Small county communities part of rich fabric of history


Editor’s note: This is the second of two articles detailing the history of small towns in Madison County.

I’ve written about some of our local communities before but I don’t think I’ve nearly covered all of them. Each is unique in its own way.

Brushy is 7 miles northwest of Madisonville, bordering FM 2289 now about halfway between Madisonville and Normangee, and not far north of where I live. The community is named for Brushy Creek, which flows south of Brushy community and divides it from the Laceola-High Prairie communities.

Brushy did not have a church, so for a long time, preachers came once a month to hold services in the schoolhouse. A Mr. Markett donated land for the school, which was only one room with one teacher. Teachers were usually very young, just starting out. Classes were only held 4 to 6 months a year. For years, the students eagerly anticipated April Fools’ Day, because there had been a tradition of that afternoon off from school and a picnic in a nearby pasture. One year the teacher declared there would be no picnic and no one leaving the classroom. After lunch, all the students rushed out anyway and went to the pasture and played. The teacher rang her bell the whole time the students were gone. When they finally returned, she was quite angry and asked who wanted the first whipping. Of course, no one volunteered, which made her angrier. That “day of the whippings” was the last April Fools’ Day picnic there ever.

R.F. “Bob” Andrews (1863-1941) was born in Mississippi and later settled in Brushy and raised his family. He was a farmer and a stockman but also had a blacksmith shop and a syrup mill. He also owned the first automobile in Brushy. Many of his descendents are still in the area.

Bob Andrews had several chidren. One son, Eugene Marlin Andrews (1893-1948), went by the name “Pat.” My family has always lived in Laceola, just a bit south of the Andrews family in Brushy, and our families have always been friends. My grandfather, Dave Cannon, died at home of cancer in 1927, after being ill a while. Pat Andrews sat with my grandfather in his last days, because of course back then, neighbors and friends did what Hospice does now.

In those days, cotton, corn, ribbon cane, and sorghum cane were raised in Brushy. There’s little farming there now, just pastures, cattle, and a few goats.

Where did I find the above information? Most of it came from “The History of Madison County Volume I,” copyrighted 1984. Mary Baugh Batson was History Book Chairman, Lynda McCarn Breeding was the editor, and Vernon Baugh Farris was Historical Commission Chairman then. Other committee members were Elaine Brown, Lucille Bates, Lucille Garrison, Lucille Farris, Lynda Myers, Marie Bledsoe, and Melba Frossard. Lynda Breeding moved away in the summer of 2015, and I’m not sure where Linda Myers lives now or even if she is living. The rest are deceased.

That labor of love was followed by a thinner update, Volume II, published in 1997. By then, the History Book Committee had grown large, and some of those members survive today. I don’t want to call names, but you know who you are. We need you back, desperately. Too much local history did not get into the first two volumes, and 20 years of local history is now being neglected. We need folks who are interested in local history as members and workers in Madison County Historical Commission, which meets in the Museum at 10 a.m. on the third Wednesday each month, but not in December. I sure hope to see some of you Jan. 17. If you can’t make it to the meetings but might be interested in working on Volume 3, please let us know.

Madison County Museum is open 10-2 Wednesday through Saturday, at 201 N. Madison. Curator Jane Day would welcome your visit. There are still 2 great cookbooks for sale there, $10 each, I case you need a Christmas surprise for a friend.