#TBT – In recent months the Newton Gresham Library has started to weed through the collection of books in the library.
This 1943 library stamp found in a book called, Stories for Men anAnthology by Charles Grayson, 1925, played an important part in the history of Sam Houston State University, Huntsville, and Walker County.
The seventy-four year old library stamp was used to identify books that were from the library of the Station House Hospital in the Enemy Alien Internment Camp, Huntsville, Texas. Commonly known as the Huntsville Alien Internment Camp or the Huntsville Prisoner of War Camp. Built in 1942 the camp held German POWs and later on Japanese prisoners of war. POWs and servicemen who were there were allowed to borrow books from the library while they were in the hospital.
In 1946, the camp was closed and then SHSU President Dr. Harmon Lowman acquired the camp, later reopening it to house returning veterans who would receive the G.I. Education Bill that enabled them to go to college or vocational school. Renamed, “Country Campus,” in 1946 the camp became a small city and housed classes for the Josey Vocational School. The “CC” had its own post office, church, baseball diamond, and food facilities.
The University owned the, “Country Campus,” until 1993. Country Campus was than purchased by a SHSU alumnus whose family was one of the original landowners who sold the land for the internment camp to the US government in 1942. A small plot of land donated by this same family to SHSU holds the university’s observatory used by students to observe the stars and night sky events. #SHSULibrary
Standing by the Reynolds/Farris cabin on the grounds of the Sam Houston Memorial Museum.
SHSU students help in putting together the pieces of the Cabin on the Square, The Houstonian, 9/11/2001
On Sunday, my daughter, granddaughter, and your SHSU University Archivist headed to the Sam Houston Memorial Museum Park to run off some of my 2-year old granddaughter’s energy.
Heading up the driveway by the Steamboat House there in front of us on a trailer was the Roberts/Farris Cabin; also known as, “The Cabin on the Square.” Fighting the crazy wind blowing I immediately walked towards the cabin and realized two things: I never knew just how small the 176-year-old cabin was and how sad I felt for the little cabin. Taken apart in pieces in 2001, than put back together by history students from Sam Houston State on the square where it finally found a new home only to move again 15 years later. Thankfully, all in one piece this time. Sitting there on a trailer besides the Woodland Home, Bear Bend Cabin, and the old Exhibit Hall, the cabin just looked tired and unhappy.
Not to worry little cabin, you are in BearKat country now. Here we take our motto seriously, “The Measure of a Life is It’s Service.” The people, who work at the Sam Houston Memorial Museum, know how to treat historic buildings big and small. They will have you settled in no time and once again, there will be all kinds of visitors to come visit you to ooh and awe over your simple beauty.
To see more history about the Roberts/Ferris cabin come and visit the Special Collection Department in the Newton Gresham Library. You can also read, Cabin Fever: The Roberts-Farris Cabin: A Campus, A Cabin, A Community.” A brief account of the Life and Times of the Builders and Residents of a Small Log Cabin in Walker County. This title is available at call number: F392 .W24 C75 2002.
Raymond Hamilton was a notorious outlaw and member of the Barrow Gang in the early 1930s. Born in Oklahoma and raised in Dallas, Hamilton later fell in with the infamous Bonnie and Clyde of the Barrow Gang. He was well-known for participating in the murder of Sheriff Eugene C. Moore in Stringtown, Oklahoma. But it was his escape from the Eastham prison farm in Texas that eventually put Hamilton in Old Sparky, the Texas Electric Chair.
In 1935, Raymond Hamilton was sentenced to death in Walker County, Texas for the murder of Major Crowson, a Texas prison official. Crowson was shot during Hamilton’s escape from the Eastham prison farm. Hamilton and Joe Palmer escaped with the help of Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow. Hamilton claimed that Joe Palmer, another notorious Barrow Gang member killed Major Crowson. The jury determined that there was no way to distinguish which man had killed Crowson during the escape and sentenced both men to die in the electric chair. Above are the official court documents from Walker County on Hamilton’s death sentence.
Stop by SHSU Special Collections in the Newton Gresham Library if you are interested in more information on Raymond Hamilton and other famous Texas outlaws.
Thanks to Trent Shotwell, MLIS, Library Associate for Special Collections in the Thomason Room for contributing this week’s posting.
John Felix Kelly was born on August 31, 1845 in Borrisokane, Ireland. He came to New York in 1865 because of the Irish Potato famine and he was in Galveston, Texas by 1867,. John F. Kelly then moved to Cincinnati, Texas and married Mary Catherine “Kate” Smith in 1892. John and Kate had four children. John was a Catholic and Catherine came from a Protestant family. After the town of Cincinnati dissolved, John F. Kelly and his family moved to south Walker County. Kelly built a sawmill several miles North of New Waverly, Texas. John F. Kelly later died as results of injuries he sustained when a boiler exploded at the mill.
The John F. Kelly Collection (1866-2007; one box) contains the original diary of John Felix Kelly, an early Walker County settler. His personal diary includes perspectives on events, weather, east Texas terrain, and people. The diary includes songs, scientific problems, surveying procedures, and medical treatments. The John F. Kelly Collection also contains photographs, correspondence, and additional documents that relate to John F. Kelly and his family.
View a detailed finding aid of his collection at Sam Houston State University’s Archon page and see just what materials are in the collection.