Texas is filled with towns bearing odd names, ranging from Dimple
and Cuthand in Red River County to Pluck and Soda in Polk County--and with places
like Yallo Busha and Slocum thrown
in for good measure.
Just how these and other strangely-named communities
got their names is a whole slice of East
example, take Redwater, located twelve miles southwest of Texarkana
in southeastern Bowie County.
By itself, Redwater isn’t a terribly
unusual name, but the story behind the name is a heck of a tale, especially when
you throw in an agnostic, a colorful British-born postmaster, and the first set
of female quadruplets born in the U.S.
In the mid-1870s, a small town
grew up around a sawmill operated by two men named Daniels and Spence. who decided
to name the community for agnostic Robert Ingersoll and established a post office
in his honor in 1881.
But in 1886, the town started talking about founding
a church and called in Rev. R.D. Fuller, pastor of Texarkana’s
First Methodist Church, for help.
A Methodist church was organized and
a few years later, the town held a revival with a hundred conversions.
With a church and an expanded religious faith, townspeople decided they didn’t
want to live in a town named for a man who didn’t believe in God.
they trashed Ingersoll, and adopted the name “Redwater” because the water in nearly
all of the springs and shallow wells around the community had a reddish color.
They also mounted a campaign against liquor, closed down the town’s saloons
and forced their owners to leave the community. That was in 1899 and since then,
whiskey has not been sold in Redwater.
Then came E.T. Page, a British-born
businessman who liked East Texas so
well that he was often called “East Texas Page.” He soon became a tutor for children
in the nearby community of Mooresville.
When a group of Texarkana financiers
approached Page about establishing a bank in Redwater. Page agreed and, after
the Texarkana financiers procrastinated, he established the Citizens Bank on his
own in 1913.
An avid Democrat, Page also served as Redwater’s postmaster
for several years during a Democratic administration in Washington. But when Republican
Grover Cleveland became president, Page was on the verge of losing his postal
Page’s wife Nannie, however, saved the day.
She gave birth
to female quadruplets--reportedly the first born in the U.S.
of the history-making quads, President Cleveland decided that E.T. Page could
remain a postmaster, regardless of his political leanings.
also found itself famous because of the quads. Every time a train stopped at the
local depot, passengers wanted to see the famous little girls. Gifts poured in
from all over the nation.
Meanwhile, E.T. Page, the rock-ribbed Texas
Democrat, was also basking in the glory.and often referred to his daughters as
“the children who kept a Democrat in office under a Republican administration.”