| Early Texas settlements were often centered around institutions such as churches and schools. Even those that were short-lived played significant roles in the historical development of the state. When Anderson County organized in 1846, the area west of Catfish Creek was only sparsely populated. Community development began in the 1840s on land owned by Georgia-native Charles Gilmore (1796-1880). His house served as first polling place, first school and location for early meetings of the Gilmore's Chapel Methodist Church, the first area church. He then donated land for its cemetery and sanctuary. In 1854, local Baptists met there and organized Judson Baptist Church, moving later to a nearby site (1 mi. N) and then to Cayuga (3 mi. NW). Wild Cat Bluff (7.5 mi. NW), near the confluence of Wildcat Creek and the Trinity River, was also settled in the 1840s. It was an important ferry crossing and flourished until after the Civil War, when the river became unnavigable. Just over in Henderson County, settlers came as early as 1846 and founded Science Hill Community (7 mi. N), which included an academy and a Masonic lodge. In 1852, Bethel Post Office, the first in the area, opened with Gilmore as postmaster. Soon the center of activity moved near the present-day community of Bethel (2.5 mi. SE), and Gilmore's Chapel community disappeared. Although some of these communities and institutions did not survive, their stories demonstrate early settlement patterns and reflect the goals and needs of area pioneers, who established schools, churches and businesses, relying on mutual support and effort to develop Anderson County. |
This page last updated: 7/15/2008
Early Settlement of Northern Anderson County Historical Marker Location Map, Texas
Related Themes: Texas Baptist Churches, Texas C.S.A., Texas Confederate States of America, Confederacy, Texas Freemasons, Masonic Lodges, Freemasonry
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