Pioneers of East Grayson County (Pink Hill)
Please page down and don't miss the photos.

I would like to tell you about the history of some of the Pioneers early families that settled in East Grayson County while America was still a new and expanding country. Some of the early Washburn and Houston ancestors that we have information on go back to the 1700 and before. The 17 and 18 hundreds were trying times in the new Western Frontier. Families reached out for new ground to settle. Some moved every few years in search of better ground to farm. Some felt that neighbors were hemming them in, even though the nearest neighbor may be several miles away. Whatever the reason, they felt the urge to move and the Washburns were no exception. JOHN WASHBURN was on the census rolls in Culpepper County Virginia in the Mid 1700's. The records show that they had 11 children. John died there in September 1779. His 9th child was Reuben Washburn, born about 1761. Reuben migrated to South Carolina prior to 1780, then to Georgia. The 5th child of Reuben was SAMUEL S. WASHBURN. Samuel was born in August of 1793 in Wilkes County Georgia, near the South Carolina border. Samuel later married Mary Elizabeth, who was born in 1794 in Tennessee. Prior to 1811, Samuel and his family moved to Tennessee, then to Kentucky. Their 1st child, Elizabeth A. was born in Kentucky in 1815. By 1821 Samuel and Mary had traveled to the Arkansas Territory. We know this because the tax rolls in Crawford County, Ark listed their names as a property owner in 1821. Eleven years later Samuel and Mary moved again. This time from the Ft. Smith Area (Crawford Co) to Barry County, MO. They settled in an area East of the present day Town of Washburn MO. Samuel & Mary stayed in Washburn, Mo. until 1836, when Samuel decided the area was getting too crowded and he wanted to move on. Samuel, Mary, and their 12 children, son-in-law, Joseph Morrison, friends Daniel Dugan, and Micaijah Davis and their families started out for the wide open spaces of Texas where a married man was entitled to 1280 acres of land to help settle Texas. There was a great risk to moving to Texas because it was still unsettled territory and renegade Indians, wild animals such as bear, panthers, cougars and wild hogs stilled roamed the area. According to Rev. J. W. Connelly, who settled near Whitewright in 1852 and wrote articles recorded in "Old Choc RecoHectioiwwol. 4, the Washburn, Morrisons, Davis, and Dugans first set up living quarters in 1836 in Texas. The Washburn settled 2 miles northeast of Orangeville. (Today this is near Hwy 11) in what is now the George Dameron survey. The Micaijah Javis's settled on the south side of Bois E" Arch Creek near Blanton springs East of Orangeville. Davis was a blacksmith and built a blacksmith shop at that site. The Daniel Dugan's settled on what later became the Medlin Farm near Orangeville. Joseph Morrison and Elizabeth .Samuel & Mary's daughter and son-in-law settled near the town known today as Randolph. It is believed that the pioneers chose this area because the abundant grass and cocklebur crop indicated to them the land was rich and there was an abundance of water in Bois D' Arc Creek at that time. In 1837 Samuel son's William & James, Daniel and George Dugan, Baily Inglish, and others signed a petition to the President & Congress of the Republic of Texas to establish what later became known as Fannin County. When Fannin County was first formed, it extended West to todays Wichita Fall area. The summer of 1837 was so dry that the water supply became low in Bois D'Arc Creek. One day Dugan followed a herd of mustang ponies to a spring of good water between the present site of Bells and Ft. Warren. He moved his family there in January of 1838, because of the low water supply and increased Indian activity near Orangeville. Davis, the blacksmith, also moved his family to a point on Iron Ore Creek and built a cabin. He later sold the log cabin to J. Ansley. This cabin is now located at Frontier village in Loy Park. Samuel had applied for a land patent on 1280 acres of land in what is now the Pink Hill Community on Mill Creek and Brushy Creek West of the town now known as Bells. He did not believe the Indians were enough of a threat to move twice and his water supply was still sufficient. One day, Samuel went to the Blacksmith Shop on the South side of Bois D'Arc creek, which Mr. Davis had abandoned, to pick up a log chain that he had left there to be repaired. On the way home, Samuel was shot and scalped by renegade Indians. This occurred in April, 1838. Even now this area will give you an uneasy feeling about dusty dark. The roads/trail are still black dirt, creek bottoms with trees hanging over them just as it must have been then. Shortly after Samuel's murder several other skirmishes with renegade Shawnee Indians resulted in deaths of at least 20 settlers. Some of them were William Washburn and his young son, McCarty, Durity, Clemmons, Whisler, Rice, B. Gamer, Camp, Dr. Hunter, his wife, daughter and servant, and George Dugan. These names were mentioned in the Fannin County History Publication. One day while the men were away, Emily Dugan (Daniel Dugan's daughter) heard a turkey call, then another. Indians commonly used this when they were scouting for a raid. She looked out the PortHole and saw an Indian creeping from one tree to another. Taking her father's old flintlock rifle, she drew a bead on the Indian through the PortHole and pulled the trigger. Her aim was true. The Indian dropped to the ground dead. This was at their new home near Ft. Warren. She chopped the Indian's head off and put it on the yard gatepost. After that incident the Dugans had few problems with the Indians. In those days it took 3 men to plow a field, one on the plow and one at each end of the rows watching for Indians. After Samuel died Mary and 9 of the smaller children soon returned to the more settled area of the Ark. Territory. They stayed with relatives in Sugar Creek, Benton Co., Ark. until Texas was more settled. The Republic of Texas approved the 1280 acres for Samuel or his estate on Aug. 2, 1838 with land certificate # 5. It was recorded in 1840. On June 21,1854, the Governor of Texas, E. M. Pease signed the actual land patent # 5. Again in 2001 growth of the Church dictated the building to be expanded to house the growing membership. The Texas Historical Society granted Antioch Baptist Church the status of being a Historical Site and an Historical Marker was erected Oct 27,2001 From 1861 through today and into the future Antioch Baptist Church has met and will meet the needs of all the people that elect to serve the Lord in this community with us. After the Texas & Pacific RR was established through this area in the early 1870's a post office was built and operated on land owned today by Rufus Reynolds. The land is on North Washburn RD between Hwy 82 & the RR.


Pink Hill Postal receipt, May 22, 1884, sender: F.M Cherry.
Registered letter received by James T. Farris, Stockton, Mo.

The Pink Hill Post Office is listed in the Burkes Texas Almanac of 1879.
The postmaster was Mary Catherine (Washburn) Williams or Aunt Kate.


Willie G. and Foy Washburn Houston, Pink Hill Store, 1940.
Pink Hill Store - The Brown's established the first store at Pink Hill
on the old Sherman Road, (now Pink Hill Rd) east of the Church and School.
When the First highway came through they moved the store about 400 yards East.
My father ran the store in the early 1940's.

The store had several owners. Some of them were the Fords, Houston's and Browns. While my parents owned the store, I remember that one customer would come in and buy a small loaf of bread and a can of sardines every day. If you travel the same road he did, you would see the empty sardine cans and the bread wrappers about a quarter mile from the store. There was another farmer that lived in the area that would bring his wife to the store every day on his tractor rain or shine to catch the bus to Sherman to go to work at Montgomery Wards. Today we have the Pink Hill Water Supply, a Welding-Machine Shop, a Plating Shop, Graphic Shop, a Race Track, GCEC sub station providing electric power, many successful cattle and farming operations and the church all located within the Pink Hill Community. Among other items of interest Pink Hill had a baseball team in the 1930's consisting of Browns, Reynolds, Washburns and others. The team was well known in North Texas as one of the best. These young men went on to defend the US in World War II. Another event was the establishment of the Washburn Cemetery. I will expand on the Cemetery later. At this time North Texas was beginning to settle down, the pioneers put their roots deeper by establishing towns such as Sherman, Bells, Kentucky Town, Pilot Grove and others. The towns had businesses and farms established near by. Many new settlers came into this area as others moved on. Some of the new settlers were Fords, Browns, Scotts, Allreds, Williams, Anthonys Gentrys, Lindseys, Hutchins, and Houstons. John P. Washburn, the 7th child of Samuel & Mary was one of the pioneers that decided this was the place to farm and start his family. John had married Hanna S. Ford, Oct 5, 1848 in Benton County Ark. She was 17 at the time of the marriage. They returned to Texas with Mary in the early 1850's. John and Hanna were my Great, Great Grandparents. In Texas they drew lots for their part of the land. John and Hanna's share of the land was on the N.E. Comer of the 1280 acre tract of land on Mill Creek. John P & Hanna had acquired acreage in the E.P. Holland survey, where their 9 children were raised. Their first child was David Henderson Washburn. He did not have to go far to find the love of his life. James W. Scott and wife Margaret (Burleson) had located on 105 acres about 300 yards to the S.E. of John P. & Hanna. James and Margaret had a daughter Matilda Evaline Scott. Eva and David Henderson Washburn (my Great Grandparents) were married in 1876, when she was 23 years old.


David Henderson and Matilda Evaline " Eva" Scott Washburn

David acquired a part of tract 5, which originally belonged to Suzannah Washburn in the Washburn Survey. The land was just north of the RR and Post Office. He built a new home there for his new bride. She lived in the same house until she was 105 years old. She was blind for the last 30 years of her life, but she still managed to keep house, cook on a wood stove, and build fires to heat the home in their fireplace.


Eva Scott Washburn, lived to be 105 years, was blind last 30 years of her life.

David farmed with oxen for a time, was County Commissioner of Precinct 2 in 1907 & 1908. David died in 1924. David & Eva's 1st child died when it was less than a month old. The 2nd child was Maude. She married Jim Monger and had 3 children. My Grandfather John Wesley was their 3rd child and married Ada Mae Sinclair in Leonard in 1906. Ada was the daughter of Wm Thomas & Cynthia Ann (Ray) Sinclair. The Sinclair's came from KY to the Leonard area, then moved to Krum & Sanger area in Denton County in the early 1900's. John and Ada purchased 37 acres in the Henry P. Horton survey just North of the Samuel Washburn Survey where they raised their 7 children. Later they obtained 250 acres from J. J. Hogan (whose wife was a Washburn). This land was part of the original Land Patent. He then purchased 105 acres from the Scott Estate. John continued to farm and raise cattle and horses on all three tracts of land until his death in 1963. He was also county commissioner of Prescient 2 during the early 30's when the Grayson County Courthouse was burnt. Wm Henry (Bill), the 4th child, married Pearl Hughes and had 3 sons. The 5th child was Joe Burns (Big Joe). Big Joe married Dinnie Lane. Their children were Shirley, David Eugene (who owns and lives on part of the original 1280 acres), and Louis Ray. The 6th child was Claude C (Jake). Jake remained a bachelor and lived with his parents, until they died. He died in 1973. John & Ada's children were: An infant that died Geneva Foy (my mother) married Willie G. Houston in 1932 Anna Ruth who married Joe Mitchell in 1939 Hayden E. (Buck) married Pearl Everheart in 1942 Zeila Catherine married Clyde Carter in 1938 Joseph Edward (Little Joe) married Marinan Whiting in 1942. Marinan is a descendent of Daniel Dugan. David Wesley (Wess) married Charlicie Anderson in 1943 Thomas Preston (Peppy) married Nannie Jo Robinson in 1941 All of the Washburn boys served in WW2. Wess was prisoner of war in Germany.


Joe, Buck and Wes Washburn

Ada died in 1930 In 1939 John married Hanna Rhodes Viser from Pilot Grove, TX My sister Billie Davis and I inherited 40 acres each of the original 1280 acres after the death of my Mother in 1979. Shirley and I purchased an additional 45 acres of the 1280 acres from my aunt, Zeila Carter in 1985 and moved to the property. We operate a small cattle and horse operation. We call our acres Heritage Hill Farm. In April 2001 we were awarded a Family Land Heritage award for 150 plus years of continuous agriculture production by members of the same family on the same land. The MC of the program was Preston Lewis. He is a 6th generation from Samuel and Mary through the Gentrys. As mentioned before the Fords and Houstons had found their way to Pink Hill and settled North of the Washburn . The Fords are connected to both the Washburns and Houstons. Hanna Ford (wife of John P Washburn was the daughter of Henry M and Nancy (Sawyer) Ford. Both Hanna and John Washburn were bom in 1810.


Sarah H. (Ford) Cooper, 1884-1916, Benton Co ARK
Sarah Harriet (Ford) Cooper (My Great Grandmother on the Houston side was a daughter of George Tennessee and Jane Baxter (Middleton) Ford. George was bom in 1808 and Jane in 1812 in Tenn. George Tennessee and Henry M. Ford were brothers.


Back row: George Lee, 1886, William Geer, 1897, Cora (Johnson), Albert, 1880,
Sophronia (Reynolds) 1888.
Front row:John Geer Houston, 1857-1901, Sarah (Ford) Cooper, 1856-1938
and Mary T (Huckaby), 1887.

(Jane) my Great Great Grandmother on the Houston side is the one who made this suite, her husband George Tennessee was a fanner, doctor, and Methodist preacher. Even though the Houstons were late in coming to Grayson County, they cam to America in 1735 and General Samuel Houston played many important rolls in early Texas Development. The Houston family came to Grayson Co. from Benton Co. Ark in 1893, however, my grandmother Sarah Caldonia (Cooper) Houston was not a stranger to North Texas. Her step-dad bought cattle in Denison in 1872. He and my grandmother and her sisters drove them to Benton County Ark.. That year they made 3 cattle drives from Denison. Each drive took about 6 weeks. (That's a lot of time in the saddle. It took a lot of stamina to be able to drive
cattle for that long.) My grandmother Sarah Caldonia died in 1938 at the age of 81. This brings us to the Washburn Cemetery. Located in Tract 10 of the original 1280 acre land patent.


Washburn Cemetery

As more settlers were moving into the area in the 1850's, it became necessary to have a cemetery in the community. A burial site was selected out of tract 10 of the Washbum Survey on a hill overlooking Brush Creek to the East. The oldest marked grave in the Washbum Cemetery is that of Mary Gentry, the 8 month old daughter of Suzannah (Washbum) and Martin W. Gentry. She died Feb 18, 1867. There are many older unnamed graves that are marked only with a rock. It is believed that some of these graves date from the 1850's. Many of the Washbum family and families of the Scotts, Browns, Cherrys, Houstons and many others are buried here. At this time there are 257 marked graves existing in the cemetery, with the majority of them being related to the Washburn family. Appr. 100 of the 257 marked graves were buried before 1900. There are many graves of infants and small children in the cemetery. Many of the graves in this cemetery are those of veterans of various wars in which the US has been involved. Also many of the graves are marked with Masonic and Woodsmen of the World symbols. One unique factor of this cemetery is that it always has been and still is free of any charge to anyone within the area or related to anyone within the area wishing to be buried here. For many years the cemetery was bordered by a barb wire fence. Sometimes cattle would get into the cemetery. In the 1960's a chain link fence was installed to better maintain the cemetery. Through the years the cemetery has been cared for by those in the community, with various community leaders taking responsibility to oversee its maintenance. In 1986, the Washburn Cemetery Association was formed and incorporated with the State of Texas in 1987. The Association, which administers and maintains the cemetery meets once a year to elect officers, directors and to transact business. The Goal of the association is to maintain perpetual care of the cemetery and continue to provide a final resting place free of charge to anyone wishing to be buried here. At this time we are also platting the cemetery. September 1997 the Texas Historical Society granted the Washburn Cemetery the status of being a Historical Site and a Historical Marker was erected. This event happened because of the efforts of my sister Billie Davis, a 6th generation from Samuel & Mary Washburn Billie died in Nov 2001 and is buried within the cemetery, her husband Bill Davis and their daughter and son-in- law Leslie and Jim Wolfe continue to live on their 40 acres of the original 1280 acres.
And Yes, I, Ray Houston, am related to Gen. Sam Houston.
My G G G G grandpa Samuel and Sam's Grand Paw Robert were brothers.