Taken from an article "The Flo News" in The Buffalo Express dated
August 13, 2003 and written by Norma Moore
(Aug. 13, 2003)
The Normangee Leon
County Settlement was established in 1834 and was founded by immigrant
Robert Rogers. He was the first White Settler that was granted a
title to 4428.4 acres of this Leon County land under the Mexican
Colonization Act. This Law enforcement of 1826 allowed a settler
to move onto land. The requirements to own it were to build a
home, farm and/or ranch for one year, and to survey the land, having
established monuments at each of the corners of the property.
In 1835 Robert was given the title to
his land by appearing before the Mexican Commissioner in Nacogdoches
with witnesses and affidavits in certifying that he had complied with
all the necessary requirements. This land known as Roger Prairie,
which was located upon The Old San Antonio Road became one of the first
communities of our Leon County. Robert Rogers was the forefather
of the foundation of the territorial township of Normangee. The
township was The Trade Center for the surrounding area soon became
populated with other white immigrants who met the Mexican Law.
Rogers Prairie was developed into a booming town of many farmers,
ranchers, and businesses, which included several stores, a church, a
post office, a doctor, a school, stage stop, blacksmith, and a Masonic
Lodge. This all accommodated the travelers between Rogers Prairie
(Normangee) and San Antonio.
Some of these early settlers were the
Dotson's, J. J. Bells, Greer's, Donaldson's, Copeland's, Baxter King,
and William Childress families. Many of their descendants still
reside on this land and other communities of Leon County today.
This land considered as a prairie was soon changed into fertile crop and
The Hollis Branch provided welcome
water for the settlers, traveling visitors, and water for livestock.
The bison, buffalo, other wildlife, dotted shade trees, some black
walnuts, native pecans, wild plums, and berries were added to to food
The Roger Prairie Settlement
introduced a flourishing lifestyle for the new county (Leon) that was in
the making. Rogers Prairie was in existence from 1835 until 1907,
with the Railroads making their entrance into the new frontier westward.
The Trinity and Brazos Valley and the Houston and Texas Central were
introduced to this area. Their pathway was built between Houston
and Dallas, which passed through Rogers Prairie. This brought a
new beginning to their community.
In 1907, S. B. Phillips filed record
of a plat of the new town, which became Normangee. It is located
in the southwest corner of Rogers Prairie. The railroads are now
the center point of the Township mainstay. The residents of Rogers
Prairie, with their true spirit, made the decision that since the
Railroad activity didn't come to them, they would pick up and move to
the new founded Normangee. Starting a new land, homes, farms,
ranches, and business opportunity.
The Rogers Prairie church, which was
their school. It was also the place on homemade loge rollers.
With horses and mule teams they moved to Normangee. The Rogers
Prairie Post office was closed and a new post office was opened in
Normangee on the same day.
settlement legal records, is officially a first settlement of Leon
County. It began when a U. S. Citizen, Robert Rogers, as the first
settler of the territory surrounding our present day Normangee.
The land was purchased under the Mexican Colonization Act. At the
beginning was Rogers Prairie, of which it was a flourishing township.
Being the trade center of the area, this was in existence from 1835
until 1907, due to railroads pusing westward. The Trinity, Brazos,
Houston and Central Railroads systems were built between Houston and
Dallas. They passed through Robert Rogers land, about 2 miles west
of Rogers Prairie.
Normangee was born as the new town
when S. B. Phillips filed to record a plat of the new settlement.
This was in the southwest corner of Rogers Prairie. The settlers
of Rogers Prairie actually picked up their belongings and move to
Normangee soon became a thriving
township with a rapid growth of businesses, homes, a post office, living
quarters for the out of town workers and the church, which was also the
school. It was moved from Rogers Prairie by the settlers on log
rollers pulled by a horse and mule team.
There were subdivisions on the
outskirts of Normangee. They were the J. A. Heath, J. C. Ford and
Normangee was founded into an
incorporated township. However, in 1917, the citizens wanting
Normangee to be abolished as a corporate city, held an election.
The majority of the people voted for an abolishment and declared it an
unincorporated city. Then in 1919, with a vast growth in
population, the majority of people wanted to have Normangee to be an
incorporated city again. It included portions of Leon and Madison
Counties. It also included the Rogers land, the Holloman, Batson,
Heath and Ford plats of the west.
The majority of the land around
Normangee was agriculture. It is still used for farming and
ranching today. Some of the land remains as it was in the 1800's.
Marvin Williams is one of the
settlers of the Normangee area. His parents had a home in the
country outside Normangee. He attended school in Normangee and has
fond memories of Normangee. At first he rode a horse to the home
where he boarded with a family throughout the school semester. His
father later bought a Model-T and drove him to school. He
remembers the rides to school were quite an experience with the sand and
mud and at times an impassable situation. He would end up pushing
the car or walking most of the way.
Marvin Williams graduated from school
and went on to college. He was employed as a professional engineer
of Houston and San Antonio for 43 years. He and his wife retired
and moved back to Normangee. They are workers of the community.
Marvin is proud of his heritage and the valuable upbringing he received.
John and Runie (Hill) Hearth were
settlers of Rogers Prairie and Normangee communities. They were
owners/operators of large mercantile stores in both settlements.
They helped establish business success and John served as president of
the Normangee School Board. He also helped organize the First
State Bank and served as the bank president. He and Runie helped
with the establishment of the Methodist church. John donated land
to build it on and he served as the superintendent of the Sunday School.
Runie taught a ladies class.
Their 6 sons all graduated from
Normangee school. All are fine outstanding adults and have
provided prosperity for Normangee and other communities.
The Wright Holloman family was
relatives of the Robert Rogers family, as first homesteaders of Rogers
Prairie and Normangee. They have been in the community from
generation to generation and lovingly tell you Normangee is the place to
The Albert West Lathrop family who
were first time settlers of Flo in 1853, were influential in the
establishment of Flo. He sold his home and store in Flo and bought
150 acres of land on the old San Antonio Road, six miles west of
He, his wife Zela and daughters Ethie
and Lela, turned the land into fertile farm land. They were
supporters of education and helped to promote advanced programs of
academic skills. Ethie and Lela both obained teaching degrees and
Later the Lathrop family moved to the
city of Normangee and Albert operated the Sunshine Hatchery in Normangee
for many years. They attended the Plainview Baptist Church for a
while. Albert and his neighbor organized the Hopewell Freewill
Albert and Zela lived the rest of
their lives in Normangee and are buried at the Hopewell Cemetery.
Their daughter Ethie married Ira Lee
Gustavious. They lived in Normangee and were actively involved in
all community affairs. Ethie, a precious lady, lived to be in her
90's. She called Flo and Normangee her home. Ira and Ethie
are buried at Hopewell Cemetery.