Stephen F. Austin State University




Peason Ridge is an area that is filled with history, from pre-historic to the present. It was a land first settled in the early 1800's but that had been explored previously by the Spanish and French. But before anyone came to the area it was the Native Americans who first lived here. When the homesteaders and settlers first came to Peason Ridge they established their farms and set aside areas for all the livestock to graze. The pioneers who settled and lived on Peason Ridge until it was taken by the U.S. Government after 1941 were subsistence farmers, living on what they could raise. And much of the early schooling given to the children was by their parents. After the Civil War and the period of Reconstruction, these families wanted their children to get a formal education plus they wanted a place of worship. But where would be a good location where a school and church could be built? The place was found and it was to become known as Cold Springs.

One of the main items needed for a school and church was a water source. One site that was in a central location where children from around the area could attend was located. At this location were 2 springs filled with good cold spring water, one in front of the school and one in the rear. With the location found the families living on the range got together and built a school which also would be a place of worship. In 1889 Cold Springs School and Church were founded and children from around the area gathered to receive schooling. Children from the Dowden, McInnis, Craft, West, Brown, Goins, and many other families sent their children to this school. During the week the building was used as the school and on Sunday's it was used as a church.

After being at the first location for several years, the first school and church burned around 1908 and was moved a little over a mile in about 1910. This location today is right on the original south land boundary of present day Peason Ridge Military Reservation with the large oak trees that were part of the school yard still being located there. This location was actually on a parish road between the homes of Chester McInnis and John Brown. At this location the church and school separated. Again another move was required around 1920 and the third location of the school and church was near Martin Creek and this site was off the present day military reservation. Several years ago when I accompanied several historical researchers to the third site we found remains of hand- made bricks at the site. These bricks would have made up the foundation for the building. Due to its location near Martin Creek the materials needed to make these bricks, such as clay and sand, were easily available. Also Weber-King Lumber Company donated 500 feet of lumber to use in the church building.

But there was to be one more move in the making. When this last move began in 1943 the school had been closed for many years and the children of school age attended nearby schools at Anacoco, only a few miles away. The last move brought the church to its present location. The church building was built by Eugene Withers and was constructed of wood. This wooden structure was used for several years, but cracks could be seen in the ceiling letting in sunlight, and many times during Sunday morning church services the members could hear hogs squealing under the church! Today there is a beautiful brick church and fellowship hall at the location of Cold Springs Baptist Church and there is also Cold Springs Cemetery which was organized in 1968. Norris Craft was instrumental in getting the land for the cemetery from Powell Lumber Company and he worked with Mac D. Craft who was forester for this company to obtain the land. And ironically he was the first person buried there. Today this church which began so humbly on a sand hill on present day Peason Ridge is still an active church that is filled with many memories of the past but has visions for the future. This present day church is a monument to the pioneers who had the foresight to build a school and church in 1889. And with the Blessings of the Lord this church will long be a Shining Light in this rural country community. The school and church over the past 128 years have both touched and blessed many many lives. We often sing the great old gospel song" The Old Country Church" and its lyrics still ring true to us today. "There's a place dear to me where I'm longing to be, with my friends at the old country church." Yes we remember the memories made by this school and church. And from this school and church evolved Cold Springs Road, Cold Springs Baptist Church, and Cold Springs Cemetery. And remember those 2 springs at the old original location? They are still located there and they are still running good cold spring water to this very day! And within 100 yards of the original location is now the main Live Fire Village used by the U.S. Army for training purposes. A special place where children could obtain an education, families could worship the Lord, and 128 years later where America's military personnel can train to protect our freedom in this great nation. A site filled with history and a site filled with God's Blessings!

Photograph of the first Cold Springs School located on Peason Ridge with some of the school children pictured. (Robertson Collection)

Site of the first Cold Springs School and Church located on Peason Ridge. (Robertson Collection)

The location of Cold Springs School that was located on Peason Ridge. One of the springs is behind the stand of trees and still runs spring water. (Robertson Collection)

One of the springs at the location of Cold Springs School. Cold clear spring water runs down the road ditch at the location. (Robertson Collection)

Site of the second location of Cold Springs School and Church that was located on the south boundary of present day Peason Ridge Military Reservation. The old parish road is still visible today along with the large oak trees at the school site. (Robertson Collection)

Present day Cold Springs Baptist Church as it looks today is a beautiful brick building along with fellowship hall. For over 128 years this church has been dedicated to the service of the Lord. (Robertson Collection)

The Peason Ridge Live Fire Village complete with mosque is located about 100 yards from the original site of Cold Springs School and Church.