While our physical offices are closed until at least April 13 due Austin's COVID-19 "shelter-in-place" order, the Handbook of Texas will remain available at no-cost for you, your fellow history enthusiasts, and all Texas students currently mandated to study from home. If you have the capacity to help us maintain our online Texas history resources during these uncertain times, please consider making a 100% tax-deductible contribution today. Thank you for your support of TSHA and Texas history. Donate Today »


Laurie E. Jasinski
Confederate Reunion Grounds State Historic Site
Confederate Reunion Grounds State Historic Site in Mexia, Texas. Photo courtesy of Charlotte and Fred Siems. Image available on the Internet and included in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.

CONFEDERATE REUNION GROUNDS STATE HISTORIC SITE. Confederate Reunion Grounds State Historic Site is located at the junction of Farm roads 2705 and 1633 about six miles southwest of Mexia in north central Limestone County. The park consists of approximately seventy-seven acres and was the site of the annual reunions held by Confederate veterans of the region from the 1880s until the 1930s. In 1888 Limestone County veterans held their first reunion at a local campmeeting grounds on the wooded banks where Jack's Creek flowed into the Navasota River. In 1889 the veterans officially established their own group as an affiliate of the United Confederate Veterans organization and were designated the Joseph E. Johnston Camp Number 94, United Confederate Veterans. The camp included an elected commander and some dozen officer positions. In June 1892 the group purchased the first of a series of tracts that would eventually comprise their reunion grounds at the verdant spot by Jack's Creek and the Navasota. In order to pay for the acreage, they parceled out more than 100 camping lots which were sold to veterans and their families for five dollars each. Construction of an octagonal dance pavilion began in 1893 and accommodated musical bands and dances at the encampment.

1893 Dance Pavilion
1893 Dance Pavilion, Limestone County. Photo courtesy of J. Stephen Conn. Image available on the Internet and included in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.

Held during the full moon each July or August, the reunions were grand affairs when veterans and their families gathered to reminisce and celebrate. Highlights of the events included speeches, bountiful meals, games, a carnival midway, and the firing of the Val Verde cannon—one of the spoils of the old Val Verde Battery. During their heyday of the late 1890s to early 1900s, the reunions attracted several thousand participants. With the coming of the Mexia oil boom (see WOODBINE FAULT-LINE FIELDS) in the early 1920s, the reunion grounds saw a flurry of increased social activity. Wildcatter A. E. Humphreys took an interest in the grounds and secured water rights from the Joseph Johnston Camp. He constructed a pumphouse there along with several small houses for oil company employees. Humphreys also built a bathhouse and a clubhouse for the camp. Dignitaries entertained at this POCO club, short for Pure Oil Company clubhouse, included Gen. John J. Pershing.

By the 1940s the reunions had faded with the passing of the last of the Confederate veterans of Limestone County. The camp became inactive until a group of concerned citizens spearheaded a drive to save the reunion grounds in the 1960s. In July 1965 a new and permanent charter was secured for the Joseph E. Johnston Camp No. 94. The Confederate Reunion Grounds were honored with a Texas Historical Marker dedicated in 1966 and a listing on the National Register of Historic Places in 1976. On September 1, 1983, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department officially assumed control of the property. Confederate Reunion Grounds State Historic Site was operated as a day-use park and was overseen by the personnel of nearby Fort Parker State Park. Operational control of the site was officially transferred from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department to the Texas Historical Commission by the Eightieth Texas Legislature on January 1, 2008. Facilities include the dance pavilion, playground, picnic areas, restrooms, footbridges, and a hiking trail. Other special features include the Val Verde cannon, a natural spring known as the Colonel's spring, the pumphouse, and other remnants of the oil boom days. Picnicking, swimming, and fishing remain popular activities. The Confederate Reunion Grounds State Park Historical Society hosts an annual bluegrass festival as well as a living history day at the grounds.


Laurie E. Jasinski, "The Fire of Memory: A History of Confederate Reunion Grounds State Historic Site" (unpublished report, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Cultural Resources Program, Austin, 2002). Joseph Johnston Camp No. 94 Collection, Gibbs Memorial Library, Mexia, Texas. Texas historical marker files, Texas Historical Commission, Austin (Joseph E. Johnston Reunion Grounds).

Image Use Disclaimer

All copyrighted materials included within the Handbook of Texas Online are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 related to Copyright and “Fair Use” for Non-Profit educational institutions, which permits the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), to utilize copyrighted materials to further scholarship, education, and inform the public. The TSHA makes every effort to conform to the principles of fair use and to comply with copyright law.

For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.


The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, Laurie E. Jasinski, "CONFEDERATE REUNION GROUNDS STATE HISTORIC SITE," accessed March 28, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/gkc07.

Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Modified on September 9, 2016. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
visit the mytsha forums to participate

View these posts and more when you register your free MyTSHA account.

Call for Papers: Texas Center for Working-Class Studies Events, Symposia, and Workshops
Hi all! You may be interested in this call for papers I received from the Texas Center for Working-Class Studies at Collin College...

Katy Jennings' Ride Scholarly Research Request
I'm doing research on Catherine Jennings Lockwood, specifically the incident known as "Katy Jennings' Ride." Her father was Gordon C. Jennings, the oldest man to die at the Alamo...

Texas Constitution of 1836 Co-Author- Elisha Pease? Ask a Historian
The TSHA profile of Elisha Marshall Pease states that he wrote part of the Texas Constitution although he was only a 24 year-old assistant secretary (not elected). I cannot find any other mention of this authorship work by Pease in other credible research about the credited Constution authors...