Historical Marker Index

Historical Marker Index

of Hill County

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City of Hillsboro Historical Marker

In 1853, The Texas Legislature carved Hill County out of Navarro County.  Named for Physician and Republic of Texas Secretary of War Dr. George Washington Hill, the new county had only recently attracted Anglo settlement following the establishment of 1848 of Fort Graham.  County Commissioners selected Hillsboro, originally spelled Hillsborough, as county seat.  They established the town on land donated by Thomas Steiner, John Caruthers, and Jonathan Newby, and the community soon had a school and Post Office, as well as a wood-frame courthouse.

Cotton became the mainstay of Hillsboro's late 19th century economy.  The city experienced rapid growth after the Missouri, Kansas & Texas Railroad and other lines came to the town in the early 1880's.  In addition to bringing new settlers and giving access to shipping and transportation railroads provided many new jobs.  The city continued to grow and incorporated in 1881.  The cotton industry produced a building boom between 1890 and 1910.  As evidenced by the numerous Queen Anne home still intact today, as well as the noted 1890 Hill County Courthouse. 

In 1923, the community established the Hillsboro Junior College, which over the years has become Hill College.  Many Texas political leaders have come from Hillsboro, including U. S. Congressman Joseph Abbott and Texas Lt. Governor Bob Bullock, as well as Thomas Slater Smith, Robert Lee Bobbitt, Robert W. Calvert, Crawford C. Martin, Nelson Philips and Sam Johnson.

In 1981 Hillsboro became one of the Texas Historical Commission's five original Texas Mains Street Cities.  The growing city continues to provide leadership, as well as natural, cultural and educational resources. 

Marker located at Library.                    2004

Abbott's Grove Historical Marker

   In the early days of Hillsboro, a grove of pecan, hackberry, elm and other trees grew along the banks of Hackberry Creek.  Hillsboro residents came to the grove for community celebrations and festivities.  They called it Abbott's Grove in honor of one of the city's popular leaders, Joseph Abbott (1840-1908).  He and his wife, Rowena (Sturgis), built their family hone on the land south of the creek.  Two of their five children owned adjacent property.  Jo Abbott was a distinguished lawyer, Judge, Texas Legislator, and U. S. Congressman.  He and brother-in-law George F. Sturgis operated what would become the Sturgis National Bank.  An avid anti-prohibitionist, Abbot was often a speaker at rallies and barbecues held in the 1880's and 1890's in the grove near his home.  Other events at the grove included community and holiday picnics, concerts, ball games, and reunions for groups like the old settlers and Confederate Veterans Associations.

At Abbott's death in 1908, prominent businessman and banker George Carmichael (1855-1924) purchased the Abbott home and property and donated $1,000 in 1921 to designate the grove as a city park.  The newly organized Hillsboro Rotary Club got behind the effort, and after a few months of raising funds the Rotarians were successful in their campaign.  The new municipal park continued the name of Abbott's Grove.

Use of the park at Abbott's Grove fluctuated over the years, but after a period of underutilization the park is once again a source of community pride and a place for birthday parties, end-of-school events and other celebrations.  Hillsboro citizens enjoy the scenic setting and the many amenities found in historic Abbott's Grove.


Blum Cemetery Historical Marker.

   This burial ground was established about the time the town of Blum was formed in 1881 as a stop on the newly laid track of the Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe Railway. A. J. Davis (1840-1912), a local landowner, is said to have gifted the land specifying that burial lots would be free. The oldest dated stone is that of nine-year old Robert E. Lee McCullough, who died in 1882 but earlier burials likely exist. Area pioneers and many local veterans are among those honored here. Descendants support a perpetual care fund and an association to oversee the care of this site that chronicles the heritage of the Blum community.

 Historic Texas Cemetery    2001
Itasca Railroad Depot

The second railroad depot for Itasca, this Victorian structure was built in 1895, fourteen years after the town was founded along a line of the Missouri, Kansas & Texas Railroad. It was constructed large enough to accommodate both passenger and freight service. A landmark in the town and a symbol of the area's early economic growth, the depot served as a transportation center until the late 1960's. In 1972 it was moved to this site

Recorded Texas Historic Landmark - 1972
Whitney Memorial Park
   The construction of Whitney Dam caused the creation of this cemetery in 1950 for the reinterment of 1260 graves from six historic cemeteries in Hill and Bosque Counties. Before Lake Whitney inundated several pioneer cemeteries, all of the gravesites and monuments were moved here and placed on nearly 24 acres purchased for the Brazos Valley graves.
   The Captain Wilson Cemetery was originally located about six miles southwest of Whitney and named for Civil War veteran and politician J. M. C. Wilson. The earliest documented burial was from 1857. The Walling Bend Cemetery, dating from 1863, was named for Jesse Walling, who served in the Texas Legislature. The two Schuler Place Cemeteries were located on the Bosque County side of Lake Whitney, and contained 14 graves, many of the Basye Family. The cemetery that served the Towash Community was located about five miles west of Whitney. The earliest known burial was that of A. J. and J. J. Dyer in 1864. Their descendants included a member of the Texas Legislature, the first Chief Justice of Hill County and owners of a flour and grist mill. The Degriffenreid Graveyard, located about three miles west of Whitney , was the largest of the six cemeteries moved with 685 graves.
Southwestern Presbyterian Home and School for Orphans.
   Orphanage originated in Dallas when First Presbyterian Church women arranged care for four children of a deceased member. Church then decided to found a statewide orphanage, for which D. S. Files Family gave this land. Home opened in 1906 with Rev. J. D. McLean as first president. From beginning, home has used modern "cottage plan" and has maintained reputation for its outstanding staff, facilities, and program. Home's school was closed in 1957. Orphanage now part of Presbyterian Children's Home and service agency.
Cell Block Museum: Hill County Jail
   Constructed in 1893, this building serves ad the third jail for Hill County. It was designed by W. C. Dodson of Waco, architect of the Hill County Courthouse, and built by the Brown County firm of Lovell and Wood. The brick and limestone structure reflects influences of the Victorian and medieval revival styles. Interior space includes living quarters in the front for the sheriff and jailer. Steel-clad prisoner cells are located in the back section.

CENTRAL CHRISTIAN CHURCH (Disciples of Christ) of Hillsboro
   The earliest worship service for local disciples was conducted on September 11, 1881. Six years later the fellowship was formally chartered with 35 members. Meetings were held in private homes, the courthouse, and the schoolhouse until a sanctuary was built on Waco Street in 1886. After a fire destroyed the structure in 1892 the members rebuilt here. Active in support of missions and benevolent organizations, the church has been a significant institution in the community. Membership has included two missionaries, Nona Boegman and the Rev. Allan Eubank.
   St. Mary's Mission was founded in the 1870's. On July 30, 1886, Bishop Alexander C. Garrett laid the cornerstone for the first church building, which was destroyed by a tornado in 1894. This building was completed in 1911, and St. Mary's became a parish in 1914, featuring both Gothic Revival and Prairie School style influences. The structure is of brick construction with cast stone detail, a central entry porch, and a tower with battlements offset at the rear.
   This burial ground was already in use well before the local settlement of Brushy Knob too the name of Derden around 1881. The earliest marked grave is that of young Elizabeth Mobley 91851 - 1858), but older unmarked graves likely exist. Known to have arrived here in the mid-1850's were members of the Ince Family, including George Washington Calvert Ince (1833 - 1912), who helped develop the area. Many of their descendants, as well as those of other pioneer families such as the Blackshears, Kimberlins, Russells, Stocktons, and Whites, are laid to rest here.
   This depot was built to serve the Missouri - Kansas - Texas (KATY) Rail Line, which reached Hillsboro in 1881. Completed in 1902, the station features elements of the Eastlake, Victorian, and Prairie Styles, Early MKT Trains carried materials for the growing town and brought early residents and such notables as Presidents Woodrow Wilson, William Taft, Calvin Coolidge, and Harry Truman. The building was moved here from the original site in 1978.
   Victorian style- built in 1895 by noted attorney Greene Duke Tarlton (1852 - 1931), from Louisiana.
   House was one of finest in town, with hand - carved mantels, stained glass windows, "speaking tube" between kitchen and third floor bedroom, and a dumbwaiter - cistern on back porch supplied cool water all year round.
   Outbuildings included stable and coach house. On grounds were grape arbor, orchard, and garden.
   Restored by Dana L. Bennett.
   Local site for politics, peddlers' shows, whittling, cockfights, fisticuffs.
   Named for Bond's Drug Store, located here since 1881, and sheltering in bad weather people who usually sunned in alley.
   Early neighbors varied from a Chinese Laundry to an auto assembly shop.

One of the oldest bank buildings in Hill County, built in 1887 by Farmers National Bank. Constructed of sun-dried brick, replaced by kiln-dried brick in 1912.
   Purchased by Colonial Trust Company in 1931; green revival front with columns added.

Entered in the National Register of Historic Places -- 1971

   The fourth courthouse for Hill County (organized in 1853) and the third one located in Hillsboro, this impressive landmark replaced a brick court building erected in 1874. Contractors Lovell, Miller & Hood of Brownsville built this rusticated limestone structure in 1890. Waco architect W. C. Dodson, who designed a number of public buildings, planned the modified French second empire styling. The three - story courthouse is topped by a seven - story clock tower.
   This renaissance revival building was constructed as the fifth location for the Hillsboro Post Office. Work was begun in 1912 and completed three years later under the direction of architect James Knox Taylor. The building's design features a tiled roof, an ornate arched entrance arcade and elaborated detailing of terra cotta and stone. Used as a post office until 1967, it was later adapted for use as the city's public library.


Reconstructed by the citizens of Hillsboro, Texas
The Texas State Library through
The Library Services and Construction Act
Hillsboro City Councilmen

I. B. Davis Mayor 1968
E. M. Griffin   Mayor 1969
E. J. Ray, Jr. Mayor 1970
Mr. Chester Allen Mr. Sterling Conditt Mr. Joe W. Hawkins Mr. Raymond A. Igou, Jr. M.D.
Mr. J. M. Boone Mr. William W. Curry Mr. Brooks Hord Mr. C. S. Neil
Mr. R. J. Bethancourt City Manager
Mr. Joe Ed Ward City Manager

 Hillsboro City Library Board

Mr. Carl Allen, Chairman Mrs. Bill Buice
Mrs. Herman Eastland, Jr. Mrs Tommy J. Johnson
Mrs. A. B. Rivers Mrs. Flora Dell Arnold
Mrs. Paul Harvy Mrs. Dick Cason
Mrs. Luther Ellington,  Life Member
Miss Harry Dudley,        Life Member

This former post office (1913) presented to
the citizens of Hillsboro, Texas, by their
Untied States Government

Mrs. Jim Ford, Library Consultant Hillsboro, Texas
Rucker and Chamlee Architects Temple, Texas
Wilkirson Lumber Company, Cont. Hillsboro, Texas
   In 1901 German native Charles Gebhardt (1874 - 1920) established Hillsboro's first bakery. He moved his business to this building after it was completed in 1905, using the second floor as living quarters. The brick commercial structure exhibits influences of the Romanesque and Italianate styles and features arched second-story windows. Decorative Brickwork in the cornice, and corner turrets. The bakery building later was used for millinery and barber shops.
   Whitney, the first railroad town in Hill County, was established in 1879 on the route of the Houston & Texas Centeral Railroad and was named for railroad investor Charles A. Whitney. Lots in the new town were sold at a "Grand Picnic" on November 25, 1879. An eager crowd bid on the lots which sold at prices ranging between $100 and $750. Several merchants who purchased lots established "Tent Stores" while carpenters worked night and day to complete wooden frame stores. Soon a Central Business District was in operation.
   The new town included a post office, bank, school, several churches, civic organizations, a newspaper, and many businesses. The Opera House was the cultural center for entertainment., offering theatrical and musical productions and, later, movies. Several devastating fires burned much of the downtown area over the years, but the citizens rebuilt each time.
   The building of nearby Whitney Dam caused the town's population to expand in the later 1940s and early 1950s, and brought increased tourism from those visiting the newly created Lake Whitney. The town of Whitney observed its 100th birthday on November 25, 1979. A Centennial Celebration included a parade, musical entertainment, and fireworks.
   This newspaper began publication in 1883, four years after the railroad town of Whitney was founded. Established by H. P. and J. O. Jones, the "Messenger" was purchased by J. T. and Dan S. Mayes in 1890. Dan Mayes, who gained full owner-ship of the paper in 1893, had started in the business in 1888 as an apprentice under H. P. Jones. Under Mayes leadership, the "Messenger" grew from a four-page paper with about 400 readers to a 12-page paper with a circulation of about 1,700 by 1903. Throughout its history, the "Whitney Messenger" has provided a significant service to the community and the surrounding area.
   The organizational meeting for this church was held in 1875 in the Pecan Grove Community just west of Whitney. The Rev. I. M. Reeves, a circuit rider, led the congregation in its formation. In 1880, one year after the town of Whitney was founded on the rail line, the fellowship built a sanctuary here and became known as the Whitney Methodist Church. The name King Memorial was chosen in 1901 to honor Capt. Newton J. King, an area pioneer and early church member. Over the years, the congregation has provided significant service and leadership to the town.


    Established about 1860 by the founder of Covington, Col. James Gathings, and his brother Philip.
    Over 200 students enrolled. A military department prepared young men for duty in Civil War. Many of the 25 colleges in confederate Texas closed, due to shortage of teachers and books. But college here stayed opened.
    Col. Gathings operated flour mill, tannery, shoe shop, machine shop (made wagons, coffins, farm equipment), brick kiln, saddlery. To needy families of soldiers he gave flour, meat and shoes. He also mounted, clothed and equipped army units free.
This Historical Marker is located in Covington, TX.
Thanks to John P. Wier for sharing these pictures.


    Civil War Supply Center, sent into service an infantry and 3 Cavalry Companies, flour, shoes, saddles, machinery were made.
    The county commissioners court equipped and clothed troops. Also furnished medicine, cotton, wool. meat, corn and salt to the families of soldiers. The court raised funds by issuing bonds and scrip and assessing a tax of 75 per $100 taxable property to aid soldier's dependents and 15 for military purposes.
   Located here is a Confederate Research Center and Museum.
This Historical Marker is located on Hill College Campus, Hillsboro, TX.
Thanks to John P. Wier for sharing these pictures.

Lexington Village

Site of old Lexington Village, Founded about 1851 on Jack's Branch, was Hill County's first settlement and only polling place when county organized on May 14, 1853.  For 4 months two log homes functioned as a courthouse until a special election put the county seat at Hillsboro.


The historical marker will be located on the Hill County Courthouse Grounds. It was originally erected on Hwy 22 west of Hillsboro but was missing until August 4, 2005 when it was returned to the Dallas County Pioneers Association and then in turn presented to the Hill County Historical Commission and Honorable Kenneth Davis, Hill County Judge

(Click here to read the full story from the Dallas County Pioneer Association)  


                                  Lexington Village Marker

This marker is located on the Hill County Courthouse Grounds.  The original site of Lexington Village was one mile south of Hillsboro.  Please see Lexington Village original marker listed above.

Erected in memory of
    Born in Ireland, first came to Texas, and established residence at Nacogdoches in 1791. When killed, was a resident of Natchez, Miss. Killed near this site March 21, 1801 by the Spaniards. Was buried here by his negro slaves Caesar and Robert. Nolan's death aroused a wave of indignation that led to the independence of Texas.
This Memorial Marker is located in northwestern Hill County on the NE side of the Nolan River on TX SH 174, 3 miles from Blum, 4 miles from Rio Vista.

George L. and Roxie Brooks Porter Home

  In 1881, Tennessee native, George L. Porter (1854-1928) wed Roxie Brooks (1863-1927), daughter of early Hill County Official Cincinattus Ney Brooks.  George was a merchant in nearby Peoria (6 mi. W) and later served as an officer in Sturgis National and Citizens National Banks in Hillsboro. The Porters were community leaders and active members of Hillsboro's First Baptist Church. In 1901, Roxie's brother O. D. Brooks constructed this Queen Anne style house, selling it to the couple that same year.  It features a wrapped porch, Tuscan columns, decorative shingling, and a massed plan with hipped roof and cross gables.

                Recorded Texas Historic Landmark 2004 

Marker is located at 400 Corsicana Street, Hillsboro, Texas


   The U.S. Army established Fort Graham in this area in 1849.  Although the Fort closed in 1853.  The presence of the troops stationed there had prompted the development of settlements throughout this part of Hill County.

   By 1860, James Monroe and Martha Louisa (George) Neal moved to this immediate area with their family, and the Elm Mott community developed around their property.  Over the years, the Neal family donated land to local residents on which to build a school, teacher housing, a Methodist Church, a Tabernacle and a Woodmen of The World Hall.  The turn in the road known as community corner was the settlement's social center, and Elm Mott became the central stop between the communities of Whitney and Blum, established as railroad towns in 1876 and 1881, respectively.

   In the early 1880's, widower Jehu Gist moved to Elm Mott with his sisters and children and opened a general store that served the dispersed agricultural community.  He later applied for a Post Office, which required that he find a unique name for the town.  After several suggestions, the Postal Service approved the name Huron, the name of Gist's youngest son.  The Post Office operated in the Gist Store from 1897 to 1904.

In the early part of the 20th Century, the Huron School served about 200 students, and area residents supported three Church congregations.  Huron students consolidated into Blum and Whitney districts in 1949, but Cedar Creek Baptist Church, established in 1888, remains a spiritual and social center, as well as a gathering place for area residents and for descendents of early Huron families.