208 S. College Street, The J.B. Wilmeth House
By Phillip Bleeker
a. The original structure was huilt without a kitchen inside of the home. Originally, the kitchen was outside in the backyard built on top of several large stones. A few decades after the home was built, the back room was converted into the kitchen. You can still see the grease stains from the first indoor stove on the kitchen floor. (Shirley Thomas, former resident)
b. The structure was originally built as a two bedroom home, but slowly grew as the Hughes family grew, with the original formal living room being converted into the downstairs master bedroom, and the full structure was completed as it is now by 1920. (Shirley Thomas, former resident)
c. In 1974, the house was white. Mary Anne Anderson’s (current neighbor who has lived across the street since 1974) first cousin, Jerry Rushing, was a paramedic in Dallas. The owner of the house at the time, B.F. Bass, hired him to paint the home blue. (Mary Ann Anderson, neighbor)
d. The patio/porch in the backyard was converted into the utility room, laundry room, and master bathroom sometime just before 1975. (Mary Ann Anderson, neighbor)
e. In 1975, Dewey and Shirley Thomas transformed what was once the attic into two additional bedrooms, one playroom, and one sitting area that exists today. The Thomas’ also rewired the home, leveled it, put in the large windows in the kitchen (where two small windows existed before), a new backdoor and front door, the square window in the laundry room, remodeled the downstairs bathroom, put on a new roof, skirted the house with aluminum siding, and put in the foundation door. Finally (and most interestingly), when Gibson Caldwell Elementary School was pulling up their brick sidewalk to put in a concrete sidewalk, Shirley gathered the bricks and used them for a back patio. (Shirley Thomas, former resident)
f. The fence was put in during 1977 by the Jernigans. They also put the enclosure on the front porch columns. (Ginny Dodson, former resident)
g. In 1998, Kevin and Ginny Dodson put in a new disposal unit in the kitchen sink, a new heating and air unit, a new roof, and converted the front room from a bedroom into a library when they put in the library bookshelves. (Ginny Dodson, former resident)
h. In 2004, the fireplace bricks fell in. It had pale green tile around it that was so popular at the time it was built, but the bricks were taken out and put around the tree in the front yard. (Ginny Dodson, former resident)
i. In 2012, the Bleeckers poured a concrete slab off the west side of the house in the backyard to add a separated shed. The wood-studded frame, siding, color,
and roof pitch are in keeping with the home’s architecture and style.
B. Historical Figures/Information associated with the property
a. The original owner of the land, William David Davis, has a niece who was married to the Editor of the McKinney Examiner (Clint Thompson).
b. Mr. Davis himself was the manager and majority shareholder of the Alliance Mill, only later to become known as the Collin County Mill & Elevator Co., which is on the National Register of Historic Places.
c. The daughter of George B. Hughes, Mary Elizabeth Hughes McKinney, married Armyn McKinney. Armyn’s parents were John Brice McKinney (1877- 1968) and Mary E Annie Magers McKinney (1879-1968). John Brice McKinney’s father was Daniel Leak McKinney (January 2Znd 1827-March 19 1906) and his mother was Martha Marilia Wilmeth McKinney (1831-1930), daughter of Joseph Bryson Wilmeth. Ashley McKinney was Daniel Leak McKinney’s father (November 30th, 1795 -July 2″” 1847), and his great- grandfather was Collin McKinney (April 17, 1766). So Armyn McKinney’s great grandfather was J.B. Wilmeth, and his great, great grandfather was Collin McKinney (Helped draft Texas’ Declaration of Independence from Mexico in 1836, helped prepared the Constitution for the Republic of Texas, and Collin County and the city of McKinney are named after him.)
d. Armyn’s grandfather’s mother was Martha Marilia Wilmeth McKinney, whose father was J.B. Wilmeth (1807 -1892), who was one of several settlers of Collin County and a preacher. He was also involved in the forced march of Native Americans (Choctaw and Cherokee Indians) called “The Trail of Tears”. They settled in Collin County on 320 acres of virgin prairie in 1846. They began to farm their land and soon built a grand two-story family home at the site. Elder
J.B. Wilmeth, along with pioneer settler Collin McKinney, established Collin County’s first Christian Church in Liberty in 1846. J.B. organized McKinney’s first Christian Church in 1848, and early worship services were held in his home. Between 1848 and 1887 the Wilmeth home also was the site of a free
school taught by J.B. and his children. J.B. served on the commission that
selected the Collin County seat and later served as district clerk and county judge. (Source -Larry Chenault, Dallas Morning News, October 3, 1930.)
C. Property Ownership
a. 1905 -William David Davis sold the 1 acre land on 4/25/1905 for $800
b. 1905 -George Buckner Hughes bought the land and built the house.
c. 1951 -George B Hughes dies. His wife stays in the house.
d. 1961-Mary Elizabeth McKinney (nee Hughes) & husband Armyn McKinney are willed
e. 1972 -B.F. Bass bought the house, but was foreclosed on 11/2/1975. He rented
the house out to a woman named Paula who had a baby.
f. 1975 -Dudley and Shirley Thomas bought the house and did significant
g. 1977 -Arvel Jernigan bought the house.
h. 1995 -Thomas Angermeier bought house.
i. 1998 -Kevin and Ginny Dodson bought the home.
j. 2004 -Julia Mahand bought the home, but was foreclosed on in 201 1 after she lost her job and her mother had health issues.
k. 2012 -Phillip and Carissa Bleecker buy the house.
D. Tenant History
a. 1905 -George Buckner Hughes (Worked on his “own account” based on 1910 US Federal Census as a Home builder) and May P. Hughes, daughter Mary Elizabeth and son George H. Hughes, and mother Arvolene Franklin Hughes (Aarvolene was Born 1838 and died 1925. Buried in Pecan Grove Cemetery. She was a widow when she moved into the College Street home with her son. Her husband was George Hughes, who was a farmer in Tennessee, but he died only 4 years after their marriage.)
b. 1951-George B Hughes died. His wife, May P. Hughes, stays in the house.
c. 1961 -Mary Elizabeth McKinney (nee Hughes) & husband Armyn McKinney inherit or buy the house from May and live in the house.
d. 1972 -B.F. Bass bought the house, but was foreclosed on 11/2/1975
i. His full name was Benjamin Bass, born October 17, 1901 and died July 1973.
1. The 1930 US Federal Census has Benjamin F. Bass living in Precinct 6 in Collin, Texas (north of Eldorado Parkway, in between the Dallas North Tollway and Preston Road).
e. 1975-Dudley and Shirley Thomas bought the house and did significant improvements. They bought the windows and soda fountain glasses from Woolworths when it closed down in McKinney.
f. 1977 -Arvel Jernigan bought the house.
g. 1995 -Thomas Angermeier (horn August 18, 1959) bought house. Married Beatrice SAngenneier (nee Schier, born July 2, 1961) January 22, 1986. Me owned an antique furniture shop on the McKinney square.
h. 1998 -Kevin and Ginny Dodson bought the home. Their 9 kids lived there as well: Britton, Kaitlyn, Jordan, Christian, Harrison, Gretchen, Autumn, Reagan, and Madeleine,
i. 2004 -Julia Mahand bought the home, hut was foreclosed on in 201 1 after she lost her job and her mother had health issues.
j. 2012 -Phillip and Carissa Bleecker buy the house.
E. Narrative History
In 1797, Joseph Henson Harrison Davis was born in Pendleton District, South Carolina. His parents were Williams Dale Davis and Nancy McCauley Davis (nee Wright). Joseph was a Captain in Jacob Reed’s Company and William Austin’s Regiment, South Carolina Militia in the War of 1812. Joseph married Martha Williams on December 28, 1826 in Greene, Alabama. They had 10 children, the fourth child being William David Davis. William was the original owner and seller of the land on which our house is now built at the corner of College and Howell.
William David Davis was born on February 17 1832 in Greene County, Alabama. At the age of 20, he was employed as a slave overseer on a big cotton plantation in Alabama. Due to his fragile health and his experience over slaves, he was put in charge of over 200 slaves during the Civil War, although he was a member of the State Guard of Alabama. He married Elizabeth Margaret Ann Scarlett in 1854 in Alabama. They had 10 children. The McKinney Daily Courier (November 17, 1905, page 10) stated in his obituary his reason for moving to the region: “Being left without an avocation at the close of the war, Mr. Davis moved to Delhi Louisiana in the fall of 1865 ….In the fall of 1870, Mr. Davis left Louisiana for Texas. The trip was made in wagons. In the party were besides Mr. Davis and family, the following: Matt Creed and wife (the latter a sister of Mr. Davis, and parents of the first wife of Editor Clint Thompson of the McKinney Examiner) . . . Mr. Davis settled in West Collin and for fifteen years was a prosperous citizen of Rhea Mills . . .. Twenty years ago (1885) Mr. Davis move to McKinney to become manager of the Alliance Mill, later acquiring a large share of the stock of that enterprise which has grown into the present extensive business known as the Collin County Mill & Elevator Co.” The Collin County Mill & Elevator Company is on the National Register of Historic Places (http://www.nationalreeisterofhistoricplaces.com/TX/collin/vacant.html).
William Davis was married to his wife Elizabeth for 51 years. As far as his religious leanings, he was a member of the Methodist church for 49 years (McKinney Daily Courier, November 17, 1905, page I), a Mason for 36 years, and a Knight Templar of “honor and influence” (The Democrat, November 23, 1905, page 10) at St. John’s Lodge (The Democrat, November 23, 1905, page I).
George B Hughes purchased the land April 25, 1905 from W.D. Davis and his wife for $800. The Deed reads as follows:
“W.D. Davis Wife Jr. Deed George B. Hughes
The State of Texas know all men by these presents: County of Collin that we W.D. Davis and Eliza Davis wife of W.D. Davis of the County and State aforesaid for and in consideration of Eight hundred ($800) dollars cash in hand, paid by George B Hughes have granted, sold and conveyed and by these presents do grant, sell and convey unto said George B Hughes of McKinney, Texas all that certain property describes as follows: In the County of Collin and State of Texas as part of the T.T.Bradley Survey and in the City of McKinney beginning at the Stake Sixty Six links north and twenty links west of the South East corner of the said Bradley Survey and South West corner of the William Davis Survey thence West fifteen poles and two and one half links to a post thence North five poles and Seven and one half links to a post thence East fifteen poles and two and one half links to a post thence South five poles and seven and one half links to the beginning containing one half acre of land.
To have and to hold the above described premises together with all and singular the sights and aforementioned thereunto is any wise belonging unto the said George B Hughes, heirs and assigns forever and we hereby bind ourselves, our heirs executors and administrators to
and forever defend all and signifies the said premises unto the said George B Hughes, his heirs and assigns against every person whomsoever lawfully claiming or to claim the same or any part thereof. Witness our hands this 25th day of April A.D 1905,
W.D. Davis Eliza. Davis
William David Davis died on November 17, 1905 at the age of 73 in McKinney and is buried in Pecan Grove Cemetery. Just months before his death, William David Davis sold this plot of land for $800 described in Volume 130 of McKinney land and deed titles (pages 489- 390). This is the one acre plot on the corner of College and Howell streets. William David Davis sold this one acre of land on April 2Fh, 1905 to George Buckner Hughes. Up to this point, there is no structure documented on this plot of land.
The Builder and First Owner of the Home
George Buckner Hughes was born on November 6, 1862 in Lebanon, Tennessee. He was the son of George and Avolene Harris Hughes, who were also born in Tennessee. The Hughes family moved to McKinney in 1872 and George was a contractor and carpenter. The 1910 US Federal Census states that he worked on his “own account” as a Home builder and carpenter. He became a charter member of the Central Presbyterian Church in McKinney. On December 25, 1904, he married Mary Powell Middleton at Cedar, Grayson County, TX. The Cedar Community was where Mary Middleton was from and it was settled in 1848, hut raiding from Indians created hardships for this small community. Cedar is located east of Sherman Texas, east on Hwy 11. Mary Powell Middleton was born on February 27, 1882 in Kentucky Town, Grayson County Texas. Her father was James Hubbard Middleton Sr. (born February 25 1850 in Pittsylvania County, Virginia, and died March 26th, 1915 in Grayson County, Texas) and Christina Melissa Cole Middleton (born May 11, 3855 in Stokes County, North Carolina, and died August 20th, 1935 in Grayson County, Texas). Mary was one of 9 children. (Info for May Powell Middleton, wife of George B Hughes
George and May purchased the land at the corner of College and Howell on April 25, 1905 from William David Davis, and he began building the house that year and finished building it in 1907. George and May had two children, Harold Hughes and Mary Elizabeth Hughes McKinney. Harold Hughes was born on February Pd,1908 and died on January 16, 1914. Harold is buried in Pecan Grove Cemetery. Mary Elizabeth Hughes McKinney married Armyn Ode11 McKinney on August 22nd, 1933 in McKinney, TX. She had a daughter, Carmyn McKinney Douglas, and one grandson, Craig McKinney Douglas (Information obtained from obituary. McKinney Courier-Gazette, McKinney, TX Sun., July 10, 1983, Pg. 2
George Hughes and his wife of 47 years lived in that house for the rest of his life. He died at 4:30 am on Sunday, January 7th 1951 at 208 South College Street. He had been in ill health for two years, and his death certificate says he died of “paralysis” and “pulmonary heart” complications. Funeral services were conducted at 2 o’clock on Monday, January Sth 1951 at the Central Presbyterian church, with Reverend J. Manton of Dallas and Reverend E.O. Whitwell of McKinney officiating. Interment was in the Pecan Grove Cemetery with J.F. Bone, C.13, Blewett, L.L. Bowen, James D. Griffin Wofford Thompson and E.S. Larson acting as pallbearers. Barrett Funeral Home of Sherman was in charge of the funeral arrangements.
The Home and Collin McKinney and JB Wilmeth
George and May’s son Harold died on January 16, 1914 at the age of 6. Their daughter, Mary Elizabeth Hughes McKinney, married Armyn McKinney. They lived in the College Street house with May Powell Hughes until May’s death in 1959. Mary and Armyn stayed on in the house until they sold it in June 20, 1972 to B.F.Bass.
Armyn was born on July 25, 191 1 and died in 1984. Armyn’s parents were John Brice McKinney (1877-1968) and Mary E Annie Magers McKinney (1879-1968). John Brice McKinney’s father was Daniel Leak McKinney (January 22″d 1827-March 19 1906) and his mother was Martha Marilia Wilmeth McKinney (1831-1930), daughter of Joseph Bryson Wilmeth, Ashley McKinney was Daniel Leak McKinney’s father (November 30t1′, 1795 -July 2nd 1847), and his great-grandfather was Collin McKinney (April 17, 1766). Below are pictures of JB Wilmeth and Collin McKinney, respectively.
John Brice was an apiarist and a farmer. In 1900,he and Mary E Annie Magers were married at the Wilmeth Chapel. They lived their entire married life at the Wilmeth homestead. All seven of their children were born in the home. Armyn was one of seven children, which included Drury Metz, Joe Magers, Collin Leak, Clara Belle, J.B,, and Ridgell Murphy. The old home stood almost a century, being itself a symbol of the pioneer days in McKinney.
J.B. Wilmeth and Nancy Ferguson were married in McNairy County, Tennessee on Dec. 26, 1826. In the fall of 1831 Nancy’s father headed a wagon train made up often families related by blood or by marriage and after a long journey landed in Lawrence County, Arkansas. Here they engaged in farming, raising livestock, and J.B. preached the gospel. During these years he also served as a soldier and helped escort the Choctaw and Cherokee Indians from their homes in that section to the newly formed Indian Territory (later Oklahoma). This march is called “The Trail of Tears”.
In 1845 an agent for the Peter’s Colony visited their community and J.B. became interested in going to live in this new land just opening up for settlers. In October of 1845 his wagon train moved out, headed for Peter’s colony. The group consisted of the Wilmeth family, Frank Wilmeth, Jordon 0.Straughan, and three young men hired to help with the teams. It was a long and hazardous journey, sometimes they had to stop and camp for several days while trees were cut and a bridge built so they could cross uncharted rivers and even small streams. “With six wagons and a considerable herd of horses and sheep, J. B. Wimeth and his family reached the village of Dallas, Texas and camped near John Neely Bryan’s cabin the day after Christmas,
1845.” (Source: Dallas Morning. News of Oct. 3, 1930.)On Dec, 26, 1845 they reached the present site of Dallas and made camp near John Neely Bryan’s cabin while the men looked for a suitable location to homestead. On New Year’s Day in 1846, J.B. Wilmeth and Jordon 0. Straughan selected adjacent sections fronting on the river near present Grand Prairie. Life was pleasant for them, game was abundant, a snug cabin was soon built but Indian raids in other settlements kept them on edge.
J.B. told in later years how he was working in his blacksmith shop when a shadow fell across the door. It was an Indian girl and she had come to warn the settlement that plans were to raid this settlement on the next full moon. After much discussion, the wagons were loaded and the site abandoned and they headed back the way they had come, going back to Tennessee. There is a story told about why they did not actually go back home. They camped one night on the bank of a stream. When the time came for loading the wagons for another day of riding, Nancy took a seat on a log and said that she personally intended to stay forever in this new land. After discussion they wagons were unloaded for the last time and sites were selected for homesteads. They settled in Collin County on 320 acres of virgin prairie in 1846. They began to farm their land and soon built a grand two-story family home at the site.
Elder J.B. Wilmeth, along with pioneer settler Collin McKinney, established Collin County’s first Christian Church in Liberty in 1846. J.B. organized McKinney’s first Christian Church in 1848, and early worship services were held in his home. Between 1848 and 1887 the Wimeth home also was the site of a free school taught by J.B. and his children. J.B. served on the commission that selected the Collin County seat and later served as district clerk and county judge.
The Civil War brought many changes in the family. J.B., his eight sons, and three sons- in-law all served in the Confederate Army, with J.B. holding the rank of Colonel. Two sons were killed in the war: J.B. Jr at the Battle of Corinth and W.C. lost in 1861. The Wilmeth children were: Mary Jane, Mansell W., Martha Marille, Keturah Miranda, James Ransom, Joseph Bryson, William Crawforn, Hiram Ferguson, Nancy Ann, John Ficklin, Andrew Jackson, Collin McKinney, and Sarah Elizabeth. J.B. and Nancy died one day apart. Armyn is a descendant of Collin McKinney.
The Home -1972 until 2012
For a home that had only one family for 67 years, the house has since changed hands numerous times. B.F. Bass bought the house in 1972 but was foreclosed on November 2, 1975 His full name was Benjamin Bass, horn October 17, 1901 and died July 1973. The 1930 US Federal Census has Benjamin F. Bass living in Precinct 6 in Collin, Texas (north of Eldorado Parkway, in between the Dallas North Tollway and Preston Road).
Dudley and Shirley Thomas bought the house in 1975 and did significant improvements. They bought the windows and soda fountain glasses from Woolworths when it closed down in McKinney.
Arvel Jernigan bought the house in 1977, and rented the property out. Thomas Angermeier (born August 18, 1959) bought house in 1995. He married Beatrice S Angermeier (nee Schier, born July 2, 1961) on January 22, 1986. He owned an antique furniture shop on the McKinney square.
Kevin and Ginny Dodson bought the home. Their 9 kids lived there as well: Britton. Kaitlyn, Jordan, Christian, Harrison, Gretchen, Autumn, Reagan, and Madeleine.
Julia Mahand bought the home in 2004,, but was foreclosed on in 2011 after she lost her job and her mother had health issues.
History and of the Current Owners
Phillip and Carissa Bleecker bought the house on 208 South College Street on March 8, 2012. They intend on living there for the rest of their lives. This is their dream home and they want to ensure that the character and historic qualities of the home are restored, represented, and maintained. Phillip and Carissa married on October 30th,2009.
Phillip lived in McKinney twice before -once in 1998-2001, and also in 2009-2010. In 1998, Phillip moved with his family to Westwood Circle in McKinney, attending Ruth Dowell Middle School and McKinney High School, playing on their tennis, track, basketball, and soccer teams. Philip was the goalkeeper for the McKinney Lions when the team defeated Highland Park at home for the first time. He and his family attended First Baptist McKinney Church and were active in the missions group and youth group. His family was also involved in the church’s annual live Christmas pageant. He and his family moved from Texas in 2001 because his step-dad’s job took the family to Saint Louis, Missouri. Phillip returned to McKinney in 2009. He lived in the A-Frame that was the guest house at 402 Barnes Street in McKinney. The address of the A-Frame is 1007 Howell Street.
Carissa Bleecker was horn in Oklahoma and raised in Borger, Texas all of her life. She moved to Dallas to attend the University of North Texas in 2005 where she majored in Art, and graduated in 2009. She and Phillip met at The Village Church in Highland Village, Texas. Phillip was living in McKinney at the Howell Street address when they married, and they moved into the 600 square foot A-Frame on October 30, 2009. They lived there for 6 months, walking around the neighborhood, meeting the neighbors, and getting involved with the people and events there. Often on their walks together, they would pass the blue home at 208 South College Street and dream about what it could be if they ever owned it. That dream became a reality on March 8th,2012.