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ELIZABETHTOWN, TX

ELIZABETHTOWN, TEXAS. Elizabethtown was on the north side of Elizabeth Creek, from which the town derived its name, in the southwest corner of the Shamblen survey, fifteen miles southwest of Denton in Denton County. The first settlers there, members of the Peters colony, arrived around 1850. The settlement served as a supply station in 1852 for cowboys driving their herds north to Kansas. The town's founders, the Harmonsons, built a church, homes, a business, and a school, which at one time had twenty-five students. In 1859 the town had six saloons, a hotel, and a post office. George Harper, the doctor, was postmaster; M. H. Smith, Newton Chance, and Amos Bullard were blacksmiths; Sewell Brown was a merchant, James Snyder a wagonmaker, and Robert Wright a carpenter. The Civil War left the frontier west of Denton County undefended against Indians, however, and many families moved east, though they later returned. As Elizabethtown grew, it acquired four general stores, a hotel and livery stable, Baptist and Methodist churches, and a Masonic lodge that functioned from 1873 to 1876. According to residents of nearby Justin, Elizabethtown was once nicknamed Bugtown, after bugs swarmed to the lights at a camp meeting one night in such numbers that it was necessary to stop the preaching. The 1880 tax roll is the last roll of Denton County in which Elizabethtown is mentioned. The Texas and Pacific Railway, built from Fort Worth through Denton County in 1881, bypassed Elizabethtown by two miles. When this happened, many residents moved two miles east to the new town of Roanoke with their businesses, churches, and lodge. The Elizabeth Cemetery, which is still in use, is all that remains of what was the first town in southwest Denton County.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Edward Franklin Bates, History and Reminiscences of Denton County (Denton, Texas: McNitzky Printing, 1918; rpt., Denton: Terrill Wheeler Printing, 1976). C. A. Bridges, History of Denton, Texas, from Its Beginning to 1960 (Waco: Texian Press, 1978). Seymour V. Connor, The Peters Colony of Texas: A History and Biographical Sketches of the Early Settlers (Austin: Texas State Historical Association, 1959). Denton Record and Chronicle, Bicentennial Issue, July 4, 1976. Grace Lee Parr, The Justin Story (Quanah, Texas: Nortex Press, 1976). Rodney J. Walter, The Economic History of Denton County, Texas, 1900–1950 (M.A. thesis, North Texas State University, 1969).

Jeannine Sellmeyer

Citation

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

Jeannine Sellmeyer, "ELIZABETHTOWN, TX," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hve52), accessed April 17, 2014. Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

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