Longtime historian Eliza Stewart passes away at 89
Some of Houston County’s history is gone now with the passing of former Houston County Historical Commission Chairman Eliza Bishop. She was 89.
For years Bishop was the face of historical research inside the county, as she was tireless in her efforts to document the area’s deep roots.
“All of Houston County is saddened by the death of Miss Eliza Bishop,” Houston County Judge Lonnie Hunt said. “We lost a true Texas treasure. In the past 89 years no other person has done more than Eliza Bishop to preserve and promote the history of her native Houston County.”
Of the 261 official Texas historical markers inside the county, Hunt said Bishop was responsible for most. She also authored several books, including “The History of Houston County, Texas.”
Some of the first American settlers came to Houston County around present day Augusta in 1821. Shirley Cutler, of Augusta, who has worked and researched to get historical markers for the Augusta Cemetery and the Augusta Union Church, worked closely with Bishop over the years to document the community’s early history.
“She was a real valuable source of information,” Cutler said of Bishop. “She did more for the historical part of the county than anybody — she just lived history.”
Through her work, Bishop hoped to preserve the county’s history of others.
“She was proud of her county and she wanted the people to uphold its history,” Cutler said. “She would help people in any way she could. She helped us get our (Family) Land Heritage (registry).”
Along with her work on the county’s historical commission, Bishop also worked for the Houston Post; served as president of the Texas Press Women and was organizing president and charter member of the David Crockett Chapter of the Daughters of the Republic of Texas. She also served as a news commentator for a time at Palestine’s KNET radio station.
“Hers was a life devoted to others,” Hunt noted. “Through her many contributions and accomplishments, she herself became a great historical figure in her own time.”
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