PILGRIM, TEXAS. Pilgrim is on Farm Road 1116 sixteen miles southwest of Gonzales in southern Gonzales County. The area was initially settled in the 1820s, and settlers were drawn to the site by extensive salt flats along nearby Salt Stream and Salt Creek. Another prominent local feature, Pilgrim Lake, was named for Thomas J. Pilgrim, who had been granted the land on which it lay. A post office called Salt Stream operated in the community from 1855 until 1857. The community was the hideout of John Wesley Hardin in the 1870s. Burnett School, named for a family of local settlers, was established in 1875. Salt Creek School was opened in 1878, and a black school, Lake Grove, was opened in 1883; all three were part of the Pilgrim Creek school district. The Pilgrim Lake post office opened in 1879, and in 1884 the community had an estimated 100 inhabitants, a Presbyterian church, a steam gristmill, and a cotton gin. The town's name was shortened to Pilgrim in 1900. A mercantile store was built in 1902, and its second story was used for Odd Fellows meetings. A tomato-canning operation was established in 1905. In 1914 Pilgrim had forty inhabitants and had added a general store and a hotel. By 1920 the population had fallen to twenty-five, where it remained for the next forty years. By 1940 the post office had closed, and Pilgrim had a single business, a church, a cemetery, and a number of scattered dwellings. In the 1960s the population rose to an estimated sixty. In 1992 the community had a church, a cemetery, and a community center, and the population was still estimated at sixty. That figure remained unchanged in 2000.
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Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.