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Henderson County TX
Henderson County

SCIENCE HILL, TEXAS

Texas Ghost Town
Henderson County, East Texas

County Road 3273
2 miles E of Farm Road 59
SW of Athens
Population: 0

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Science Hill TX - Patterson Cemetery

Patterson Cemetery in Science Hill
Photo courtesy Dustin Martin, February 2017

Science Hill

By Bob Bowman

Sitting atop a scenic hilltop in southwestern Henderson County, Science Hill lasted only a few decades, but its reputation as a center of education is well-remembered by descendants of its founders and builders.

So is its violence in the early days of the Civil War.

The earliest settlers arrived at the hill in 1846. D.M.Thompson and J.D. Jaggers built the community’s first industry, a cotton gin, and carried the cotton as far away as Navasota and Calvert.

But the town’s greatest step forward was the establishment of the Science Hill Academy in 1848 through the efforts of Andrew J. Fowler, Robert Hodge, John Tanner and other members of the Science Hill Masonic Lodge.

Located on the lodge’s ground floor, the academy was ahead of its time for the 1850s with courses that included orthography, Latin, Greek and natural sciences.

Four well-known ministers lived at Science Hill, using their leadership skills and intellect to shape the community. They were Hezekiah Mitchum, who organized the First Methodist Church of Henderson County in 1852; Robert Hodge, who organized the First Presbyterian of Henderson County in 1855; Harrison Rushing, another Methodist minister; and Wes Jackson, a Baptist preacher.

Science Hill Academy lasted only until 1872, the result of the Civil War and its aftermath.

With the eruption of the war, the town found itself caught up in issues such as slavery, which in the 1860s provided the labor on East Texas cotton plantations. As the war exploded, the plantation owners saw their prosperity facing extinction.

As fires erupted in a number of East Texas cities and communities at the peak of the Texas secession crisis, a violent mob rode into southwestern Henderson County and killed three men suspected of being involved in a conspiracy against Science Hill.

It was reported that a slave named Bob belonging to a slaveowner was meeting with two men from Tennessee Colony, who had been harboring escaped slaves and selling liquor to them.

During a community “inquiry,” Bob supposedly said the two white men had supplied him with poison and phosphorous matches and told him the time had come for the blacks to “rise up against their masters.”

Bob was quickly found guilty in a hastily-arranged trial and hanged. The two other men suffered the same fate.

Following the Civil War, Science Hill’s fortune skidded. Its post office, established in 1859, was closed in 1866.

Science Hill’s families began moving away from the hilltop. By 1936, there was nothing left to identify the site of Science Hill except for Patterson Cemetery, which was organized in 1861 on a plot of land owned by John Patterson.


See Science Hill historical marker
Science Hill TX - Patterson Cemetery

Patterson Cemetery
Photo courtesy Dustin Martin, February 2017
More Texas Cemeteries

Science Hill TX - Patterson Cemetery, John Jackson tombstone

John Jackson tombstone
born May 1, 1821, died Sept. 21, 1876

Photo courtesy Dustin Martin, February 2017

Science Hill TX - Patterson Cemetery, John Jackson tombstone masonic sign

Masonic sign on tombstone
Photo courtesy Dustin Martin, February 2017

Science Hill TX - Patterson Cemetery  James K Derden Tombstone

James K Derden tombstone
born in Ala. Nov. 11, 1838, died Oct. 24, 1879

Photo courtesy Dustin Martin, February 2017

Science Hill TX - Patterson Cemetery Derden tombstone

Clinton K Derden, born Nov. 7, 1874, died Apr. 5, 1877;
Arminda K Derden, born Dec. 6 1878, died Oct. 27, 1879
(Children of James K Derden)

Photo courtesy Dustin Martin, February 2017

Science Hill TX - goats

A family in Science Hill
Photo courtesy Dustin Martin, February 2017
See Texas Animals

TX - Science Hill historical marker

Science Hill historical marker
Photo courtesy Dustin Martin, February 2017

Bob Bowman's East Texas June 19, 2011 Column.
A weekly column syndicated in 109 East Texas newspapers

More Texas Cemeteries

Science Hill, Texas Area Towns:
Athens
See Henderson County | East Texas
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