Smith County Historical Society

Sharing African American History

Since I have been a member of the historical society, still–after all these years African American history is one of the most under donated topics in our holdings.  As a member of the community I do hold things close to my heart and in my personal collections, but I will also share whatever I can for the better of the community.  Here at the Society we are at the mercy of donations to the co ...[Read More]

The Rose Queens of Tyler, Texas

Chamber of Commerce Negative Collection, Object ID: cofcneg168A-002

As with many of my research projects, it started with a question of “Who was the first Rose Queen?” I assumed it would be one of established families of Tyler but I would have been wrong. It turns that the first Rose Queen was from Palestine, Texas, the daughter of a jeweler.   So I started with the book by Frank Bronaugh entitled 50 years, Texas Rose Festival Association, 1933-19 ...[Read More]

State-Wide 2019 Genealogy Lock-In Program

State-Wide 2019 Genealogy Lock-In Program

In celebration of October, as Family History Month, the Smith County Historical Society ­­­­will join the Genealogy Network of Texas (GNT) for a collaborative event on October 18, 2019 from 10 am – 8:30 pm. The GNT is a state-wide initiative to connect libraries and provide educational and research opportunities and is spearheaded by the Genealogy Center of the Waco-McLennan County Library.  ...[Read More]

Louise Marsh, Frances Prestwood, Lovie Roberts and Ruth Hambrick Portraits 1915

In my previous blog, Alma Woldert Spence Letter dated June 4 1915, I mentioned the portraits found in the 1915 Alcalde school annual. We have identified four out of the five as follows:   Louise Marsh – Her senior picture is on page 35 with a different pose from what is printed in the 1915 Alcalde school annual. She is mentioned in the yearbook on pages 77 and 144. [Object Id: BSF060] F ...[Read More]

Alma Woldert Spence Letter dated June 4 1915

Recently SCHS employee Candis Lively was entering information in our museum software from a donation I made to the Archives of a 1915 Alcalde yearbook of Tyler High School. I had bought it at the antique mall in the Fair Foundation Bldg also know as the old Sears store location. When I bought it I found four portraits and a full length head to toe picture that was photographed by Denison”s S ...[Read More]

UPDATE: CLIR Grant Awarded

UPDATE: CLIR Grant Awarded

UPDATE April 2019: CLIR Grant Awarded               UPDATE 3/13/2020: Recordings being uploaded. Go to  and “Congratulations! We are pleased to inform you that our review panel has recommended Smith County Historical Society, Inc. for a Recordings at Risk grant in the amount of $25,258.43 to support the project Historical Magnetic Tape Preservation Project. Your p ...[Read More]

Things to Do in Tyler, Texas


Are you looking for things to do in Tyler, Texas? The population of Tyler is growing at a fast rate, and so is tourism. The Keepin’ Tyler Rosy Destination Training tour is hosted by The Tyler Area Chamber of Commerce for employees of the hospitality industry of Tyler. I was fortunate enough to be a part of this tour along with 22 fellow associates and Susan Travis, Vice President of Tourism ...[Read More]

Alliene Gaston Coker, The First Woman Elected as an Officer of a Tyler Bank

Alliene Gaston Coker, The First Woman Elected as an Officer of a Tyler Bank

At our April 2019 monthly meeting, Kathy Gaston, a Smith County Historical Society Board member, spoke about Alliene Gaston Coker, the first woman elected as an officer of a Tyler bank.   Alliene Gaston Coker was born in 1891 to a prominent Tyler dentist, Finis Ewing Gaston, and his wife, Bessie Clarinda James. A lifelong resident of Tyler, Alliene was proud of her family and her city. She wa ...[Read More]

Historic Preservation Mark A. Thacker, AIA

Historic Preservation Mark A. Thacker, AIA

Mark Thacker is a Board member of the Smith County Historical Society. Mr. Thacker presented the program for our March 2019 meeting on Historic Preservation. Mark is a preservation architect by profession and serves as a member of the Texas Archaeological Stewards Network, a program of the Texas Historical Commission. A lifelong resident of Smith County, Texas, Mark received his architectural educ ...[Read More]

Yearbooks Added

This Is a listing of new acquisitions for our collection of yearbooks. We have been very fortunate to receive the yearbooks listed below through the generosity of our members and others. We have received elementary, junior high, middle school, high school, college and even one military yearbooks. These help us add to our ancestors’ stories.   If the year that you are interested in is no ...[Read More]