Monday , 23 April 2018

This Week in History: Happy Birthday America!

By Don Newsom, TSB Contributing Writer

July 1 through July 7

Many historians feel that the events the first week in July have had the most impact on us as Americans. You be the judge. 

In 1776, the Continental Congress passed a resolution that “these United Colonies are, and of right, ought to be, Free and Independent States.” Three days later on July 4, the Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence.

In 1826, death claimed the second and third presidents of the United States: John Adams died at age 90 in Braintree, Mass., while Thomas Jefferson died at 83 at Monticello, his home near Charlottesville, Va. Initially they were close friends, but later became bitter political enemies, but always maintained great respect for each other.

In 1848, Joab Biggs organized a Methodist Church in the Bethel community north of Frisco.

In 1854, Plano received stage line service for the first time. Four years later the Sawyer brothers of Collin County purchased the line which ran from Clarksville in northeast Texas through McKinney and Plano to Austin.

In 1863, the Civil War Battle of Gettysburg in Pennsylvania ended after three days in a major victory for the North.

In 1867, the bridge over Wilson Creek, located near present McKinney High School, was closed by the county commissioners. It was deemed unsafe because of heavy north/south traffic during the Civil War following the fall of Vicksburg when it became one of the major supply lines for the Confederacy.

In 1878, a Presbyterian Church was organized in Prosper.

In 1904, the Cotton Camp chapter of the Woodmen of the World held its annual picnic, which included a log rolling contest, in Farmersville.

In 1906, a fire destroyed the corn sheller at the Frisco Mill and Elevator Company. The loss was estimated at $10,000.

In 1908, a Christian church was organized in the community of Baccus near Frisco.

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.

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 1964, President Lyndon Johnson signed into law a civil rights bill.

In 1981, President Reagan nominated Sandra Day O’Connor, who would become the first female justice on the U.S. Supreme Court.

As we celebrate the Fourth of July this week, “Happy Birthday America”. My family will spend it with some British friends.

Don Newsom is a contributing writer for, an avid historian and a former Superintendent of Schools for Celina ISD. 

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