The thicket was named after Curtis Jernigan, a hunter who shot and wounded a deer and followed the animal into the area in 1843. The hunter became lost in the labyrinth of brambles, briar patches and trees and wandered around in the green maze for 12 days.
Caddo Indians originally lived in the vicinity. By 1750 the French had arrived, and in 1820 scattered remnants of Delaware, Quapaw, and Seminole Indians were hunting there. Although numerous thickets were in the area, Jernigan's Thicket was the largest, covering 10-15 square miles. Bonham, Paris and Greenville are some modern-day Texas towns which circled the thicket.
If a man was not a law-abiding, staunch Confederate, Jernigan's Thicket was the safest place to be. Desperate men running from the Confederate army or the law hid out before and during the Civil War.
Deserters, draft dodgers, bushwhackers, jayhawkers and Union loyalists stayed as many days or years as needed. (Read the rest of the story in the Nov. 17 edition of The Graham Leader.)