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PLANTERSVILLE, TX

PLANTERSVILLE, TEXAS. Plantersville, at the junction of State Highway 105, Farm Road 1774, and the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway in southeast Grimes County, was settled by Americans, primarily from Alabama and Arkansas, during the 1830s, although no actual community seems to have existed until about 1840. In 1843 Alabaman Isaac Baker began constructing an impressive 2,850-acre plantation known as the Cedars three miles northeast of the settlement, which was then emerging near the junction of the headright grants of Austin colonists Asa Yeamans, John Landrum, and William Montgomery. By the early 1850s a two-story Masonic building had been constructed in the community; a school was established on its lower floor. A Methodist congregation of some 200 members, including many slaves, was organized in 1853 by Rev. Robert Alexander, and in 1861 a Baptist group, with twenty members, was formed; George W. Baines, great grandfather of President Lyndon Baines Johnson, served as its first pastor. The two congregations shared use of the Masonic building as a meetinghouse until each could construct its own church. This was accomplished in the case of the Baptists in 1871, and the Methodists in 1873. The first general store, Isaac Baker and Sons, opened in a two-story frame structure sometime between 1854 and 1860. In 1856 a post office was established, and the town was officially designated Plantersville, a name suggested by Mrs. J. L. Greene, to honor the planters who had settled the site.

Following the Civil War, Plantersville Methodists, led by Thomas W. Blake and Rev. J. M. Wesson, launched a ministry among local freedmen, and in 1866 their church reported a membership of 143 whites and 172 blacks. The Baptists undertook a similar ministry among blacks both during and after the war, but the experiment was terminated in 1870, when black members were dropped from the rolls. Commercial activity increased in 1879, when the Montgomery Central Railway built a line through, connecting Montgomery and Plantersville with Navasota; a few years later this road was purchased by the Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe and extended east to Conroe and Beaumont and west to Somerville. An influx of immigrants from Russia, Poland, and Germany in the 1870s and 1880s brought a number of Catholics to the vicinity of Plantersville; by 1894 Father Joseph I. Klein had organized the first Catholic church in the community, St. Mary's. In 1890 Plantersville reported a population of 400. In 1915 the town had a number of general stores, gristmills, cotton gins, a wagon-manufacturing plant, and a population of 150. By 1936 it had a population of an estimated 200 and four businesses, including the Security State Bank. Thereafter, the population remained virtually unchanged for decades; in 1957 it was estimated at 200, and in 1990 it stood at an estimated 212. In 1957 the town had five businesses and in 1990, ten. The population remained at 212 in 2000 but Plantersville had forty-seven businesses.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Grimes County Historical Commission, History of Grimes County, Land of Heritage and Progress (Dallas: Taylor, 1982). Fred I. Massengill, Texas Towns: Origin of Name and Location of Each of the 2,148 Post Offices in Texas (Terrell, Texas, 1936).

Charles Christopher Jackson

Citation

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

Charles Christopher Jackson, "PLANTERSVILLE, TX," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hnp43), accessed July 28, 2014. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
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