1966, U.S. Representative Wright Patman dedicated the Old Jail,
the oldest building in Carthage, and a State Historical Medallion
was placed on the front near the doorway.
In May 1967, the historic Panola County Jail received recognition from the Texas State Historical Survey Commission as a "Recorded Texas Historic Landmark, significant to the history of this community and state and worthy of preservation." A certificate signed by then governor John Connally was presented at the dedication. The marker reads,
Plaque on Old Jail honoring the landmark
1976 a new plaque told of yet another honor to the then nearly
century old building:
In 1991 then governor Ann Richards honored PCHGA with a visit to the Old Jail as part of its 100th birthday celebration. Other state and local dignitaries were on hand also to tour the facility as part of the Open House celebration.
In 1995 the East Texas Historical Association honored the Old Jail by awarding it the coveted Lucille Terry Award.
A new addition coming to the library is the East Texas Oral History Archive which consists of hundreds of oral histories collected by the Carthage High School and later the Panola College students of Mrs. Ann Morris. Each interview includes a cassette tape and a typed transcript. An index cross-referencing the name of the interviewee and the name of the student interviewer is available. The collection began in 1986 and continues to grow as more are added. Popular topics include The Great Depression, World War II, Korean War, Vietnam War, church history, Panola College, and general family recollections.
In 2003, Professor Joe Hough, recently retired from Panola College, contributed approximately 200 cassette tapes of interviews collected by his college history students. These are being cataloged and labeled and are located at the Old Jail.
Family History Center Hours
Since its organization in 1987, the LaGrone Family History Center has amassed over 2,000 cataloged volumes used in genealogy and other research. This does not include several hundred quarterlies and periodicals which are not cataloged individually. Nor does this number include what is probably its most prized possession, the Current Family Research Files.
Many of these works have been purchased with memorials, but most of them have been donated by friends of the library, some of whom no longer live in Panola County.
Among the Center's special collections are:
- Roster of Confederate Soldiers (16 volumes)
- Panola County family histories (compiled by family members)
- pioneer store ledgers
- Alabama Records Collection (245 volumes)
Also available for use by patrons are microfilm and microfiche records. Microfilm information available includes:
- Texas Census Records 1850, 1860
- Panola County Census Records 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880
- The Panola Watchman 1873-1990's
Microfiche information includes:
- Miscellaneous information from Mormon Research Library
- Texas and Texans (2 of 6 volumes published in early 1900s)
A copy machine is also available. All information stored in the computer files is available with the assistance of the library staff.
The Family History Center receives new books on a very regular basis.
County, Texas Cemetery Index
Beckville, Texas History
Newton Co., TX Marriage Records 1900-1940
Census, Newton Co. TX:
(1820, 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880, 1900)
Kentucky Court & Other Records
High School Class of '51 - 50th Reunion
Carthage High School Class of '53 - 50th Reunion
Newton County Cemetery Book
Mississippi - War of 1812 Pensioners
Timpson Area Obituaries
Newbern Cemetery Shelby Co., TX
Whispers of Newton Co. History 1940-2000
The Panola County Historical Commission is dedicated to the preservation of historical sites in the county and to documentation of people who have played an important role in the history and development of Panola County. The commission also plays a role in the acquiring and dedication of Texas State Historic Markers placed in the county. In 1975 the county judge saw the need for a historical commission in the county and prevailed upon local historian Leila B. LaGrone to serve as the chairman.
museum on the second floor utilizes the cell space to pay tribute
to past law enforcement and fire department officials. One cell
is complete with a "prisoner" and food.
A front area is set aside to honor artist Q. M. Martin and contains collection of several of his paintings as well as personal memorabilia.
displays, replete with original photographs and items of interest
generously donated or loaned by local citizens, reflect pioneer
home and school life. Also acknowledged in the museum area the
various natural resources that help keep the Panola County economy
healthy and make it the "Gas Capital of the World".
A highlight of the museum is a tribute to all Panola County veterans. Main attractions include a scale model of the "Via Panola Express," a World War II plane named for Panola County.
Tours, conducted by official hosts of the library-museum, are free.