FOREST GROVE, TX (HENDERSON COUNTY)
FOREST GROVE, TEXAS (Henderson County). Forest Grove was on the north side of Caney Creek, a tributary of Cedar Creek (now Cedar Creek Reservoir) about ten miles from Athens and just west of Malakoff in Henderson County. The diffuse rural settlement began about 1890 and covered about six square miles. At its peak it consisted of at least thirty-three residences, two stores, and a cemetery. By 1910 it was a prosperous farming community using some of the best farmlands in the county. Virtually all of the upland oak and hickory forest had been cleared by then. Most of the residents were white, though a few blacks lived as sharecropping tenants along the north side of Caney Creek in the bottomlands. The focal point of the community was the school, a one-room plank building with a shingled roof and a potbellied stove. After 1900, attendance averaged forty to fifty students. In 1913 the Hickory Grove and Forest Grove schools were consolidated, and a three-room brick structure was built at Stockard. The 1918–19 enrollment records showed 137 students at the Stockard school. The area was served by the Methodist and Baptist churches in Stockard and Pickens. Payne Cemetery, on the edge of the community, began in the 1840s as a burial plot for the Payne family, early settlers of the area, and was enlarged to become a central burial place. Two stores, the Davis and Taylor stores, were located in Forest Grove. Neither endured long, however, as most trade was conducted in the larger towns of Athens and Eustace. A post office was housed in a private residence. Forest Grove's economy centered on diversified agriculture. Cotton was the most important cash crop, while peaches, corn, peas, melons, and ribbon cane were also grown. This agricultural diversification allowed the community to survive the Great Depression. With mechanization, however, and the shift to larger farms in the late 1930s, Forest Grove began to decline. By 1948 the United States Geological Survey recorded only ten standing structures in the area that had been Forest Grove. Most of these were farm and ranch outbuildings. By 1985 the entire area was owned by Texas Power and Light Company (later renamed TU Electric).
Thomas H. Guderjan, "Forest Grove: A Dispersed Farming Community in East Texas, Circa 1900," East Texas Historical Journal 20 (1982).