Fall events on tap at Sam Rayburn House

A cemetery walking tour is one of the special events planned for Saturday at Sam Rayburn House historic site in Bonham.

The Sam Rayburn House State Historic Site has planned a day of activities Saturday, October 29.

Have time for history in the morning, but not the afternoon? 

Join a group for a cemetery walking tour at 10 a.m. at Willow Wild Cemetery. 

The Cemetery Walking Tour is annual event that takes place the last Saturday in October. 

This tour of Willow Wild Cemetery in Bonham gives guests the opportunity to learn more about legendary figures, notable citizens and historic characters who once lived in Fannin County. 

The free, guided tour begins near the gates to Willow Wild Cemetery which is located at 1220 W. 7th Street in Bonham. The Sam Rayburn House will provide refreshments.  

Maybe your morning is booked but you have time to spare in the afternoon? An open house is set for from 1 to 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, October 29 celebrating Texas Archeology Month and the restoration of Sam Rayburn’s barn and vehicle collection at the Sam Rayburn House.  

Archeology Month is marked annually during October. 

It celebrates the richness of Texas history, the importance of proper methods of archeological practices and the work of Texas archeologists who work to uncover our history and the history of our ancestors, according to a news release.

Some artifacts uncovered at the Sam Rayburn House during an archeological survey that was completed at the site in 1977 will be on display.

Guests will also be able to take a look at a historic barn. 

The circa 1950 barn was recently restored by the Texas Historical Commission. Phoenix I Restoration & Construction, Ltd. of Dallas completed the work on the barn between 2015 and 2016. 

The project included removal and replacement of rotting wood, a new roof, new concrete pad, and installation of electrical systems with heating and cooling functions, the news release stated.  

The restored barn is now home to three historic vehicles from the Sam Rayburn House State Historic Site’s collection. The cars on display in the barn include a 1951 Dodge Express pickup truck, a 1953 four door Chevrolet sedan and a 1955 Plymouth Savoy. 

The Dodge and Plymouth along with a 1948 Farmall model “H” tractor were restored in 2015-2016 through a generous donation from Silver Eagle Distributors CEO and Chairman of the Texas Historical Commission, John L. Nau, III. 

The restoration work was carried out and completed by staff from Silver Eagle Distributors at their shop in Houston, TX. 

The project was overseen by Ed Prichard, the Senior Vice President of Fleet Management and Purchasing. 

The 1953 four door Chevrolet sedan was recently donated to the Sam Rayburn House State Historic Site by Evelyn Cross, daughter of Rayburn ranch foreman, James H. “Buck” Henson. The car was purchased new by Sam Rayburn in 1953. After his death in 1961, Buck bought the car from the Rayburn estate. He later sold it to his daughter Evelyn.  

The Sam Rayburn House State Historic Site tells the real story of Sam Rayburn, one of the most powerful and influential politicians of the 20thcentury, in his authentic 1916 home. 

Preserved as a period time capsule, the two-story home contains all original Rayburn furnishings. The Sam Rayburn House State Historic Site is one of 20 historic attractions operated by the Texas Historical Commission. For more information, visit www.visitsamrayburnhouse.com.  

— Compiled by Anne Ruppert, Sam Rayburn House State Historic Site