The City commemorates the National Juneteenth holiday on Saturday, June 17 with several public events in the Douglass Community. As one of Plano’s oldest neighborhoods, the Douglass Community is home to the remains of several notable early settlers and some of their heirs still call Plano home nearly 140 years later. Two of those early residents are Andy Drake and Mose Stimpson.
In fact, the 2017 Juneteenth kickoff event is a ribbon cutting ceremony for the new Stimpson-Drake Park in honor of the two African Americans who contributed so much to this historic community. The dedication begins at 11 a.m. on the site formerly known as the Douglass Neighborhood Park, 1212 H Avenue.
Join Mayor Harry LaRosiliere and other city and civic dignitaries for this event which includes several exciting presentations. Special guests include members of the Stimpson and Drake families.
Juneteenth commemorates news of the abolition of slavery finally reaching Texas some two years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation (1863). A historical marker and a statue stand on the very spot in Galveston where Union Major-General Gordon Granger read the news that slaves were free.
The celebration includes a Street Festival (12:30 p.m.) centered around the Boys/Girls Club of Collin County facility and H Avenue. There will be free food, live music, spoken word, kids games and crafts, vendors of all kinds from many of our city’s businesses and private crafters, raffles, prizes, inflatables and on and on. The Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church hosts “Taste of Shiloh” at 4 p.m.
Parking is available at the Police Department and many of the downtown lots. Call 214-558-6918 for more info.
A Bit of History…
Andy Drake (b. 1833) came to Plano a free man having purchased his freedom from money earned hauling logs. He worked for Silas Harrington after coming to Plano in 1860 and died in 1933. Mr. Drake was buried in the Old City Cemetery on H Avenue in the Douglas Community, also known as the Pioneer Cemetery. This gravesite is the resting place for many of Plano’s early residents – headstones date as early as 1881. Andy Drake fathered eight sons and five daughters with his wife Easter.
Mose Stimpson (b. 1830) was one of Plano’s early settlers. He also came to Texas from Tennessee a free man and married a woman named Millie who was from Virginia. Together they had seven sons and two daughters. Mr Stimpson was a sharecropper, died in 1930 and is also buried in the Pioneer Cemetery.
Two of Drake’s sons (Earl and Ronney) married Stimpson daughters (Maggie and Emma). The Drakes and the Stimpsons made a very large family in the Plano-Dallas area. Both men lived to be 100 years old and both are well-remembered in the Plano African American community.