Carthage History Written in 1936
Carthage, the County Seat and Its History
Pulaskie on the east side of the Sabine River was once the county seat of Panola County. Dissatisfaction arose as to the location. In 1849 Carthage, which is located within two miles of the geographical center of the county was selected by public vote. One hundred acres were donated by Mr. Jonathan Anderson of Shelby County. Mr. Anderson crossed the Sabine River in. 1819, at Logansport, Louisiana, on the day he was twenty-one years old and settled a few miles from the present site of Carthage, Which was then known as a part of Shelby County. This fine pioneer citizen lived to the ripe old age of ninety-one years.
Carthage was named by Major Holland; and Panola County, by Judge John Allison, each in memory of their native state—Mississippi—the former for his “home town” and the latter for his “native county.”
In collecting data concerning Carthage’s early history, Mrs. T. L. Anderson, one of the county’s oldest citizens, having passed her ninety-first birthday, assisted greatly. She is the mother of a large family of children, four of whom reside in Carthage. There are: Dr. Irwin Anderson, W. D. Anderson, Mrs. Henry Matthews, and Miss Meter Anderson.
The following is given as related: “Pulaski on the east side of the Sabine River was once county seat of the county. Lt was there I was born in 1844. In 1848 a petition was gotten up to change it. There was some rivalry existing between other contestants as to a desirable site. The Legislature ordered an election. John Anderson donated one hundred acres for the site of this town, therefore won the election. From this day Carthage, the name chosen, has held this honor.
“At this time the country was a solid forest of giant trees of all kinds, and all kinds of wild animals abounded. It was a common sight to see a mother deer with her baby lying by her side as one rode by in these woodlands. Regulators and Moderators rode these paths to warn all new-corners they were not wanted in this region, The double-barrel shot gun was carried to kill just such trespassers. My father S. L. Davis also carried his gun every time he left our house. (This was before Carthage was elected.)
“There were no saw mills here at that time. Trees were cut down and hewn into logs and made into dwellings with shelters for windows and dirt floors. The jail, courthouse, stores, and saloons were all made of logs. There were no churches or school houses. My father ran a hotel on the corner where Grimes Babery now is. It extended to the Christian Church where a garden and negro quarters were found. Where the ice plant is, there was a tan yard and a spring of cold water. Later a whiskey still was put in, then the whiskey flowed freely, often mixed with blood. As a little girl, I’ve often seen sand soaked streets with blood shed in public feuds and confusion. All schools were held in the “Old Masonic Hall” that stood where Jerry Long’s old house now stands. Here I learned my abc’s and three R’s from the Blue-back Speller. The “Hall” was used by all denominations. When a preacher did come, everybody turned out to hear him. All the north corner of the square where Jones’ store is was a small log house used as a jail. I’ve been in it, though not as a trespasser. Near the Central Baptist Church where the late Judge T. E. Boren’s home burned at that time was owned by Mr. Arch McKay, the owner of a grain mill located where A. J. Holmes residence now is. It was later burned by a young woman because it got on her nerves. In these early days things were serene, and all traffic was done in wagons over dusty roads.