The idea to put a museum on the third floor of Touch of Class Antique Mall in Sherman came to Ivert Mayhugh, who owns the resale and consignment shop with his wife, Jeanette, when a group that followed the exploits and history of William Clark Quantrill and the James boys — Frank and Jessie — came to Sherman for a convention.


Since that time in October of 2003, the Mayhughs have displayed a museum filled with memorabilia and artifacts from businesses and people who used to live in this area.


“We kept coming across items that we really enjoyed, and you make a decision — Do I buy it and resell it, and if I buy it do I want to let go of it?” Ivert Mayhugh said. “It might be a one of a kind, and I might never see another one.”


As an example, Ivert Mayhugh pointed to a small mechanical device that enabled doctors to bleed patients, a practice considered quite efficacious when it belonged to a Warren doctor in 1841.


“Basically, the collection is Sherman history, Grayson history and Texas history up through the beginning of the 20th century,” he said. “I have a one bit coin from a saloon in Bells, Texas. Back then you could get two drinks for two bits ($0.25), but if you didn’t want the second shot, you got one bit change. Of course, you had to spend it at that same saloon.”


Sometimes, the most mundane of items tell us the most about the way our ancestors lived. A few years ago, road work on U.S. Highway 82 revealed a dilapidated iron link bridge that had provided passage over Choctaw Creek. These bridges were once common place in North Texas, but over time, most have disappeared.


Ivert Mayhugh found a glass plate negative showing a man walking across a similar bridge while driving a wagon pulled by mules.


“The photographer was a man named LeBreque from Denison, so it could very well be that bridge,” he said.


Over the years, the museum has hosted demonstrations staged by a group of retired telegraphers who brought their clickity-clack machines to the top floor, and the Mayhughs have a compete turn of the century print shop that they show off to school kids on occasion.


One way to trace the development of community is through the city directories listing the businesses and people, who they were and where they lived. Mayhugh has a Sherman directory from 1892 that was owned by the sons of Lydia Starr, the founder of the Sherman Democrat.


“You just find stuff, and if you like history at all, this stuff is contagious,” Ivert Mayhugh said. “It’s like peeking through a keyhole into the past. Today we assume that in the future people will wonder about what we were like today, but it also seems as more of what I like seems to connect to the other things I like, and it never ends.”


Edward Southerland writes for Best of Texoma. Email him at esoutherland@heralddemocrat.com.