Bookman family in Navasota, Grimes County
Continuing the Bookman family history in Grimes County and Trinity University we find that Jesse Bookman’s two children, Pickens Butler and Mattie J., both attended Trinity University at its original location of Tehaucana, Texas. The University was founded there in 1869 and relocated to Waxahachie in 1902, before making a final home at San Antonio.
Following Civil War service, and with two growing children to educate, Jesse Bookman became one of the “incorporators” of Trinity and subsequently made a $500 donation to Trinity University. The University used the donation to create the Jesse Bookman Scholarship.
Pickens Butler Bookman became one of Navasota’s foremost citizens blending into the business and financial background of the city. He entered the hardware business under the firm name of Bookman and Craig about 1894. He later sold his interest in the hardware business and became a charter member of the First National Bank of Navasota and served as director for many years. He later sold that bank’s interest and became connected with Citizens National Bank of Navasota serving the bank during his lifetime as vice president. He also became a large property owner and held various interests throughout the state of Texas.
Early on, in April 1897, Bookman married Annie Brosig, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. F. W. Brosig. She died in 1908. Seven years later he married Ellen Pegues Smith of Fort Worth with an only child born, Ellen Bookman. Pickens Butler died April 29, 1927 at his home on Holland Street following issues of a fall earlier that February.
Daughter Ellen became a graduate of Trinity University at its Waxahachie location in 1932. After her marriage to Marshall Curtis Peters in 1933, she became a prominent supporter of Trinity University establishing the Ellen Peters and P. B. Bookman Scholarship in honor of her father. She was also a lifelong supporter of First Presbyterian Church of Navasota as well as the Bryan Church.
The Bryan Eagle published a news story April 5, 1926, a year before Bookman died, with a Waxahachie dateline: “Navasota Man Makes Gift to Trinity University.” The newspaper stated: “Trinity University officials have announced the gift of four sections of land by P. B. Bookman of Navasota, Texas. The land, comprising 2560 acres, is located in Grimes County.”
Jesse Bookman’s daughter, Mattie, following her education at Trinity, would marry Professor William Sinclair Craig. He was teaching at Anderson where they met when he looked up on the street and “saw the prettiest red-haired girl I had ever seen.” Mattie had driven into Anderson to shop. They married at the Exchange Hotel in Navasota on August 28, 1890.
Four years later, after their first child was born in Anderson, Craig joined with his brother-in-law, Pickens Butler Bookman, in the Navasota hardware store business in 1894. Ten years later he sold his interest in the hardware store to be elected president of Citizens National Bank of Navasota, again joining his brother-in-law Pickens Butler Bookman, who served as vice-chairman of the bank. He held that office until his retirement in 1932.
The Craigs would have a family of six daughters. Their home in Navasota, 508 Holland Street, was built by Julian Edgar Watkins in 1895.
Mattie, now Mrs. Craig, was an active community worker. She was a charter member of the Hannibal Boone Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy organized in 1901. She also served several times as president of the Ladies Aid Society of the First Presbyterian Church, as well as the Civic Club and other groups.
Mattie died in January 1942 preceding William Craig’s death in June 1947. Both are interred at Navasota’s Oakland Cemetery.
Written by Betty Dunn, Two Rivers Heritage Foundation. See www.tworiversheritagefoundation. www. for more history and membership.