A Good Town To Live In
Bonham Daily Favorite, February 12, 1995
Small town America has always prided itself in beating the drums for the life style to be found in such towns. Even today we hear the virtues of small town living extolled by politicians and residents alike. We see the idealism of these towns portrayed in the old Andy Hardy movies or Jim Anderson's fatherly advice to Bud via the television medium.
Certainly small town living doesn't live up to these idyllic portrayals. The cynics among us would have us believe that such portrayals are the worse form of hucksterism hiding a much darker side of the American scene.
Despite the drawbacks most residents of small towns wouldn't change their lifestyle for anything the big city has to offer. These persons sold on the small town are also willing at every opportunity to promote their town as the ideal place to live.
Residents of Bonham are no different and historically have been boosters of the town almost from its founding 158 years ago. Despite the rigors of frontier living many of the early settlers wrote to their former friends and relatives of the pleasures to be found living in the Red River valley.
Even visitors to our small town had nothing but praise. Dr. Edward Smith, British physician, who traveled here in 1848 had nothing but laurels for the town, its citizens, the opportunities, the climate, and the availability of productive land. He urged his fellow Englishmen to resettle in the valley.
Letters exist from young men who came to Texas at the midpoint of the nineteenth century seeking to improve their fortunes. In these letters home Bonham is always painted as the ideal spot and the land of opportunity. One young man did write of dissatisfaction with his lack of romance.
Whatever the reasons Bonham has always had those who wanted to share with the world the pleasures and opportunities of being a resident of Bonham. Probably the first and most concerted efforts to promote Bonham came about from the founding of an organization, in the mid 1880's, called the Bonham Board of Trade.
Something of a forerunner of the Chamber of Commerce, the Board of Trade for about 35 years tirelessly worked to promote Bonham, improve the way of life in the town, and provide the best opportunity for its citizens young and old.
Individuals too, have done more than might be expected because they too were proud of their hometown and wanted to share this pride with others. W.A. Spangler, Bonham mayor, worked doggedly getting the town cleaned-up, beautified, and in many ways improved with the result that Bonham won the Holland Magazine award, in 1913, for the Cleanest town in Texas.
Will H. Evans was so proud of his home that he threw a week long party for the citizens of the town and the county in thanks for their efforts to make this a good place to live.
Today Bonham is entering into a new period of growth and development. A period probably like no other we have experienced before. Perhaps we should look back at what those who came before had to say about our town. Today a guest columnist will fill this space. The columnist's name is unknown. He was an editorial writer for The Bonham News and a good guess would give credit for the following article to "Uncle" Ashley Evans, dean of Bonham newspapering. The column appeared in the March 1, 1902 edition of The Bonham News.
COME TO BONHAM
If you are looking for a home in the South, Fannin County can offer many advantages which you cannot find elsewhere, and we invite your attention to a few of them:
Fannin County is situated in what is known as the black land belt of North Texas and is one of the banner counties of the State, for several reasons: First, its farming products are equal to any other county's; our soil is as good as the best; our schools, churches, and Christian people are unexcelled anywhere; our pleasant country homes and moral standing compares favorably with any to be found, and taken all in all makes it a very desirable place.
We have fine corn land, cotton land, alfalfa land, wheat land, oats land, ribbon-cane land, fruit land, berry land, vegetable land, and plenty of pasture land for farm stock. We have fine water, a delighful climate, telephone lines all over the county, rural free delivery to nearly all points, and are beginning a thorough road system. The country is traversed by four railroads.
Bonham is the capital of Fannin County, and one of the best towns in North Texas; she has a population of about 7000, and offers many advantages to those wanting a home in a town where schools, churches, and morals, as well as business is desired.
Bonham has one of the finest cotton mills in the South, with a working force of 200 or more, and another mill is talked of. Bonham has two ice factories that are taxed to their utmost to supply the demand; fine mill and elevators which guarantees a good grain market; a large cotton-seed oil mill; cotton compress; one of the largest wholesale grocery houses in North Texas; two of the most substantial banks in the State with a capital and surplus of nearly one half million; a splendid courthouse, large hotel, beautiful opera house, and electric railway, one of the best and most beautiful hospitals in North Texas, sixteen church buildings; two of the most modern public school buildings in the State which enjoy the distinction of having an extensive affiliation with the University of Texas. The public schools are the pride of Bonham. In addition to this Carlton College, one of the oldest colleges for girls in the South is located here.
We have an electric light company, gas company, mail box factory, two railroads, two daily papers, one weekly, and one semi-weekly paper.
Our residence and business sections compare favorably with any town of its size in the South. If you want to live in a good town in one of the best counties in the State where you can give your children an education and where your family can enjoy a real home and you can do well.
COME TO BONHAM
Fannin County Museum of History
One Main Street, Bonham, Texas