Fannin County, Texas

With friends and in uniform, Eugene Walters had his picture taken while serving during WWII.  Nearly 367,000 blacks were mobilized and 100,000 were sent to France. Of these, some 40,000 were assigned to combat units.

​Private Linwood Hill, Co. A., 531st., Engr., served during WWI.  The picture is dated May 11, 1918.

Mrs. M. C. Harris, Evangelist.  

I remember Mrs. Harris holding meetings for us years ago.  She was exuberant minister.  Hattie Nichols.

Roberta Dodd Crawford, Lyric Soprano

Concert was held Tuesday, May 17th, 1927, 8:15 P.M.

I can remember Roberta Dodd, the famous black opera singer, singing in the old Steger opera House - anyone could go there who had money.  it wasn't segregated.  The blacks did have to sit in the balcoony though.  Willie Ross.

Roberta Dodd was born in Tank town section of Bonham in 1897, the daughter of Emma and Joe Dodd.  Roberta's beautiful contralto voice made her internationally famous.

Peter Johnson, father-in-law of Mrs. Hattie Nichols, looks serenely out of this quaint metal frame of the 1910s.

​Sam Harvey, father of Mrs. Savada Parker and Mr. Hobart Harvey.

My papa was 10 years old when he was freed from slavery.  He was brought to Texas by Dr. Martin.  Just prior to the Civil War, Mr. Martin and his whole family came to Texas from Kentucky to start practicing medicine.

My father was a farmer and was in the tobacco business and he stayed on the farm several years.  Later my papa worked at a tobacco factory in Bonham.  I wish I could be as good a man as my father.

​I cooked practically all my life.  I learned to cook, picking it up on my own, because my baby sister was spoiled, I had to do her chores and mine too and that's how I learned to cook.

​I worked in a number of places since I was 19.  I worked at the old Club House for 6 years and I worked for a boarding house in Bonham before I moved to Dallas where I lived for 13 years.  Emmett Elliott.

Dr. McRuffin, a prominent doctor of Fannin County, is pictured with children he delivered.  Dr. McRuffin is on the far left of the group.  This picture was taken in the 1940's behind the Washington School.

Right, front row, left to right: Lucy White, Bobby Rayford, L. Fuller, S. Coleman, Rose Walton, B. Lordimilk, S. Bogar, B. Elliott, A. M. Perry, M. Fuller, L. Doss, P. Fuller, B. J. Mason, B. L. Walton, L. Walton, C. Wilson, L. Carr, L. Dunlap, Ivory Phea, E. Mason, J. McNealy, M. L. Roberson - teacher.  This picture was taken in the early 1950's at the Washington School, Bonham, Texas.  This school was demolished some years ago.

Right:  Mrs. Dorothy Railback, voted teacher of the year, of the Bonham public schools.  Still notably active in the community and her church.

Alcenia Billingley Walton, wife of M. B., a notable teacher of the Bonham schools.​

Marsh Bates Walton, proficient principal of the Washington High School, Bonham, 1948

Left: Spoonmore School 1927, Mrs. Noble Chapman - Teacher

At the time I graduated from high school I told my father that I wanted to continue with school.  My father told me if I would come down to Hickory Grove and pick cotton he would help me go to college.  As it turned out, I didn't get to go to college because father didn't make enough bales of cotton.

Soon after this I got married.  I met a young man, Herbert Silar Chapman, and he wanted to get married.  i told him I did not want to get married because I want to get my college degree, but he said that if I married him he would help me go to college.  He did exactly as he said he would . . .

Right: Ravenna, Texas

1st Row Bottom: Thomas Spencer, R. C. Phillips, Bruce Phillips, G. B. Potts, and Henry Davis.

2nd Row:  Noble Chapter (Teacher), Lucell DeHorney, Veola Espy, Allene DeHorney, Jimmy Espy, Gladys White, Lottiecell DeHorney, Edna King.

3rd row:  Hattie Smith, Ruby Hill, Murrel Oliphant, Walter Potts, Jr., Emma Hill, Forest Smith, Violet Potts, Fred Espy.

I got my inspiration to become a teacher from Mrs. Viola Johnson of the Bonham colored school, who taught the third grade, and I decided at an early age that I wanted to be like Mr. Johnson.  Later, Mrs. Bennett, my 6th grade teacher, helped me make up my mind.  Noble Chapman

This exotic-looking lady was Edrena Rayford, the time was about 1930; the location of the photograph is unknown.  Miss Rayford was named for Mrs. Eddie Ray, wife of Herman Miles, and she is also the sister of James Rayford.

I remember picking cotton.  When we picked cotton, the cotton was put in a long cuck sack.  Sometimes I would pick 300 lbs. or more of cotton a day.  I would stoop down and pick the cotton and put it into a sack.  Sometimes the sack we carried weighed over 90 lbs.  When the sack was full of cotton, we would take it down to have it weighed and would get paid according to the weight.  Then the cotton would be emptied into a wagon until the wagon was filled.  We got paid for the cotton by the 100 lbs.  We were paid $1.50 to $1.75 per 100 lb. sack.

I washed, picked cotton, cooked and put money back to go to college.  I finally graduated.  i worked for 38 years teaching school.  My work was honorable and I did as well as I knew how.  Noble Chapman

Cotton weighing photograph, Fannin County, by Erwin Smith.

Pictured above is William Turner in his buggy.

in 1887, our family lived three miles southwest of Bonham and had 35 acres of ground, three mules and a horse, and we came to town in a wagon, cutting through the roads south of Bonham to get in to town.

Dating was different then.  When nightime came, we had better be at home.  We used a horse and buggy then to carry a girl to church.  The first car I ever saw was a two-seated red car.

The farm will still home to the majority of the blacks.  This did not change until the late 1960's.  Segregation meant that white and colored couldn't mix.  There were restaurants where a black man could work. but they couldn't go there and eat.  In the movies the whites would sit downstairs and the colored upstairs.  At the courthouse there were two wells, separate for the races.  We would attend an all black church as well; then there was no racial mixing in the churches.  Willie Ross

Resplendent in her wedding dress, Tommy Alexander Harris poses for her portrait on June 15, 1930.  For at least a century, the wedding photograph has been as much a part of the marriage ceremony as the prescribed verbal formulae.

Baptist Church and posed for the above photograph, which was usually marked by a special occasion.  Early 1900's.

In the 1890's Rebecca Jones prevailed upon to pose for the camera.  She was the mother of R. B. Chapman and E. S. Salis.

Tom and Nancy Stewart Jones, newly married, stare at the camera in this 1900 photograph.

Jerry Chinner, owner of a Bonham brick kiln and yard on East 6th St., is the grandfather of Mrs. Hattie Nichols and father of Kitty Carraway.  From slavery, he rose to become a prominent merchant and manufacturer with partners Barry Stone and Will Johnson.  Upon his death in 1924, out of respect and esteem his obituary was on the from page of the Bonham Daily Favorite.  Chinner Street, which is on on the west side of the Sam Rayburn Library, is named for Jerry Chinner.

Superbly dressed, Mr. George Kimbrough, grandfather of Mrs. Noble Chapman, was immortalized by teh photographer of the late 1880's.

Herbert Silas Chapman dressed in a suit with a ruffled color and knickers, taken about 1902.

Robert B. Chapman.  A devoted member of the Bethleham Baptist Church, a member of the choir, deacon, secretary of the deacon's board, president of B.Y.P.U. for years, Sunday School teacher and church clerk are evidences of his leadership abilities.  1890.

The engaging picture of the McNeal twins, Odis and Ardis, next to the children's ice cream parlor table and was taken by an unidentified photographer.

​Marie Smith was a young girl in 1910 when she posed for this picture and long before the picture of her twins, Naomi and Nathaniel Smith were taken at age one in 1930.

The former railroadman and landscape architect is Willie Ross.  For breakfast we would eat oatmeal or cream of wheat.  For supper we would eat beans, corn, or rice.  In the summertime we had molasses, bacon and coffee.  For recreation we would fish or hunt, and sometimes we would go and campe a night and fish.  When I was 18 years old, I started working on the railroad laying track.  There I made $1.14 a day; $28 a month was the highest you could make.  Willie Ross.

Amos Ross Age 17, poses with his .22 pump rifle in a studio photograph taken about 1919.  We would take the company train to Paris where we would buy groceries from the railroad store on credit.  They would deduct the money from our pay checks.

In her Sunday best and with a fancy umbrella, Mrs. Kitty Inge stood against an artistic backdrop for this photograph.  Her brother invested the railroad coupler that hooks the cars together.  The date and the photographer are unknown.

Emma Edwards & her daughter posed for this portrait in the early 1900s.

Two of the charter members of the Bethleham Baptist CHurch, Annie Garrett and Melissa Caldwell, stand on the front porch of Mrs. Garrett's home.

Forgotten Dignity.  The Black Community of Bonham, Texas.  A Photographic History 1880-1930.

This document can be downloaded from the Texas A&M University-Commerce Libraries Northeast Texas Digital Collections website.