Gregg County Towns of Yesterday
Agistha was found on the NW rim of Longview in north central part of Gregg County. The settlement was established around the 1890s. A post office was there in 1899 and closed in 1901. About 1900 the community had a general store and several houses. By the early 1920s it was no longer on any maps.
Awalt, one of the earliest settlements in Gregg County, is thought
to be founded in the late 1840s. Its location was two miles south of
Pine Tree Church near what is now the western edge of Longview. It was
on the north side of the public road leading from Marshall to Tyler,
which now is a part of US Hwy. 80. The community was named for Solomon
Awalt, who was the first minister of the Pine Tree Cumberland Presbyterian
Church. Awalt's Ferry operated nearby on the Sabine River during the
Civil War. Awalt was the only other community considered by the first
voters in the first election as a site for the Gregg County seat of
government. It received 125 votes and was defeated by the 524 votes
which made Longview the county capital. Then when the Texas & Pacific
Railway went through Gregg County in 1873 it bypassed the town, and
most of the residents apparently moved to the new
community of Willow Springs, on the railroad. By 1900 Awalt was no more.
Bethel was located 1½ miles to the NE of Gladewater and in the northwestern part of Gregg County. It was established in the mid-1840's around the Bethel Baptist Church. A local school was founded later and was there until the early twentieth century. The community began to decline after the Civil War and disappeared in the 1870s. The church became the First Baptist Church of Gladewater.
BIG HEAD VILLAGE, TEXAS
Big Head (Bighead) Village, one of the earliest settlements in Gregg County, was located east of Big Head Creek near the site of the later Presbyterian church at New Danville, on the NE rim of Kilgore. The name of the community is said to have come from a Cherokee word, but it is unclear whether Big Head was founded by the Indians. Maps show a settlement at the site as early as the mid-1840s, and the community is mentioned in legal papers as late as 1850. By the 1860s the settlement was gone with no trace.
BODIE, TEXAS. Bodie, a farming community just southwest of Longview in east central Gregg County, was established around 1900 as a station on the International-Great Northern Railroad. It was named for Gabriel Augustus (Bodie) Bodenheim, long-time mayor of Longview. In the mid-1930s the settlement had a church, several stores, a mill, and a number of houses. In the early 1990s Bodie was a dispersed rural community, and many of the area's residents worked in nearby Longview.
Calhoun, one of the earliest settlements in Gregg County, was probably founded in the 1850s and was located about the Rabbit Creek area in the southern part of the county. It was near the site of today's western rim of Kilgore. Maps show a populated area there in the mid-1850s, and a post office there from 1853 to 1855. Sometime after the Civil War Calhoun disappeared and no trace of it can be found today.
Camden was also known as Walling's Ferry. It was on the south bank of the Sabine River, just north of the site of what is now Easton in the far SE corner of Gregg County. It was one of the earliest settlements in the county. The community grew up around a Sabine ferry crossing owned and operated by John Walling. He moved to the area during the late 1820s or early 1830s. The site was known for many years both as Walling's Ferry and as Camden both. Walling's ferry operation was on the road between Port Caddo and Henderson County. It was licensed by the Mexican government in the early 1830s. Camden reportedly served as a stopping point for Sam Houston on his first trip to Texas in 1832. In 1844 the settlement was formally established as a town, and that same year Enoch Hays built a two-story, eight-room log tavern and hotel. A post office by the name Walling's Ferry was there intermittently from 1847 to 1872 and in 1861 its name was briefly changed to Camden. During the 1850s steamboats came up the Sabine as far as Camden. By the Civil War the settlement had begun to disperse. A Confederate colonel who visited the community in 1863 found it to be unimpressive and another visitor wrote that the townspeople seemed "notably inert and melancholy." Malaria, which was rampant along the riverbottoms, and the rise of nearby Iron Bridge eventually finished the town. By the late 1860s most of Camden's remaining people had moved and in the 1870s the town was no longer on maps. The Camden cemetery was still being used in the 1990s.
CARTER'S MILL, TEXAS
Carter's Mill was six miles west of Longview near the site of present White Oak in central Gregg County. It was probably established sometime after the Civil War. A post office was there from 1877 until 1881. At its height in the early 1880s it was a small settlement and had a general store, a mill, and several houses. By 1900 the community was no longer on the maps.
Claybank was 4½ miles east of Kilgore in south central Gregg County. It was probably established sometime after the Civil War. A post office was in operation from 1897 until 1902. In 1900 the community had a general store and several houses. By the early 1920s the community was no longer on maps.
Crews was also known as Swamp City. This was probably because of its location near the swamps of the Sabine River in Gregg County. It was named for Dr. C. C. Crews, a dentist in Longview. He was the donor of the land on which the Crews Baptist Church was built. The town was founded by 1931 and had a population of 300. By 1966 only 50 of the 300 remained. Oil provided the main industry. The community was no longer on the 1984 county highway map.
Danville was also known as New Danville and Rabbit Creek. It is a rural community off FM 349 six miles SE of Longview in the south central part of Gregg County. It was established around 1847 and was said to be named by S. Slade Barnett and his kinfolks after their former hometown, Danville, Kentucky. In 1848 the Gum Springs Presbyterian Church was organized and the New Danville Masonic Lodge was chartered in 1852. The post office opened in 1850 and was called Rabbit Creek; the name was changed to New Danville in 1852, and it stayed in operation until 1873. At its peak around the time of the Civil War, New Danville had several stores, several saloons, a blacksmith shop, and a hand-fed gin powered by mules. The community continued to grow until the early 1870s, when the International-Great Northern Railroad bypassed it. Many of the town's residents and most of its businesses then moved to Kilgore on the railroad. In the 1940s Danville, as it was later called, still had a church, a cemetery, and two stores. Later the stores closed, and in the early 1990s little remained to show that a town had ever been there.
Earpville was on a site that is now in the city limits of Longview
in Gregg County (The now intersection of East Hwy 80 & Old Jefferson
or Old Winterfield Rd.). It was founded by the James Earp family of
Alabama in the 1840s. It had a post office from 1850 to 1867. In 1848
James Earp and his son-in-law James Starkey bought 1,031 acres of the
Alexander Jordan headright, bounded on the east by the Upshur-Harrison
county line and on the west by the Hamilton McNutt survey. Earp then
purchased several more adjoining tracts of land the next year and built
his home near the Marshall-Tyler road at the bottom of the largest rock
hill in the area. Longview's water towers are now at that site. During
the 1850s other members of the Earp clan joined James Earp in Upshur
County, and the settlement became Earpville. The community was on the
stagecoach line from Louisiana to San Antonio. Dr. Job Taylor was a
physician and lay preacher and operated the stagecoach stop. In 1860
the population was 276, and the community had grown into a thriving
place with a saddler, three merchants, a carpenter, three blacksmiths,
a wagon maker, and a minister. A Methodist Church met in a small log
structure in the mid-1800s but it moved to a new building in 1860 and
in 1875 became the First Methodist Church of Longview. There have been
no records found of a school in Earpville, but some evidence suggests
that the children of the community received private instruction from
the postmaster, who was also a teacher,
in 1861. When the Southern Pacific Railroad came and Longview was built in 1870, Earpville ceased to exist as a separate settlement and became part of Longview. Earpville was also commonly called "Steal Easy" because of a tall stranger who stood with a fishing pole with a goose attached to the other end and a preacher attached to the goose. The preacher was trying to remove the fishhook from the goose's gullet. The stranger told the preacher that he would be glad to pay him for that goose. The goose had seen the fishing line dangling from his wagon and hit it like a carp. The preacher said: "That's all right, but by gannies - if a fellar was so aminded, that sure would be a neat way to steal a goose dinner, wouldn't it!" So, as word of mouth spread the incident, Earpville became commonly known as Steal Easy.
Elderville is off State Hwy 322 just a little west of the Gregg County
Airport and in SE Gregg County. It was founded in the late 1840s and
named for Colonel Brown, an early settler there. Parts of the extended
community were known at various times as Brown's Settlement, Brown's
Bluff, or Colonel Brown Community. A post office was named Brown's Bluff
and opened there in 1874. About 1875 the name was changed to Iron Bridge
and then in 1887 it was changed to Elderville. By 1890 the community
had a steam gristmill, a cotton gin, three churches, two schools, a
general store, and a population of around 200. In the early 1920's Elderville
had ninety-six inhabitants and four businesses. After World War II part
of the area became a part of the Gregg County Airport. In the early
1990s Elderville was a
sparsely populated rural community.
Hughey was on State Highway 42 and FM 1252, six miles SW of Longview in central Gregg County. It was established around 1850. The small community boomed for a short time in the 1930s when oil was discovered in East Texas. At one time Hughey had a school, a Baptist church, and several little stores. By the early 1990s only a few scattered buildings remained of the once known Hughey.
IRON BRIDGE, TEXAS
Iron Bridge was originally known as Cotton Plant. It was on the Sabine River six miles south of Longview in eastern Gregg County. Cotton Plant had a post office from 1850 to 1866. Ten years later a new post office called Iron Bridge was opened in February of 1876, and by 1884 the community had a shingle mill, two steam gristmills, two churches, a public school, and an estimated population of 150 people. The post office was closed in 1891, and the community got its mail from Elderville. In 1905 Iron Bridge had a school for twenty-five white pupils and another school for 104 black pupils. The schools closed and the community was no longer on maps by the 1930s.
Johnsonville was an oil boom town close to the site of what is now Omega in NE Gregg County. The community was one of many such communities, built mainly by the major oil companies near a local refinery during the oil boom of the 1930s. The town grew and flourished for several years, then all but disappeared after World War II as the oil industry declined.
Killingsworth was located at a site near what is now the northern edge of Longview, was one of the earliest settlements in Gregg County. Little is known about the origins of Killingsworth. It was probably named for John Killingsworth and his family, who came and settled in the area around 1850. A pay school reportedly was there by 1847. After the Civil War Killingsworth disappeared and a cemetery marked the site in the 1980s.
LAIRD HILL, TEXAS
Laird Hill is on U.S. Hwy 259 just south of Kilgore near the northern boundary of Rusk County. It got its name from the prominent S. S. Laird family. At one time during the big East Texas oil boom Laird Hill was known as Pistol Hill. In 1936 the first postmaster, Ignatius S. Cutcher, was appointed. By the 1940 the census lists Laird Hill as a suburb of Kilgore in Gregg County with a population of about 500 and with eight businesses. By 1970 the community's population was down to 461 it only had four businesses. In 1980 and 1990 the population was 405, and there was only one business there.
LONGVIEW JUNCTION, TEXAS
Longview Junction, in eastern Gregg County, began in 1873 when the
International-Great Northern Railroad completed its line from Hearne
to Longview and intersected with the rails of the newly built Texas
and Pacific. The tracks connected a mile east of the T&P depot in
downtown Longview. A second T&P depot and the I-GN depot were located
at the junction. Longview businessmen formed the Longview and Junction
Railway Company in 1883 to provide transportation between the main T&P
depot in downtown Longview and Longview Junction. The street railway
began with one car and one mule. In 1896 a larger, twomule car
was inaugurated. An electric trolley replaced the mule-drawn cars in
1912 and continued until the system was discontinued in 1922. By 1877
the Barner brothers were operating a sawmill at the junction with a
capacity of 20,000 board feet a day. Longview Junction prospered in
the early 1880s as dwellings and businesses for the railroad industry
and its workers were built. A Catholic church was constructed in 1883.
The brick, twostory, seventy-five-room Mobberly Hotel was completed
in 1884. Local businesses in May 1885 included two saloons, a gambling
house, a grocery store, a fruit and cigar stand, a drugstore and news
stand, and a dressmaker, as well as two boarding houses, two restaurants,
the Mobberly Hotel, and the Junction Hotel. Between 1890 and 1896 the
number of dwellings in a fiveblock area of Longview Junction increased
200 percent. A private, tworoom school opened in 1896. In 1904
the city of Longview annexed land on all sides of its corporate limits,
including the site of Longview Junction. The additional residents made
possible the issuance of bonds for many of Longview's first improvements,
including wooden-block pavement for streets, cement sidewalks, and street
lights. In 1919 a grade crossing at the junction, one of the longest
in Texas, spanned eleven sets of tracks. In 1939 the Texas and Pacific
Railroad Company constructed an underpass that eliminated the dangerous
crossing. The Texas and Pacific moved its division offices and shops
from Longview Junction to Mineola in January 1929, thus removing 700
families and a large
payroll from the Longview area.
NORTH CHAPEL, TEXAS
North Chapel was a farming community near I-20 two miles north of Kilgore in SW Gregg County. It was probably established before the 1900s. In the mid-1930s the small community had a school, a church, a store, and several houses. After World War II the school closed and many of its residents moved away. In the early 1990s only a few buildings were left in the area.
OLD FREDONIA TOWNSITE
Founded by Haden Edwards, a land grantee who contracted in 1825 with Mexican government to establish 800 families of settlers in East Texas. A later misunderstanding with Mexico caused him to organize famous Fredonian rebellion, and flee to the U.S. in 1827 in failure. Town of Fredonia prospered, however. It was important ferry crossing and river port. Had 40 or 50 buildings, including homes, 3 warehouses (mainly for cotton), and a brick kiln. After the Civil War, post office was given up. Bypassing by railroad caused abandonment of town about 1870.
Omega was a rural farm community eight miles NE of Longview on U.S. Hwy 259 in NE Gregg County. It was probably founded around 1900. By the mid-1930s it had several houses and a school, which it shared with Bethlehem in Upshur County. At various times several stores operated in the area. The Port Bolivar Iron Ore Railway had a train station at a gin in Omega. After World War II the school closed, and by the mid-1960s Omega was no longer shown on highway maps.
Peatown, which was also known as Edwardsville, was on FM 2011, about two miles west of the Gregg County Airport in SE Gregg County. It was founded around 1845 and was originally named Edwardsville, after Haden Harrison Edwards, who settled in the area. A pay school was said to be in operation by 1847, and a church was founded in 1855 and put on land donated by Edwards. In the late 1800s the town name was changed to Peatown, probably because of the unusually large local crop of peas. The community went downhill after World War II, and by early 1990s only a church, a cemetery, and a few scattered buildings were left.
Philippi, one of the earliest settlements in Gregg County, was probably founded in the late 1840s and was near the western edge of what is now Longview. A pay school was founded 1840-1850 by Professor Hamilton McNutt, who had a headright grant there. After the Civil War the settlement disappeared.
PLEASANT GREEN, TEXAS
Pleasant Green is a rural community on FM Road 349, about a mile W of the Gregg County Airport in SE Gregg County. It was founded after the Civil War was over by freed slaves. The Pleasant Green Baptist Church, founded in 1871, was the focal point of the community. In 1909 a bigger frame building replaced the original church. After World War II the town went downhill, and in the early 1990s all that was left was the church and a few dwellings with some descendants of the original settlers still living in the area. The population was not known.
POINT PLEASANT, TEXAS
Point Pleasant was also known as Gilead. It was located on old U.S. Hwy 80 about a half mile east of Moody Creek in NE Gregg County. It was founded around 1850 when a post office opened as Gilead. The area was known as Gilead under the first postmaster, L. B. Camp, who earlier had established a ferry crossing the Sabine River (2 mi. W). when the name Point Pleasant was adopted in 1852, J. K.Armstrong (d. 1860) was named postmaster. The name was changed to Point Pleasant in 1852. William W. Walters, who served as postmaster from 1858 to 1860, operated a stagecoach station during the town's earliest years. Other postmasters were Claiborn Halbert, Joshua W. Monk and the last official postmaster, Wlisha A. Mackey. During its 21 years of existence the Point Pleasant Post Office served approximately 48 families including Jarret Dean, James Hendrick, Mason Moseley, Augustus Moseley, A.H. Abney, A.C. Williams, Jacob M. Lacy, A.G. Rogers and A.T. Wright. The community had the Possum Trot School which was still operating in 1908 with trustees R.A. Hendrix, E.W. Clements, and Mr. Phillips. Moseley Cemetery also served those same pioneers. When the railroad came through in the early 1870s, it bypassed the town. The post office closed in 1871, and many of the folks moved to the new communities of Longview and Gladewater. Clarksville City, which grew up during the oil boom of the early 1930s, later developed at that site. No population reports were available, but at its peak around the time of the Civil War about forty-eight families got their mail at Point Pleasant.
Roach was a short-lived post office seven miles west of Longview near what is now White Oak in north central Gregg County. A post office was there from 1881 to 1882. The small community once had a mill and a store, but was no longer shown on maps by 1900.
ROCK SPRINGS, TEXAS
Rock Springs, on the Old Kilgore Highway four miles south of Gladewater in NE Gregg County, was established by settlers from Arkansas in the late 1840s. It was originally called Little Arkansas. In 1849 other settlers from Tennessee built a pay school. The building was used for church and Grange meetings as well as political rallies. It is the oldest reliably dated building in Gregg County. The school house was named Rock Springs because of a nearby stream at a rocky ledge. The community later adopted the same name. The one-teacher school operated until sometime in the 1930s when it was consolidated with the Gladewater school. A state historical marker was placed at the site of the old school in 1966. In the 1990s Rock Springs was just a community. A cemetery is located at the old school house and is know as Rock Springs Cemetery.
SABINE MILLS, TEXAS
Sabine Mills was a short-lived post office community. It was near the site of what is now Rolling Meadows seven miles south of Longview in SE Gregg County. A post office was there from 1878 until 1880. The small community was apparently the site of a cotton mills and was still on the maps in 1882 but had disappeared by 1900.
SHELL CAMP, TEXAS
Shell Camp was an oil boomtown near the Shell Oil Company drilling site NW of Kilgore in the East Texas oilfields of Gregg County. The community was one of several of such settlements that were built by the major oil companies or larger independents during the oil boom of the 1930s. The town flourished and grew for several years, then all but disappeared after World War II when the oil industry declined.
Shiloh was a farming community on Shiloh Road in north central Gregg County. It was just south of the Upshur county line and was established after the Civil War by former slaves of Gideon Christian. Christian was a native of South Carolina and had moved his family to East Texas in the mid-1850s. By 1860 his estate was valued at $30,000, alot of money for those days. Gideon also owned thirty-two slaves. In 1870 most of the heads of household in the Shiloh community were black, and only two heads of household were white. Nine heads of household were property owners, and, according to the folk lore histories of local families, the Christian family conveyed land titles to several emancipated slaves. The Shiloh Baptist Church was founded in 1871 and served as the focal point of the community. After World War II the community began to disperse and in the early 1990s only a church and scattered buildings remained. At that time descendants of the original settlers were still living around the area.
SPRING HILL, TEXAS
Spring Hill, on FM 300 in NE Gregg County, was founded sometime before 1900. During the oil boom in the early 1930s the town became the location of several oilfield camps. By the late 1930s most of the oil workers had moved on. In 1940 the community had a consolidated school, two stores, and a population of 140 folks. With its neighbor Longview growing by leaps and bounds after World War II, Spring Hill experienced a new surge of population. By 1984 its population had increased to 1,458. On October 7, 1983, Longview annexed Spring Hill.
ST. CLAIRE, TEXAS
Founded 1827 as St. Clair, it was 3 mi. east of the present day Gladewater. It moved to its present site on Glade Creek in 1872 due to the T & P Railway putting a depot there. It had a population of about 500 before it moved and became Gladewater.
Summerfield was a farming community west of Airline Road in an area
that is now part of Judson in NE part of Gregg County. It was established
sometime before the Civil War but it is not know exactly when. The community
was not platted and the name was derived from the Methodist Episcopal
church (thought to have been organized prior to the Civil War) site
there, plus a school site which was closed a few years later. Summerfield
was included in the newly formed County of Gregg in 1873 and was the
homeplace of Bluford Washington Brown, who served as a lay minister
at the church and also was the Upshur
County state representative who pushed the act through the legislature which created Gregg County. I.O. Clifton founded a "school of advanced course" there in 1870, called Summerfield High School, which was located on the R.T. Crane survey a mile east of the church site. The school closed sometime after 1900 and Summerfield gradually became a part of Judson. The Summerfield Methodist Church still existed in the early 1990s.
THE RIDGE, TEXAS
The Ridge was also known as Freedman's Ridge. It is at the junction
of FM 449 and FM 2751, two miles SE of Omega in NE Gregg County. It
was founded after the Civil War by freed slaves. The Pleasant Hill Colored
Methodist Episcopal Church (later the Christian Methodist Episcopal
Church) was founded in 1870 and was the center of the community. The
settlement was named for its location on a small rise. In 1911 the Port
Bolivar Iron Ore Railway was built through the community which linked
it with Longview. After World War II the community became smaller and
in the early 1990s only a church and a few buildings were there, but
descendants of the original African American settlers still lived
in the area.
Tryon was a farming community just off U.S. Hwy 259 in what is now the NE part of Longview in the eastern part of Gregg County. It was established in the 1850s and was to have been named for Trion, Georgia, the original homeland of some of its earliest settlers. In 1881 the Alpine Presbyterian Church was organized. A local school operated for awhile but it eventually consolidated with Longview schools after 1900. After World War II Tryon became part of greater Longview.
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