Gay Hill, Texas

Though perhaps not as familiar a name as either Independence or Washington, there is a great deal of Texas history that is connected to the former residents of this small community. Gay Hill was named for Thomas Gay and William Carroll Jackson Hill. Gay and Hill were said to have been store owners in this Washington County settlement, though some accounts say that only Hill owned the store. The settlement was originally known as Chriesman Settlement after Horatio Chriesman (1797-1878).

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On April 29, 1900, the Houston Post carried an article commemorating an address in Brenham given by the Hon. Harry Haynes, formerly of the state legislature serving Washington County the previous San Jacinto Day. Haynes recounted some of the early history of Washington County. In it, he said that on June 17, 1819, a force of 30 men under General James Long left Natchez, Mississippi for the area to the west that was then under the control of Spain. By the time they arrived at Nacogdoches, they numbered 300 men. Long split the forces to explore both the Brazos and Trinity Rivers and establish fortifications. Along the way some of the troops encountered Spanish or Mexican troops, dispersed and returned to Louisiana. Among those who remained, some of them serving under a Captain James Walker came to a place on the Brazos which Walker initially called La Bahia. Captain John W. Hall had also passed through the area several years earlier and had been attracted to it but there was little or no settlement there by Anglos until the early 1820s.

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La Reunion Community

This Day in Texas (Austin American, Austin, Texas, June 16, 1950)”

June 16 – “On this day in 1855 some 200 immigrants arrived to swell the population of the newly established colony of La Reunion on the west bank of the Trinity River, near present-day Dallas.

La Reunion had been founded by Victor Prosper Considerant, a wealthy Frenchman who was an ardent disciple of the outstanding 19th century Socialist, Charles Marie Fourier. The town was carefully built, rows of small houses around a small square. The government was like that of democratic Athens, by general assembly, and the only punishment ever imposed was banishment from the colony.

One of the first activities of the colony was to found a school of vocal music, and the strains of their songs floated across the river to where a grimmer breed of men and women was pursuing the rituals of everyday existence. In time, the La Reunion colonists joined them., for their lands had been poorly chosen, the farmers were unenthusiastic and the terrain was poorly drained. By 1856 the colonists were drifting away.

The Frenchmen never had sought to prevent their daughters from marrying American settlers across the river and the settlement was completely absorbed within a generation.”

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Adobe Walls

It is now a ghost town in Hutchinson County, far north in the Panhandle, but in the 1800s it was a community that briefly came together during what would be the latter days of buffalo hunting in north Texas. It is also the site of two battles between the mostly Anglo inhabitants and the native tribes that came together to try and eliminate them.

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