New Denton County plaque honors custodian from over 100 years ago

Last week, the Denton County Commissioners Court unveiled a new plaque on the first floor of the Courthouse-on-the-Square honoring Zach Rawlins, a former slave who served for more than 20 years as a custodian at the Denton County Courthouse from 1886 to 1911.

“We believe it is important to recognize individuals who have contributed to Denton County and Zach Rawlins is a perfect example of someone who dedicated years of his life in service to Denton County,” said Denton County Judge Andy Eads.

Denton resident and advocate Willie Hudspeth was among those who thanked the Court for their recognition of Rawlins, according to a Denton County news release. The bronze relief plaque, located on the first floor, includes the following information about Rawlins:

“A former African-American slave, Zach Rawlins served for more than 20 years as a custodian at the Denton County Courthouse. Appointed to his position from 1886 to 1911, Rawlins was well known in Denton County. Many came to know him as they conducted business at the courthouse.

Rawlins, born in Grenada, Mississippi, came to Lewisville in 1860. After the Civil War, Rawlins bought a farm in 1876 and settled northwest of Lewisville near what is now Hickory Creek. He and another former slave farmed the 80 acres and established a school and a cemetery on their property. Rawlins later lived in Quakertown.

Upon his death, Rawlins was recognized by the Denton County Commissioners Court with a resolution in remembrance for his service and many kindnesses. In addition, his funeral was largely attended by leaders and elected officials from across Denton County.”

Residents can see the plaque at the Denton County Courthouse-on-the-Square, 110 West Hickory St., 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday and visit the Denton County Courthouse-on-the-Square Museum, which currently features “Century of Action: Women & the Vote” commemorating the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th amendment. The Courthouse museum hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday.

Mark Smith
Mark Smith is the Digital Editor of The Cross Timbers Gazette.

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