Skip to main content

J. B. Sanders Research Collection

Identifier: A-0273

Scope and Contents

The research collection has a wide range of materials--correspondence, maps, negatives, photographic prints, pedigree charts, research for Sanders’s publications, as well as a few of those publications—concerning the families and places of East Texas. The majority of negatives and prints are photographs of other photographs or documents. Several prints, especially those of a 1928 lynching at the Center Courthouse, are particularly graphic.

There are several oversize documents in the collection which researchers might find particularly interesting. There is a 40-page supplement to The Champion dating to August 7, 1929. It is a special issue celebrating not only the 25th anniversary of the Farmer’s State Bank in Center, and its move to a brand new building downtown, but the general development of the town since the turn of the century. The supplement features congratulatory statements from almost every business in town, as well as articles on the bank, its history and photographs of every current employee. There are articles about local organizations like the American Legion, Chamber of Commerce, Music Study Club, Parent Teacher’s Club, Rotary, Sam Samford Masonic Lodge, Women’s Reading Club, and the Women’s Study Club. The supplement also features articles on local agriculture, businesses and businessmen, churches, the fire department, town government (includes photos of officials), hospitals, schools and the Shelby County Fair.

Other interesting items in the collection include a 1909 issue of the Tenaha Messenger and a 1931-1932 Shelby County School Report.


  • Creation: 1833-1978


Language of Materials

The collection is in English.

Conditions Governing Access

Open for Research

Biographical or Historical Information

Born November 15, 1903 to John Arthur Sanders and Sallie Will Barnette Sanders, John Barnette (J. B.) Sanders lived and worked his entire life in Center, Texas. A prolific researcher of East Texas and West Louisiana genealogy and history, he wrote, compiled and/or published over forty books (see below). Sanders was well-known for his knowledge of East Texas and was often contracted by people around the country to do research on their family genealogy. He was also generous with his research, donating copies and microfilm of his publications to local and regional libraries. As the editors of the East Texas Light wrote in a tribute to Mr. Sanders, he “accomplished more than anyone else who had ever lived in Shelby County to preserve the history of the heritage of our county.”

Sanders was also well-known for his business and civic contributions to Shelby County. Educated at a business college in New York, Sanders employed himself as a bookkeeper in Center and later as the city’s water superintendent. In the early 1930s, he not only broadcast Center’s first radio station, but also edited and published a county newspaper, the Shelby Reporter. Sanders operated both enterprises from the basement of his home on Nacogdoches Street. Sanders was a long-time Mason, Shriner, and member of the First United Methodist Church.

Sanders married twice and had three children. He died in Center February 4, 1980.

Sources, Social Security Death Index (Provo, UT: Operations Inc, 2010), online at (Accessed 2 May 2011).

---“Dedication to his heritage – J. B. Sanders preserved the past for future generations,” East Texas Light, Heritage Edition (16 July 1982), p.2.

---“John Barnette Sanders,” OneWorldTree,, online at 2 May 2011).

PUBLICATIONS (* denotes copy at the ETRC)

---The Post Offices and Postmasters of Nacogdoches County, Texas, 1845-1930 (1964)*

---The 1850 Census, Panola County, Texas (1966)

---The 1860 Census, Panola County, Texas

---The Post Offices and Postmasters of Panola County, Texas, 1845-1930 (1964)*

---Index to the Cemeteries of Panola County, Texas (1966)

---The 1850 Census, Sabine County, Texas (1964)*

---The 1860 Census, Sabine County, Texas (1965)*

---Postmasters of Sabine County, Texas 1845-1930 (1964)

---Index to the Cemeteries of Sabine County, Texas, 1836-1964 (1964)*

---A Centennial History of Littleton Fowler Lodge, no.305 A.F.A.M., Hemphill, Texas, 1868-1968, Sabine County, Texas (co-authored with William Tellis Parmer) (1968)*

---The 1850 Census, San Augustine County, Texas (1965)

---The 1860 Census, San Augustine County, Texas (1968)*

---The Post Offices & Postmasters of San Augustine County, Texas, 1845-1930 (1964)*

---Index to the Cemeteries of San Augustine County, Texas (1964)

---The 1850 Census, Shelby County, Texas (1963)*

---The 1860 Census, Shelby County, Texas ---The Post Offices & Postmasters of Shelby County, Texas, 1845-1930 (1964)*

---Our Dead, Index to the Cemeteries of Shelby County, Texas, 1838-1964 (1966)*

---History of Concord Baptist Church, Shelby County, Texas, 1849-1940

---History of Hamilton Church (East Hamilton) Shelby County, Texas (1846)

---Index to the Marriage Records of Shelby County, Texas, 1882-1936, in 2 volumes. (1967)*

---Book No.1, Index of Shelby County Brides

---Book No.2, Index of Shelby County Bridegrooms

---Soldiers from Shelby County in the U.S.-Mexican War, 1846-1848

---Confederate Soldiers of Shelby County, Texas

---Students who have Attended Center Public Schools, 1887-1965 (1965)*

---Shelby County Election Returns, 1882-1964

---History of Early Shelby County, Texas, schools (1966)*

---Minutes of Ramah Baptist Church, Shelby County, Texas, 1874-1960 (microfilm)

---All Center High School Annuals, 1904-1964 (microfilm)

---Tenaha, Texas High School Annuals, 1946-1965(microfilm)

---1915 Rural School Census, Shelby County, Texas (1967)

---Hangings in Shelby County, Texas (1966)*

---History of Fellowship Community and Baptist Church (by Anne Taylor Irish, 1939) (Reprinted 1967)

---Index to the Old Logansport, Louisiana Cemetery, 1836-1964 (1965)*

---1850 Census of Sabine Parish, Louisiana (compiled by Sabine Public Library) (1966)*

---An Indexed copy of the Cemetery Records of Sabine Parish, Louisiana (by Clara Long Knott) (1966)*

---Marriage Records of Sabine Parish, Louisiana, 1843-1900(by Elizabeth Byles McComic) (1966)*

---Beulah Methodist Church, Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana, 1860-1964 (1965)*

---De Soto Parish History and Cemetery Records (by J. A. H. Slawson) (1967)*

---1967 Catalog of East Texas and West Louisiana Genealogical Publications (1967)


5.00 Cubic Feet


This collection is described in 206 folders and arranged into 3 series. It is housed in three banker's boxes and three oversize bundles. The second oversize bundle is in map case 7, drawer 13. Series:

1. Alphabetically organized Research.

2. Select Publications.

3. Oversize materials.

Separated Materials

Champion Newspapers – Closed Stacks

Guide to the J. B. Sanders Research Collection
Kyle Ainsworth
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the East Texas Research Center Repository