October 15, 2019 - The Shelby County Historical Society will hold its monthly meeting Tuesday, October 15, 2019 at 2:00 P. M. in the Shelby County Museum on Pecan Street. Mrs. Fannie Watson will be the speaker this month and states that she is certainly not a historian, but she will be delighted to share information about our historic Shelby County Courthouse. She began her teaching career in the Timpson ISD in 1952 and taught there for three years. She stayed home for two years with her two young daughters and then began teaching in the Center in 1957 and taught there for forty-seven years, retiring in 2004.
She was given the opportunity in 1989-1999 school years to begin the third through sixth grade gifted and talented pull-out classes. In the 1990-91 school year, they began participating in a year long Community Problem Solving Project, Operation Read-Aloud, in which the did many things to encourage parents to read-aloud to their children for at least fifteen minutes a day. Because of their efforts, they won state with the project and they were invited to Austin and to the International Future Problem Solving Conference in Madison, Wisconsin. They were so excited about feeling that they had done something to inspire the community they decided to choose a project each ensuing year. Thus they continued to participate in a year long project such as Patriotism Plus, Enviro Kids, Kids for Character, etc.
When the 1998-99 school year arrived, they chose as their project Historical Trackers in which their goal was to preserve the history of Shelby County. Then the 1999-2000 class continued the work that the earlier class had begun. Fannie’s husband, County Judge Dock Watson, served in the building in the early years of his position so he was very pleased with their help. Much of their focus was the historic 1885 courthouse, our beloved treasure, and Mr. J.J.E. Gibson, contractor and builder. Students discovered that Mr. Gibson tried to tell the Commissioners Court that he must cease work because a Blue Northerner was predicted. The Commissioners required him to continue work. The wall cracked and Mr. Gibson spent $2700 of his own money to rebuild the wall. The county never paid him! The students decided to raise funds and memorialize Mr. Gibson to pay Shelby County’s Debt. One of their endeavors was to obtain the historical marker which now stands proudly on the Courthouse Square.
Everyone is invited to come to the Shelby County Museum on October 15, 2019, to hear the rest of the story. We must continued to remember that interest in history spills out of the hearts and minds of a people who love their heritage to the extent that they preserve it, and in preserving it, they pass it on to others.