“Gone to Texas” was a term used by some pioneer families at their old home place to notify people that they had moved west to start a new life in Texas. It is also the title of a new exhibit at the Allen Heritage Guild Depot Museum featuring pioneer families that came to the Allen area before the Civil War.
From the 1840's onward, several waves of immigrant families relocated here. Many were enticed by the advertising campaign of the Peters Colony land grant company who offered 640 acres of land to heads of households and 320 acres to single men. They described the land features of the Blackland Prairie in glowing terms with the promise of a better life. Photos, documents and items used during this migration and settlement period will bring Allen’s original pioneer families to life.
Excerpts taken from the diary of 16-year-old Mary Susannah Lunsford detailing her family’s travels with a wagon train from Kentucky in 1857 are featured along with stories of many other early settlers. All of these early pioneers made significant contributions to the community, and its history and descendants of some still remain in this area.
Copies of original survey maps will be displayed so the original homesteads in the greater Allen area can be located. An overlay map shows the land surveys overlaid with present-day roads so you can find out whose original homestead you now live on.
Other maps of the central and southeastern states depict where many pioneers migrated from, along with the dates of their arrival. Museum visitors will be invited to record their own information: when they came to Texas and their former location.
The “Gone to Texas” exhibit will be on display from April 26 through August 30. The depot is open the second and fourth Saturday of each month from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Arrangements for group tours of the exhibit can be made by calling Ed Bryan at 972-984-9086 or Paula Ross at 972-740-8017. The guild’s general meetings are held the first Wednesday of each month at 6:30 p.m. in the Heritage Center Depot and feature programs on various aspects of Allen’s history.
The Heritage Guild invites anyone who has reminiscences or printed materials about Allen’s past to leave a message on their website at www.allenheritageguild.org. The guild is striving to make the printed, audio and photographic historical materials housed at the depot available to everyone in the community.