Jefferson kicks of first-ever Pioneer Days celebration with re-creation of 1906 shootout


JEFFERSON, Texas (KTAL/KMSS) — Jefferson’s first-ever Pioneer Days celebration kicked off Saturday with the re-creation of an actual shootout that happened in the Wagon Yard of the city in 1906.

The re-creation, which followed a parade, was staged around the area where the original shoot-out happened, had to do with the arrest of one of the city’s constables by then-Sheriff, W. S. Terry.

“Jefferson, like always, has an awesome history, and we hear a lot of the earlier history, but we don’t hear much of the history later in the 1900s, so it was interesting hearing that,” said attendee Julie Stewart, who said it was her first time hearing the story.

Jefferson’s Opera House Theatre Players president and founder Marcia Thomas organized the three-day festival. She says a relative of hers was present during the shooting.

“My grandfather, who was a twin, told his family, myself particularly and my mother, about this incident that happened in 1906 and I thought, ‘1906 is kind of late to have those shoot-outs going,’ but he said ‘Yeah, Jefferson was pretty untamed for a long long time.'”

“But they had two guys come into town, who was going to maybe make some changes, and it resulted, unfortunately, in a shoot-out,” Thomas said.

She also says her grandfather and his twin brother were just young boys at the time.

“And when the guy got shot, my grandfather said he fell dead at their feet. And he said it scared them both to death, and they took off running. They went to their father’s grocery store, which is a block or two over.”

Jim Blackburn, who played Sheriff W.S. Terry in the re-creation, is also a retired Collin County Sheriff’s department employee and certified law enforcement investigator. Blackburn says Saturday was not his first time acting.

He said the gun that was used was a replica from back in the day.

“And it fires 38 blanks or .38 caliber blanks. So, it’s plugged, so there’s no project out. Very safe, so it’s top vending smoke. But it’s realistic … kind of cool,” he said.

Stewart, who lives in Jefferson, says the actors “did a great job.”

“We hope that this will be the beginning, that we could do the Pioneer Days next year and maybe just keep it going,” said Thomas.

The re-creation was played twice on Saturday in the Wagon Yard location. It’s worth noting that Tony Proctor was played by KTAL NBC 6 Vice President and General Manager Mark McKay, who is also now a resident of the city.

On Sunday, Sept. 5, a cook-out with barbeque and beans will be served at noon at the grassy riverfront area near the stagecoach and horse display, courtesy of the Collins Institute. Entertainment will begin at about noon and continue until 4 p.m. Cowboy singers like John Nance, Ann Leslie, and Riley Coxwill be performing.

On Monday, Sept. 6, the much-anticipated concert by the Sons of the Pioneers will present a show of just under two hours, followed by an autograph and photo session with the audience. The group’s latest CDs will also be available for purchase.

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