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SIMPSONVILLE, TX (UPSHUR COUNTY)

SIMPSONVILLE, TEXAS (Upshur County). Simpsonville, also known as Thomas, at the junction of Farm roads 2088 and 556, twelve miles northwest of Gilmer in northwestern Upshur County, was first settled in the late 1850s. The community was originally known as Chelsea, and a post office under that name operated briefly in 1858. On April 22 of the same year the town's name was changed to Simpsonville, after an early settler. Over the course of the next half century the post office was discontinued and reestablished several times; it was closed in 1866, reopened in 1867, closed in 1879, and reopened again the same year. The first church in the community, the Missionary Baptist Church, was established in 1853, and the first school opened around the time of the Civil War. By 1885 Simpsonville was a thriving town with four gristmills and cotton gins, a school, two churches, three general stores, a wagon shop, a cotton-press factory, and a population of 300.

The town continued to prosper after the turn of the century, and in 1906 the school had an enrollment of 114. Postal officials, however, discontinued the post office that year. Late in 1913 citizens of the town applied for another post office. By that time, however, a Simpsonville in Matagorda County had been granted a post office, so postal officials denied the application. The townspeople decided to rename the post office Thomas, in honor of O. Thomas, who had served as postmaster for many years. The new post office opened in 1914 and operated until 1954. During the 1930s and 1940s the town was shown as Thomas on highway maps, but was still generally known as Simpsonville. The population reached 400 in 1929 but began to decline in the 1930s. By the mid-1930s the community consisted of a school, six or seven stores, and a number of houses; the estimated population in 1936 was 220. After World War II the population continued to dwindle, and by the mid-1960s only a church, a cemetery, three stores, and a few houses remained. In 1990 Simpsonville was a dispersed rural community. The population grew to 100 in 2000.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

G. H. Baird, A Brief History of Upshur County (Gilmer, Texas: Gilmer Mirror, 1946). Doyal T. Loyd, A History of Upshur County (Gilmer, Texas: Gilmer Mirror, 1966). Audie Ray, Lurline, and Douglas Ray Stanley, comps. and eds., Upshur County Cemetery Records (Gilmer, Texas, 1974).

B. D. Tucker

Citation

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

B. D. Tucker, "SIMPSONVILLE, TX (UPSHUR COUNTY)," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hls51), accessed December 26, 2014. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
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