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While I happen to love fruitcake, I know a lot of you don't. Like it or not, though, we are familiar with the iconic can and its contents. We've heard the stories about people using them for doorstops, sinkers on stringers and boat anchors. My family even had the running white elephant gag gift at Christmas of the dreaded fruitcake. We drew names and everyone held their breath wondering if they'd be the unlucky recipient. All great fun, but did you ever wonder about Corsicana and the people who started the town?
Well, it just so happens when my husband and I were into genealogy researching a few years back, we discovered his g-g-g-g-grandfather was the founder of that little town.
|Hampton and Mary Clark McKinney|
Hampton and his brothers, Jubilee and Jefferson McKinney, had visited different parts of Texas on a prospecting trip, and decided Navarro County was the best place to locate. They left Illinois in the summer or early fall of 1846 - a big party of them, Hampton and his family had three or four wagons and a large carryall drawn by two horses for his wife and the younger children. His brother, Jefferson, his wife and five children, had two large wagons. His sister and her husband and their several children had one big wagon called a Prairie Schooner. It had a different shape and was much larger than the other wagons. His daughter had just married and they came to Texas on their honeymoon, so needed only one wagon. There were several young men and girls in the party who were cousins. The only things they brought were what they would need for the trip - tents, beddings, dishes and cooking vessels. It took two or three months to finish the journey.
Hampton was the first settler in Corsicana and had the first residence, a one room log house. Afterward, when the town of Corsicana was founded in 1848, he lifted his certificate and put it in Johnson County; however, he reserved a good part of the town property for his own use.
After a time, he moved two little cabins with a hallway between and a shed at the back down to where the court house is now located. The family lived there until he built the first hotel called the McKinney Tavern. It was for many years the only hotel in Corsicana. It had two big rooms down stairs with a long gallery in front, two other rooms at one corner and a long ell back for a dining room and kitchen back of that. The upstairs was one big room. There were big fire places in the rooms but no stoves except the cooking stove. In fact, they had the first cooking stove ever brought into Corsicana, and probably the first one in the county.
Hampton McKinney, died in 1857 of pneumonia, at the age of sixty years. His wife, Mary, died in 1883/84. Many descendants still live in and around the town today.
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