Sunday , 20 August 2017
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This Week in History: March 31, First Christian Church, McKinney’s First Church, Established

By Don Newsom, TSB Contributing Writer

March 31 through April 6

Among the many events this week in our history were the first death of an acting President, the creation of Collin County, the beginning of WWI, and the establishment of several churches and hospitals in the county.

In 1841, President William Henry Harrison died of pneumonia one month after his inauguration. He was the first U.S. president to die in office. He would be the first of seven presidents elected in twenty year intervals to die or be killed: Harrison; Lincoln; Garfield; McKinley; Harding; FDR; and Kennedy.

In 1846, Collin County, along with Denton, Hunt and Grayson, were created from Fannin County. It was named for Collin McKinney, a signer of the Texas Declaration of Independence. Each county created from Fannin is approximately the same size with the center and county seat of each being about 15 miles from the county line, or about 30 miles from each other. This was at the suggestion of Collin McKinney so that citizens could travel to their county seat, which from 1846 until 1848 was Buckner, located near the current Third Monday Trades Day, and back home in one day from anywhere in the county.

In 1848, the First Christian Church, McKinney’s first church, was established by J. B. Wilmeth. The initial meetings of First Christian were held in Wilmeth’s blacksmith shop, but later moved to an upstairs room of his home.

In 1870, a Methodist Church was organized in Celina by the Reverend John Noble.

In 1873, J. B. Plemmons started a bus line in McKinney, the first in the state of Texas.

In 1879, Charles Stibbens, who is the only veteran of the Battle of San Jacinto buried in Collin County, died.

In 1882, the Mt. Olive Baptist Church was started in the White’s Grove community, west of McKinney and north of present FM 720. Although the church is no longer there, the Williams Cemetery, often referred to as the Mt. Olive Cemetery, still exists.

In 1884, the Allen Cemetery, another historic county landmark, located on McDermott, east of present Highway 75 was established.

In 1904, the Tib and Callis post offices in the northeast part of the county were discontinued and residents began receiving mail through the Blue Ridge office.

In 1917, the Order of the Eastern Star # 93, which is still a functioning organization in Frisco, began meeting. The same year, President Woodrow Wilson asked Congress to declare war against Germany, saying, “The world must be made safe for democracy.” Two days later, the U S Congress approved a declaration of war.

In 1921, the McKinney City Hospital, located south of the downtown area was dedicated.

In 1929, Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig both hit home runs to defeat the Dallas Steers 12 to 11. One of the members of the Steers was a relative of Jesse McGowan, a long time educator in McKinney, who has a school in the McKinney ISD named in his honor.

In 1943, construction finished on the Ashburn Hospital in McKinney. The hospital later became a part of the Veterans Administration complex located off Highway 5, north of 380. It is now a part of the Job Corps complex.

In 1968, President Lyndon B. Johnson made a surprise announcement that he would not run for re-election; and civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., 39, was shot to death as he stood on a balcony at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee. The killing sparked a wave of riots across the country.

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