By Don Newsom, TSB Contributing Writer
March 10 through March 16
Two inventions – the telephone and the cotton gin, which would have a tremendous impact on the develop of our area, and the beginning of free rural mail delivery in the county, highlight this week’s events in our history.
In 1496, Christopher Columbus returned to Spain, concluding his first voyage to the Western Hemisphere.
In 1794, Eli Whitney received a patent for his cotton gin, which would revolution the American cotton industry and fifty years later would be the foundation for the development of our area as the “black land” of North Central Texas proved ideal for growing cotton.
In 1848, the Hackberry Bluff post office, located in a stage station between McKinney and Celina was discontinued. William H. Pulliam, postmaster, announced that residents would receive their mail from the McKinney office. In 1881, some beginning receiving mail through the Celina office.
In 1859, brothers John and James Cave and James Farris erected a bridge across Wilson Creek in the area of the current McKinney Boyd High School in order for farmers to access McKinney with crops and supplies without worry of the creek being to high to cross.
In 1860, the First Christian Church of Plano was constituted as part of a union church group. The church still functions at its present location in the historic district of Plano.
In 1862, two more local companies of the 16th Regiment of the Texas Cavalry were mustered by Captains Gabriel Fitzhugh and John W. Kolfus to fight in the Civil War. The same year, Alfred Johnson, an area entrepreneur, organized a spy company that both the Union and Confederacy used to identify opposing spies in the county and area. This is the group depicted in the mural painted by Frank Klepper in 1934 in the old post office, now The North Texas History Center, located on Virginia Street in McKinney.
In 1876, the first successful voice transmission over Alexander Graham Bell’s telephone took place in Boston as his assistant heard Bell say, “Mr. Watson, come here. I want you.” The first lady to communicate on the new invention was Lucy Hayes, wife of U S President Rutherford B. Hayes.
In 1883, the Collin County National Bank, located on the square in McKinney, was chartered.
In 1885, the City of Plano enacted an ordinance that prohibited the erection of barbed wire fences along public streets.
In 1900, the growing community of Weston, northwest of McKinney began free rural mail delivery from its own post office. The office was one of the first in the nation to apply and be funded by the federal postal service to offer this service.
In 1902, the first birth of a child in newly incorporated Frisco was recorded, a daughter born to the James Gregory family.
In 1907, the Order of the Eastern Star # 977, an organization still functioning, was started in Wylie.
In 1942, as Japanese forces continued to advance in the Pacific during World War II, General Douglas MacArthur left the Philippines for Australia. He subsequently vowed: “I shall return.”
In 1964, Jack Ruby was found guilty and sentenced to death for the murder of Lee Harvey Oswald. The decision was later over turned and Ruby died before he could be retried. The same day, the boy of JFK was moved from a temporary site to at permanent memorial site in Arlington National Cemetery.
Don Newsom, in period costume at right, is an avid historian and a former Superintendent of Schools for Celina ISD.