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PECAN GROVE, TX (DELTA COUNTY)

PECAN GROVE, TEXAS (Delta County). Pecan Grove, commonly known as Granny's Neck or Harper's Crossing, was located about five miles southeast of Cooper west of State Highway 154 where the Bonham-Jefferson Road crossed the South Sulphur River in south central Delta County. The area was settled in the 1840s. Benjamin DeSpain, a settler from Tennessee, built a toll bridge of oak and bois d'arc at the highest ridge of land at the South Sulphur crossing in 1846. The bridge connected the two sides of the river both socially and economically as the Bonham-Jefferson Road became an important artery of commerce. In the early 1870s a flood destroyed the DeSpain Bridge, and in 1873 George Washington Harper was authorized to construct another toll bridge. The spot became known as Harper's Crossing for more than a century. In 1883 Harper sold his toll bridge to Hopkins and Delta counties, and it was jointly maintained from then on.

In the latter half of the 1800s, a widow named Mary Sinclair, reportedly lived on the narrow ridge of land that rose between Doctors Creek and the South Sulphur River north of the crossing. Local tradition holds that farmers called this peninsula "Granny's Neck" after "Granny" Sinclair. A small community developed around a store and Granny's Neck School. Early residents included the Talley family. Farming remained an important industry in the region throughout the first half of the twentieth century. By the 1930s, however, the school and community were renamed Pecan Grove, though most locals still referred to the area as Granny's Neck. Pecan Grove School closed in 1949 when it was consolidated into the Cooper Independent School District. After World War II agriculture declined in the county, and some of the rural population moved away. The construction of better highways and farm-to-market roads in the county diminished the geographic importance of Harper's Crossing, though the bridge remained open into the 1970s. On January 10, 1971, the bridge received a Texas Historical Marker. With the completion of Cooper Lake in 1991, the site of Pecan Grove was forever flooded. The Granny's Neck Shelter Area in Doctors Creek Unit at Cooper Lake State Park honors the memory of the rural community.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Historical marker files, Texas Historical Commission, Austin (DeSpain Bridge). Laurie E. Jasinski, "The Harvest, the Hunt, and the Hoedown: A History of Cooper Lake State Park" (unpublished manuscript, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Cultural Resources Program, Austin, 2004). Ikie Gray Patterson , Loose Leaves: A History of Delta County (Dallas: Mathis, 1935).

Laurie E. Jasinski

Citation

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

Laurie E. Jasinski, "PECAN GROVE, TX (DELTA COUNTY)," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hrpbp), accessed July 25, 2014. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

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