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STONEHAM, TX

STONEHAM, TEXAS. Stoneham is on a dirt road at the junction of the Missouri Pacific and the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe railways, a mile south of State Park Road 234 in southern Grimes County. It was established by farm families in the vicinity of Hurricane Creek who began migrating onto a projected line of the Central and Montgomery Railway in 1879. In that year the railroad acquired a right-of-way from local landowner John H. Stoneham, for whom the town was named. The site was first settled by members of Austin's colony during the 1830s. In the 1840s a Methodist meetinghouse was constructed, and the building doubled as a schoolhouse. After the Civil War the High Point Baptist Church was built on the road to Yarboro. The churches seem to have been the only public buildings in the vicinity until the coming of the railroad. John Stoneham established a general mercantile store near the rail line, which was purchased in 1885 by the Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe Railway. A post office was established in 1890 with Stoneham as postmaster. A new Methodist church was constructed in 1894. About 1900 the International-Great Northern Railroad extended a line through the community, which had become a shipping center for cotton and other agricultural commodities. In 1901 the Smith Land and Improvement Company of Beaumont laid out the present townsite and began the sale of lots. The early settlement supported a cotton gin, a drugstore, a barbershop, a meat market, a blacksmith shop, and two general stores. In 1909 St. Joseph's Catholic Church was organized to accommodate the growing numbers of Polish immigrants who began arriving in the vicinity in the late nineteenth century. In 1910 a new school opened, and the community's first black church, the Stonehamville Methodist Episcopal Church, was built a mile south of town; its members had previously worshipped in a brush arbor near the site of the present Stoneham cemetery. A school for children of Polish ancestry was established three miles from town on Grimes Prairie in 1910–11. Three white and three black schools were operated by the Stoneham Common School District during the early twentieth century.

In 1890 the town had a population of thirty. In 1900 250 people lived in the Stoneham vicinity. In 1918 the International-Great Northern Railroad built a spur to the local cotton gin, and greater quantities of cotton than ever were shipped to Houston and Galveston. The I&GN road was purchased by the Missouri Pacific in 1924. In 1932 a fire destroyed the Stoneham business district, much of which, in those depressed economic times, was not rebuilt. In 1936 the town had an estimated population of 200 and eight businesses. After World War II the population declined; in 1949 it was an estimated 100, and the community had three rated businesses. By 1970 the figure had dropped to an estimated twelve inhabitants, and no businesses remained. In 1990 Stoneham retained an estimated population of twelve. The population remained the same in 2000.

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, "STONEHAM, TX," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hns91), accessed November 26, 2014. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
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