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ELYSIAN FIELDS, TX

ELYSIAN FIELDS, TEXAS. Elysian Fields is at the junction of Farm roads 31 and 451, a mile north of the Panola county line in Harrison County. Popular tradition holds that the name of the town originated in a dinner conversation in New Orleans in 1817, in which Capt. Edward Smith, having lately ridden through what was then Big Spring Caddo Village (also erroneously known as Biff Springs), so vividly described the beauty of the area that one of his guests likened it to the Elysian Fields of Greek mythology. By the 1830s the Indians had moved west beyond advancing white settlement. Smith returned to the region with his family in 1837 and established one of the first general stores in the area. A mail route was established by the Texas Congress in February 1840 by which time the new community was called Elysian Fields; a post office subsequently opened. The Golden Rule Presbyterian Church was organized on January 15, 1851, and was followed by the Bethel Methodist Church five miles from town, for more than fifty years the site of an annual camp meeting.

Elysian Fields attained a population of sixty in 1884, and grew to 160 by 1896; that year the town had three churches and daily mail service at postmaster J. M. Furrh's general store. Cotton and lumber formed the economic base of the community. In 1910 the town was moved a mile west to take advantage of a newly-laid stretch of the Marshall and East Texas Railway. The old site became known as Old Elysian Fields. Elysian Fields prospered for a time, growing to a population of 500 by 1929. The community reported fifteen businesses in 1931. Oil and gas became important to the town's economy in the 1950s, but later on residents came to rely mainly on cattle-raising and farming. In 1990 Elysian Fields had 300 residents, a bank, and at least three other businesses. The population remained unchanged in 2000 but had increased to 500 in 2010. See also ELYSIAN FIELDS [OLD TOWN].

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

"History of Harrison County, Texas," American Sketch Book 5 (1879). Marshall National Bank, Historical Highlights of Harrison County (Marshall, Texas, 1959). Fred I. Massengill, Texas Towns: Origin of Name and Location of Each of the 2,148 Post Offices in Texas (Terrell, Texas, 1936). W. C. Tenney, History of Golden Rule Presbyterian Church (Elysian Fields, Texas: Golden Rule Presbyterian Church, 1951?). James Weeks Tiller, Jr., and Albert Wayne Tiller, Our American Adventure: The History of a Pioneer East Texas Family, 1657–1966 (Huntsville, Texas: The START Group, 2008). Jim Tiller, Before the Line, Volume III: Caddo Indians: The Final Years (2013), Electronic version available at Newton Gresham Library, Sam Houston State University, Huntsville.

Pam Nordstrom

Citation

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Pam Nordstrom, "ELYSIAN FIELDS, TX," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hle16), accessed November 24, 2014. Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Modified on September 25, 2013. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
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