Cheeseland was in northern Angelina County. Jacob Ferguson Humphrey, a native of Wales, moved to the site in 1844 and built a log cabin and stockade to protect his family and horses. The mail road from Alto to Homer and Rusk ran in front of Humphrey's house. On August 8, 1854, a post office opened with Humphrey as postmaster; the post office was closed on August 4, 1860. Before the Civil War, the Humphrey family grew lonely and offered Wenzel Hillenkamp and his family a free thirty-acre tract of land across the road. Hillenkamp, who had come from Prussia with his wife, Caroline, to escape a three-year period of compulsory military training, built a combination house, coach station, and post office and a whiskey and general store. At the store he sold Mrs. Hillenkamp's cheese, from which the settlement took its name, though it has been claimed that the original cheesemaker in the area was from the North. On November 10, 1860, the post office was reestablished with Hillenkamp as postmaster and named Cheeseland. Hillenkamp remained postmaster until he was removed by Reconstruction; he was reinstated in 1873. In the interim Martha Buckalew served as postmistress. After his reinstatement, Hillenkamp served until 1886, when the post office and store were moved to Wells in Cherokee County. The Humphreys continued to live at Cheeseland, and John Gill Humphrey, the only son of Jacob, took increasing responsibility for the blacksmith shop and farm. The Hillenkamps all died or moved away after the post office was moved to Wells.
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John N. Cravens, Between Two Rivers: A History of Wells, Texas (Wichita Falls: Humphrey Printing, 1974). John N. Cravens, A History of Three Ghost Towns of East Texas (Abilene, Texas: Abilene Printing and Stationery, 1970?).
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.
John N. Cravens,
Handbook of Texas Online,
accessed July 05, 2022,
Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
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