Historic Santa Anna - SantaAnnaNews.com

James Pelton's News for and about folks from Santa Anna Texas

Historic Santa Anna

Something I have wanted to do for a long time... this is series documenting the Texas historical markers and other historical information about Santa Anna.

Texas Historical Markers - Santa Anna Texas

This first in the series is regarding the historical marker placed by the Texas Historical Survey Committee in 1965. The marker is located downtown next to Santa Anna City Hall on Wallis Ave (US 67/84).

The marker reads:
Santa Anna, C.S.A.
Mountain and town named in honor of man in power here in 1840's, a Comanche chief friendly to Texans. Santa Anna in 1846 visited President Polk in Washington during U.S. negotiations to annex Texas. Also signed and kept until his death of cholera in 1849 peace treaties that allowed the German Emigration Company to settle lands north of the Llano River. Comanches used Santa Anna peaks as signal points. Early surveyors, travelers, explorers and settlers took them as guide points. In 1857, nearby United States Cavalry at Camp Colorado kept lookouts here. In the Civil War, 1861-65, frontier kept lookouts here. At foot of mountain, with sentries on heights watching at the pass the military road from San Antonio northeastward to Fort Belknap, a strategic outpost guarding Texas from invasion by Indians and Federal troops. During the 1870's thousands of longhorns went through the gap, over the western cattle trail. In 1879, "The Gap" had a store and post office to supply the cattle drives. When Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe built here in 1886, settlers moved from The Gap to the railroad, starting the present town. Quarries in the mountain yield fine sands for the manufacturing of glass. (1965)

I actually took these pictures of the marker which is between City Hall and what was Noreta's back in November of 2005

Historical Santa Anna - Part II of a Series - First Christian Church

Santa Anna's First Christian Church is the second of my Historical Santa Anna Series and part of the Historical Page of SantaAnnaNews.com.

I actually began covering the Church's roof replacement that started in January of this year(2008).

KTAB TV interviewed longtime church member Mrs. Juanita Naron out in front of the Church in February. See: KTAB's web site for the video and article titled "Historical Church Endangered". The online article mentions the Church was listed on the Preservation Texas, Inc,'s Most Endangered Places 2008

Mrs. Naron being interviewed by KTAB

Church with old "D" Lock Shingles

The Church, located on the corner of South First Street and Avenue C, is one of Santa Anna's Texas Historic Landmarks and bears a Texas Historical Commission Official Historical Medallion which reads:

Founded in 1894, this congregation worshiped in various places until members purchased this lot in 1900 and began construction of their own building. The Rev. E. M. Douthit and the Rev. B. B. Sanders led the dedication ceremonies in April 1901. A solid brass bell hangs in the off-center entry tower and spire that dominates this frame church. The interior has original beaded ceiling and wainscoting. The kerosene lamp in the vestibule has been converted to electricity. Recorded Texas Historic Landmark - 1976

Historical Santa Anna - Part III of a series - John and Emma Banister

This is part III of the Historical Santa Anna series. Eventhough these are two seperate markers, I am presenting them here as a couple, just as the Banister's were and are.

Here is what the Texas Historic Commission markers in the Santa Anna Cemetery read:
John R. Banister
(May 24, 1854-Aug. 2, 1918)
Missouri native John Banister left home in 1867 and came to Texas. He received training as a cowboy and participated in several cattle drives to northern markets. Banister served with his brother, Will, as a Texas Ranger and participated in the capture of outlaw Sam Bass. Other contributions to the state included his service as a railway officer, inspector for the Cattle Raisers' Association, and Coleman County sheriff.
Recorded - 1984

John R. Banister

Emma Daugherty Banister
(Oct. 20, 1871-June 4, 1956)
The Daugherty family moved west in the late 1870s to Coleman County from present Forney in Kaufman County, where Emma was born. At age 14 she left home to finish school and obtain a teaching certificate in Goldthwaite. She married lawman and widower John R. Banister in 1894, and they raised nine children. Banister was Coleman County sheriff when he died in mid-1918, and Emma was chosen to complete his term of office to the end of 1918.
Recorded - 1986

As an added note, I believe that Emma Banister was the first female sheriff in Texas and the first and only female sheriff of Coleman County to date.

Emma Daugherty Banister

Historical Santa Anna - Part IV of a series - Mary E. Ashley

Do you know who Mary E. Ashley was? Maybe she was a relative of yours... I dare say if she was, that you never knew her.

Of course, it is not easy to be historic in your own time and Mary Ashley has been gone for a long time.

Most would think that she did not have a life of historic importance. To me she has become more so historic on a personal level over the last several weeks as I have begun photographing each monument at the Santa Anna Cemetery.

That is the reason I am going to re-visit the Santa Anna Cemetery for part IV of this series and introduce you to Mary E. Ashley. Mary E. Ashley was more than likely not the first person buried in the Santa Anna Cemetery but I would bet that she probably knew that person for you see, Mary Ashley was one of the first people buried in the cemetery that still has a monument. It probably is not the first monument either, for some of them appear to be older than her's.

Her monument reads, "Mary E. Ashley, Born Nov. 15, 1869 Died Mar. 7, 1885."

Just fifteen years old. It must have been very sad for her family I am sure, but there are several Ashleys buried near young Mary. There is Darrell D. Ashley, and a place for his wife Ruth E Ashley.

There is also M. C. Ashley a Confederate soldier in Company C of the 29th Texas Cavalry.

Hannah Ashley, who I think may be Mary's mother, is also there close by. All of them in Block 28 of Platt I which is due East of the Tool shed at the Cemetery.

The first place to go when locating graves in the Santa Anna Cemetery of course is Vena Bob Gates, Judia and Ralph Terry's Volume 3 of their three volume "Coleman County Cemetery Inscriptions", as well as other Coleman County cemeteries. A long time Coleman County historian, Ralph Terry has done extensive research for his books and his Coleman County History website and particularly the Santa Anna Cemetery pages are useful when locating graves in our Cemetery.

According to Ralph, Ruth's maiden name was Huggins so maybe she was a relative of my old friend David Huggins or his father and my mentor the late Lee Ray Huggins. Ralph also indicates that Hannah's name was Wood.

I did some Googling and found a birth record for a Mary E. Ashley who apparently was born in Orleans Parish Lousiana to R.S. and Hannah Alice Wood on April 18, 1869. Now I am not sure if that is our Mary E. Ashley but if it isn't there is a lot they have in common. Right above the record for Mary E. Ashley is one for Mary Ethorn born to J.S. and Eugenie Wood on November 18, 1869. Once again a lot in common with our Mary. See for yourself at http://files.usgwarchives.org/la/orleans/vitals/births/index/1869bisz.txt

Whatever you decide about young Mary E. Ashley, I hope that you will find her as historic as I have.

Gone but certainly not forgotten - Mary E. Ashley

Historical Santa Anna - Part V of a Series - Gary James

Gary James, a name most of us have heard. I did not know Gary, but I am sure that some of you may have. The city park is named in his memory and the old armory and now Community Center has a beautiful wood memorial shadow box in his honor just inside the front door.

A hero, Private First Class Gary James, was killed in action while serving in the United States Army in Vietnam. He received a Bronze Star for "Heroism in Ground Combat" and a Purple Heart for "Wounds Recieved in Action".

The Santa Anna News article in his shadow box reads:
Military Rights Set For Gary James
The body of Pfc. Gary Lynn James, 23, who died recently in Vietnam, will arrive in Santa Anna tonight,(Thursday), and funeral services will be held will be held there Friday afternoon, June 9 at 4:00 p.m. at the First Baptist Church, with the pastor, Rev, Bill Brewer, officiating. Interment will be in the Santa Anna Cemetery.
Hosh Funeral Home is in charge of funeral arrangements and the body will lie in state there until time for the funeral. The young soldier will be buried with full military honors, and an honor guard from Fort Hood will be present for the ceremony.
Pfc. James was born Aug. 5, 1943 in Santa Anna He died May 28, 1967 in Vietnam from mortar fragment injuries suffered May 21st while serving as the "point man" for a "search and destroy" mission.
Gary entered the Army in June 1966, after unsuccesfully attempting to enlist over a two year period. He was a slight-built boy and just did not weigh enough. The night before he went for his succesful physical examination, he ate all night and gained three pounds, which was enough to get him in hte service. He was sent to El Paso for basic training, and then, because of his small size was chosen and trained as a "tunnel rat". This is the dangerous job of going into tunnels and clearing them of mines and enemy soldiers.
Gary was a tunnel rat during the clearing of the "Iron Triangle". In Paril he was appointed point man with "search and destroy missions". Shortly thereafter he received the Purple Heart following a shrapnel wound in the leg. He had been back in combat less than three weeks when he recieved fatal mortar wounds during the biggest battle of the Vietnam conflict.
Gary was proud to serve his country. He often wrote home thate he wished people here could come over and see conditions there. He wrote, "if they did, they would fight their hearts out to keep it from coming to the USA."
In honor of the deceased soldier, flags will be flown at half mast all day Friday.
Survivors include the mother, Mrs Madie James of Santa Anna; the father, I. O. James of Coleman, two sisters, Mrs. Bruce Cammack of Santa Anna and Mrs. Curtis Alvey of San Angelo; a paternal grandfather, Jim Owen of Santa Anna, a number of uncles and aunts in this area and two nephews and one niece.

Gary is buried in the Santa Anna Cemetery in Platt II Block 76 which is just South of the tool shed.

His headstone is a beautiful light rose colored and marbled granite stone with a traditional bronze military grave marker.

AUG 5 1943 MAY 29 1967


Of course the Armory itself is a historical place with the training of soldiers, the Lions Club, current home of Funtier Days and World Championship Bison Cook-off, and most recently the T. T. Perry historical memorial.

Santa Anna Historical Development Organization

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