Saturday , 21 October 2017

This Week in History: Oct. 21, Early Settlers Arrive in Collin County

By Don Newsom, TSB Contributing Writer

October 21 through October 27

Among the events this week in our history were the first transcontinental telegraph message; the invention of the electric light system; destruction of several businesses in our area; the opening of a new post office in McKinney; and events that defined two of our Presidents: the Cuban missile crisis and “Watergate”.

In 1857, Mary Susanna Lunsford, 6 years old, began her trip to Collin County with her family from Oldam, Kentucky. At 19 she married Richard Peel Irwin. They were early settlers in the Hackberry Bluff area in north west Collin County and still have descendents living in the area today.

In 1861, the first transcontinental telegraph message was sent from California to President Abraham Lincoln.

In 1866, the Fay post office in eastern Collin County was discontinued. Residents began receiving their mail at the Royce City post office.

In 1879, Thomas Edison invented a workable electric light at his laboratory in Menlo Park, N.J.

In 1895, a fire in Plano destroyed 17 businesses on both sides of Mechanic Street.

In 1904 a runaway horse tried to cross a railroad trestle 3 miles north of McKinney, near the present Highway 380 overpass. It was caught when its legs dropped between the crossties. It took several men, using make shift equipment, most of the day to free the horse. Train service was also delayed. The horse was not injured seriously.

In 1910, two of McKinney’s major businesses: the Forsyth Machine Shop and the Wilcox Lumber Company were destroyed by fire.

In 1911, the post office on Virginia Street in McKinney opened for business. It was the fourth structure to serve as a post office in McKinney. It ceased being a post office in 1958 when it was replaced by a new building on Lamar Street. The building is now owned by the county and under the care of the Collin County Historical Association, serving as a museum and research center.

In 1935, the most hopeful prospect of oil discovery in the county, the “North Collin County oil well” had reached a drilling depth of 3000 feet. As with many other attempts, it was not successful.

In 1940, the 40-hour work week went into effect in the United States.

In 1962, President John F. Kennedy announced an air and naval blockade of Cuba, following the discovery of Soviet missile bases on the island.

In 1973 President Richard M. Nixon agreed to turn White House tape recordings requested by the Watergate special prosecutor over to Judge John J. Sirica.

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

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