Stephen F. Austin State University

Belle-Fry-Gaines House

313 W. Austin, Marshall

Current Owner 2013: Richard & Patricia Trimble

Sanborn Maps:

National Register

The Belle-Fry-Gaines house was listed on the National Regestry in 1979.

Texas Historical Landmark

The Belle-Fry-Gaines House recieved a TX Historical Marker in 1978.

Architectural Survey

Architectural Survey

Historical Background

The Stinson home or more commonly known as the Belle Fry-Grains home was built shortly after the marriage of Sally Rives Callaway and John R. Stinson in 1875, by Sally's father Joseph Henderson Callaway as a wedding gift. When Sally Stinson died in 1908, Mr. Stinson sold their home to Walter D. Minton, Jr. and his wife Isabelle (Belle) Fry-Minton. (Warranty Deed: John R. Stinson to Walter D. Minton, Jr., dated February 16, filed February 17, 1909, Lots 3 and 4, Block 42, $6,000, Vol. 68, page 138, Deed Records of Harrison County.)

The second mistress of the house, Belle Fry Minton, the youngest of seven children, had been reared in the Fry-Barry home directly across the street. She continued to live in this house across from her parents until her death on Jan 9, 1978. While living on the property, Belle Fry was widowed twice. Walter Minton died on Nov 8, 1918 from influenza and in 1923 Mrs. Minton married E.P. Gaines who died only three and half years later. At the time of his death, Mr. and Mrs. Gaines and her two daughters were living in a brick duplex apartment that had been erected on the former site of the Stinson's barn. This was due to a shortage of funds caused by the Great Depression. (Harrison Historical Museum Archives, Belle-Fry-Gaines file). Towards the end of the Depression, Belle Fry-Gaines returned to her home and opened up an antique shop within her house became one of the most successful antique shops in East Texas, according to the Marshall News Messenger. Belle's clientele grew dramatically during the boom days of the East Texas oil field in Gregg County so she and her daughters frequently traveled east to the New England area to purchase antiques for her store. According to the 1940 census, Belle, as head of the household, lived with her daughter Mary Irvine Harkins and her son-in-law Perry Harkins. While Perry worked as a bank teller, Mary helped her mother with the antique shop. (Year: 1940; Census Place: Marshall, Harrison, Texas; Roll: T627_4057; Page: 61B; Enumeration District: 102-12)

When her health began to fail, Isabelle deeded the house to her daughters in 1959, although she continued to live there and run her shop until her death. (Warranty Deed: Belle Fry Gaines to Margaret Minton Walker and Mary Irvine Harkins, Lots 3 and 4, Block 42, as their separate property and estate and for their own separate use and benefit, "love and affection," dated December 8, 1959, filed January 7, 1960, Vol. 536, page 541, Deed Records of Harrison County). Although Margaret Minton Walker lived until 2003, and Mary Irvine Harkins lived until 2001, the house went on the market for sale in 1978 and was soon after purchased by Robert S. Erwin and wife, Sandra Erwin. (Warranty Deed: Robert and Sandra Erwin herein "Borrower" Thomas Y. Abney herein "Trustee" and the beneficiary, Marshall Federal Savings and Loan Association. Lots 3 & 4, Block 42, filed October 24, 1978, Vol.287, Page 394, Deed Records of Harrison County) A year later the Erwins sold the Allen house to Richard Trimble and wife, Patricia Vick Trimble, who are the present day owners as of 2013. (Warranty Deed: Robert S. Erwin and wife, Sandra Erwin, to Riachard Trimble and wife, Patricia Vick Trimble. Lots 3&4, Block 42, filed August 28, 1979, Vol. 881, Page 29, Deed Records of Harrison County).

The house remains in its original state and is still in good condition. There was only a couple small additions that were completed under the ownership of the Stinson's: a bedroom and bathroom were added at the rear of the first floor and the kitchen originally detached from the home, was incorporated into the structure.

Belle-Fry-Gaines Photos