Stephen F. Austin State University

Old News - Rains County (February 2012)

Old News - Rains County
By Elaine Bay

The oldest house remaining in Emory today is estimated to have been built in the 1880's by Captain Thomas Mabry Cain. The grand house is still standing on North Ravine Street behind the Emory Baptist Church. The house has large rooms, a parlor, halls and stairs leading up to the balcony, which overlooked the front yard. The porch has a swing and was great for having a cup of tea and reading a book. After Cain's death, his daughter and son-in-law, Lela and J. W. Ballew, occupied the home. Their daughter, Zula, visited the Washington Monument in Washington, DC and brought back a cutting of ivy from the monument area, which was planted in the yard of the Cain house. According to stories regarding the Washington Monument, the original cutting of the ivy Zula brought home came from Lafayette's grave in Paris, France.

There is much history concerning the house and its owner. Tom Cain came to Texas from Mississippi in 1850 and after a brief stop in Harrison County and Sulphur Springs, he moved to Hooker Ridge which is now West Tawakoni area just by the two mile bridge. There he met and married Elizabeth Hooker; while living in the Hooker area, T.M. Cain operated the old Hooker Mill, owned by his father-in-law. (The Rains County Leader, 11 August 1939, Pioneer Edition) Tom Cain served with the 11th Regiment of the Texas Calvary in the Civil War, serving during the entire War east of the Mississippi. Returning to Rains County after the war, he was one of three men who surveyed the formation of Rains County from portions of Wood, Van Zandt, Hunt, and Hopkins counties. He served in both the Texas House of Representatives and the Texas Senate. He and his family had moved to Emory in 1875 where his children attended school in the Old Masonic Hall under Prof. O. Rice. Capt. Cain entered into various business ventures, which included mercantile, ginning, horse and cattle trading, and cotton buying; three of Capt. Cain's sons herded their father's cattle to West Texas to the Lil Ranch in Stovall County. In 1890 T.M. Cain owned & operated a dry goods store in Emory (The Rains County Record, 9 May 1890) On Saturday evening about 7:20 p.m. the most destructive storm passed over Emory; business property destroyed included T.M. Cain's gin and mill. (Rains County Sentinel, 23 March 1894) In the late 1890s Capt. Cain was also post master in Emory. (The Rains County Leader, 11 August 1939, Pioneer Edition)

"T.M. Cain is having his store building on the southwest side of the square painted, Will Clifton, Will Kingery and Ernest Lamb doing the work." (The Rains County Leader, 9 April 1909) "The choicest of fresh groceries can be found at T.M. Cain's on southwest corner of the square" (The Rains County Leader, 12 November 1909) "We have installed a delivery wagon and will carry your supplies right to your door. Call us up over the S.W. 'Phone and give us your order and see how quick we will attend to your wants." (The Rains County Leader, 5 November, 1909)

He continued his business ventures until his death on August 11, 1915