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MOUNT VERNON, TX (WASHINGTON COUNTY)

MOUNT VERNON, TEXAS (Washington County). Mount Vernon, the second county seat of Washington County, was on or near New Year's Creek six miles northwest of the site of present Brenham and ten miles from the town of Independence. Judge John Stamps, a prominent citizen of the county, built an imposing home, named for George Washington's residence, at the future townsite. A school existed there as early as 1835; David Ayres, his wife, and Lydia Ann McHenry taught at this location, until the school closed during the Runaway Scrape. Ayers never reopened his school, but by 1840 John Cummings had begun another short-lived educational establishment at Mount Vernon. As more settlers moved into the area, Judge Stamps named the resulting settlement for his own residence. Stamps laid out streets and lots for a town in 1841. When much of Washington County was lost to new counties, county residents desired a more centrally located county seat. In the fall of 1841 Judge Stamps utilized his political influence and this dissatisfaction with the location of the county courts at Washington in far northeastern Washington County to make Mount Vernon temporarily the county seat. In the 1840s Mount Vernon was a stop on the stagecoach route from Washington to Houston. The community once had a post office. Although a log courthouse was erected there, uncertainty over the town's approval as the permanent county seat prevented construction of more permanent buildings. Brenham, Independence, and Turkey Creek competed with Mount Vernon in the county seat election in 1843. Despite the natural advantages of its high elevation, healthful climate, and plentiful water and timber supply, Mount Vernon failed to obtain sufficient votes in the runoff election. After Brenham became the county seat, Mount Vernon rapidly lost residents to that growing community. On December 20, 1846, the New Year's Baptist Church was founded at Mount Vernon. This church, of which Robert E. B. Baylor was a charter member, moved to Brenham in 1851. Eventually Mount Vernon became a ghost town. No trace of the town remains today; crops are now cultivated on the former townsite. During the Civil War Washington County commissioners started a training camp for Confederate soldiers at Mount Vernon.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Ed Ellsworth Bartholomew, The Encyclopedia of Texas Ghost Towns (Fort Davis, Texas, 1982). W. O. Dietrich, The Blazing Story of Washington County (Brenham, Texas: Banner Press, 1950; rev. ed., Wichita Falls: Nortex, 1973). Mrs. R. E. Pennington, History of Brenham and Washington County (Houston, 1915).

Carole E. Christian

Citation

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

Carole E. Christian, "MOUNT VERNON, TX (WASHINGTON COUNTY)," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hvmav), accessed August 19, 2014. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
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