Courthouse display reminds patrons of historic past

Published 5:30 pm Monday, November 21, 2016

Many residents may not be aware there’s a museum at the Jefferson County Courthouse. Albeit it’s a mini-museum, it still houses exhibits nonetheless.

This round the Texas Historical Commission sponsors Texas Archeology Month each October including an exhibit featuring the David French House, McFaddin Beach and the Texas Archeology Society on display in the Courthouse Mini-Museum through December. The mini-museum is located near the main exit door of the Historic Courthouse.

“Archeology puzzles people,” said Brenda Jackson who set up the display. “The British add an “a” to archeology while Americans leave the “a” off.

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The David French House was excavated in the early 1990s and sits across the John Jay French House. Dr. Charles Bullock and Tommy Lamb dug the excavation. The David French House serves as the office for the historical society.

The display cases in the mini-museum houses artifacts such as pieces of metal, ceramics, bricks, and dishes.

There are also a large number of “very ancient” Paleoindian artifacts from McFaddin Beach in one case.

The other case contains general archeological information including contact information for the Texas Archeological Society.

This is the second display Jackson has set up at the mini-museum. The first was two years ago and featured Paul Tanner, now deceased, from Port Arthur and his work at the McFaddin Beach site.

“It was a lot of fun putting this together,” she said. “I’m a volunteer archeological steward with the Texas Historical Commission. There’s a whole network of us — maybe 100 across Texas.

She also serves as the archeological chair of the Jefferson County Historical Commission. She’s a retired social studies teacher.

Numerous organizations, institutions and individuals celebrate the month with special TAM events in communities across the state.

Dr. Kerry Nichols from the Texas Historical Commission recently presented a lecture about Southeast Texas archeology at the Jefferson County Courthouse in Beaumont as part of the observance.

To learn more about TAM, check the Texas Historical Commission website at

To learn more about the Jefferson County Historical Commission, call Linda McMahen at 409-835-8701, or email at, or check the Jefferson County TX website/Historical Commission.

David Ball: 409-721-2427