Wednesday , 20 June 2018

This Week in History, May 19: First County-Wide Cotton Celebration

By Don Newsom, TSB Contributing Writer

May 19 through May 25

The opening of the county’s first post office; the first legal hanging in the county and state; and the first meeting of the Democratic Party highlight the events this week in our history.

In 1787, the Constitutional Convention convened in Philadelphia.

In 1832, the first Democratic National Convention got under way, in Baltimore. Their first Presidential candidate was Andrew Jackson.

In 1844, Samuel F.B. Morse transmitted the message, “What hath God wrought!” from Washington to Baltimore as he opened America’s first telegraph line.

In 1846, a post office was established in Buckner, the original county seat of Collin County located where present day “Third Monday Trade Days” is.

In 1851, a post office was organized in the community of Millwood. It closed in 1907 and residents began receiving their mail from the Royce City office.

In 1857, the community of Sugar Hill was renamed Farmersville.

In 1872, the first legal hanging in Texas was carried out in McKinney when Stephen Ballew was executed for the murder of James P. Golden. Both were from Illinois, but the murder occurred in Collin County while they were on a trading expedition. One of the jurist was Benjamin King of Farmersville. King, who was 28 years old at the time, was the father of Henrietta Harris who wrote the words to the song “Texas, Our Texas” and an unpublished history “The First Murder of Collin County”. King and Mrs. Harris are ancestors of a close friend of our family.

In 1893, the Prosper post office was established and has been in continuous operation since that date.

In 1895, a post office was opened in Climax. It served the community until 1901 when it was closed and mail was delivered through the Farmersville office.

In 1903, the first poll tax was enacted in Collin County. The tax was a fee that individuals had to pay in order to be eligible to vote in county elections.

In 1908, the Central Christian Church in Frisco was organized and still serves the community.

In 1939, regular trans-Atlantic air service began as a Pan American Airways plane took off from Port Washington, N.Y., bound for Europe.

In 1940, the county hosted the state’s week long celebration of the cotton industry.  It was the first in over a decade, due to the fallout of the “Great Depression”.  The decision to hold the event in Collin County was because the county had been the largest produced of cotton in the state during that period.

In 1961, President John F. Kennedy asked the nation to do what many thought was impossible: work toward putting a man on the moon by the end of the decade. It happened.

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

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