Regretfully I must inform you that the Van Alstyne Historical Society Board of Directors has voted to postpone the 2017 Van Alstyne Cemetery Tour. This was originally scheduled for Saturday, May 6, 2017. At this time, there does not appear to be adequate feedback from the community nor the members of the VAHS. Rather than merely pushing forward with the event that highlights key figures of our colorful past, we feel it is in the best interest of all those involved to reschedule the event to a time when the lives of those who went before us will truly be honored. It has been mentioned that a new date and time might take place in the fall of 2017, however that is yet to be determined.
I would also like to take this time to plead with you to support your local history. Recently, as I have done many times, I walked through the old section of the Van Alstyne Cemetery and was once again saddened at the despair that this section of sacred ground has fallen into. Many stones are broken, knocked down and are slowly sinking into the dark ground. Soon, the names etched on these stones will be lost to time and with them, a story of long ago will cease to exist. It is projects such as this that the Van Alstyne Historical Society truly hopes to undertake and rectify the situation unfolding west of town so that these names, these stories, these individuals will be remembered forever. Not simply because of their lives, their wills or even their names, but because of their hopes, their dreams and their sacrifices for the town we now call home.
Saving the history of Van Alstyne and saving any history for that matter is an honorable goal, however it takes joint effort from many individuals. The Van Alstyne Historical Society has been dormant for many years and as we rebuild the noteworthy cause, we ask that you not only support us, but that you work alongside us to ensure that our history is here for generations yet to come, just as it was here for us to enjoy because of the generations that went before us.
My family has been in the Van Alstyne area since the early 1850s and I am extremely grateful that we have stuck around for so many years. We have watched as the little railroad town has evolved from a stop along the tracks to a true destination point. A fond story from my great grandfather, Dennis Ferguson, recalls during the 1930s and 1940s, cars would line downtown Van Alstyne and people would walk all throughout downtown. It was “the place” to be, not to mention the movie theaters we had! What a neat feeling to know that our town has long been a gathering place for individuals from all throughout the area.
The situation in the cemetery is just one worthy cause that the Van Alstyne Historical Society hopes to undertake and we hope that you will help us out in any way that you can. Progress is certainly needed and as new people come into our town and call it home, let us welcome them with standards that are built upon a long line of tradition and history. Let us not separate the old neighborhoods from the neighborhoods of Georgetown, but rather let us come together as one town, dutifully sworn to protect our history. While downtown and the old neighborhoods certainly have a wide array of colorful history, the fields that Georgetown now occupy once composed a part of the iconic McKinney farm and with it, certainly have many historical memories as well.
Aside from preserving the history of our town, our long-term goal is to have meetings periodically in which we will have a speaker from somewhere local that will give a historical presentation. In order to do this, we need membership and we need support from the community as a whole. Please consider joining the Van Alstyne Historical Society and let us honor those that sacrificed so much to ensure we had a place to call home.
For membership please contact Dusty Williams at email@example.com
Standard Membership $10
Senior Membership $5
Family Membership $25
Lifetime Membership $100
Dusty Williams is the president of the Van Alstyne Historical Society and a ninth-generation Grayson County resident.