History Lovers Unite
Members of the Murphy Historical Society volunteered at the “Cotton from Farm to Market” event. (Front) Debbi Brumit (Back row, from left) Donna Jenkins, Lolisa Laenger, Gwen Durrant and Mike Hendrix.
Sept. 22, 2018 – Members of the Tri-Cities (Murphy, Sachse, Wylie) Historical Societies Coalition hosted “Cotton from Farm to Market” at the Sachse Historical Society Museum. Attendees participated in multiple interactive stations where members of the North Texas Civilian Historians told about the time period they represented, demonstrated how day-to-day tasks were done in the 1800s and invited those interested to try doing that task. In addition to the educational stations, there were photo opportunities, live musical entertainment and story times.
Donna Jenkins, president of the Murphy Historical Society said that this event originated during one of their tri-city meetings. “Diana Smith from Sachse discussed the idea of a joint event about how important cotton once was to our communities. Eventually, the idea formed to include the importance of transportation to the cotton farmers and the communities.” This was the first event held by the Tri-Cities Historical Societies Coalition.
The group received a grant for $600 from Collin County Historical Commission at Jenkins’ request. The funds were used in a variety of ways: Enlarge historical photos, purchase cotton cards, cotton seeds, sacks for the sack races, promotional flyers, banners and refreshments. Jenkins said they used all of the grant money and more. Additional costs will be divided among the historical societies.
Jenkins explained why this event is important to her, “As a former teacher who lived in and around the three communities all my life, preserving the history of cotton farms and railroad history of the area is very important. Most believe cotton was only grown on large plantations, but this is not true of our areas. The farms were owned and operated by the farmer, his spouse, and the large number of children each family had. Some had tenant families who also helped, but once the sons married, they usually continued to work on the family farm. This continued until after World War II.”
Regarding the practicality of the Tri-Cities Historical Societies Coalition, Jenkins said,
“Since we share a number of pioneering families in all three communities, it makes sense to share ideas and efforts. Collin County commissioners have asked historical groups to use coalitions to help preserve history so we are not duplicating and doing the same things in our communities.” o