By Sharon Terry
More than one hundred people took advantage of the TAPS buses to view the exhibits of the fascinating history of Bonham on Friday evening, February 19, 2010. From start to finish they enjoyed delicious snacks along with the interesting photos, artifacts, and displays of people from Bonham’s past.
At the Fannin County Museum of History, people were able to hear Charley Christian’s music as they viewed his photographs and books written about him. Charlie was born in the Tank Town section of Bonham in 1916. He learned to play the guitar studying under his father's tutelage. His father played on the street mainly in Oklahoma City. Charlie played for Benny Goodman and was hired to play in Benny's Sextet.
The second display is of Roberta Dodd. She was born and raised in Bonham. She was a black lyric soprano. She was schooled in Chicago and Europe. During WWII, she was in France during the Nazi occupation. She was rumored to have spent time in a concentration camp. When the war was over she returned to the United States. The display consists mainly of photographs and information cards. Finally the museum had a display from "Forgotten Dignity"...a montage of photographs of early African Americans in Bonham and Fannin County.
From past history, they stepped through to the Fannin Historical Commission where Jacqueline White gave an entertaining presentation about Noble Chapman who taught in Fannin County schools for 38 years.
On display was Mrs. Chapman’s usher uniform that she wore in her home church of Bethlehem Baptist Church where she was a member for more than 83 years and was nominated unanimously as the mother of the church.
After a vegetable snack, dip and finger sandwiches, they boarded the bus for the Bonham Public Library and the Creative Arts Center.
Large displays of photos of local history and the exhibit entitled “Forgotten Dignity” were examined at the Bonham Public Library along with savory finger foods.
The tour ended at the Creative Arts Center where desserts abounded along with artifact displays. Tom Thornton gave a rousing narrative of the life of Eddie “Buck” Hunter who had a shoe-shining business in the barber shops of Bonham from about the turn of the century to the 1970’s. Mr. Hunter was also part of a quartet for many years.
Bro. Palmer Rayford of Bethlehem Baptist said about the evening, “Everyone was so excited about doing it and had such wonderful displays. It was very informative and brought back memories.”