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Confederate Reunion Grounds State Historic Site
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Confederate Reunion Grounds State Historic Site Information:  
In 1888, Civil War Veterans and their families from Limestone and Freestone counties began gathering for annual reunions. In 1899, they formed the “Joe Johnston Camp No. 94 - United Confederate Veterans.” In 1892, they purchased 20 acres of the land at the junction of Jack’s Creek and the Navasota River. They next year they platted the land, naming the main streets Lee Avenue and Jackson Avenue, and built an eight sided dance pavilion which still stands today. Until 1946, the veterans and their descendants gathered at the campsite to listen to speeches and concerts, share war stories, and fire their Old Val Verde cannon at dawn and at dusk each day. The dance pavilion is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Also located on the 77 acre site are the 1872 Heritage House, the Old Val Verde cannon, and two scenic footbridges spanning Jack’s Creek. For more complete information, read the Confederate Reunion Grounds Brochure.  From Mexia, take SH 14 South to RM 2705; go west on 2705 for 2.5 miles to the entrance. Nearby Fort Parker State Park Clear Sky Chart
 
Navasota River:
This 125 mile long river rises northeast of Mount Calm in southeastern Hill County and flows southeast, crossing Limestone County and serving as the county line between Leon and Robertson, Madison and Brazos, and Brazos and Grimes Counties before reaching its mouth on the Brazos River, six miles southwest of Navasota in southwestern Grimes County. The river is dammed at various points to form Lake Mexia, Springfield Lake (Fort Parker State Park), Joe Echols Lake, Lake Groesbeck, Lake Limestone and Martin Lake. River tributaries include Big, Little Cedar, Sand, Bowman, Panther, and Holland Creeks. Navasota, Texas is located on a bend in the river in Grimes County. Numerous archeological sites have been found along the river, which served early settlers as an access route into the area.
 
Old Val Verde Cannon:
The cannon, a three inch ordnance rifle, was manufactured for the Union Army in 1862 by the Phoenix Iron Works in Pennsylvania. The Val Verde and eight other cannons were captured by the Confederates in the battle at Mansfield, Louisiana on 1864. Throughout the duration of the war, the Val Verde Cannon and three others were used by the Confederate Val Verde Battery, a group of Texas volunteers. After the 1865 Confederate surrender, the Union told the Battery to surrender all its weapons. Rather than surrender the artillery, Captain T.D. Nettles buried the two cannons under a buggy house in nearby Fairfield. They were later dug up and reburied in a grove of trees approximately one mile away. The cannons were buried for 20 years before being recovered in 1885. The Val Verde cannon was given to Captain W.B. Waldrom who had been in charge of the 12th Texas Infantry which had been assigned the duty of guarding the Val Verde Battery cannons. R. J. Bryant, one of the group members that buried the cannons, acquired the cannon in 1894. He was a member of the Joe Johnson Camp No.94 and gave the cannon to the camp. Today the cannon is on display under the flag pole near the intersection of Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson Avenues.
 
J.H. Jones and the Old Settlers Reunion Grounds, Texas Historical Marker Text:
“A native of Alabama, J. H. Jones (d. 1923) came to Texas in 1877. After teaching school for several years, he was elected clerk of Wood County in 1886. He later became a successful merchant in Quitman. In 1902 Jones donated property at this site to the Old Settlers of Wood County Association, organized three years earlier under the leadership of newspaper editor James L. Ray (d. 1929). Except for a short time during World War I, annual homecoming activities have been held here. The reunion grounds were deeded to the Governor Hogg Shrine State Park in 1952.” The marker is located at the Governor Hogg Shrine State Park in downtown Quitman, Texas.
 
Confederate Reunion Grounds State Historic Site Activities & Amenities Overview:
Amenities include the 1872 Heritage House, a 1920s pump house, the 1893 dance pavilion, Colonel Humphrey’s Arch and Spring, ponds, cisterns, fountains, wells, rock BBQ pits and rock chimneys, picnic sites, a playground, restrooms, the 0.5 mile hiking trail with 2 foot bridges, anda remnant of the brick “Old Coolidge–Reunion Grounds” Road. Activities include picnicking, fishing, canoeing, and walking and viewing historic sites; camping is available with rental of the pavilion. The pavilion may be rented for day or overnight use. The restrooms and Dance Pavilion are ADA Compliant. This SHS hosts special programs and events, including stargazing parties and movie nights. The park is available for event rentals.
 
Birding - Texas Prairies and Pineywoods west Birding Wildlife Trail:
Big Woods Loop:  Palestine, Tennessee Colony, Cayuga, Kerens, Corsicana, Ennis, Bardwell, Athens, Fairfield, Mexia, Teague, Groesbeck, Marquez, Centerville, Leona
Texas Birds Checklist
Oaks & Prairies & Osage Plains Bird Checklist
Navarro County Bird Checklist for North Central Texas
Navarro Mills Lake Bird Checklist, Corsicana
Gus Engeling WMA Bird Checklist, Palestine
Fort Parker State Park Bird Checklist,Mexia
 
Limestone Bluffs Paddling Trail:
This 5.3 mile Navasota River trail lies between the Confederate Reunion Grounds and Fort Parker State Park. Habitat on the route consists of limestone bluffs, hardwood bottomlands. Wildlife includes birds, beavers, and other wildlife. Shuttles may be arranged from Fort Parker State Park.   
Put-in, Confederate Reunion Grounds State Historic Site:
(512) 463-6323. 1738 FM 2705, Mexia, TX 76667  
Take-out, Fort Parker State Park:
(254) 562-5751. 194 Park Road 28, Mexia, TX 76667
Alternate Put-in or Take-out:
River Boat Launch Park: Located on Park Road 28A, north of Fort Parker State Park.
 
Confederate Reunion Grounds State Historic Site Directions:  
From Mexia, take SH 14 South to RM 2705; go west on 2705 for 2.5 miles to the entrance.