PEERLESS, TEXAS. Peerless, also known as Gay's Mills, Hilldale, and Fairyland (Fairy Land), was a farming community on Farm Road 71 eleven miles northwest of Sulphur Springs in northwestern Hopkins County. Eli Lindley moved to the area in 1842. In the 1850s a small settlement developed there; it was called Gay's Mills for a water-powered flour mill operated by John D. Gay. In the 1870s the community was known as Hilldale, but its post office, established in 1880 with J. A. Leeman as postmaster, was called Fairyland (or Fairy Land). The latter name is said to have derived from the idea that the young girls at local dances looked like fairies, and that the local hilly terrain made the community seem like a fairyland. In 1885 the town had several steam gristmills and cotton gins, a broom factory, a church, a district school, and an estimated population of 400. Around 1891 the town name was changed to Peerless. This name is said to have been adopted after a family named Cotton planted a brand of potatoes called Peerless. Heavy rains prevented the harvest, and the overripe potatoes began to rot, giving off a pungent odor that wafted through the community, prompting the new name. By 1900 Peerless had two churches, two gristmills and cotton gins, and a population of 250. In 1905 the town school, still called Fairy Land, had two teachers and an enrollment of forty-six. The post office closed sometime after 1900, and during the 1920s the population dropped to 150. In the mid-1930s Peerless had two churches, a school, a cemetery, three businesses, and a number of scattered houses. Peerless School was consolidated into the North Hopkins School in 1943. The community's population remained at a constant level until after World War II; in 1948 the town still had a population of about 150. After that time no further population estimates were available. In the late 1980s Peerless still had two churches, a cemetery, and two businesses. By the mid-1990s the area saw considerable tourist activity with the construction of Cooper Lake and opening of the South Sulphur Unit of Cooper Lake State Park. No population figures were available in 2000.
Florene Chapman Adams, Hopkins County and Our Heritage. (Sulphur Springs, Texas: 197–?). Laurie E. Jasinski, "The Hunt, the Harvest, and the Hoedown: A History of Cooper Lake State Park" (unpublished report, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Cultural Resources Program, Austin, 2004).
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The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.Christopher Long, "PEERLESS, TX," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hrp22), accessed February 09, 2016. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
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