Dayton Historical Society
111 West Houston St., Dayton, Texas
Tour Locations of Dayton Stars
City of Dayton
In addition to the historical markers at the Dayton Old School (1900) and Jamison Log Cabin (1850s), there are six Texas Sate Historical Markers in Dayton:
2 churches - 1st Baptist (1878), 1st Methodist (1855)
2 cemeteries - Linney (1850s), French (1835)
1 event - Runaway Scrape (1836)
1 community - Stilson (1896)
The Dayton Historical Society was originally formed to manage the establishment of historical markers.
Use slideshow window on right to scroll through photos.
Use page arrows at bottom to scroll through list of markers.
Click on image to left of each marker for more information.
Texas historical marker
Preschool Weekday Playground
Texas historical marker
First Baptist Church of Dayton Marker Location: 115 South Church St.
The first Baptist congregation in Dayton was formed in 1878, when ten worshipers gathered together to begin a church. A one-room schoolhouse, located on what is now East Cook Street, was used for worship services until 1895. The church's first pastor was the Rev. E. M. Forman, a circuit riding minister. Other traveling clergymen also pastored the small church in its early years, including D. W. Jackson, J. McArthur Black, J. A. Lee, J. F. McLeod, and J. M. Day.
In 1895 the Baptist congregation began conducting services in a Union Church on the southeast corner of Waring and North Main streets. In 1901, following damage to the Union Church in the hurricane of 1900, construction began on a baptist sanctuary near this site on South Church Street.
Throughout its history the First Baptist congregation has sought to serve its community. A Ladies Aid Society was organized in 1911, and the first of many local missions was established in 1912. A youth ministry also began in 1912. The church congregation has maintained an active involvement in both home and foreign missionary projects.
First (United) Methodist Church of Dayton Marker Location: 106 South Cleveland St., Dayton, Texas
Methodist worship services were conducted in West Liberty, later known as Dayton, as early as 1855. By 1900 the First Methodist Church had a full-time pastor, the Rev. G. T. Newberry, who conducted services in the Dayton schoolhouse on North Main Street.
In 1906 the congregation built its first sanctuary. A one-story wooden structure with a bell tower, which continued to serve the members until 1928. A church school also was organized in 1906, and Charles Wilson was elected to serve as the first superintendent.
A series of worship and education facilities were constructed to accommodate the growing congregation through the years, including a large two-story brick building with a basement on the northwest corner of Houston Avenue and Cleveland Street in 1928. Due to continued growth, the 1928 structure was razed in 1980, and the congregation built a new sanctuary in 1981.
After a denominational merger in 1968, the church's name was changed to first United Methodist Church. throughout the years the congregation has served the community with a variety of worship, educational, social, and missionary programs.
French Cemetery Marker Location: Turn off Hwy 321 onto FM 1008 (E.Clayton St.), drive 2.8 miles - cemetery is on left side
According to local tradition, this cemetery derives its name from a group of French settlers who were killed and buried near the site sometime during the 18th century. Although no physical evidence of the French burials has been found, the name has been in common use for more than 100 years.
Referred to in the mid-1800s as the Pruett Family Cemetery, the graveyard is located on land acquired by Beasley Pruett from the Mexican government in 1824. Upon his death in 1835, Pruett was buried on his land grant in a now-unmarked grave.
The earliest marked grave here, dated 1860, is that of Martha Day, a daughter-in-law of Beasley Pruett. Other early Liberty County settlers and Pruett family descendants buried here include Reason Green (1800-1868), who held several 19th-century public offices; surnames of other prominent citizens buried here include Brashear and Linney.
Veterans of four wars and the Korean Conflict are interred here. In 1946, landowners W. T. Jamison, Sr. (1878-1962) and J. N. Coleman (1882-1948) formally set aside these two acres of the French Cemetery as part of the sale of the surrounding land. The graveyard remains an important reflection of Liberty County history.
Linney & Acie Cemetery Marker Location: From Hwy 90, drive 0.7 miles on North Winfree, turn right on E. Linney St., drive 0.3 miles to end of road
Founded in the 1850s, this graveyard was established to serve the citizens of West Liberty (now Dayton). Although there was no early organization of the cemetery, sections of the burial ground were known by the names of families interred there, such as Smith and Alford. A section reserved for blacks in the early years is now known as Acie Cemetery. Several land acquisitions and donations over the years have combined to bring the cemetery's total size to thirteen acres. There are many unmarked burials in this cemetery.
The earliest documented interment is that of Joseph Monroe Linney, who died at the age of six days in 1880. Other early burials include those of Jane Francis Hunt, who died in 1881, and Marie Louise Schneider Gossie, who died in 1885. Those buried in the Linney Cemetery include pioneer settlers, city and county elected officials, community leaders, members of fraternal organizations, and veterans from the Civil War, World War I, World War II, Korea, and Vietnam. The Linney Cemetery Association, established in 1903, still cares for the historic graveyard. It serves as a reflection of the area's early heritage, and as a reminder of pioneer life in Liberty County.
Stilson Community Marker Location: ~ 3 miles west of Dayton on Hwy 90 (south shoulder)
The community of Stilson traces its origins to the arrival in the 1890s of the Texas and New Orleans Railroad. Out-of-state developers O. H. Stilson and Rodney Hill bought land in 1896 and immediately began planning a town. They advertised the new community to farmers in Iowa, and a number of families came here to begin new lives. Among those who came to build homes and establish farms were many Swedish immigrants, including C. F. Seaberg and C. D. Nelson.
By the late 1890s the town boasted a fourteen-room hotel, a general store, a gin, a blacksmith shop, a rice mill, a warehouse, a barber shop, a post office, a railroad depot, and a school. The one-room Stilson school served students in all grades, taught by one teacher. the school was closed in 1918 when area children began attending classes in Dayton.
The Stilson Post Office was established in 1898 and was located in the general store operated by C. S. Brown. The post office was discontinued in 1925, and rural mail delivery from Dayton began in 1926. Stilson began to decline when the population gradually shifted to nearby Dayton. Descendants of many early settlers still reside in the area.
Runaway Scrape Marker Location: On Hwy 90 east side of Dayton, on south shoulder near bottom of hill as leaving town
The term Runaway Scrape was the name Texans applied to the flight from their homes when Antonio López de Santa Anna began his attempted conquest of Texas in February 1836. The first communities to be affected were those in the south central portions of Texas around San Patricio, Refugio, and San Antonio. The people began to leave that area as early as January 14, 1836, when the Mexicans were reported gathering on the Rio Grande.
When Sam Houston arrived in Gonzales on March 11 and was informed of the fall of the Alamo, he decided upon retreat to the Colorado River and ordered all inhabitants to accompany him. Couriers were dispatched from Gonzales to carry the news of the fall of the Alamo, and when they received that news, people all over Texas began to leave everything and make their way to safety.
Houston's retreat marked the beginning of the Runaway Scrape on a really large scale. Washington-on-the-Brazos was deserted by March 17, and about April 1 Richmond was evacuated, as were the settlements on both sides of the Brazos River. The further retreat of Houston toward the Sabine left all of the settlements between the Colorado and the Brazos unprotected, and the settlers in that area at once began making their way toward Louisiana or Galveston Island. The section of East Texas around Nacogdoches and San Augustine was abandoned a little prior to April 13.
The flight was marked by lack of preparation and by panic caused by fear both of the Mexican Army and of the Indians. The people used any means of transportation or none at all. Added to the discomforts of travel were all kinds of diseases, intensified by cold, rain, and hunger. Many persons died and were buried where they fell.
The flight continued until news came of the victory in the battle of San Jacinto. At first no credence was put in this news because so many false rumors had been circulated, but gradually the refugees began to reverse their steps and turn back toward home, many toward homes that no longer existed.
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