THE FIRST BANK OF
The railroad threaded through Western
Navarro County, Texas in 1881 and a town called Dawson was quickly
created. Many residents of Spring Hill, three miles to the north,
purchased residential and commercial lots the first day they were
offered. The rush to construct new homes and new businesses was on.
J A Buckingham and his Father had come to the
area from Anderson Co. Texas at some point and were operating a General
Merchandise Store in the late 1880s.
The 1860 Anderson Co census listed T H
Buckingham as head of household, a farmer, born in Tennessee, with real
estate valued at $750., and personal property amounting to $975. His wife
was Mary. J A Buckingham was fourteen. Albert Buckingham was nine.
His nearest neighbor was John Miller, a farmer,
born in Georgia in1796, and with total assets of more than $40,000. John
Miller was, apparently, separated or divorced from his wife. Martha Miller,
born in Georgia 1798, and with total assets of $80,000.,lives some distance
away with Eliza Miller, age thirty, and R C Miller, age eighteen.
J B Miller and W R Miller, probably sons of
John and Martha, also live nearby and have combined assets of $60,000.
The Miller Family of Anderson Co. appears to
have total assets nearing $200,000., a small fortune in those days. The
Buckingham Family assets are less than $2,000.
The Buckingham Family has moved to Western
Navarro Co. by the 1870 census. James A Buckingham b. 1845, had married, and
in 1867, James A Buckingham II was born. He lived until 1943 and is buried
in the Dawson Cemetery. His first wife died at some point and, in 1873,
married Louella Miller, daughter of Rufus C Miller.
The death date for Rufus C Miller has not been
discovered. His first wife, Mary D., had died in 1858. He was remarried
to Nancy Priddy in 1871. His children were:
Louella J Miller m.
James A Buckingham
John Thomas Miller m.
Roxie Prudance Wright
Mattie Alice Miller
m. William Elbert Hoge
J B Miller
R E Miller
Rufus Miller may have died by the 1880s and
Louella could have, perhaps, received a sizable inheritance.
James A Buckingham was thirty-six years of age
in 1881 and may have joined those who rushed to the new town of Dawson to
open a business. He and his father, apparently, opened a dry good and
grocery, probably in the 1880s. The structure, located near the present
fire station, had a second floor, which was used by the Masonic Lodge.
This strcture…may…at some later date, have been made into a hotel, which
stood on the same site until it burned in the early 1920s.
Dawson had no bank in the 1880s and there were
only two banks in Corsicana by 1885. Many frontier stores served banking
needs when no bank existed and early Dawson history recorded that Buckingham
and his father engaged in this practice for several years.
Buckingham, during the 1890s, erected his
residence on the SW corner of Main at Third Street, a large and imposing
structure with tall columns.
One hundred years ago….1904…James A Buckingham
and others organized The Dawson Banking Company. The bank was located on the east side of Main Street, probably in the Farmer Building now housing
the Historical Society Memorabilia. The bank was renamed in 1907 as The Liberty National Bank.
James A Buckingham died that year. He was sixty-two.