Old Settlers Association

In 1879 a group of Grayson County settlers met in a walnut grove, some seven miles southwest of Sherman. Speeches by settlers who had come to Texas before and after statehood were listened to and applauded, especially those pertaining to early settlement and those reminiscent of the Confederacy. Before departing, the group formed "The Old Settlers Association of North Texas," a name borne until 1898 when the present name was adopted. In 1899 the Association purchased twenty-six acres in northeast Sherman, as a park for annual meetings. The park was paid for in part from funds donated by individuals who gave from $.25 to $1.00 toward the purchase. Additional funds were obtained by selling concession privileges at annual meetings during the early part of the twentieth century. Since 1921 the grounds have been leased to the City of Sherman and maintained as part of the city's park system. The Jesse Loving Auditorium, built and dedicated in 1923, has similarly been leased to a civic organization.

In more recent years, the Association has sought to foster an appreciation of the county's history through financial support of other organizations. This support has been in the form of grants to small county libraries for the purpose of acquiring historical resource materials, grants to local educational institutions for academic scholarships, and grants to local museums for special exhibitions and equipment.

Preservation of Minutes Project
At its December 2005 meeting trustees approved pursuance of a project looking toward preservation of the Association’s Minutes in a form which would make the Minutes easily accessible to those interested in the history of Grayson County in general and to the history of the Association in particular.

The head librarian at Austin College recommended, after reviewing microfilming and “cd” possibilities, that, given modem technology, we investigate the possibility of arranging for the Minutes to be digitized. Fortunately, a former AC assistant librarian, Ms. Cathy Hartman, had become director of the Digital and Information Technologies program at the University of North Texas. Ms. Hartman strongly supported the idea of digitizing our Minutes and referred us to Ms. Dreanna Belden, coordinator of the digitizing program. The latter explained the program in detail, pointing out that our Minutes could be included on UNT’s “The Portal To Texas History website. Inclusion of our Minutes on “The Portal” essentially meant that our Minutes would be available (anytime, anywhere) to anyone interested in our Association’s history. If we notify all libraries in Grayson County of the website, they, in turn, could direct researchers to “The Portal”

The estimated cost of “1000 or slightly less” for digitizing our Minutes appeared reasonable. Accordingly, all our Minutes were “hand delivered” to UNT (the program is housed in the main library). Digitizing was completed and our Minutes are now to be found on the TINT website.’

Now that our Minutes are preserved in a form other than in the Association’s records the question arises as to what we should do with the original copies of our minutes. One possibility is to convey them to the Red River Historical Museum. The museum’s records of this nature are organized, encased protectively, placed in climate-controlled storage, and made available to researchers only in a supervised context. Heretofore the Minutes have been stored in a bank safe-deposit box. Aside from the Corporate Seal, they have constituted the sole item placed in bank safe-keeping; by placing them elsewhere we would no longer need to rent a safe-deposit box.