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Lake Fannin

Lake Fannin, Texas

The site dates from the earliest history of Fannin County. Dr. Daniel Rowlett and his party had arrived in Jonesboro on March 1, 1836. “Changing boats,” they continued upstream toward Bois d’Arc Creek, “losing one [drowned] and wading ashore,” to settle a place “in the early records called Lexington.” In 1845 Rowlett was granted the surrounding land by the Republic of Texas.

By 1902 natural springs had made possible a small lake where a large house served as a “country club” for prominent families in Bonham. Beulah Harvey worked as a cook at the house, and when it was later occupied by foremen and others working for the Rural Resettlement Administration (1936-38), she continued as cook. The surrounding farmland had become severely depleted and eroded by the cotton economy and the weather-related conditions of the Dust Bowl; and the larger economic consequences of the Great Depression meant that large numbers of able-bodied men were on the relief rolls of the county. What would become 75-acre “Lake Fannin” was the first Resettlement Administration project of its size in the United States, and the only one of its kind in Texas. More than 400 workers were employed.

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