widely scattered farms they were trying to clear, they were cut off from human contact except for the Sabbath when everyone assembled to worship together.”
In 1857, Bob Fitzhugh built a gristmill on Wilson Creek in
the Calvin Boles survey. The Mill
was also called Snider Mill and the Snider Mill Road
once let to it. The mill was the
first in the area. Previously grain
had to be hauled to Sherman for grinding. Nearby was the Fitzhugh Spring.
As late as 1946, horse-drawn wagons would stop at the Fitzhugh
Spring so the horses and men could get a drink. The
Fitzhugh Spring sits on land behind the house occupied by Clyde Willis’ niece.
This house is referred to as the old McGee house and is located at 5530
CR 317. The house now faces the
CR323 and CR 317 intersection, which is north of CR 266.
The house was moved there by old man McGee from a place north of there
near the site of the mill. The
Fitzhugh spring used to supply the McGees with water through a pipe via gravity
but today there is a pump on it. The old stream is still there from the spring
downhill towards the mill and well site. There
are concrete remnants of an old cattle/sheep dip on the southwest side of the
CR317/CR323 intersection that used the water from the spring. There used to be
an old general store on the northwest corner of that same intersection.
Just north of that intersection is Wilson’s Creek.
This area was known as Fitzhugh Springs and was previously the site of a
Tonkawa or Delaware Indian Camp. Arrowheads
have been found at the site.
In 1860, the population of Collin County was 9,264. An article on Collin County in the Civil War on the web site of the Genealogy Friends of the Plano Libraries, states: “At the convention for the secession of Texas from the United States, Collin County voted to stay with the Union, as did many of the counties in north Texas. There were few slaves in the county. Once the vote was taken to secede, however, Collin County supported the state. Collin County sent many men to the war. At the time of the war the frontier was not much further west than Ft. Worth.”
According to the late historian Captain Roy Hall, “The Civil War came on before the Forest Grove Church building could be started, and after the war everything was so scarce, and people had to start all over again towards making a living, so it was many years before any plans for a building were made. In the meantime, a large brush arbor was constructed and services were conducted there for several years, even in the wintertime. As many as two thousand people attended meetings in this old arbor.”
The biography of John W. Christian in Collin County Families, Vol. 1, by Minnie Pitts Champ, states that “After the Civil War, John W. Christian came to Collin County and McKinney. He worked for Frank Dowell, an early settler, who lived about six miles west of McKinney. Mr. Dowell’s grandsons were well known businessmen in McKinney for many years. He later worked for J. B. Engleman at Lucas for several years. There was a community called Engleman at FM 2170 and FM1378. He lived there and saved his money to buy the Christian homestead. He was married April 2, 1878 to Missouri Ann Warden. She was the daughter of ex-sheriff of Collin County William Warden and Hester Ann Smith, daughter of George Washington Smith.”
The Christian homestead was at Long and Christian Lanes across from the original Christian barn now owned by Tom and Rhonda Grisak at 1955 Christian Lane. The barn has seen the turn of two centuries. Christian Lane is named after the Christian family. The J. W. Christians are buried in Fitzhugh Cemetery. The great great grandchildren of John Welsh Christian are the fifth generation to live on the land settled by him in 1872, a period of 112 years.