I’m finally home from my Spring Break trek. Last January my brother and I went to Shelby County Court House.
This year, we spent some time in La Grange in Fayette County, Texas, looking for our great-great grandmother Mary Mitchell Cooper. She supposedly died there shortly after the Civil War, leaving her two children George C. and Rebekkah Ann, known as Annie, orphans.
I didn’t really expect to find anything about her there, but I had to try. I’d found some court records regarding the guardianship of the children back in Johnson County, Texas, where their grandparents lived. The family story is the children were surreptitiously taken from La Grange by their Uncle Job Cooper–the “escape” had been planned earlier in the day when Job had found young George and talked to him about the arrangements. Because of the children leaving under these circumstances, I didn’t expect to find anything “official.”
And finding a marked place of Mary’s burial is probably hopeless.
However, as I said, I had to try. I don’t count trips like these as a waste. I always enjoy being where my ancestors lived–something about just being in that place provides me with some sense of being in touch. It was a beautiful day–I was hoping to see more bluebonnets but I was a little early, according to the locals. My brother and I had a good time traveling through the countryside and visiting about our families, past and present.
The county courthouse in Fayette County was remarkable–it had evidently been remodeled a few years earlier. Restored might be a better word. There was a beautiful atrium inside so it was not one of those dark places that late 19th century county courthouses often are. Wooden shutters were on all the windows and the floor inside was beautiful black and white marble tiles.
Here’s what I found on top of a small table in the ladies’ room:
I love Texas.
And I loved the old original wooden doors. The door sills were wonderful–here’s one of the side doors. See the worn limestone on the right? The one on the front door was even more worn.
The people at the Museum and Archives were very helpful–they even remembered a letter I’d written earlier in the year. They said they kept those types of requests on file in the event someone else wrote on the same subject. Here’s hoping.
When I posted about my quest in La Grange, I did hear from two folks who know people in the area and they said they too would keep an eye out. So maybe some seeds were planted that will produce something in the future.
My brother and I are already planning our next year’s Spring Break Court House tour.