With a photo of Jack C. Hays in the background, Hays County Historical Commission (HCHC) Chair Kate Johnson greets Sheriff Michael Hennessey of San Francisco during a 2008 trip to California in which HCHC members retraced the steps Jack Hays took when he left Texas to California, where he served as the first sheriff of San Francisco County.
Kate Johnson, chair of the Hays County Historical Commission (HCHC), will receive on of the Texas Historical Historical Commission’s (THC) most prestigious accolades, the Ben Shepperd County Historical Commission Leadership Award. The honor will be presented at the THC’s annual Historic Preservation Conference in Houston on April 23.
Several members of the HCHC who nominated Johnson will be present at the conference when she accepts the award. The award recognizes outstanding leadership in carrying out a well-balanced preservation program.
Johnson’s three appointments as chair of the HCHC have seen her support and initiate a wide range of historical preservation programs, most notably her recent campaign to educate the public about the life of county namesake Jack C. Hays, which resulted in a 30-minute documentary about the colorful Texas Ranger. The film was distributed to schools with a curriculum guide and had many free public screenings, as well.
Johnson has been instrumental in the progression of the restoration of the 1870s-era Hays County Jail. She spent long hours devoted to the project, working with the Hays County Commissioners Court and Hays County Preservation Associates and helping to secure funding for the undertaking.
Johnson has been a catalyst in the HCHC programs to record a county wide oral history in “Voices of Hays County” and works on other historical projects, including cemetery restoration and documentation and the identification and documentation for the sites of future historical markers. Current research and planning is underway for a documentary on Texas muralist and sculptor Buck Winn.