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MOUNT HOPE, TX (TYLER COUNTY)

MOUNT HOPE, TEXAS (Tyler County). Mount Hope was near Russell's Creek two miles north of the site of present Chester in northern Tyler County. At Mount Hope the route from Orcoquisac to Nacogdoches intersected the Old Beef Trail to the Trinity River. Settler James Barnes, who is buried in Mount Hope Cemetery, moved to Texas in 1836. He was known as "a friend of the Indians" and is memorialized thus on a monument in the cemetery. Since the nearby community of Peach Tree Village was occupied by Alabama Indians until the coming of white settlers in about 1835, it seems likely that Barnes and others may have established Mount Hope not long after 1836, while Indians were still in the area. The first deed found on record for church purposes, dated October 21, 1853, is from trustees of Mount Hope Chapel to provide for a free Protestant church, schoolhouse, and Masonic lodge. There was already a two-story house on the lot at the time, and the Mount Hope Masons had used it since 1851, as had the school and the church. A Baptist church, Mount Zion, located near Mount Hope, had been completed in 1845. However, for some reason this church was not represented in the organization of the Bethlehem Baptist Association in 1852.

Mount Hope was on five leagues of land granted to Gavino Araujo a short distance west of the present Mount Hope-Chester road, which follows the Old San Antonio Road for part of its distance. It was the home of Valentine Ignatius Burch, who fought in the battle of San Jacinto. A post office was established at Mount Hope in 1851 by Hamilton W. Carter, who also ran a general store and helped the community become a trade center for the area, a role it played until the coming of the railroads. During the 1850s the commissioners' court of Tyler County (as in all counties) was authorized by the state legislature to appoint a patrol, with a captain and not more than five privates for each district. In 1853 at Mount Hope, these were Capt. Samuel H. Barnes and privates Richard Hardy and Hiram A. Willson. The purpose of these patrols was to investigate suspected unlawful assemblies of slaves. In 1854, after the passage of a state school law, Mount Hope became one of sixteen school districts in Tyler County. In August 1861 a Home Guard was organized in Tyler County. F. M. McKee was the first captain of the Mount Hope Home Guard, and Peter Cauble was one of the members. Several Mount Hope men fought in the Civil War.

The Mount Hope post office was discontinued in 1867. When the railroad went through Chester and bypassed Mount Hope and Peach Tree Village, both communities died. The Masonic Lodge was moved to Chester in 1892 after a controversy between the two locations. Except for churches and cemeteries, Mount Hope has virtually disappeared.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Bob Bowman, The Best of East Texas (Lufkin, Texas: Lufkin Printing, 1979). It's Dogwood Time in Tyler County (Woodville, Texas), 1953, 1954, 1956, 1959, 1961, 1963, 1966.

Megan Biesele

Citation

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

Megan Biesele, "MOUNT HOPE, TX (TYLER COUNTY)," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hvmas), accessed December 17, 2014. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
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