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MOUNT JOY, TX

MOUNT JOY, TEXAS. Mount Joy is a small church community at the intersection of Farm Road 1742 and a dirt road in extreme north central Delta County. Jeremiah and Nancy DeWitt settled in the area in 1854, when they arrived from Virginia with their two sons. Mrs. Samuel Buford, another Virginia emigrant, named the settlement Mount Joy to express her relief at finally arriving safely at the new home. The Bufords established a congregation of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, in 1874, and their son Leroy opened a mercantile store. In 1876 the first post office opened, with Matthew S. Keen as postmaster. In 1884 the settlement of 100 supported three steam cotton gins, a gristmill, a shingle factory, three general stores, a dry goods establishment, three smithies, and a woodwork shop. Stagecoaches left daily for Cooper, the county seat, at a cost of two dollars for each passenger. Mail arrived every day, probably on the stage. W. R. Brigman was postmaster that year.

By this time Mount Joy was becoming an important farming center; Leroy DeWitt, a local farmer, became an active leader in the Grange movement and the Farmers' Alliance.qqv Conflict between farmers and cattlemen in the area climaxed early in the 1880s with wirecutting disputes. Since such feuds rendered the neighborhood dangerous, and therefore unattractive, by 1888 the number of residents had decreased to fifty. A. M. Skeen ran the general store, and mail still arrived daily, but many businesses had closed. Once the disputes were settled, prosperity returned to north Delta County. By 1890 200 people lived in Mount Joy. Postal officer L. B. Carrington reported that the mail arrived on the stagecoach three times a week. The major enterprises were two gin and gristmill combinations. Local businessmen included a carpenter and Manning and Manning, Blacksmith and Wagonmakers. Farmers had formed the Mount Joy Cooperative Association, and Carrington served as manager of the general store that the organization had opened. The following year the Mount Joy Baptist Church sent representatives to the Delta County Baptist Association meeting. By 1897 a Mount Joy school had been established. That year forty-seven students attended under the tutelage of two teachers. Records for 1905 listed forty-seven pupils and one instructor.

The advent of the railroad, however, had brought about new and larger trade centers, and Mount Joy was no longer an important town. The post office was discontinued in 1907. Maps for 1936 identified the school, a church and cemetery, and thirty dwellings on dirt roads. In 1949 the Mount Joy school system was absorbed into the Enloe district. Maps for 1964 showed a gravel pit, a church, the Mount Joy Cemetery, and a few homes at the townsite. Students attended the Cooper Independent School District by 1970. Mount Joy still appeared on maps in 1984 as a church and cemetery.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

John J. Germann and Myron Janzen, Texas Post Offices by County (1986). Paul Garland Hervey, A History of Education in Delta County, Texas (M.A. thesis, University of Texas, 1951). Wilma Ross and Billie Phillips, Photos and Tales of Delta County (1976).

Vista K. McCroskey

Citation

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

Vista K. McCroskey, "MOUNT JOY, TX," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hvmat), accessed July 31, 2014. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.