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Trini Mendenhall Community Center, 1414 Wirt Road
Houston, TX 77055

When We Meet
Third Thursday of each month
Time: 6:30 pm - 8:45 pm

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Email: lindagorski@cs.com Phone: 713-557-1496

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MONTHLY HAS MEETING February 17th, 2022.

“BLACKSMITHING ON THE TEXAS FRONTIER: Historic Archeology at the Tom Cook Blacksmith Shop in Bolivar, Denton County, Texas”

– Douglas K. Boyd

The next monthly meeting of the Houston Archeological Society will be held on Thursday, February 17th. Due to continuing Covid issues, we are currently planning to hold the meeting virtually via Zoom and YouTube Livestream. Professional archeologist Doug Boyd will present a program entitled Blacksmithing on the Texas Frontier: Historic Archeology at the Tom Cook Blacksmith Shop in Bolivar, Denton County, Texas. The program will begin for HAS members at 6:30 p.m. on Zoom with an opportunity to socialize before a short business meeting at 7:00pm. Boyd’s program will begin at 7:15 p.m. on Zoom and at this YouTube link https://youtu.be/AcUCG-uKVtU. HAS members will receive the Zoom link to the meeting and program at a later date.

Boyd’s presentation will begin with a discussion of the site’s location on the Chisholm Tail. Although it lasted only two decades, from 1867 to ca. 1886, the Chisolm Trail era is steeped in cowboy and cattle drive history, folklore, and mythology. The trail’s route through Texas is known, but little research has been conducted on the towns and businesses that sprang up in support of this short-lived industry. One of the most important businesses along the Chisholm Trail, and in any frontier town, was the blacksmith shop. Blacksmithing was an essential service in rural areas, and good blacksmiths generally became prominent members in their communities.

This program will look at the 2020–2021 archeological and historical investigations of the Tom Cook Blacksmith Shop (41DN617), an archeological site located in Bolivar, a small town along the Chisholm Trail route in western Denton County. The site is especially significant because Thomas Cook, Sr., was an African American freedman who owned and operated his own blacksmith shop. He worked as a blacksmith in Bolivar from the 1870s until his death in 1898. Tom Cook was not only a successful blacksmith, but he was also a minister, a freemason, and a respected member of the Bolivar community.

Blacksmith shop site
The work was sponsored and funded by the Texas Department of Transportation. It was a collaborative project that has incorporated archival research, descendant community outreach and oral history research, and archeological investigations. The analysis of the recovered artifacts, archeological data, and historical evidence is still ongoing. Ultimately, we hope to be able to better understand the role of rural community blacksmiths in Texas and learn more about the black entrepreneurs like Tom Cook during and after the Chisholm Trail era.

Douglas K. Boyd is a senior archeologist with Cox|McLain Environmental Consulting, now Stantec, in Austin. He has a BA from West Texas State University and an MA from Texas A&M University. He has been doing archeology, mostly in Texas, for over 45 years (gasp!). For most of that time, he has served as a project archeologist, project manager, or principal investigator on hundreds of cultural resources management projects. He has published a wide range of CRM reports, academic book and journal articles, popular magazine articles, and a variety of public outreach products such as posters, brochures, and internet exhibits. Most of Boyd’s recent CRM work has focused on historical archeology.

If you have questions about this meeting or about the Houston Archeological Society, please contact Linda Gorski at president@txhas.org.

HAS JOURNAL 143 NOW AVAILABLE

HAS Journal No. 143 is now available. The Journal Number 143, is an issue dedicated exclusively to archeology in the Western United States. This issue highlights the widespread interests of members of the Houston Archeological Society which cover not just the Gulf Coast and Texas, but many areas outside the state including the Western U.S. The papers included in this issue cover sites and archeological materials in West Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, Nevada, and California. These papers include research on material that ranges from potentially before Clovis, to the Paleoindian, Archaic, Late Prehistoric, and Historic periods. Complimentary copies may be obtained by HAS members at the monthly meetings. Non-HAS members may purchase copies through Amazon.com. Go to the HAS Journals Section for a link to the publication on the Amazon.com website. Alternatively, copies may be purchased at the HAS Monthly Meetings.

HAS Report No. 36: The Lone Oak Site (41CD168): A 12,000 Year Old Occupation in Northern Colorado County, Texas NOW AVAILABLE

Report #36. The Lone Oak site is located in northern Colorado County approximately 0.6 km east of the Fayette County line. The site is 7.5 kilometers (4.65 miles) northwest of the community of Frelsburg, Texas, and 25 kilometers north of Columbus, the county seat of Colorado County. The site was named by the land owner after a small historic community of the same name near the property. Both the name and the site’s location have been registered with the Texas Archeological Research Laboratory in Austin and a trinomial number was assigned to the Lone Oak site (41CD168). This publication is available free to members of the Society. Members should make sure that they collect their copy of this report at the next monthly meeting. If you wish to purchase additional copies then you can find them on amazon.com. You can find the appropriate links in our List section.

To learn more about the history behind our archeological society contact Publicity/Outreach: publicoutreach@txhas.org.