of the pleasures of writing this column is hearing from readers all over East
Texas, especially when they offer suggestions or ask questions.
last year or so, we have accumulated dozens of questions, and it’s about time
that we tried to answer some of them.
Arlington reader, who grew up playing on Tree Monkey Road near his grandfather’s
farm at Ace, a community in Polk County, wanted to know the origin of Tree Monkey.
There are a couple of origins.
The earliest “tree monkeys” were
Civilian Conservation Corps workers during the Great Depression. They cut down
trees and used them to build log structures all over the pineywoods.
version says “tree monkeys’ were men who, in the days before fire lookout towers,
climbed spiked pine trees and sat in small platforms in the tree’s top to spot
forest fires. The spiked trees were replaced by metal lookout towers, which were
later replaced by airplane flights.
reader from the Tyler area said she heard there was a town named
Pee Dee in East Texas.
She’s right. The community of Pee Dee,
located on Collards Creek in Madison County, was named for the family of Mr. and
Mrs. W.M. Pee Dee, who came to East Texas from Georgia around 1830. The name has
also been given to a road, lake and cemetery.
Pee Dees came from a part of the South where the Pee Dee Indians lived. Perhaps
they were offsprings of tribal members.
Henderson, a reader wanted to know what happened to the Antlers Hotel,
a Diboll landmark for decades.
The Antlers, owned by Southern Pine Lumber Company, was burned down in the 1950s
because termites and decay made it impractical to rebuild the log structure. When
the building went up in flames, one newspaper report said “the whole town cried.”
is Cry Baby Creek?” asked another reader.
Jack Creek, a stream
west of Lufkin, has for years been
known as Cry Baby Creek, supposedly because a women and a baby died when their
auto veered off a wooden bridge and fell into the steep creek.
Sawyer of Lufkin, who directed us to the bridge, said visitors who come to the
site at night claim they have heard sounds resembling a baby crying. One visitor
supposedly found the imprint of a baby’s hand on her auto window after returning
from the bridge.
people have asked about Cynthia Ann Parker’s
burial place in Texas.
Tom Bell of Tyler carried us to Foster Cemetery
near Poyner, where Cynthia was buried when she died around 1860. She was later
reburied at Post Oak Cemetery in Oklahoma in 1910 and buried a third time near
the grave of her son, Indian Chief Quanah
Parker, at Fort Sill Cemetery, also in Oklahoma, in 1957.
reader from Newton wanted to know if there was really an East Texas town named
Yes, but all that’s left is the Yallo Busha Cemetery
ten miles southwest of Pittsburgh
in Camp County. The town was supposedly named for an Indian expression which meant
“beautiful stream.” The town, founded in the 1870s around a small rural school,
was also known as Yellow Bush, presumably because the folks living there couldn’t
pronounce Yallo Busha.