The Way North

The way north was an old trace that lay along the great wrinkle in the earth that separated the Blackland Prairie to the east from the Southern Plains to the west. The trail ran from Southwest Texas north to present day St. Louis, Missouri, and for centuries it served as a conduit for trade and war and migration by peoples ancient and modern. It went by many names. Most referred to it as the Shawnee Trail, for the ancient Indian village of Shawneetown near present day Denison.

Hiding in Plain Sight

The knock on the door of Richard Pressley’s house in Sherman on January 4, 1960, was one he never expected. Standing on the porch was Grayson County Sheriff Woody Blanton, and he was there to end the fifteen years of freedom enjoyed by Pressley following his escape from prison in 1945.

Young Men with Horns

Jazz is hot. For the first time since three-chord rockers took over the popular music scene five decades ago, jazz is in resurgence with those young men, and women as well. High school jazz bands are knocking out licks sweet and hot in Sherman, Denison, Pottsboro and other schools in the area, so it seems appropriate that a new opportunity to further their musical education is coming to town.

Bonnie and Clyde and Lee

Lee Simmons vowed to avenge the guard murdered in the escape and stop the Barrow gang at any cost. He went to Austin where he met with Governor Miriam A. Ferguson. Simmons explained to her that extraordinary measures had to be taken right away in order to bring the Barrow gang to justice. He told Governor Ferguson that he was the very person to do it. She gave him the special powers he requested for this purpose.

Perrin Air Force Base: 1941-1971

Pearl Harbor moved everything, including the training schedules, up a notch or two. The first class of flight cadets arrived on December 16. The eighty-one would be airmen started training on December 22. On February 20, 1942, the field recorded its first fatalities with a crash that killed Cadet Quinto Perkins and instructor Cyril Van Valkenberg. The first class graduated three days later, moving on to advanced training at another base. That February 23 also saw the dedication of the field and the Grayson Basic Flying School officially became Perrin Field.