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Category archives for: History of Ennis

Mrs. P. V. Allen: Pioneering Businesswoman

Lou Ella Pinson Allen, better known as Mrs. P. V. Allen, was an early leader among women in the business life of Ennis. She appears here at a charity luncheon in Fort Worth in 1946. Author’s Note: March is Women’s History Month, and in response to a recent question from a reader about a 1930s […]

Railroad history fascinates local man Larry Cook pursues interest in Interurban

A local man’s love of trains has led to research about the part Ennis played in Texas railroad history, in particular the Interurban electric trains that connected the Bluebonnet City to Dallas and other stops between 1913 and the 1940s. Larry Cook is a former railroader and although he’s retired now his fascination with the […]

Historical Documents Sought for Preservation

Donations of historical documents, photographs and, in some cases, clothing, continue to be made by Ennisites to the archive being assembled by local historian and Ennis News writer Randy Bryan Bigham. One of the latest offers of a contribution has come from former Ennis City Manager Steve Howerton, who wrote Bigham that he would like […]

First black pilot was Ellis County native

Readers know February is Black History Month but some may not realize that a major African American figure in the history of aviation came from Ellis County. This year marks the 93rd anniversary of pioneering aviatrix Bessie Coleman’s death in a Florida plane crash, but her legacy endures far beyond the state of her birth. […]

Randy Bigham – Town Topics – All Aboard the Bluebonnet Limited

Here are some interesting local history items from the archives of the Ennis News, the Waxahachie Daily Light and the Corsicana Daily News: The Bluebonnet Limited An early and fairly forgotten railroad service that went through Ennis back in the 1920s and ‘30s was called The Bluebonnet Limited. I have found a number of old […]

Family Learns of Ancestor’s Fate

Randy Bryan Bigham randybigham@yahoo.com Ennis resident Shirley Walker Slovacek, a regular reader of the Ennis News’ Memories page, contacted columnist Randy Bryan Bigham two weeks ago about a rumor in her family’s history about an ancestor who was shot and killed in an unspecified local incident in 1910. The grave in Ennis’ St. Joseph cemetery […]

Randy Bigham-Memories of Ennis-Genealogist Researches Slovacek Grave

I am still looking in the archives for information on F. R. Slovacek, who according to family members, was killed in 1910. I hope to have more material next week. Meantime, Shirley Walker Slovacek’s question from last week has been answered by our intrepid local genealogist Bobbie Dlabaj. But some information still needs to be […]

Ennis’s Bob Banner: A showman remembered

Bob Banner made one of his last public appearances in 2010. He’s seen here with two of his sons, and singer Dionne Warwick. NOTE: I received several emails, including one from a new resident of Ennis, asking about TV producer Bob Banner and his Ennis roots. I’m happy to share this updated, exclusive story on […]

Remembering local historian Jim Templin (1939-2016)

Jim Templin in costume at a Lights of Ennis fundraiser in about 2013 he dressed as George Washington to entertain an audience that included young children. The late Jim Templin was best known for his knowledge of Ennis railroading history, but in 2014 his local fame shot up several notches when he hosted the Ennis […]

Ennis Country Club: Looking back

The Ennis Country Club, once popular for its golf tourneys and lunch time gatherings, has been gone for nearly a decade. The brick structure is now demolished and a new home is being built on the site by a local businessman and his family. In recognition of the land’s history, the property is being called […]

Slovacek murder possibility?

Shirley Walker Slovacek sent me a picture of the headstone of a distant relative of her husband, Danny. F. T. Slovacek, born in 1881, died in 1910 at the age of 29. Family rumor has it that he was murdered. She asks if I can look into it in the some of the online newspaper […]

From prairie town to modern city

What may be the earliest account of commercial life in Ennis appeared in the New Orleans Republican on Thursday, August 8, 1872, the year the city was established. The piece appeared in a regular column of correspondence called “Our Texas Letter,” written by a journalist who signed his article “S.C.J.” This particular installment was datelined […]

Joe F. Honza, Sr.: The ‘Barbecue Man’ of Ennis

As the year winds up, I’m looked back over the historical features for which I’ve received the most emails and letters, and this story on local farmer and barbecue expert Joe Honza was one of the most popular. Like many Czech residents of his day, Joe F. Honza, Sr. (1896-1955) was a devoted father and […]

Ennis murder from 1903 uncovered

Don Eggart isn’t from Ennis – he lives in South Carolina – but the research he’s undertaken over the last few months has uncovered a sad, if largely unremembered, murder case that took place here in the Bluebonnet City 115 years ago. “I’m a genealogist – not a professional one – but the work has […]

Memories – Randy Bigham Prehistoric remains found in Ennis in 1880s

Focusing on local news from the late 19th century, I’m happy to share with you the following excerpts from items I found via Newspapers.com. More will follow in the next edition of “Town Topics.” Pants thieves. It wasn’t long ago that I ran an item about a “pants burglar” who attacked a number of houses […]

Ennis bank missed hit from Old West bandits

NOTE: This week’s edition of the Memories page was to have featured an account of the 1903 Josh Reagor murder but further research is needed to complete the story. It will appear in next Sunday’s issue. While many have forgotten that Ennis was once part of the Old West, history shows it has its place […]

More Details on Denton Street House

My genealogist friend Bobbie Dlabaj, who has been kind enough to share her research on various Ennis families with me for this column, has been looking into the house at 310 W. Denton that is currently being restored and will shortly be opened as a bed and breakfast inn. A short time back, Bobbie found […]

Gory murder from 1898 unsolved

The savage rape and killing of an Ennis girl shocked the state 115 years ago. This headline appeared in the Marshall Evening News. NOTE: This is the second installment of the series I began last week on sensational Ennis murder cases. Today’s edition tells the story of the gruesome killing of Frances Cervinka over 125 […]

Efforts to save mansion recalled

Whenever local history is discussed, a common topic is the razing of Ennis’ most prestigious old home, the Cerf Mansion, in 1969, a time when commercial progress was in the forefront and preservation rarely considered. Bill Snodgrass knows that story first hand. In 1962 he helped form one of the first historical organizations in this […]

Ennis people and places in the news from 1911

I was recently given a batch of old Ennis Daily News issues from 1911, and while the originals are in very fragile shape, I decided to share a few of the news items with readers here. I thought it was a good time to run these since the main story today on the Memories page […]

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