Title: History buffs rejoice: New book features local
Corsicana — A year-long labor of love by local historian Dr. Tommy
Stringer has yielded a new book, “Images of America — Corsicana” which
will be released Feb. 8.
Over 200 photographs of people, places and events from Corsicana’s rich
past are included, many which have never before been published. The book
is abundant with stories of days gone by in Corsicana, some even new to
A book signing and “meet the author” event will be held from 5 to 7 p.m.
Feb. 10 at The Cook Center Gift Shop, where the books will be available
for purchase. It is expected to be placed with other retailers in
Corsicana after its release Feb. 8, but will also be available at
www.arcadiapublishing.com, Amazon.com, Barnes&Noble.com and Borders.com.
“Arcadia called and asked me to put the book together,” Stringer said.
“They do them all over the nation, this is what they do. Originally,
they had contacted Bill O’Neal, a former Corsicana author who lives in
Carthage now, and he gave them my name.”
Stringer put out a call in the Daily Sun about a year ago for photos and
stories, and then hit the lecture circuit, visiting Kinsloe House and
local service clubs with his plea for old photographs.
“Many of the photos came from Pioneer Village, where they have a wealth
of information,” he said. “We tried to find pictures that had never
before been published, and many individuals shared photos from their
personal collections, too.”
Profits from the sale of the book will be divided between the Navarro
College Foundation scholarship fund, where Stringer is the director, and
the Navarro County Historical Society. Bobbie Young of both Pioneer
Village and the historical society helped and encouraged Stringer with
research, photographs, and proofreading.
Though well-versed in Navarro County history, Stringer heard some
stories through the course of his research that were new, even to him.
“There is a picture of Katie Kinsloe, and not many people knew much
about her,” he said. “I uncovered some things I didn’t know. John Barron
gave me some great information about the cotton mill I didn’t know, as
Stringer said city directories, large books much like telephone books,
at the geneaology room at the Corsicana Public Library were invaulable
sources of business information.
Arcadia Publishing selected the cover photo — and happened to choose one
of courthouse employees from 1929 frolicking in a 12-inch snowfall. Bill
Young’s grandfather, Frank Young, was the county clerk at the time and
is in the photograph.
Stringer is not a native Corsicanan, having come to Navarro County in
1972, but he is a historian.
“This county has such a rich history, and it’s not hard to be taken in
by the history of this place,” he said.
One of the first things he noticed on his arrival in the ‘70s was on
15th Street, a temple nestled in the midst of many other churches.
Stringer said he didn’t expect to find a Jewish community in the middle
of the Bible Belt.
“Babbette Samuels was a valuable source for photos, as were Mable Scott,
Jay Sewell, Jon Ketchum, Kathryn Zack, and many others,” he said. “It
was a lot of work putting it together, and the publishing company was
very particular about the format — but it was fun, too.”
The first Texas legislature created Navarro County in 1846 and named it
in honor of Texas patriot Jose Antonio Navarro. When asked to name the
new seat of government, Navarro replied, "Call it Corsicana for the
island of Corsica, the birthplace of my father." From its beginnings in
1848, Corsicana's history has been marked by Texas icons such as cotton,
cattle, and chili. The town's history took a dramatic turn when drillers
looking for water struck oil instead in 1894. By the end of the decade,
more than 500 wells dotted the landscape, marking the first commercial
oil field in Texas and launching the industry that has become synonymous
with the Lone Star State. Oil, business enterprises, and politics are
important parts of Corsicana's legacy, but much of its history is found
in the everyday events that make up the fabric of a community. Local
history is filled with stories of people who overcame obstacles to
fulfill the American Dream.
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Paperback: 128 pages
Publisher: Arcadia Publishing (February 8, 2010)
Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.5 x 0.4 inches