It was most likely a cold day, that Feb. 14, 1845, when the Missouri Legislature approved a bill organizing Texas County, “a district political subdivision, with all the rights and privileges of a separate county,” and Saturday’s 165th anniversary of the organization of the county was planned with the weather in mind.
“I was here for the 150th anniversary,” said Don Troutman, county clerk and organizer of the event. “The night before the temperature dropped, and we had ice and sleet.”
Saturday’s weather was perfect. Fall sunshine warmed participants and a strong breeze kept colorful streamers and the red, white and blue buntings hanging from the balcony of the new justice center in constant applause. The American flag, flying with companions that included the county flag and British flag stood at attention.
The program began with a summary of Texas County’s history, including a muzzleloader salute by Union and Confederate reenactors in uniform, and a proclamation read by Don Shelhammer, Texas County presiding commissioner, from Robin Carnahan recognizing the county “for true grit.”
Bethany Hood sang the National Anthem and the Texas County Community Choir sang “America the Beautiful” and “God Bless America” with participants standing and joining in.
A law enforcement memorial was dedicated by officers recognizing Texas County lawmen who gave the “ultimate sacrifice and were killed in the line of duty.” Honored were Constable Charles B. Dorris, 1888; Constable James Farris, 1909; Sheriff Harry S. Kelly, 1932; Tpr. Kelly L. Poynter, 2002; and Tpr. Kevin Floyd, 2005.
Doug Gaston, Texas County associate circuit judge, spoke regarding the dedication of the time capsules to be buried and opened 100 years from Saturday, reminding listeners of the sacrifices of those who came before, “so we may enjoy what they dreamed, and 100 years from now, that we will be judged from what we have done to protect freedom.”
The dedication of Glenwood Orchards, a living memorial consisting of the planting of 12 peach, apple and cherry trees, to commemorate the history of the Christie family farm that stood on the location of the new justice center, was given by John Casey, Texas County associate commissioner. It was his hope for the memorial, “to produce good fruit, and the county to grow and prosper.” The garden and orchard under the guidance of the University of Missouri and the help of Texas County inmates will provide fresh produce for prison meals.
Dr. Howell Burkhead, Houston First Baptist Church, closed with a prayer of thanksgiving for Houston’s history and hope of future.
Attendees toured offices in the new justice center and newly remodeled administration building. Refreshments were provided.