the early 1830s, when cattle buyer Henry Reeves and his partner,
a man known only as Ball, built a store on the Rusk-Henderson road,
visiting customers started calling the settlement “Skin
Tight” because they were no match for Reeves’ close trading
Reeves moved to Smith
County and, on June 13, 1886, he was shot to death in Troup.
The unflattering town name,”Skin Tight,” was soon changed
to Lone Star
when a post office was established in 1883, and Lone Star thrived
from cotton and tomatoes. At
one time, the town had two cotton gins, a grist mill, several physicians,
and a number of business establishments, including three saloons.
Shelly Cleaver, who was born at Lone
Star, recalls that his father used a Model T “hoopy” to haul
tomatoes to market. “He could haul more tomatoes in that ol’ hoopy
than anyone else in Lone Star,” said Cleaver.
Cleaver and his family later moved to Jacksonville,
but retained the home of his father, Henry Clay Cleaver.
During its hey days the town had a Masonic Lodge, Cherokee Lodge
680, which was chartered in 1890 with D.L. Murphey as the Worshipful
Master. The lodge was moved to Ponta
in 1928 and then to New
Summerfield in 1961.
The town also had a two-teacher school which held classes on the
second floor of the Masonic Lodge building. A private school, the
Lone Star Institute, was established by Colonel Thomas A. Cache
and Rev. Angus M. Stewart in 1889.
The Institute soon became so well-known in East
Texas that families often moved to Lone
Star so their children could attend the school’s classes, which
emphasized cultural accomplishments in music and education. But
the school lasted only four years.
Another popular lodge, the Woodmen of the World, also stood at Lone
Star and met regularly on the second floor of J. West’s store.
By 1890, at least three general stores stood at Lone
Star. But in 1893, a fire that began in a doctor’s office destroyed
much of Lone Star’s
business district. The Tipton Black store and a saloon were the
only commercial buildings spared.
At one time, Lone Star had three church denominations--Methodists,
the Church of Christ, and Universalists.
The town lost its post office in 1916 when the town began to lose
population. When the Texas and New Orleans Railroad bypassed the
town in 1903, many of Lone
Star’s businessmen moved to newly-established Ponta.