Houston County legend dies after preserving generations of history

By Holley Nees - bio | email

HOUSTON COUNTY, TX (KTRE) – Houston County has lost a legend.  Miss Eliza Bishop, the woman known as the Houston County Historian, lost her battle with cancer.  She was 89 years old.

Houston County was the first county created under the Republic of Texas and Eliza Bishop made sure everyone knew it.

"If ever there was a legend, it was Eliza," said Frances Welsh with the Houston County Historical Commission.  "She was about history and everybody else, not herself."

A historian, founder of the county's historical commission, a Christian, past president of the Texas Women's Press Association, and at one point a news commentator for KTRE, but to some she was so much more than her countless accomplishments.

"It's going to be hard for a while," said Welsh as she choked back tears.  "She was just very special and I don't think anybody could've been closer if we'd have been mother and daughter or sisters."

"She was a character in her own right," said Houston County Judge Lonnie Hunt.  "Often times you would hear Eliza coming because she would wear little jingle bells on her shoelaces."

There's more than 260 historical markers in Houston County, and they stand because of Bishop.

"Eliza was an institution in Houston County," said Hunt.  "She was just one of those folks that worked tirelessly, did for others, and did it all on a shoestring budget."

The train depot was one of Bishop's many historical projects, but Hunt said she had a hand in almost everything historical around Houston County.

"Eliza Bishop, over the years, has had a part in just about every one of those official historical Texas markers," explained Hunt.

"She always had a shovel in the back of her car and she would go out and plant them herself or she would go check on them and if they needed a little straightening out came the shovel," said Alice Jones with the Houston County Historical Commission.

There's a landmark at Glenwood Cemetery in Crockett, it's to be the final resting place for a woman who is as memorable as the history she preserved.

"She leaves behind a great legacy, one that no one can compare to," said Welsh.

Memorial services for Bishop are still pending.

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