for the Pulaski Historical Marker
Panola County Seat
September 7, 1846 - September 12, 1848
to start describing how I visited the five foot tall granite 1936 Panola County
Centennial Historical Marker for the defunct town site of Pulaski, former seat
of Panola County? Here I am safely back in Carlsbad, New Mexico, re-reading Ruthie's
directions to the marker. By way of explanation, Ruthie C, a septuagenarian retired
Army Colonel who resides in San Antonio,
is a trailblazer of the first order in locating these
old historical markers. She did a lot of work hunting them down long before
the current drive to inventory, locate, inspect, and photograph all these uniquely
beautiful granite markers. Over one thousand of them were placed all over the
state way back in 1936 in celebration of the Centennial
of Texas' independence from Mexico.
An awful lot of money and work went into planning, cutting, engraving, transporting
and installing the 1,500+ pound granite slabs. The placement of these landmarks
may have made a lot of sense back in 1936, but here we are over seventy years
later and a lot of them are way, way off the current beaten track. After the project
was finished, that department was closed and the markers
largely forgotten about until just recently. Some have been moved due to development,
more than a few vandalized, some lost due to incorrect placement, and some have
been stolen. I have an idea some have even been disposed of in fills for interstate
highway overpasses. And believe me, just because Ruthie was able to not only locate
a marker but to actually get to it doesn't mean just anyone else is up to the
thought about how to tell my story for several months now. What Ruthie wrote about
how to find the marker may be correct, but meanwhile, there are a whole lot of
blank spaces to be filled in along the way. Quoting from her notes for visiting
the Pulaski Marker: ". . . After going thru a cattle guard stay left at the Y.
You will come to a cleared area for a pipe line, go left and follow the pipe line,
cross fence, and follow it to the right, Marker is in a clearing on your left,
There is some sort of a target near the marker." |
So, let me start at the
beginning. This tale is going to take a while, so, relax, get a cup of coffee,
and ease back in your favorite chair. You may doze off a time or two, but that's
okay because I am enjoying reliving my visit to the Panola County Pulaski Centennial
Marker. To say this marker is off the beaten path is somewhat of an understatement.
Sometime back in February I started planning a trip to see my friend and fellow
TexasEscapes.com contributor, Gerald
Massey, who lives in Shreveport, Louisiana. After visiting him, I wanted to
see all the 1936 Centennial Markers I could on the way back home. First, Panola
County, then Harrison, Upshur, Smith, Wood, Anderson, Navarro and Hill Counties.
Just a few (40+) markers, don't you see. Anyway, back to my story. I talked with
several people in Carthage,
County Seat of Panola County, about seeing the Pulaski Marker. None had seen it
themselves and few had ever even heard of it. Finally, I was given the phone number
to the land owner on whose property the marker is located.
I called him
up. He was very friendly and told me that the marker was, indeed, on his property
but that he had not seen it in over 35 years! It was way back in the brush right
close to the Sabine
River. He said, "I'm not a gonna cross that pipeline." With the recent rains,
I pictured a huge mud and slosh filled ditch. He said it was very hard to get
to by going through his property, and that I had best call his neighbor and get
access that way. His neighbor said that his land had been reseeded several years
ago by a forestation company, and the undergrowth was so bad that he didn't think
you could get to it from his land either. I called the first guy back, and he
was still very hesitant to take me to the marker. One thing led to another and
the time to leave for Louisiana was at hand. I would have to 'wing' it.
visiting Gerald, I left Shreveport on Thursday morning, April 22nd. I ate a delicious
breakfast at, of all places, the Petro Iron Skillet Truck Stop outside Shreveport.
I then dropped southwest on US79 to see the Bethany
Centennial Marker just inside the Texas State Line. Following Ruthie's directions,
I located the unpaved Panola County Road and proceeded west with her notes in
came to the "cleared area for a pipeline." Here is where you
have to start filling in the blanks. The blank space between the word 'area' and
the word 'for' is about two miles of back country, overgrown, uncivilized, desolate
roads, undergrowth, thorns, and thistles. But I'm getting ahead of myself. When
I came to the clearing, there was a locked gate. Some hunting club uses the property
and has restricted access. I parked my truck so as not to block the road. Since
it was still early in the morning, the dew was very heavy. I put on my boots,
got Ruthie's notes, grabbed my camera, and climbed through the fence. I even took
a black and white print out of Ruthie's picture of the marker to give me an idea
of its surroundings. I didn't know that I was filling in the blanks, so I expected
a pipeline close by. I walked all over that area, all around the perimeter of
the clearing as far away from the truck as I dared, and still didn't find anything.
I must have read those notes 20-30 times. Complex directions always read different
when you are on location. I looked left, right, and for another clearing. Nothing.
I imagined seeing the marker in clumps of trees, in a pasture, and back in the
woods. Still nothing.
|Back to the truck
I went. I read the directions again just to make sure I hadn't missed something,
I turned around, and headed back down the road to civilization. Here came a pickup.
I waved it down, grabbed a picture of a similar gray Centennial Marker, and asked
the man if he had ever seen the Pulaski Centennial Marker. He just grinned and
began telling me how hard it was to get to. Turns out he was the nephew of the
neighboring land owner that I had talked to. He told me it is quite a walk through
thick undergrowth. I smiled and said that I was prepared for that adding, "I really
want to see this marker." He said, "I'm not gonna go there but follow me and I'll
show you how to get to it."|
He unlocked the gate and proceed far past the
hunting lodge. We wound around for maybe two miles (filling in the blanks) where
he turned off to the "left and follow(ed) the pipeline road" for about 100 yards.
He stopped and pointed straight off the road. He said that the first part is thick
with undergrowth, the reseeded forest, and at the property line, when it begins
to thin out, is the old growth. The marker is right there. "Follow this fence
line and it will lead you right to it."
I saw that my cell phone had no
signal and joked to him that if my truck was still there in a couple of days to
come looking for me. He told me that he would not be back in that area for two
weeks. Just in case he left before I did, he was kind enough to give me the combination
to the lock so I could get out.
away I was besieged with thistle, thorn bushes, and clingy vines concealing all
kinds of unfriendly critters." - Barclay
must have been close to 1/4 mile when the undergrowth began to thin." - Barclay
|Seeing that it was
going to be tough going through that thicket which was easily 15 to 20 feet high,
I took only my camera. Right away I was besieged with thistle, thorn bushes, and
clingy vines concealing all kinds of unfriendly critters. It must have been close
to 1/4 mile when the undergrowth began to thin. Just as he said, the marker was
right there. Relieved that I had actually found it, now my only thought was to
get some pictures of the marker and find my way back.|
that I had actually found it, now my only thought was to get some pictures of
the marker and find my way back." - Barclay
five foot tall granite 1936 Panola County Centennial Historical Marker for the
defunct town site of Pulaski, former seat of Panola County." - Barclay
should have taken just a few more seconds to take better pictures" - Barclay
hindsight, I was in such a hurry to get back to the truck and civilization that
I didn't realize how much the sun was shielded for photography. I should have
taken just a few more seconds to take better pictures, really look around, and
maybe even go a few hundred more yards to the bank of the Sabine River but my
only thought was OUT. |
I was just glad to get back to the truck in one
piece. My arm and hand were bleeding from the barbs and scratches. I must have
followed the fence line, but I never saw it the whole time. It couldn't have been
twenty feet away. The time/date stamp on my pictures show that I was gone from
the truck less than 15 minutes. It seemed like over an hour.
On my way
out of the property, the gate was still unlocked so I left a card telling the
man, I don't even know his name, thanks for the help and for the directions. So,
what is the location of the marker? I could give you my GPS readings but there
are a whole lot of blanks to fill in between where you are right now and where
that marker is.
| This little narrative
might tell you how I found the 1936 Panola County Pulaski Centennial Marker but
it doesn't come close to telling you why I wanted to see it. I'll let you know
as soon as I find out myself. I asked my wife to read this story before sending
it in. Her only comment was that she thought I needed to go back to my old hobby
of stamp collecting. Now that would give me a lot of chances to 'fill in the blanks.'