The Bailey House
The Bailey house, as it is colloquially known, was built circa 1909 with hired labor. It was originally located at 301 North Goliad, directly across the street from Joy Lutheran Church. After being a private home and then a dental office, it was moved to the museum grounds at Harry Myers Park in 2017. Funds were raised to restore the house, including two original fireplaces that had been removed and were sitting in a consignment shop.
The original layout of the house included a large entryway that was used as a living room. A formal dining room, two bedrooms and a kitchen with butler’s pantry completed the house along with front and back porches. The back porch has been enclosed in various configurations to accommodate storage and an indoor bathroom.
The Bailey House is named for Titus “Tite” Bailey and his wife, Lucy Estelle Curry Bailey. Lucy worked as a telephone operator and went to Wells College before their marriage, while Tite was in banking. They would go on to have four daughters, but Lucy would be left to raise them by herself. Tite died when the oldest daughter was 7 years old and the youngest was less than a year old. Lucy would not remarry, but went on to become the first female elected County Clerk in Rockwall.
The Manson-LaMoreaux-Hartman House
The Manson-LaMoreaux-Hartman house is named for several of its earliest tenants. The house was originally a two room dogtrot style home, built by Watson B Bowles. Dr. Henry (Hal) Walker Manson purchased the property in 1880. He proceeded to practice medicine while also being elected to the Texas House of Representatives and running the first local newspaper, the Rockwall Success from 1885 onwards.
The house has been added on to throughout the years, but its medical background held steady. One of the next occupants, Dr. Jessie Castle LaMoreaux was one of the first female dentists in the State of Texas. She practiced her craft in this building also. Dr. Hal Manson married Dr. Jessie’s sister, Myrta Castle, in June of 1897 (this was his second marriage). After Dr. Manson’s death in 1905, Myrta moved in with her parents and her sister, Dr. Jessie. The home was located at 106 West Washington Street. The home was moved in the 1980s to the Museum grounds as it was expressly donated to be used as a museum.
Our ‘tenant cabin’ consists of a porch, main room and kitchen in a rectangular configuration. It is believed to date to the 1920s and was moved to the museum property from the Pullen farmstead.
This small building may have been used for a variety of purposes during its lifetime. It may have been used as a ‘weaning cabin’ for young family members starting their own lives, but who didn’t quite have the means to move far way. It may have, indeed, been a tenant cabin, housing farmers hoping to earn enough from their hard work during the year to sell at a profit.
Sharecroppers and tenant farmers are often used interchangeably. Tenant farmers owned their own mules/horses/cows and tools. They only needed to be forwarded the money for seed before they could start planting their fields. Tenant farmers had a realistic expectation that they could pay back any borrowed money and walk away with a profit after harvests had been sold. However, this hope could be easily dashed with a single early frost or devastating drought.
Sharecroppers started off at a much more serious disadvantage, having to be loaned or forwarded money for all of the tools, animals, and seed necessary to plant and harvest a field. They were forced to pledge a large percentage of their future harvest against these loans. Sharecroppers rarely made enough money to break even, let alone get ahead.
The rock wall that gave its name to the city and county is unable to be accessed as it lies deep underground. However, small sections of the wall have been reconstructed above ground for visitors to experience. The first is in front of the Old Courthouse on the Square in downtown Rockwall. The second is on the grounds of the Rockwall County Historical Foundation Museum, between the Bailey and Manson-LaMoreaux-Hartman House.
Due to natural outcroppings throughout the county, it is theorized that up to 20 miles of wall exists underground. It is not known how tall this wall is as the bottom has never been unearthed, even with modern equipment. The original discovery was on what is now Canup family property, to the north and slightly west of Rockwall Memorial Cemetery. Terry Utley Wade, BF Boydstun and William Clay Stevenson were digging a well in 1852 when they noticed a very regular ‘wall’ type structure, complete with what appeared to be mortar and ‘windows’. Thus began the mystery of the rock wall.
Stodghill Farm Outhouse
The outhouse in the museum park was moved here from the Stodghill Farm at what is now the corner of Route 66 and Stodghill Road/FM 3549. The outhouse had originally been built as part of a WPA (Works Progress Administration) project. Outhouses like these were used by far-flung farm families through the 1950s.
WPA outhouses were built during the Great Depression and were all identical. They stood at 4’ x 5’ with a wooden frame, with a hanging roof, and a ventilation chimney with a metal screen to keep flies out. These outhouses originally had a concrete foundation, floor, and vault for cleanliness as wooden floors were difficult to clean and also deteriorated rapidly.