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 Texas : Features : Columns : Bob Bowman's East Texas

A forgotten town
Angelina County’s Philistine

Philistine stood near remote Grimes Cemetery, a small graveyard about four and half miles south of the Beulah community on Farm Road 1818. Its beginning can be traced to the late 1890s or early 1900s.

by Bob Bowman
Bob Bowman
Deep in the woods of southeastern Angelina County, a few miles from the brown-watered Neches River, the settlement of Philistine lies in eternal slumber.

Little has been written about the old community; the morsels of information available have come from word of mouth passed along from generation to generation.

The name comes from the Bible and the people of Angelina County’s Philistine apparently shaped their lives in the fashion of families from Biblical days.

The Philisitines from the Bible, however, were inveterate enemies of the Israelites who fought against Samson, David and other Biblical heroes. In modern usage, the term Philistine refers to crass, priggish individuals--a description that did not fit Angelina County’s Philistines.

The late Corine Squyres lived in Philistine when she was eleven. She remembered her father reading the Bible and referring to Philistine. Asking where Philistine was located, Corine was told by her mother that it stood in the Holy Land. As she grew up, Corine often remarked that she, too, lived in a Holy Land.
Philistine Texas Grimes Cemetery tombstones
Grimes Cemetery’s homcoming shed is one of the few landmarks left of Philistine.
Photo courtesy Bob Bowman
Philistine stood near remote Grimes Cemetery, a small graveyard about four and half miles south of the Beulah community on Farm Road 1818. Its beginning can be traced to the late 1890s or early 1900s.

Philistine’s families were primarily cattlemen and farmers. Because of the distance from large communities, they depended on what they grew or made with their own hands.

Philistine likely had few of the amenities that made up larger communities. It probably had at least one store, perhaps a small church since the community was religious, and a school also known as Grimes. Later, the community’s children went to Beulah’s school.

Grimes Cemetery became the final resting place for old Philistine residents and, even today, many of their descendants return to bury their family members in the earth on a slight rise in the forest.

As Angelina County evolved from an agricultural area to a timbering region, Philistine changed. Its men found jobs cutting and hauling timber and, as communities evolved in places like Diboll, Huntington and Zavalla, the families of Philistine moved.

In 2009, there was little physical evidence of old Philistine in the Neches River bottomlands, except for a homecoming shed and a few scattered homes.
Bob Bowman's East Texas
April 20, 2009 Column.
A weekly column syndicated in 70 East Texas newspapers

(Bob Bowman of Lufkin is the author of 40 books about East Texas. He can be reached at bob-bowman.com)

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Bob Bowman's "All Things Historical"

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66 stories about forgotten town in 45 counties
 
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