“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Decatur in Wise County, Texas — The American South (West South Central)

The Wise County Reunion

The Wise County Reunion Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Kayla Harper, August 1, 2020
1. The Wise County Reunion Marker

The Confederate veterans of Wise County are said to have held occasional reunions in the 1860s-1870s. Old settlers invited both the Confederate veterans and Wise County pioneers to an 1881 reunion at Cold Springs. This was on July 12, the anniversary of Captain George Stevens' victory over hostile Indians in 1874.

About 5,000 people attended the 1881 reunion. The "Wise County Messenger" reported a successful day - "only the music being a failure". Events included speeches and picnicking. The reunion began to occupy the present site in 1896. By 1900 it extended to three days—honoring old settlers on the first, the veterans on the second, and daughters and sons of Confederates on the third. Sometimes 12,000 would attend, parading from courthouse to camp ground. Programs included candidates' speeches, rodeos, and sham battles. Evenings were devoted to visiting.

In 1909, the grounds were leased for 25 years. Later, campsites were leased and improved by participants.

The Wise County Old Settlers Association, formed in 1904, sponsored a 1907 Pioneer History by C.D. Cates.

Extended to a week,
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with visiting in daytime and stated events in the evenings, this reunion is now the oldest recurring public event in the county.
Erected 1976 by Texas Historical Commission. (Marker Number 5876.)
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: EntertainmentFraternal or Sororal OrganizationsSettlements & SettlersWar, US Civil. A significant historical date for this entry is July 12, 1881.
Location. 33° 12.471′ N, 97° 36.039′ W. Marker is in Decatur, Texas, in Wise County. Marker is at the intersection of Farm to Market Road 51 and Joe Wheeler Park Road, on the left when traveling south on Highway 51. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Decatur TX 76234, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Decatur Baptist College (approx. 1.3 miles away); Episcopal Mission of the Ascension (approx. 1.7 miles away); Texas Tourist Camp Complex (approx. 1.9 miles away); Depression-Era Projects in Wise County (approx. 1.9 miles away); Wise County Messenger (approx. 2 miles away); Old Stone Prison (approx. 2 miles away); First National Bank of Decatur (approx. 2 miles away); The S. W. Tilghman House (approx. 2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Decatur.
The Wise County Reunion Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Kayla Harper, August 1, 2020
2. The Wise County Reunion Marker
The Wise County Reunion Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Kayla Harper, August 1, 2020
3. The Wise County Reunion Marker
Credits. This page was last revised on August 2, 2020. It was originally submitted on September 20, 2017, by James R. Murray of Elkton, Florida. This page has been viewed 414 times since then and 11 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on August 1, 2020, by Kayla Harper of Dallas, Texas. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.

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Feb. 23, 2024