of my favorite rural counties in East
Texas celebrated its 140th anniversary this year.
Named for the 1836
battle which ended the Texas revolution against Mexico, San
Jacinto County lies south of Livingston
and is sprinkled with some of the most interesting small towns in
county seat, is actually two towns. The town’s first site, often called
“Old Town,” was built in an area called “the gullies,” where heavy
rains was always washing away buildings and other improvements.
The county’s first jail still stands in the gullies and housed inmates
until the early 1980s when a new jail was built on a hill. The new
also built atop the hill with a new courthouse
On Highway 190 is Oakhurst, which was once a prosperous sawmill town
named for Oakhurst, Oklahoma, home of several lumber men who moved
Three miles north of Oakhurst is Raven Hill, the one-time home of
Sam Houston, the
hero of San
Jacinto. The hill got its name from an Indian name for Houston.
Further up Highway 190 from Oakhurst is Point
Blank, which was originally named Point Blanc by a Frenchwoman
who moved here from Alabama. The town was also called Point White
and White Point.
About a mile south of Point
Blank is Robinson Cemetery, where a large monument marks the grave
of Governor George Tyler Wood, who served from 1849 to 1851. Wood’s
grave was unmarked for more than a half-century until the monument
historical markers dot the community. Coldspring United Methodist
Church is believed to be the oldest Methodist church in continuous
use in Texas .
Another church, Evergreen United Methodist, was organized in 1862,
several years before the county was formed.
The Trapp-McClanahan house, built around 1880, is privately owned
and Council Hill, also located on private property, was the home of
Vernal B. Lea, brother of Mrs. Sam Houston.
Several old cemeteries dot the county, including Laurel Hill, where
General James Davis is buried.
an early center of culture, is located on Highway 150 about 14 miles
west of Coldspring.
The town of Shepherd,
located on U.S. 59, originated near Old Drew’s Landing on the Trinity
River, and the Coushatta Indians inhabited an area on Coley Creek
from 1835 to 1900.
More Bob Bowman's East Texas
5, 2011 Column
A weekly column syndicated in 109 East Texas newspapers
map showing San
From Texas state
Courtesy Texas General Land Office