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Shankleville, Texas facts for kids

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The community of Shankleville in Newton County Texas was named after Jim and Winnie (Brush) Shankle. Jim and Winnie were the first African Americans to purchase their own land and became leaders of the community after emancipation.

James (Jim) Shankle (1811–1887), born in Kentucky, was the husband of Winnie (1814–1883), born in Tennessee; they were both the slaves of Isaac Rollins in Wayne County, Mississippi. Winnie and her children by Isaac Rollins were sold, and James Shankle became a fugitive when he went looking for them. After many months of searching, he found Winnie near an underground spring in Deep East Texas (now Newton County). Jim remained in hiding for several weeks when he and Winnie's approached her new owner, and he agreed to purchase Jim. After emancipation, Jim and Winnie bought "a league" of land and founded the freedmen's community of Shankleville. They would become the parents of six more children, one of whom married Stephen McBride, founder of McBride College, a "normal school" that was located in Shankleville. The school existed from 1883 to 1909.

Born in 1814, Winnie Brush lived as a slave on the Rollings estate in Mississippi. Jim born in 1811, was also a slave. When Winnie and her 3 children were sold to her owner's daughter and son-in-law in Texas, Jim embarked on a harrowing journey to be with his wife. He ran away from his owner, traveling by night, foraging for food, swam the waters of the Mississippi River and traveled more than 400 miles to East Texas. He found Winnie beside her new Master's well. For days, Winnie stole away and provided Jim with food before telling her master, who eventually arranged to buy Jim.

Stephen McBride was a co-founder of Shankleville Community. He and Jim Shankle purchased the first parcel of land together. Stephen McBride was an enterprising man who continued buying land, acquiring more than 4,000 acres (16 km²). He also owned the cotton gin, saw mill, grist mill, syrup mill, a store and blacksmith shop. He would travel by ox cart to Orange, Texas to purchase supplies for the store and for the community. When he purchased shoes for his children, he purchased shoes for all of the children in the community. As the community leader, he gave the land for the Shankleville Community Cemetery (he and his mother Hannah McBride are buried there), land for the school (Enterprise School and for a church (Church of God in Christ). A Texas State marker now preserves the contributions that Stephen McBride made to Shankleville Community.

Jim and Winnie are both buried in Jim Shankle cemetery. Descendents of Jim and Winnie have worked hard to keep the memory of the family's story alive and continue to contribute in the research of the family genealogy. Annual homecomings have been held since 1941 on the first weekend of August each year. The Shankleville Historical Society, Inc. was founded on June 18, 1988 to "preserve the heritage," "document the history" and "propagate the legacy" of the Shankleville Community.

Texas Historical Marker 1973 HWY 63 West, 3.5 miles; FM 1415 South (across from cemetery); Burkeville.

Coordinates: 30°58′13″N 93°42′25″W / 30.97028°N 93.70694°W / 30.97028; -93.70694

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