She said that she had attended several picnics, three or four, at old Bois d’Arc Springs when she was a young girl.
There were soda pop booths set up and also ice cold lemonade booths. These were on top of the bluff. There was one booth selling soda pop down below the bluff at the springs. There were some Mexicans selling hot tamales and also Mexicans making music. She said they played the song, “Beautiful Ohio” a lot. Sometimes there was a dancing platform built.
She said that S.E. Banker said that earlier picnics were much better with “doll racks” and booths selling trinkets, etc. He helped N.E., his brother, operate “doll racks” and booths there at picnics. Near the end he would sometimes give some of the girls some beads. A lot of them were made out of shells. Clara Howell told Maude before she met Daddy that there was a good looking boy working at a booth who gave her a pair of beads. Daddy said he could not remember it as he gave quite a few of them away.
She said that all of the people there drank from the spring. Fishermen and hunters kept them cleaned out then and there was usually a stake driven down by the springs with a clean can on it for drinking. The water was clear, cool, and good. I always enjoyed drinking there.
We would prowl around the old camp sites. Once Daddy and I found a real good pocket knife. . .
She said that boys and girls would walk the old trail (\over's leap) down to the springs.
Daddy told me that Henry Campbell, a black man, claimed that the springs were on his property. The people would always pay him for the use of the springs during picnics.
Fishermen and hunters camped both above and below the bluff. Some would pitch tents and camp there a week or two.
Bois d'Arc Springs is located in northeastern Fannin County north of the Coffee Mill campground and the Bois d'Arc bridge.
According to an unsigned article in the Honey Grove Signal-Citizen, March 26, 1971:
It is located 17 miles north of Bonham where Bois d'Arc Creek and Coffee Mill Creek meet. This area has been a popular camping ground for more than 125 years because of the timber, wild game and every-flowing springs of pure water. . . .
Huge native rocks mark the springs where boys have carved their names for more than 120 year. The springs themselves have been a source of supply for both man and beast. Pioneers came to bathe and drink.
The first white man to own the springs and surrounding land, William McCarty, took his headright grant on either side of the creeks in 1936. The Indians, however, must have frightened him for he lived at Fort Inglish during the early years. His young son was one of the first victims of an Indian massacre.
In 1852 Thomas Higginbottom, a 50-year-old Virginian with his wife, Grace, seven sons, Joseph, Floyd, Robert, Oscar, Charles, William and Bonaporte, and daughter Sarah, bought 1,000 acres of McCarty land. . . . . . [Higginbottom died in 1862].
Many saw mills have been operated on the Higginbottom land. In the early 1900's men and boys enjoyed hunting and fishing there.
There are many articles in the early Bonham, Honey Grove and Ladonia newspapers about folks going to Bois d'Arc Springs to picnic and to fishing. It was also a place that was considered to have healing waters. At times there were facilities for the visitors. The following articles are from the Honey Grove Signal-Citizen, July 18, 1913 and July 20, 1917.
This remarkable notice from the Honey Grove Signal-Citizen, July 16, 1915, documents a large and organized event.