ChatfieldHistory.org is a project of the Hodge-Martin-Chatfield Historical Museum, Inc., a Texas nonprofit corporation. It is dedicated to telling the story of Chatfield – a unique community in the History of Texas -- through the pages of this website. The museum corporation has been granted by the Internal Revenue Service recognition as a tax exempt entity to which donations will be deductible on the donor’s federal income tax return.
The museum corporation has obtained the use of portions of “Hodge Oaks Plantation,” a Texas ante-bellum plantation founded by Captain Robert Hodge. The village of Chatfield and the surrounding area sits on land that was part of the plantation. The corporation Board of Directors will use this and other property to further its educational purposes.
The museum corporation will advance historical appreciation for the part that Chatfield and persons associated with the community, including the extended Hodge family, have played in Texas and American History. It will organize and sponsor educational activities such as virtual museum exhibits online, seminars, living history events and demonstrations, and symposiums. As funds become available, the Board of Directors will open a museum physically located at Chatfield displaying artifacts and exhibits consistent with the museum’s purpose.
To advance historical appreciation for the part played in Texas and American History by the extended Hodge Family, Chatfield and the surrounding area, and persons associated therewith in this region, an area outside the one-crop cotton ante-bellum economy and having a more diversified agricultural and small industrial base. The museum organizes and sponsors educational activities such as virtual museum exhibits online, seminars, symposia, demonstrations, living history events, historical markers, tours, and ultimately will have a physical museum with exhibits consistent with its purposes.
Robert N. (Rob) Jones, Jr., an avid student of Texas history, is proud of being a native Texan. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree with concentrations in history and government from the University of Texas at Austin, as well as a Juris Doctorate from St. Mary's University School of Law in San Antonio. He previously taught college level history and served two terms as a misdemeanor trial court judge. He is a practicing attorney and currently serves as director of a newly established museum in his hometown of Chatfield. The Hodge-Martin-Chatfield Museum focuses on the importance of this north central Texas community and its settlers to the development of Texas.
Jones has authored articles for a number of publications ranging from the Handbook of Texas to the State Bar Journal to Texas Heritage Magazine. His historical research has led to invitations to speak before numerous academic and historical groups including the Texas State Historical Association, the Texas Map Society, and the Society for the History of Discoveries. The longtime chairman of the History and Preservation Committee of the State Bar of Texas, he headed the Bar's efforts to honor the roles of legal giants such as William Barrett Travis, Sam Houston, and James Butler Bonham in the independence of Texas. He is a member of a number of patriotic and genealogical societies.
He maintains a family farm at Chatfield on a portion of Captain Robert Hodge's "Hodge Oaks" Plantation. He loves to share family history and time on the farm with his daughter, Mary Page Pannill Jones.
Marion Elizabeth Hayes is the great grand daughter of Lt. Gov. Francis Marion Martin. She was born October 6 1945, in Corsicana , Texas. Marion inherited her love of horses from her great grandfather and her grandfather, Francis Marion Martin Jr. Lt. Gov. Martin was a noted breeder of thoroughbred race horses in Navarro county. Her grandfather was one of the states leading authorities on thoroughbred blood lines.
Marion Hayes showed both horses and mules on a national level. She competed in events ranging from speed events like barrel racing to parade competitions. She researched and collected antique horse equipment and saddles. Marion is a expert on side saddles. She taught side saddle ridding, organized side saddle classes for shows, and trained the judges for the classes. She also organized side saddle riders for parades.
Marion owns the original farm pioneered by Lt. Gov. Martin in Eastern Navarro county. It is still a working farm today. She is the custodian of all the Martin cemeteries, including the original pioneer cemetery located on the Martin farm. Marion also has inherited many artifacts associated with her famous forbearer, including Lt. Gov. Martin's Confederate Army saber, scabbard, and belt buckle, currently on loan to the Texas Military Forces Museum in Austin, the gavel which he used during the 1875 Texas Constitutional Convention, and a presentation cane, a gift from the Texas Senate to her ancestor.
Marion Hayes is active in animal rescue. She is a small business owner and has worked in the beauty industry for over 50 years.
James Hodge Gill is a great-great-grandson of Captain Robert Hodge. A retired attorney at law, he lives in Dallas, Texas, but has a home west of Chatfield where he raises cattle. Involved in banking and investments, he is a Founding Director of the City National Bank of Corsicana and has served on its Board of Directors continually since the bank was established in 1983. Gill currently serves as Chairman of the Board of Directors.
In 1978, he was elected County Judge of Navarro County, a position he held until 1983. He was three times elected Mayor of Corsicana, serving from 1985-1991.
Judge Gill is an avocational historian and is very interested in his family history. He has instilled that family pride in his two children, Atticus James, who also is an attorney, and daughter, Meredith. He has been married to the former Lynn Ray for over 40 years.