BONHAM — The Sam Rayburn House Museum celebrated former Speaker of the House Sam Rayburn’s 132nd birthday with an open house and refreshments on Saturday.

BONHAM — The Sam Rayburn House Museum celebrated former Speaker of the House Sam Rayburn’s 132nd birthday with an open house and refreshments on Saturday.


Sam Rayburn was born in Tennessee but lived in Bonham for the majority of his life. Rayburn was elected to the House of Representatives in 1926, and later served as Speaker of the House under Presidents Truman, Roosevelt and Eisenhower.


Rayburn built a house in Bonham in 1916. Today it is the Sam Rayburn House Museum, and is described by Curator Anne Rupport as a "period time capsule," that "contains all original Rayburn furnishings."


Each year, the museum hosts a celebration around the date of Rayburn’s birthday, Jan. 6. On Saturday the celebration consisted of an open house, free tours and refreshments. The museum has a different theme for each birthday celebration, said Site Manager Carole Stanton.


The theme of Saturday’s celebration highlighted an event that happened 67 years ago to the day. On Jan. 3-4, 1946, Rayburn hosted then-Secretary of the Treasury Ted Vinson and his wife Roberta at his home.


During tours of the house, Rupport described what would have been going on in certain rooms during the Vinsons’ visit. For example, spectators were shown the back entrance of the house where, Rupport said, reporters wrote that the Rayburns and Vinsons arrived amidst the "clucking of chickens."


Leonard resident Joe Murley said he believes the tour showed what a down-to-earth person Rayburn was, and that area residents should make an effort to visit the museum.


Some of the refreshments that were served also paid tribute to history. On January 4, 1946, the Democratic Women of Dallas County held a luncheon for Rayburn’s sister, Lucinda. A menu item from the luncheon was also served at the celebration — chocolate roll cake.


In years past, the museum has also featured chili tastings at the birthday celebration, Stanton said. This is because chili was one of Rayburn’s favorite foods.


Rayburn’s favorite type of cake, coconut, is served as a birthday cake each year, Stanton said.