The R. E. Stokes Home
By Mrs. Ethel Butler
R. E. Stokes, wife and children came to Texas in the late 1800's and settled in Fannin County, the Hickory Creek Community, on a rented farm; however, in the fall of 1903 he purchased the farm where this house is standing.
I, Mrs. Ethel Butler, as the daughter of the R. E. Stokes' and am the owner of the house for which we are writing about. My husband, Roy and I acquired the property in 1938 from R.E. and Ada Stokes.
I was born in January, 1902 and the house was built in July of 1902 when I was six months old. Tom Morgan, a cousin, was the contractor for the house Lumber used for construction was hauled from Bailey, about 10 miles north of the property. My father checked each piece of lumber and required that it be number 1; if not, it was returned.
The house is located on FM 272 between Leonard and Wolfe City. This is some 20 miles south of Bonham, the county seat of Fannin County. It is a one and one half story structure with seven rooms, two porches, a fireplace and brick flu. The house has the original wood siding which is painted grey with white trim. The inside walls are canvassed and papered and the wood work varnished. The trim around the doors, windows, and fireplace are the grooved-out type that were popular at the time the house was built. The baseboards are also this type, narrowing in at the top of the board. The stair steps have sixteen steps, thirty one inches wide and seven inches high. The banister has ground-out rungs and the top rail grooved. The post at the bottom of the stair case has a square base and a large round ball at the top. It is also grooved and shaped out. Under the stair steps are cased in with beaded ceiling and closed up for a closet with a door at the end. This was the only closet in the house at the time it was built. The architectural style is a 1-1/2 story, frame, gabled roof farmhouse, typical of the kind found in Northeast Texas.
Mr. Stokes, my father, chose this type house because it was a popular style at the time it was built and also because it would give plenty of room for his growing family. In 1917 a service porch was added to the west side of the house adjoining the kitchen. Other buildings on the homestead were a log barn and a 2-room house for farm help.
R. E. Stokes was a very civic minded person, being active in all community affairs. He served as a trustee of the Bailey school for many years. In 1910 he helped secure funds and helped on the construction of a new school house as the old one had become inadequate for the number of children in the community. In 1914 he was instrumental in getting a church built in the community of Bethel.
On May 12, 1908 a cyclone hit the community and blew the house away that the teachers lived in - Horace and Kitty Boudry, killing Kitty and injuring Horace critically. Kitty's body was taken to a neighbors house and Horace was taken to the school house. Men of the community came in to help. R. E. (B0b) Stokes, along with a neighbor, took a covered wagon with a team of mules hooked to it and went to Leonard, four miles west, to bring a Doctor out to attend Horace Boudry, but he did not live many hours. Since all the roads at that time, and many years later, were dirt roads, it took a lot of volunteer workers to keep the roads in passable condition. Bob Stokes had a road drag which he would hitch four mules to and weight down the drag so as to move the dirt and fill up the ruts in the road after rains when it would get dry enough. This was always free of charge.
Bob and Ada Stokes had a family of ten children and all lived to adulthood except one who died in infancy.
A member of the family has always lived in the house. As present owner of the house and daughter of the original owner, I have tried to keep the house in good condition and as much like it was originally as possible. I moved back into the house in December, 1933 and I purchased the farm where the house is sitting in 1938 from my parents, Bob and Ada Stokes. It has been in my possession since that time.
There has been some remodeling done since it has been in the possession of my husband, Roy, and I. In 1958 the porch on the Southside of the house was enlarged and converted into a den, with wood paneling and large windows on the south and east sides of the room. In 1960 a small bedroom was made into a bathroom with a walk-in shower and a tub with a closet opening into the adjoining bedroom. The bathroom opens into the hallway with a linen closet in the bathroom.
Bob Stokes was truly one that "lived beside the road and was a friend to man." He never turned anyone away that came by and asked for a meal or a night's lodging In those days there were "pack peddlers" that traveled through the country selling their wares. One day, one came by and stopped late in the evening wanting lodging for the night. My father took him in and it turned out he was a refugee from the Holy Land. He was a very smart and interesting person to talk to and stayed many times after that.
I feel that his house is architecturally significant because it is typical of the farmhouse of the early 1900's, of which there are very few left in this area that are being preserved and restored as they were originally built. If a house of this type is not marked thee will soon be no evidence left of this style house.
In 1895 R. E. (Bob) Stokes (1865-1944), his wife Ada, and their childlren migrated from Mississippi to Hickory Creek community in Fannin County. Stokes purchased this farm in 1901 and erected this house the following year. Nearby there was a log barn and a two-story room workers' house. The family had ten children. Stokes served as trustee of the Bralley School and helped erect a new schoolhouse and Bethel Baptist Church building. Peddlers traveled dirt roads which Stokes helped maintain with a drag hitched to four mules.
Location: 3 miles NE on FM 272 from Leonard.