Saving A Little Piece of Transportation History
Navarro County, Texas


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Corsicana Daily Sun - May 09, 2001

5/8 BILL YOUNG: Saving a little piece of transportation history

Recently, a piece of property in Corsicana was transferred from one owner to another. Serving as an archway over the front sidewalk of this house was a section of rail that was part of the earliest mule-drawn rail trolley here in Corsicana.

Thanks to both the previous owner, Mr. Jack McDaniel, and the new owner, Mr. Jared Ray, the rail has been donated to the Navarro County Historical Society museum at Pioneer Village. The society is planning to have the rail sandblasted and then repainted with a rust proof paint before putting it on display.

This piece of rail may be all that remains of the Corsicana Street Railway that was started by William Junius McKie and his brother Benjamin in 1888. They formed a corporation in 1887 and started laying the tracks. In the following year, the tracks were completed. In the notes compiled about William J. McKie, it states that the small rails were close together and the car was pulled by two small mules and carried 10 to 12 persons. The track started at 15th Street and ran east on Third Avenue to Beaton Street, then south on Beaton until it intersected Seventh Avenue. From there the trolley proceeded westward on Seventh Avenue until reaching 15th, turning north on 15th back to the original starting point. The mule drawn system was discontinued in 1899 when the electric trolley was granted a permit to install rails and cars.

The rails used for the electric trolley and the interurban were larger and interchangeable so the small rails for the mule drawn trolley were removed. Where the remainder of the rails ended up is unknown. Many of the old interurban rails were sold during the scrap metal drives in World War II along with numerous other metal objects such as abandoned oil wells.

While on the subject of oil wells and William J. McKie, a new Texas Historical Marker was recently dedicated in front of the city hall at Mildred. This marker was dedicated honoring Tuckertown, a town started by Mr. Tucker and Mr. Fullwood (P.D. Fullwood's father) on the McKie Ranch. The people who paid for the marker decided to erect the marker in front of the city hall at Mildred even though the correct location of Tuckertown was several hundred yards to the east. Since the city hall site has a road that circles in front of the building, it was felt this would be a safer location for persons to stop and view the marker. Also, most persons are not aware that the two enterprisers, Tucker and Fullwood, also platted a second tract of land to the west of the Mildred City Hall but this area was never made into part of the Tuckertown settlement. Mr. McKie, Mr. Fullwood, and Mr. Don Steely were recently inducted into the Navarro County Historical Society Hall of Fame.

I need to correct one error in a previous story. I said that Mrs. Steele operated the Commercial Hotel on South Beaton Street. Mr. George Eliot and Mr. James Fortson both informed me that Mrs. Steele operated the Southern Hotel and the Commercial Hotel was across Seventh Avenue from the Southern.

Recently after a couple of my articles pertaining to the local brick industry, Carmack Watkins called to tell me about several families who go out to the old Whiteselle brick yard pit on south 15th Street. He has owned the facility for a number of years and said that these people bring buckets for the purpose of taking some of the clay from the pit to use as a food supplement. Penny Jones told me she was aware of people in Alabama who do the same I thing. I assume the individuals are looking for a mineral supplement. Since I am not a member of the medical profession or a nutrition person, I can't tell you the pros or cons of eating clay.

Dr. Randy Moir, a historical archeologist who worked for S.M.U. on Richland Chambers Lake, compiled a list of bricks found in the project. There were four variations of the Whiteselle brand: Whiteselle-Corsicana, Whiteselle-Corsicana with a plus mark in a circle, Whiteselle-Cherry Reds (incut), and Whiteselle-Cherry Reds (in an inset plate). Some others noted were Mexia, Globe and Groesbeck bricks indicating other companies that sold bricks in Navarro County. Acme-Mexia Lumberman's Special, Standard (two types), one plain and the other marked Palmer Brick. Two types of Ferris Brick and a Green are some of the others noted in his research.

Navarro Brick, Corsicana Brick (two variations) and C.A. Benton with a variation marked with just Benton were other major producers of brick in this county. In the 1908 Corsicana city directory, Whiteselle is listed as both a brick company and a lumber company. C.A. Benton is listed as a brick manufacturer about one mile south of Corsicana. I assume that Benton Brick became Corsicana Brick.


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Copyright March, 2009
Edward L. Williams & Barbara Knox