Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The Annual Hagerman Reunion is held each year on Labor Day. After reading about the event in the paper, some Friends decided to visit the reunion earlier this week to meet some of the descendants of those who once lived in the town of Hagerman. It is interesting that the group has remained so connected some 70 years after the town was cleared away to make way for Lake Texoma. We spoke with a number of folks who had brought photos, home movies transferred to current video technology, recordings of oral history, scrapbooks and more.

We heard the sharing of memories such as seeing the German World War II POW’s who were brought to the area to help clear the land of trees and structures, for the lake-to-be, and watching Perrin Field ramp up training for fighter pilots for the war. We learned that one woman, undoubtedly an early feminist, succeeded her husband to become one of the early postmasters of the town. We were shown a sketch map showing the location of the various buildings in the town – including at one time, three grocery stores. The school went through grade eight – for high school, youngsters traveled to Denison or even out of state, to boarding schools. The last graduation took place in 1942. We heard that the final gathering in the town was held under a brush arbor constructed to accommodate the crowd, and one of the town sages proposed the motto, “The Street Where Old Friends Meet”, for the gathering.

We learned that many of these memories and documents have been shared with Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge, to aid in the preparation of the recent history of the area for the new exhibits at the Visitor Center, which is having its Grand Opening Sept. 8. We hope that you too will enjoy learning about the history of the town of Hagerman.

In the photo, taken by Dick Malnory, Annette Morrison Catts, of Missouri, who was introduced to us as the historian of the group, is shown holding a scrapbook about the church at Hagerman. To make way for the lake, the wooden church building was moved to Denison, where it became Hyde Park Presbyterian Church.

Please see Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge and Friends of Hagerman for more information about the Refuge and activities of the Friends.

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