When I began first grade in Houston in the fall of 1947, I can remember the old ante-bellum home that stood sort of back in the woods and to the right of the old high school building. Of course, I thought it was jaw-dropping awesome and fancied beautiful young ladies and handsome young men living there. In two or three years it was gone and there was a new elementary building. While reading old newspapers, I learned a little more about the folks that lived there and someone’s dream for the house and the property it sat on. Both the father and mother who lived there had deep roots in this county.
The man of the house was James Milton Griffin, born June, 1842, and died 20 November, 1935. His family moved from Alabama to Houston when he was just six years old. At the time of his death, he was the last survivor of Co. H, 11th Miss. Volunteers of the CSA. Mr. Griffin was mustered into the CSA in March of 1862. A few months later, he was honorable discharged after becoming ill with serious complications from measles. When he recovered from that ailment, he re-enlisted in his old outfit. This time his path in the Army of Northern Virginia led him to the small village of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania and on that fateful third of July in 1863, he was severely wounded. His trail afterwards was the same as numerous soldiers who were left on that battlefield, as in through hospitals in Maryland and on to City Point Hospital in Virginia. Somewhere between the battlefield of Gettysburg and his discharge, he left his left leg behind. J. M. Griffin became a fixture in Houston. His obit states he served several terms as Probate Judge as well as Deputy Clerk for several terms. According to his obit, he also liked to walk to town to “mingle” with friends.
The lady of the ante-bellum home was Emma Rebecca Lowry, daughter of the Reverend Thomas Jefferson Lowry, the circuit-riding Methodist minister, responsible for numerous Methodist churches in our area, and Rebecca Hughes Farr. Rev. Lowry was born in the Chesterfield District, South Carolina in 1813 and died in our county in 1891. I have seldom read a more loving and affectionate obituary than that of “Miss Emma”, as she was known. She died February 3, 1949, in her 90th year. Her obit starts off with “They laid Miss Emma to rest here Sunday afternoon and thus the final chapter in the life of one of this community’s most beloved women was closed”. Like, everyone knew who “Miss Emma” was.
Soon after her death, and because of the vision of another prominent and devoted citizen of Houston, being one Lee Horn, the Griffin property was purchased and became the location for a new elementary building. In an article in the Times Post of February 10, 1949, I read that the members of the Houston School Board and the Houston Board of Aldermen had reached an agreement with the heirs of the Griffin property