By Don Newsom, TSB Contributing Writer
A look back in history: February 12 through February 18
This week in our history has a variety of interesting and significant events.
In 498 AD, Pope Gelasius declared February 14 St. Valentine’s Day to honor a popular European saint a proponent of romance. It was not until the Middle Ages that the day became definitively associated with love based upon a common belief in France and England that February 14 was the beginning of birds’ mating season, which added to the idea that the middle of Valentine’s Day should be a day for romance.
In 1838, Daniel Rowlett was issued the first head right in Collin County. A head right was 4,605 acres awarded by the Republic of Texas to people who lived in Texas prior to 1836
In 1846, the Texas state government was formally installed and J. Pinckney Henderson to the oath of office as governor.
In 1850, the Liberty Baptist Church, in Plano, was started in the home of county pioneer, Henry Cook. It is now known as the Willow Bend Baptist Church.
In 1885, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn were published for the first time.
In 1890, the McKinney branch of the Daughters of the Confederacy was formed. The organization still exists, but is know as the United Daughters of the Confederacy.
In 1893, the City of Plano granted Southwest Telegraph and Telephone the right to erect poles in the city.
In 1894, the City of Plano bought a steam powered gin in order to provide citizens a more economical means to process crops and approved the purchase of a lot to build a city hall and jail.
In 1902, despite protests and demonstrations by ladies in the area, several prominent men: Judge J. R. Faulkner, F. E. Wilcox, R. C. Merritt, K. P. Brown and T. J. Jackson conducted a formal, open debate on the topic: “Men have greater influence than women.” That same year, Sam Burks, a prominent resident of Prosper, rented equipment and had the streets of the city graded. They had become impassible because of excessive moisture that fall and winter.
In 1913, a state bank was organized in the prosperous farming community of Altoga, located 10 miles northeast of McKinney.
In 1927, the MacDowell Music Club was formed in Celina. Initially, the club was established for pianists, but was expanded to all musicians to promote musical art. Although, there is no longer an organization in Celina, they do still function in many areas of the country.
In 1928, a fire did extensive damage to the Waddill Building and the America Theater in downtown McKinney.
In 1945, 30,000 U S Marines, including many from our area, began landing on Iwo Jima during WW II. The same year, the county experienced the most severe ice storm and low temperatures every recorded until what our area experienced in 2011.
Don Newsom is a former Superintendent of Schools for Celina ISD and an avid historian.