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Centennial, Texas

HistoryEdit

Centennial was founded prior to 1850.[1] The community’s first school was founded in 1867, additionally serving as a church called Centennial ME Church.[3] Its purpose was to be a school for white children and preaching for white individuals.[4]

Post officeEdit

The community's post office operated from 1875 until 1913.[1] The post office was closed on November 30, 1913, and mail sent to Midyett, TX.[1] However, the Deberry, Texas post office now services the community.

Harmony ChurchEdit

In 1904, Harmony Colored Methodist Episcopal Church was founded by George Delaney, Albert Perkins, and William Townley. It was later relocated on land that was purchased and owned by George Delaney. [5] During this time period, the church property served as a school for colored children, a Prince Hall Mason Lodge, an Eastern Star meeting site, and the founding home of the East Texas Burial Association and Funeral Home.

 
Farm Road 123, adopted by SJM Group.

The former church trustees were: George Delaney, Albert Perkins, William Townley, Lee Glover, Glen Williams, Lorene Bennett, Will Perkins, M.T. Delaney, William Perkins, Casey Perkins, L.Z.Delaney, Lee Glover, Vada Perkins Small, Harriett Delaney, Cordie Mae Delaney- Jones, Howard Delaney, James P. Delaney, Willie Mae Delaney-Spencer and Allee Simmons Jacobs McNamee.

In 2010, the church was later renamed Harmony Invisible Network after church trustees decided to leave the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church. The following year, the SJM Group (formerly The SJM Family Foundation) purchased the land from the United Methodist Church and renamed the church Harmony Centennial Methodist Evangelistic church.[6]

Community cemeteryEdit

The Centennial Cemetery was organized in 1858. The cemetery was divided into two sides: White and Black. The latter is called Centennial Afro-American Cemetery.

According to Allee Simmons Jacobs McNamee,[3] the community's long-time historian, preservationist, and also director of the SJM Group, in the beginning of the (black) cemetery, family and friends of the deceased would dig the graves and make homemade caskets, and had walking processionals to the cemetery (later, the casket was pulled by mules). The deceased were buried the next day with their heads facing east. This burial practice was used because most slaves felt they would obtain freedom after death and this position would cause them to be ready when the angel Gabriel would blow his trumpet at the resurrection.[3]

They used broken plates, saucers, jars, and pitchers as headstones. At the gravesite service, they sang songs such as "Go Down Moses”, “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot”, and “Shine on Me”.

The Centennial Afro-American Cemetery was designated as a Texas Historical Cemetery by the Texas Historical Commission in 2009.[7] The campaign for the cemetery to receive state recognition was spearhead by the SJM Group (formerly the SJM Family Foundation and Talbert Preservation Group).

GeographyEdit

Centennial, Texas is located on FM 123 in Panola County on the Keatchie-Marshall Highway, west of the Louisiana state line. Centennial, Texas [2] is latitude 32.226 and longitude -94.065. The elevation of Centennial is 328 feet. Centennial appears on the Old Panola U.S. Geological Survey Map. Panola County is in the Central Time Zone (UTC -6 hours).

The village of CentennialEdit

Centennial is now considered a village community. It was officially adopted through the Texas State Historical Association by the SJM Group (formerly the SJM Foundation).[8]

EconomyEdit

Centennial, Texas is home to the Tyson Foods Centennial farm plant. Tyson Foods is one of the leading processor and marketer of chicken, pork, and beef.[9]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c d "CENTENNIAL, TX (PANOLA COUNTY)". Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved 20 March 2017.
  2. ^ a b U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Centennial, Texas
  3. ^ a b c "Centennial Afro Cemetery (PANOLA COUNTY)". African American Cemeteries. Retrieved 20 March 2017.
  4. ^ ""The History of Panola County"". Panola County Historical Commission. Retrieved 28 March 2017.
  5. ^ "Texas Land and Records". Texas Land and Records. Retrieved 5 December 2017.
  6. ^ "Panola County's Real Property Official Records". Panola County Official Records. Retrieved 20 March 2017.
  7. ^ "Atlas". Texas Historical Commission. Retrieved 20 March 2017.
  8. ^ "Centennial". Texas Almanac. Retrieved 28 March 2017.
  9. ^ "Tyson Foods". Tyson Foods, Inc. Retrieved 7 April 2017.