Projects at Camp Ford
THE J.B. LEAKE CABIN
|Click on the above thumbnails to view the two views of Leake's cabin as drawn by Col Leake and both views upon completion of the cabin's reconstruction.
Thanks to Mr. Roger Davis of Keokuk, Iowa, we have received a copy of the diary of Lt. Col J.B. Leake of the 20th Iowa Infantry. Leake was serving as a Brevet Brigadier General when he was captured at the Battle of Stirling Plantation on September 29, 1863. Arriving at Camp Ford in October of 1863, he was the highest ranking Union Officer at the prison in the winter of 1863-64. His diary gives a great deal of new day to day information on the camp during this early period.
Most important, Leake drew two perspective sketches of his cabin in his diary, which are reproduced below. This has given us the ability to complete our first cabin reconstruction on the site. The cabin has been completed using materials form the site, pine logs, and oak shingles hand riven from a large tree that had blown down. It even has a proper stick and mud chimney that draws well!
The cabin in use on October 19, 2002. Notice on the full-sized image the smoke coming out of the chimney!
Marian Steich, Randy Steich's mother and the memorial plaque.
On June 6, 2000, we lost Randy Steich in a tragic traffic accident. Randy had spent countless hours working at the site, and his death has been a great loss to us all. On October 19, 2002, it was dedicated to his memory with a bronze plaque.
This cabin project would not have been possible without the help of the following:
- East Texas Pest Control Association
- East Texas Testing Laboratory
- Unimin CorporationReynolds and Kay Construction
- Baxter Simpson of Simpson Electric Company
- Smith County Judge Larry Craig
- Smith County Commissioners' Court
- Bill McGinnis
- Smith County Road and Bridge Department
- John Tyler High School Junior Historians
- District Court Judges Diane DeVasto and Louis Gohmert
- County Court at Law Judges Randall Rogers, Floyd Getz, and Tom Dunn
- Smith County Adult Probation Department
- Many Individual probationers, several of whom who kept on working after their hours were completed!
- The many volunteers of the Smith County Historical Society