Athens Review, Athens, Texas

March 27, 2013

Tree planted to remember first governor J. Pinkney Henderson

Rich Flowers
The Athens Review

Athens —

  The first governor of Texas, for whom Henderson County is named, was honored on Tuesday with the planting of a pecan tree at the Henderson County Historical Park on S. Palestine Street.

  The Sons of the Republic of Texas organized the event in remembrance of J. Pinkney Henderson, a soldier and statesman who served as Governor in 1846 and 1847 then later as a United States Senator. Henderson County was established in 1846, the year he became the state’s chief executive.

 Gene Pilgrim Sr., president of the James George Chapter of the SRT said Henderson also fought in the U.S. war with Mexico, rising to the rank of Major General. Henderson was also prominent during the years of the Republic of Texas. He was named ambassador to England and France in 1837 and met his wife Frances Cox during that term.

  County Judge Richard Sanders called Henderson a “great Texan and a great American” during his remarks. Athens Mayor Jerry Don Vaught said it was fitting that the park set aside to commemorate the history of the county will now be the home of a tree planted in honor of its namesake.

  Sanders said the pecan tree is appropriate for the memorial because they can last 1,000 years and fossil remains in Texas date back further than man’s. The tree can grow from 65 to 130 feet tall and have a trunk with a diameter of 10 feet. The small tree dedicated at the park on Wednesday was donated by Texas Pecan Nursery and planted by the Henderson County Master Gardeners.

  The girls choir from Athens Christian Preparatory Academy brought music for the observance, singing the “Star Spangled Banner” and “Texas Our Texas.”