complete silence; and as if we were robots we all walked outside.
Up and down the streets people were just standing, looking at each other in disbelief. Even the cars on the street outside had stopped and above the roar of the engines you could hear the saga being shared on the car radios. In the next few hours, JFK died; Lyndon Johnson became the second native Texan to become President and Lee Harvey Oswald, age 24, was arrested.
Similar to September 11, 2001, the world was stunned and everything was in disarray. Even the Texas high school where my wife taught rescheduled a state play off football game for the following week. We were glued to any media available to follow the events.
On Sunday, as the nation gathered to mourn and worship the second tragedy happened. Jack Ruby shot Lee Harvey Oswald and denied the world of ever knowing all the details surrounding the assassination. We celebrated Thanksgiving the next week on November 28, but in a way that would forever be different.
By contributing writer and historian, Don Newsom. A former Superintendent of Schools for Celina, Newsom is also a member of the Board of Directors for the Collin County History Society.