Volunteer pictured in July issue of ‘Texas Highways’ magazine
Houston County Courier
Annette Parham and her sister, Robbie Willis, both of Grapeland, were pictured in the July 2011 issue of “Texas Highways Magazine”. Parham, a member of the Grapeland Public Library Board of Directors since February 2010, was presented a framed copy of the photo at the library’s Aug. 8 board meeting. Parham has been a library volunteer since February 2009. The photo is titled “Memory Lane” and was taken by a “Texas Highways” photographer during a visit to the Wheeler Springs community. The “Texas Magazine” story features the freedom colonies at Wheeler Springs, Hall’s Bluff and Cedar Branch. There are 19 freedom colonies identified in Houston County. The term “freedom colonies” refers to the communities established in the 1860s by Afro-Americans who were freed after the Civil War. These colonies were created in the farming communities where the Afro- Americans had previously lived and worked on large farms and plantations. The article identified Annette’s and Robbie’s grandfather as the person who built the stone community center building at Wheeler Springs. “In fact,” Parham clarified, “the stone structure was actually built by my older brother, James L. Johnson. He was only 19 years old at the time of the construction.” “The building served as a community center, as well as a place for canning and mattress-making.” The Grapeland native recalls spending summers with her grandmother, Lula Dailey, and grandfather, Mose Dailey, of Wheeler Springs. Parham taught math in Illinois and in the Dallas area prior to her retirement in Grapeland.