77th Historic Jefferson Pilgrimage
“The Heart of East Texas”
May 2nd – 5th. 2024

With great pride, the Jessie Allen Wise Garden Club presents our 77th Historic Jefferson Pilgrimage, “The Heart of East Texas,” May 2 – 5, 2024. Jefferson sits on the banks of the Big Cypress Bayou, romanced by our wonderfully and lovingly restored historic homes and buildings while reveling in all of our events and attractions. We revere our rich history while living enthusiastically in the present, looking forward to the future with hope and promise. We encourage you to enjoy our 77th Historic Jefferson Pilgrimage and all that Jefferson offers during this special weekend.

The Schulter House

602 E. Taylor Street

The Manse

401 E. Delta

Vines House

106 Clarksville Street

Jefferson Pilgrimage Events

Home and Garden Tours.

Four beautiful homes, The Manse, The Schluter House, The Atalanta, Jay Gould Rail Car and Sheriff John Vines House, will be open for visitors between the hours of 11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Friday, May 3, and Saturday, May 4. Docents, dressed in period costumes, will greet visitors to the homes, giving the history of the homes and the Jefferson families who built and lived in them through the years. Garden Tours: Gardens include, the Finstrom Garden, Moseley Manor Garden, the Azelia Inn Garden and the Ragland Garden, which will be open for visitors to enjoy between the hours of 5:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. on Friday, May 3, and Saturday, May 4. Home and Garden Tour Tickets may be purchased at Pilgrimage Headquarters in front of the Excelsior House, 211 W. Austin Street, beginning at 9:30 a.m. each day of Pilgrimage weekend. Cost is $25 each. Tickets may also be purchased online at www.jefferson-pilgrimage.com/buy-tickets for a discounted price of $24 each. Tickets are non-refundable.

Diamond Bessie Murder Trial

The 70th Diamond Bessie Murder Trial kicks off Pilgrimage with the first of 5 performances beginning on Thursday evening, May 2, at 7:30 p.m. Other performances of the play are on Friday, May 3, at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, May 4, at 5:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m., and Sunday, May 5, at 2:00 p.m. This captivating drama is based on the true story of a murder and a subsequent trial which occurred in Jefferson in 1877. All performances of the play are held in the Jefferson Playhouse at the corner of Market and Henderson streets. Tickets for the 70th Diamond Bessie Murder Trial may be purchased beginning February 1, 2024, by calling the Diamond Bessie ticket-line 903-665-0737. Advanced ticket purchase is strongly advised. Tickets are non-refundable.

Go to the Diamond Bessie Page for more information.

Pilgrimage Grand Ballroom Salad Luncheon

After the Saturday morning parade, a delicious salad luncheon will be served in the Grand Ballroom and Courtyard of the Excelsior House. Jessie Allen Wise Garden Club members provide and serve the delectable luncheon from 11:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. at a cost of $20. Reservations for this luncheon are encouraged; visit
www.jefferson-pilgrimage.com/buy-tickets. Online Luncheon ticket sales will end April 29. Tickets are non-refundable.

See Menu Here


At 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, May 4, an array of floats, old cars, buggies, bands and horses will make its way through town. Mary Keasler and Bobbie Hardy will be the parade Grand Marshall.

Plant Sale

The Jessie Allen Wise Garden Club’s plant sale is located on the porch of the Excelsior House. The Plant Sale committee continues to add surprises to the sale for 2024. The sale contains many reasonably priced plants, some of which have been started from cuttings of local heirloom plants by the members of the club. Take time to browse from Friday, May 3rd and Saturday, May 4th. Hours: 8:00am-4:00pm
Variety of plants available that thrive in East Texas.
Shop for May 12th Mother’s Day gifts

Go to Plant Sale Page

Artisan Craft Fair and Sale

Enjoy goodies the Craft Fair Sale vendors have to offer. Set up in William Perry Park adjacent to the Excelsior House, and continues across the alley to Otstott Park on the corner of Lafayette and Vale street.  The Craft Fair and Sale will be open 9:00 a.m. — 5:00 p.m. on Friday, May 3, and Saturday, May 4, and 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. on Sunday, May 5.

Download Vendor Application


Heritage Quilt Exhibit

The quilt exhibit will be held in the beautifully restored Cumberland Presbyterian Church, 501 East Jefferson Street. This outstanding collection of quilts is free and open to the public Friday, May 3, and Saturday, May 4, from 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

See Quilt Photos

Jay Gould Railroad Car

Located on bustling Austin Street, across from the Excelsior Hotel, is the Atalanta, the private rail car of notorious railroad baron, Jay Gould, of New York City. Visit this uniquely furnished car built in 1886 and discover how it came to Jefferson. This exquisite rail car is part of the Tour of Homes.

Other attractions

Our small city is rich with historic preservation. Stroll along the brick streets of Jefferson, shop in the many unique antique and gift shops, visit the museums, visit historic Oakwood Cemetery, enjoy a ride on Jefferson Belle, visit historic churches and stay in our historic hotel, the Excelsior House, which has been in continuous operation since 1858, or stay in a bed and breakfast, and dine in our fine restaurants. Most of Jefferson’s attractions are located within a compact historical district ideally suited for walking. All are available for your enjoyment.
For more information, visit our website:
jefferson-pilgrimage.com. Email jeffersonpilgrimage@gmail.com, or call 903-452-3836. Visit the Excelsior House web site: theexcelsiorhouse.com. Email excelsiorhousehotel@gmail.com or call
903 665-2513.

 With its 77th Pilgrimage, “The Heart of East Texas,” the Jessie Allen Wise Garden Club creates for you the unique experience of looking fondly and nostalgically at our past, embracing the present and anticipating, with excitement, the future! Come join us in Jefferson, Texas, for that Pilgrimage experience the weekend of May 2 – 5, 2024.