Holly Springs, TX (Wood County)

By: Rachel Jenkins

Type: General Entry

Published: February 1, 1995

Updated: October 31, 2019

Holly Springs (Holly Spring) was seven miles northeast of Pine Mills (then Liberty Hill) and probably near Gunstream Lake in east central Wood County. The Holly Springs community was named after the nearby natural springs of that name and was one of the earliest communities in Wood County. At the petition of Swedish immigrant Peter Magnus Gunstream, one of Wood County's first county commissioners and the founder of Holly Springs, the community received a post office in 1852. Gunstream served as postmaster until the post office was discontinued in 1866. Gunstream, who local sources say grew what may have been the first sorghum cane crop west of the Mississippi River, also owned the nearby Gunstream mill, which he had built by 1854 with an overshot waterwheel eight feet in diameter that he brought in from Jefferson. Gunstream's mill cut the lumber for the county seat's first courthouse. By 1869 Gunstream was also operating a cotton gin at his place. In 1853 the community formed the Holly Springs Baptist Church of Christ, one of the oldest churches in Wood County. Its first meeting was held in November at the home of its first pastor, John Donathan Jackson Davis. By 1854 the church was holding meetings at the Liberty Hill Meeting House, also known as the Liberty Hill Chapel, which was probably located at what later became Pine Mills. Around 1860 the church moved to the Mount Pisgah community, though it was called the Holly Springs Church until 1865 or 1866. By 1857 Holly Springs and the nearby community of Little Hope shared a schoolhouse southwest of Gunstream's home. The first teacher was said to be fifteen-year-old Emily Smith, who taught fifteen students. No mention of a Holly Springs school district was made in 1884, when Wood County was divided into public school districts. No further information was available for Holly Springs, which was not shown on the 1936 county highway map.

Marker Files, Texas Historical Commission, Austin. Timothy K. Perttula et al., 'This Everlasting Sand Bed': Cultural Resources Investigations at the Texas Big Sandy Project (Austin: Prewitt and Associates, 1986). Adele W. Vickery, A Transcript of Centennial Edition, 1850–1950, Wood County Democrat (Mineola, Texas, 1974). Wood County, 1850–1900 (Quitman, Texas: Wood County Historical Society, 1976).


  • Peoples
  • Swedes


  • Communities

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

Rachel Jenkins, “Holly Springs, TX (Wood County),” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed January 21, 2022, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/holly-springs-tx-wood-county.

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

February 1, 1995
October 31, 2019