By Don Newsom, TSB Contributing Writer
A look back in history at the week of July 8 through July 14 showcases events that indicated significant growth and development at many levels.
In 1776, The Declaration of Independence was read aloud by General George Washington’s to the troops in New York. He read the document because most of the soldiers could not read and he believed that those fighting for independence should be the first to know for what they were fighting.
In 1798, the U.S. Marine Corps was created by an act of Congress. The same year, a slave Uncle Jake Chamberlain was born in Granger Co., Tennessee. He died in Collin County, a free man, in the early 1900’s. He had lived in three centuries.
In 1846, the first county wide election was conducted.
1862, during the Civil War, Congress authorized the Medal of Honor.
In 1873, the Mantua post office was discontinued, one year after the railroad bypassed the community.
In 1874, William L. Meroney, member of a prominent founding family, received a medical degree.
In 1884, the lower floor of the IOOF building was purchased by a group that began operations as the Plano National Bank.
In 1890, a Baptist church was organized and began meeting in the community of Nevada in southeast Collin County. Descendants of that group still worship together today.
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 1902, one of the largest commercial businesses in the county, Shain’s Meat Packing Plant in McKinney, was destroyed by fire.
In 1909, automobiles were so common in Plano, that a speed limit of 7 mph was established to help control the traffic.
In 1940, the Battle of Britain began during World War II as Nazi forces attacked southern England by air.
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.
In 1984, Democratic presidential candidate Walter F. Mondale named New York Congresswoman Geraldine A. Ferraro his running mate, making her the first woman to run on a major party ticket.
In 1991, Boris Yeltsin took the oath of office as the first elected president of the Russian republic.
Don Newsom is a member of the Board of Directors for the North Texas History Center, an avid historian and a former Superintendent of Schools for Celina ISD.