Parker County Today April 2017 - Page 85

penned numerous fascinating, informative books about local history) and all the Kemp family — there are lots of them. They are all witty, attractive and charming as well as knowledgeable about local history. So come out, take selfies in the bluebonnets, listen to the music and shake off a little of the stress of contemporary life. You’ll be glad you did. A few of the Shaw-Kemp Open House staples. Bob Glenn at Nebo Valley Bank Nadeed Murphrey and Tinkerbell as Minnie Pearl and Mini-Mini Pearl Shaw-Kemp’s own: Moses More Shaw-Kemp on page 86 answered, ”I did it for the history. Oh, I don’t mean American history. I’m talking about our local history and our family history. I was born a quarter of a mile from here.” The Shaw-Kemp ranch is nestled in well-known Nebo Valley that’s always beautiful, but truly comes alive with a rainbow of wildflowers, and boasts some of the most vibrant blue bonnets in North Texas. It all started after Mary and her late husband V. Kemp purchased the property in 1975, and soon the ever-curious Mary took a piece of tin off of the front of a structure she and her husband had been using as a hay barn, only to discover that they really possessed a jewel from Texas history — a log cabin built in 1856 by Thomas J. Shaw, a local rancher. He and his wife, Louisa Ann, raised a passel of children (13 to be exact) in the cabin. Once V. Kemp had a barn constructed, Mary set about the business of restoring the cabin. Today, it’s furnished with fixtures from that era, and the portraits of Mr. and Mrs. Shaw stare down at their visitors from above the stone fireplace mantel. During the Shaw-Kemp Open House, visitors can enjoy the colorful scenery and an array of activities from the frontier life of the early days of Parker County. A Western Village comprised of a collection of a handful of frontier-era buildings that include a schoolhouse, a log cabin, a bank, and a jail, many of which are original to the land on which the ranch is located. Others were rescued from demolition by the Kemp family from their original settings across Parker County, and are available for tours. Local artisans demonstrate homestead crafts like quilting, tatting, spinning, doll making, wood chipping, woodcarving and lacemaking. All this takes place while musicians hammer away at dulcimers, strum guitars, pick banjos and play fiddles, as well as other music making paraphernalia — in the past there’s even been some washboard strummers. The whole shebang is pulled off with the help of the Kemp’s neighbors and more than 100 volunteers, many of which don 19th-Century costumes, depicting the folks who might have inhabited a vintage Texas hamlet. With the help of her late husband, V., along with history- loving volunteers, friends and family members, Mary has worked tirelessly to save, furnish, restore and maintain the buildings that make up Nebo Valley. North of the Shaw cabin is situated a two-story brick, a 1918 Arts & Crafts style-house that was built for the Shaw’s youngest child, Jordan. The 1909 DeBeauford-Kemp House is at the end of the little village. That’s where the musical portion of the event takes place. As Mary refurbished and arranged her collection of vintage buildings, she’s managed to create a monument to the pioneers, the people who inhabited the North Texas frontier and managed to bravely carve out a life that many of us today envy — at least until we realize they had no deodorant and no air conditioning. But, probably the best thing about attending the Shaw-Kemp Open House is meeting Mary Kemp and Leon Tanner (Mary’s writing partner; together they’ve 83