Linden City Park Historic Signage

In City Park looking west to Kaufman Street

“There’s something happening here…” begins the lyrics of a popular 1967 hit by Buffalo Springfield which applies to activity you see on the ground and slope adjacent to South Kaufman Street.

What’s happening there is the clearing of trees and brush by LPR Logistics of Marshall, Texas, engaged by the Linden Heritage Foundation (LHF) as the first step in erecting historic signage in Linden’s City Park.

The LHF has compiled a history of that area focusing on a stream bed you see lined with WPA rocks as it flows east from Main Street past Kaufman and toward Centerhill Road. The creek is referred to as “Ten-Yard Branch” in early Cass County records. It was important for Linden’s early settlers (1848) as it was a source of fresh water.

LHF President Sam Higdon holds a brick from the Patman Homestead

In 1854 the stream became valuable to J. T. Veal who established Linden’s early brickworks (kiln) there.  Thousands of bricks were formed and fired with much of the labor performed by enslaved persons. Documented 1850’s construction using Veal’s brickworks are the 1856 Cass County Jail, the 1858 Cass County Jailor’s House and the 1859-1861 Cass County Courthouse.  In 1860 the bricks were used to construct the first floor of the Sarah and Uriah Squires’ home, later named The Old Wright Patman Homestead.

Signage placement will be in the open area north of Linden’s Senior Citizen’s Center. Select trees remain within area cleared.

The signage will begin with the story of this important water source incorporating surviving bricks made during that era.  The cleared area will provide an unobstructed sight line to the important features of downtown Linden.

Conceptual drawings of the signage, historical language, proposed seating, lighting, and landscaping are being prepared and will be submitted at a Linden City Council meeting with the opportunity for public input.  Cost of construction will be through donations with no cost to the City (fundraising similar to placing lighting on the 1934 Water Tower).



Invisible History: A Slave, a School and a Scholar

Saturday, January 14th in the Historic Cass County Courtroom at the Linden Heritage Foundation Martin Luther King Day Celebration the curtains were drawn back to shine a light on parts of Linden’s past and present.

Keynote speaker, 1973 LK High Graduate Mason Barrett, chose as his topic – “Invisible History: A Slave, a School and a Scholar”.  

Honorable Mason Barrett with Cass County Judge, Travis Ransom, LHF President Sam Higdon and the speaker’s son, Alonzo Barrett (photo by Neil Abeles)

Judge Barrett received his Juris Doctor degree from the University of Denver College of Law and a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics from Prairie View A&M University. He has over 35 years’ experience in civil rights and equal employment opportunity (EEO) law. On October 1, 2018, he was elevated to the position of Supervisory Administrative Judge in the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (“EEOC”) Birmingham District Office where he now supervises three (3) judges. His office’s jurisdiction includes the states of Alabama, Mississippi, and the northern panhandle of Florida.  Following in the footsteps of his parents, M. J. Barrett, and Audrey Mae Barrett, each an educator, Judge Barrett has formed The Bar Examination Academy to assist law students in studying for the bar examination. Locally, he is the Project Director for the Macedonia Rock School Preservation Project and a board member of the Fairview Junior-Senior High School Reunion Corporation and the Linden Cemetery Association.

“I am 126 years old. I have kept the faith & yield my soul to God and go home”

A Slave – Nancy Carter (Appx. 1785 – October 11, 1910)

Old Pleasant Hill (African American) (Linden) Cemetery – “In 1785, when the United States was a mere nine years old, a woman was born somewhere on the great continent of Africa. Her name would eventually become Nancy Carter.  In 1802 she was brought to the United States as a slave and sold to one Absolam Carter Sr. in Greenville, Alabama. Upon his death, Absolam Carter Jr. inherited her and moved to Cass County in 1854 just two years after Linden was established and became the county seat. This remarkable woman, who was brought to this country as a slave, would live to see the end of slavery.”  WAS CASS COUNTY HOME TO THE OLDEST WOMAN?  By Jamie Jeans – Crossroads Magazine.  Several of Mrs. Carter’s many living descendants were present at the meeting to include former Linden-Kildare (L-K) High School Home Economics teacher Mrs. Mary L. Shurn, retired nurse Carolyn Allen Craver (L-K 1970), and retired educator Linda D. Allen (L-K 1972).  Mrs. Carter also has many descendants who have served our country, including the late Pleasant Hill Baptist Church Deacon Adrain Allen (U.S. Navy), the late Macedonia Baptist Church Deacon George “Buddy” Allen (U.S. Army), and the late Master Chief Petty Officer Billy W. Allen (L-K 1971) (U.S. Navy).

Photo from Mason Barrett

A School – Macedonia Rosenwald School Campus

Little more than a century ago, deep in America’s rural South, a community-based movement ignited by two unexpected collaborators quietly grew to become so transformative, its influence shaped the educational and economic future of an entire generation of African American families. Between 1917 and 1932, nearly 5,000 rural schoolhouses, modest one-, two-, three-, and four-teacher buildings known as Rosenwald Schools, came to exclusively serve more than 700,000 African American children over four decades.  In 1926, a Rosenwald wood frame school was built in the Macedonia Community in west Linden.  The original Macedonia Rosenwald building ultimately was moved and became the band hall at the new Linden-Kildare High School campus located on F.M. 125 South after consolidation of the Linden and Kildare school districts in 1958.  In 1939, an additional building was constructed on the Macedonia Rosenwald campus of local iron ore rock which still stands and is in use to this day. Known as the Macedonia Rock School, it has been named by Preservation Texas as one of eleven rural African American heritage sites being provided reimbursement grant funding for needed improvements to ensure its survival.

Photo by University of the Incarnate Word, San Antonio, Texas.

A Scholar Dr. Arcelia M. Johnson-Fannin

Dr. Johnson-Fannin, affectionately known to her students and colleagues as “Dr. J”, was the 1964 Valedictorian of Fairview High School (FHS) and a former student of the Macedonia Rock School, Linden, Texas.  Dr. J grew up in a community that was poor in funds but rich in education, the power of positive thinking, and reaching for greatness. With the Grace of God, great things she has done. Dr. J is the founding Dean of the Feik School of Pharmacy at the University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio, Texas. With this appointment, she became the first woman and only African American female to be founding dean at two new pharmacy schools. In 1997, Dr. J was selected to head the development of the pharmacy program at Hampton University in Hampton, Virginia.  The last FHS building and campus was constructed during segregation simultaneously (circa 1959-1960) with the Linden-Kildare High School.  Located on U.S. Hwy 59 South, the former FHS is now named the Mae Luster Stephens Junior High School after another prominent Linden African American educator.


LHF Annual Meeting – MLK Day Presentation — Saturday – January 14 2023

Saturday, January 14 2023 at 2 pm join the Linden Heritage Foundation in the Courtroom of the historic Cass County Courthouse for a special event during the week of celebration of the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 

History has lessons to teach us, if we will only read or listen. This is particularly true of the accomplishments of people of color. However, in some communities there is little evidence or knowledge of these achievements.

Invisible History:  A Slave, a School, and a Scholar

1973 LK High Graduate, Mason Darrell Barrett,  Administrative Law Judge for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in Alabama, and active member of the Fairview Community, will bring to the Courtroom an oral history of a slave, a school and a scholar, that will enlighten and inspire all.

Following the program, the Linden Heritage Foundation will have its Annual Membership Meeting.  The Agenda for the Membership Meeting includes the election of Linden Heritage Foundation Directors.

A reception with refreshments will follow.

Man on a mission to save historic Wright Patman home in Linden

By Neil Abeles – Texarkana Gazette – September 7, 2022

Sam Higdon is on a mission to save the Wright Patman home in Linden.

At the moment, care is being taken to reconstruct the two impressive chimneys and fireplaces at the front of the home on East Main Street. There is a special reason.

“Some of the brick in these chimneys are the same as ones they fired to build the county courthouse back in 1859-60. This house was built in 1861,” Higdon said.

Wright Patman, who began his legal career in Linden, lived in this home from 1920 to 1929.

Patman was an esteemed congressman who served 24 consecutive terms in the House of Representatives from 1929 to 1976. Born at Turkey Creek in Cass County and attending Hughes Springs schools, he learned his legal wisdom in this area and was almost unbeatable in elections. He went on to be the 40th dean of the House.

Linden’s Joe B. Lovelace, a retired attorney and now leader of the Linden Heritage Foundation, has a succinct assessment of Patman.

“Patman symbolized the saying in those Depression years, ‘I’m from the Government, and I’m here to help.’ And he meant it.”

Higdon, a Linden native now living in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, came across the Patman house almost by accident. He wanted a part of Linden history. In fact, he wanted his childhood home, which is just a block away, but in a state of disrepair. At the time in 2011, it was not available. And so the stone work story began.

“I’ve always intended to come back to Linden,” Higdon said, “and I thought of the home I was raised in. That didn’t work out, but then local historian Sue Lazara told me about the Patman home.”

“The home is one of Linden’s oldest dating back to 1861,” Lazara said, “and Kay Stephens and I were doing some research on it for that reason. We’d found its descriptions back to 1861, but we didn’t know its relation to the Patmans.”

The discovery was dramatic, Lazara said.

“The owner at the time was Leon Morrow, and as we were considering but unsure about it, he was walking out the door, and he turned around and said, ‘You know it was the old Wright Patman homestead, don’t you?'”

“No,” we said. “How do you know?”

“Well, it’s on the deed.”

“We found he was right. Fascinating, exciting,” Lazara said.

“Then I knew I had someone who might buy it. Sam Higdon had called recently wanting to purchase his childhood home just around the corner from the Patman home. But his home wasn’t on the market.”

Higdon was in the market, indeed.

“I was in Mississippi working on a project when I got the call from Sue. I drove all the way back when I heard it was available, and we closed quickly. I think two days.”

The Patman house needed work. It was out of level some 13 inches. But before long, with Higdon’s researched restoration, it became designated a Cass County Historical Landmark.

And now Higdon is repairing those chimneys using that locally famous brick, a lot of which has been found in the earthwork underneath the house which must have been a basement.

Sam’s long range plan is to make the home into a six-room Airbnb. But another idea, as a Wright Patman fan, is to make one of the front rooms into a Patman museum. Let the visitor come spend the weekend with these chimneys and Civil War fireplaces. Visit the distinguished courthouse just up the street.

Walk around and see if you can discover how Hughes Springs, Linden and Cass County produced such a person as Patman, who believed in government for the little man and who, in 1932, could lead in the impeachment of the Secretary of the Treasury Andrew Mellon. The impeachment was not successful, but it forced Mellon’s resignation the following month.

photo This is the southern of two chimneys at the Wright Patman home which have been rebuilt and replaced over the years since 1861. The pile of brick on the ground are from the collapse of the chimney which had been rebuilt. In among these brick are some from the Civil War era. (photo by Neil Abeles)
photo The light at the front of the Wright Patman building is for safety and protection, says owner Sam Higdon who is restoring the home. Notice the two chimneys being rebuilt on the north and south sides. Higdon also plans additional custom lighting. (photo by Neil Abeles)
photo Sam Higdon, a native of Linden now living in Baton Rouge, La., stands in front of the Wright Patman home which he is restoring on East Main Street in Linden. (photo by Neil Abeles)

Public Hearing – Old Linden Firehouse – Monday – February 28th @ 6 pm

Monday, February 28, 2022 @ 6 pm the Linden City Council will take comments on future use of the Old Linden Firehouse.  The meeting is open to the public and will be held at the Mary Daughety Senior Citizens Center.

The Linden Heritage Foundation (LHF) has a unique history with the structure with much of it recounted here

Old Linden Firehouse

At a LHF Board Meeting in April 2019 it was decided the cost to restore the Old Firehouse was prohibitive. It was closed and the building and lot were offered for sale.  No one expressed an interest in taking over the project.

In 2021 the Foundation determined the building and its interior to be structurally unsound.

The Linden Heritage Foundation expressed its intent to deconstruct the Firehouse and develop a pocket park with music pavilion

Pocket Park at Old Linden Firehouse

However, no further action was taken as the City took ownership of the property as a result of a forfeiture clause in the Warranty Deed executed by the City to the Foundation in January, 2016.

The City has now, from another party, a plan for use of the Firehouse which may package it with other locations.

The Foundation sees these offers as a legitimate opportunity for Linden to continue turning its page toward the future.

We asked for clarity of the City’s plans for the Firehouse as no one advocates for conflicting ideas.

The Foundation presentation on the 28th will be made by its President, Sam Higdon.