Ellis County, Texas - Historic Markers #2

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Ellis County TXGenweb
Historic Markers and Monuments

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Year marker was placed appears at end of each text.

Smith Cemetery

(Established in 1852) Burial place of pioneers and generations of descendants, on a knoll that was wilderness when cemetery opened but now overlooks nine urban areas.

Founded by Nancy Owen Smith for her family and neighbors. First burial was her husband Hans Smith (1799-1852), lawmaker in Missouri (1830-32, 1834-36) and Arkansas (1844-46) who moved here in 1846. He opened area's first cotton gin, helped organize Ellis county (1850) and was robbed and murdered while buying goods in Houston for his store. The Smith Cemetery Association, organized in 1953, was chartered in 1955. [ 1973]

Sardis United Methodist Church

Location: Sardis Road off SH 287 west of Waxahachie

Methodist Church activities in this area can be traced to 1845, when the Rev. Thomas Welch, a circuit- riding minister, preached a sermon at Sardis. Following a brush arbor meeting near this site in 1873, a formal congregation was organized. Services were held in a log schoolhouse until 1879, when a frame church was erected to serve the Methodist and Cumberland Presbyterian congregations. A separate Methodist church building was completed in 1904. The Sardis United Methodist Church has been a part of Ellis County history for over one hundred yars. [1986]

Sardis School

Location: Sardis Road, (Business 287) Sardis, 6 miles NW Waxahachie

Children of the Sardis Community attended school in the Methodist Church building from the early 1870s until a small two-room schoolhouse was constructed near this site in 1897. By 1915, the school population had grown such that a larger facility was needed. Over the years, the Sardis School sysbem served as a source of leadership for the community. As the population dwindled and school bus service became available, consolidation with the Waxahachie School District began in 1937 and was completed in 1952. The 1915 schoolhouse remains in use as a community center. [Texas Sesquicentennial Marker 1836-1986]

Sardis Cemetery

Location: Six miles NW Waxahachie on Honeysuckle Trail in Sardis Community

The earliest marked grave in the Sardis Cemetery is that of Susan Jane Rachael (Peevy) Kelly, who died in childbirth in 1871. Early settler Robert Mayfield donated land for the graveyard for the use of families in the Sardis community. The burial site contains the graves of veterans from several wars and of many area pioneers. Over the years there has been an informal association with the nearby Methodist church. In 1924, the Sardis Cemetery Committee was organized to handle matters concerning this rural Ellis County graveyard. [1985]

Telico Cemetery

Location: East 6 miles from Ennis on SH 34; then S on FM 1181 to Cemetery Road

The first burial in this cemetery was that of the Rev. William J. Kirkpatrick, a local Cumberland Presbyterian minister who died on May 1, 1867. Shortly after his death, a congregation organized by the Rev. W. G. L. Quaite was named in Kirkpatrick's honor, and a place of worship was constructed later near the gravesite. Land surrounding Kirkpatrick's grave was part of the plantation of Confederate Veteran Major Henry Pannill. Pannill's son, Joseph, died in October 1867 and was buried near Kirkpatrick's gravesite. The following year Pannill deeded some of his land around the burial sites to trustees of the Kirkpatrick Cumberland Presbyterian Church. Within the next decade the community of Telico grew up around the church building and cemetery. After the turn of the century, however, people began abandoning the village for the conveniences of the railroad town of Ennis (6 mi. W) and the cemetery fell into a period of neglect. Telico Cemetery serves as a reminder of the hardships faced by area pioneers. Of the more than 300 known graves, 45 date before 1882 and almost half are children under the age of ten. Since 1937 the Telico Cemetery Association has cared for the grounds.

The Telico Church

Location: six miles ENE of Ennis on SH 14

Built in 1867 for the Kirkpatrick Presbyterian Church, this sanctuary later served other denominations. It was a Baptist Church from 1909 to 1961. Designed in the Greek Revival style with high Victorian Italianate details, it features shoulder architraves, paired brackets in the cornice and six-over-six windows. The building was stabilized after a 1960 tornado tore it from its foundation. A 1986 restoration project returned the church to its historic appearance. [1988]

Oak Lawn School

Location: Wyatt Street, Waxahachie

Oak Lawn began as an elementary school for Blacks in 1887 on North Aiken Street. In 1893 the school moved to this site. By the end ofthe 19th Century, high school classes had been added to the curriculum. Two of the first graduates, Prince Goldthwaite and Robert Davis, later became Oak Lawn High School Principals. Oak Lawn experienced tremendous growth during the 20th Century, so the elementary and high schools were separated in 1952. The building at this site continued to serve grades one through seven until the school was closed permanently in 1970. [1985]

Homesite of Dr. D. G. Thompson

Location: 417 West Main Street, Waxahachie

A native Texan, Dixon Gillespie Thompson received his medical degree from Louisville Medical School in Kentucky and trained at several hospitals in the east. He married Rufa Jones in 1882 and built this residence for his family in 1883-1884. In addition to his prominence as a physician, Dr. Thompson had large land holdings in Ellis County and owned an interest in three banks. Although he sold his home in 1917 to Mary M. and John Beatty, Dr. Thompson continued to reside here until his death in 1935. [1985]

Trippet-Shive House

Location: 209 North Grand Avenue, Waxahachie

Completed in 1896 for banker and civic leader H. W. Trippet (b. 1853), this residence later was sold to Walter E. Shive (b. 1874) who owned a successful Waxahachie seed, grain and coal store. Exhibiting influences of the Queen Anne and Shingle styles of architecture, the Trippet-Shive home is indicative of the houses built in this neighborhood at the turn of the century. Interesting features include the cedar fish-scale shingles, wraparound porch and octagonal tower. Restored by the Robert Bell Family. [1983]

Dunlap-Simpson House

Location: 1203 West Main, Waxahachie

A fine example of Queen Ann Revival architecture, this house has among its many rooms two hexagons, two octagons. It was built 1890/91 by Judge Oscar E. Dunlap (1849-1925), a banker, political leader, chairman of Texas Council of Defense in World War I, good roads advocate, industralist, humanitarian, founder of the Sims Library in Waxahachie. Later owners include Mr. and Mrs. E. B. Prince, Mrs. Sadie R. Hardesty and Mr. and Mrs. Max H. Simpson. [1974]


Location: 701 South Rogers, Waxahachie

This 20-room home was built in 1894 for $12,000 by Eliza and Burt Ringo Moffett, who owned a flour mill nearby. Amanda B. Cox, themother of 14 children, purchased the residence in 1930 and her heirs occupied it until 1978. Named "Rosemont" by the original owners, the home reflects the elegant architectural styling of the 1890s in the use of wide verandas, ten fireplaces with carved oak mantles, an elaborate onion dome and gingerbread trim. Restored in 1979 by Helen and Keith Beers. [1981]

Joshua Chapel A. M. E. Church

Location: 109 Aiken Street, Waxahachie

Organized in 1867, this congregation was named for its first pastor, the Rev. Joshua Goins, who started many African Methodist Episcopal churches across the state. Worshipers met in an old schoolhouse until this sanctuary was constructed in 1917. Designed by noted Black architect W. S. Pittman, the building exhibits influences of the Romanesque Revival style and has become a landmark in Waxahachie's Black community. [1984]

Eddy P. Hawkins Home

Location: 200 South Hawkins, Waxahachie

Eddy Pennell Hawkins, a member of a pioneer Ellis County family, built the first two rooms of this home soom after he wed Netta Lewis Carson in 1878. In 1900 he enlarged it to its present three-story style, a reflection of his position as a successful businessman and civic leader. The late Victorian style home exhibits Queen Anne and shingle style influences. It features beveled window glass, neo-classical porch details, and a shingled second story. Restored by Larry and Glinda Felty. [1984]

Hawkins House

Location: 210 South Hawkins, Waxahachie

Benjamin Franklin Hawkins, a member of the Peters Colony who was instrumental in the organization of Ellis County, built a one-story house here in 1851. It was incorporated into a two-story house in the 1880s, and was remodeled into its current colonial revival appearance by Hawkins's son, Frank Lee, in 1903. Prominent features include its large fluted Corinthian columns, two-story balcony with balustrade, and decorative dentils. Purchased and restored by Glenn and Dean Morton, 1983. [1990]

Strickland-Sawyer House

Location: 500 Oldham Avenue, Waxahachie

Maggie Young Beall, a widow, built a house here in 1888. One year later it was purchased by J. F. Strickland (1861-1921), a cofounder of Texas Power and Light Company and a pioneer of area interurban lines. In 1897 he had C. W. Thrash build the present home over the existing residence. J. W. Sawyer (1868-1927), a druggist, bought the property in 1914 and members of his family lived here until 1945. The Victorian styling features a 3-story turret containing the interior stairwell. [1980]

Hancock Building

Location: 203 South College, Waxahachie

Businessman William F. Lewis and Ellis County Judge M. B. Templeton built this victorian commercial structure in 1890. Decorative brickwork and cast iron columns highlight the facade. William Pitt Hancock (1872-1955), a well-known defense attorney, purchased the property in 1907 to house his law office. A grocery store, Justice of the Peace and real estate and insurance offices have also occupied the Hancock Building.[1984]

Williams-Erwin House

412 West Marvin, Waxahachie

Erected in 1893 for Edward Williams, this Victorian home reflects the affluence of local cotton merchants during the late 19th Century. Waxahachie contractor C. J. Griggs supervised the construction. Beeded boards and shingling decorate the exterior walls and elaborate eastlake style detailing adorns the porch. Williams sold the house in 1902 to R. K. Erwin, another prominent businessman. The Erwin family owned it until 1943. [1978]

Site of Marvin College

Location: 101 East Marvin, Waxahachie

The Northwest Texas Conference Methodist Episcopal Church South built a college named for Bishop E. M. Marvin at this site in 1870-71. Waxahachie Methodists and others gave land, services, and money to develop the college. Distinctions were attained in music and chemistry teaching. The astronomical observatory was an outstanding feature. The enrollment reached about 350. Financially troubled, the college stressed practical studies in the 1880s but closed in 1884. The City of Waxahachie then bought the property and used it to house its original public School. [1977]

1889 Masonic Lodge Hall

Location: 201 South College, Waxahachie

A tin cornice decorated with Masonic emblems tops this three-story brick building constructed in 1889 for Waxahachie Lodge No. 90, A. F. & A. M. The first floor was rented to retail stores, the second occupied by professional offices and the third used as a lodge hall until 1926 when the Lodge moved. Sold in 1929 to D. D. Eastham, the structure was later owned by his son, Jack. It was purchased in 1975 by the Ellis County Historical Museum and Art Gallery, Inc. [1976]

First Presbyterian Church Building

Location: 501 Main Street, Waxahachie

The Rev. J. A. Smiley organized the First Presbyterian Church in 1871 with 16 charter members. The first church building was erected in 1876 and replaced by this structure in 1916-17. After this congregation merged with another church in 1979, the building was sold to the Ellis County Art Association for use as a Fine Arts Museum. It is a fine example of a classical church with beaux arts details in its modified doric columns and art glass windows. [Recorded Texas Historic Landmark 1997]

First Baptist Church of Waxahachie

Location: 201 McMillan Street, Waxahachie

Organized in 1861 by twelve citizens meeting in the Methodist Church, the Baptist congregation elected W. H. Stokes as its first pastor. The group met in several locations until their first church building was completed in 1882. Several successive structures were built, and the present facilities were begun in 1949. The present sanctuary was dedicated in 1959. A part of Waxahachie history for over 125 years, the First Baptist Church has concentrated its efforts on Baptist missionary activities and community assistance projects. [Landmark Texas Sesquicentennial 1836-1986]

Waxahachie City Cemetery

Location: West Hawkins Street, Waxahachie

The first burial here occurred on Jan. 1, 1852, after the death of pioneer merchant Silas Killoough (b. 1805), one of the founders of this community. The original 4.16 acree tract was given in 1858 to trustees of the Methodist Church by Emory W. Rogers (d. 1874), who was Waxahachie's first settler (1846) and donor of land for the townsite. About 1900, the cemetery was transferred from church to municipal jurisdiction. Byh gifts and purchases of additional land, the site has grown to 65 acres and contains about 10,000 graves. [Recorded Texas Historic Landmark 1976]

Jefferson Dunaway Home

Location: On FM Road 1493 7 miles southwest of Waxahachie

Built in 1855 by Jefferson Madison Dunaway for his bride, Sarah Ann Brock. Stone for chimneys came from the nearby creek banks. Cypress wood was used in structure. Two later generations of the family have lived there; the households of Jefferson Richard (Jeff) Dunaway and Richard Waldo Dunaway. [1970]

Rogers Street Bridge

Location: Rogers Street Bridge over Waxahachie Creek, Hwy 77

Located on an early Waxahachie Creek fording site that served pioneer settlers of the area, this truss bridge was built in 1899. It was manufactured by the Wrought Iron Bridge Company of Canton, Ohio, and was one of thirteen approved by Ellis County Commissioners from 1888 to 1890. The span provided an extension for Rogers Street, a road named for Emory Rogers, donor of the Waxahachie townsite. As part of an important early north-south commercial route, the Rogers Street Bridge was vital to the growth and development of the city. [1981]

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