1846 The First Grand Jury
Court convened on November 9, 1846 and four days later the grand jury returned to the court five indictments for assult [sic] and battery and one for “refusing to render a list of property to appraiser and collector”
1852 The First School
Mound Prairie Institute was destined to become one of the most famous institutions of learning of its time in Texas. It began in a small one-room house with one teacher; but it grew rapidly, and in two or there years the faculty numbered five teachers, and students attended from all parts of the state. The school lasted only nine years.
The bugle blasts of war called the young men from books to battlefields, and thus the institution was left deserted. The commencement held in June 1861, marks the end.
1856 The First College
Franklin College was chartered on February 2, 1856, by the Sixth Legislature of the State of Texas as a school of learning consisting of male and female departments. The school succeeded the Palestine Masonic Institute. The male school, located in the old section of Palestine, ended after one year of operation.
1860 The First Ice House
was established by Frederick Stith Jackson (1809-1863) As the largest planter and slaveholder in Anderson County he played an important social role; his home, one mile west of Palestine, had the first ice house in the county. Jackson served as a trustee of Palestine’s first school, the Palestine Female Academy.
A photo shows the military presence protecting African Americans when they came to the Anderson County Courthouse to vote for the first time in 1869.
1873 The First Large Industry
was established by George M. Dilley.
The Geo. E. Dilley & Son Founders and Machinists company was established by George M. Dilley in 1873 when the railroad came to Palestine, Texas. Dilley established the foundry to provide gray iron and brass castings to the railroad.
1878 The First Mercantile Store
was established by William Broyles
was established by Southwestern Telegraph and Telephone Company
1888 The First Rocks Falling from the Sky
were reported by W H Perry (Sergeant, Signal Corps, Monthly Weather Review, July, 1888). Pebbles described as “common water-worn pebbles” that fell at Palestine, Texas, July 6, 1888 — “of a formation not found near Palestine”.
circa 1900 The First Mule drawn street cars
The track ran from the Section House of the Railroad to the courthouse
St. Mary’s Academy was established in a small frame house at the intersection of Lacy and North Jackson streets. In 1965 it was believed to be one of the oldest private schools in Texas.
1911 Model T Ford Dr. Tucker took the train to Dallas, bought the car, then drove it home after getting shown how to operate it.
1916 The First Professional Baseball Teram
The East Texas League had a team named the Palestine Athletics, and later in the Lone Star League as the Palestine Pals 1925-1929, 1934-1935, 1936-1940
In 1938, H.T. James put a message in a sealed pint bottle in the Trinity River at Long Lake. The bottle was found in a 700-pound shark in Galveston Bay.
1946 The First Radio Station of Gordon McLendon
Gordon McLendon purchased station KNET in Palestine. The following year, McLendon moved to Dallas and launched KLIF.
It was Palestine where son Gordon cut his eyeteeth in radio doing literally everything that was, and is, required from a small town operator.
1948 The First Television Set
Mr. and Mrs. Moses Mill Rogers, owner of Rogers Chevrolet, purchased the home, and the family resided there until his death in 1977. They referred to this home as “The Holley House.” One of the most memorial events that occurred at this historical home due to the high prominent point on the top of Sycamore Hill, was the Rogers had the first television set in Palestine. Son Jack Rogers recalled on many occasions when the house was full of folks coming in just to watch it with the family. Source: Palestine Herald Press 11-28-2004
1962 The First High School Diploma from a President
Walter Nicky Nicholson served as a congressional page during the Kennedy administration and received his high school diploma personally from John F. Kennedy when he graduated from the page school in 1962.
circa 1965 The First All-Electric House
Paul Elliott was a building contractor for more than 30 years. He built homes all over Anderson and surrounding counties. He built the first all-electric home in Palestine in the 1960s.
1979 The First on a Super Bowl Team
Guy Brown III (PHS 1973) was on the Dallas Cowboys roster for Super Bowl XIII which is called “The Greatest Matchup in Super Bowl History”.
Timothy and Elaine Triplett (1969)looked closely at their new Global Electric Motorcar from UV Country in Houston, one of the first of its kind in private hands in Palestine.