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There’s Hope in East Texas

by Bob Bowman
Bob Bowman

Someone once noted, “There’s a lot of hope in East Texas.” But he didn’t know the whole story.

The Handbook of Texas lists seven East Texas communities with the name of New Hope, two known as Little Hope, four Hopewells. and two Mount Hopes. Let’s begin with their stories, starting with the Little Hopes.

One Little Hope can be found in Wood County 10 miles east of Quitman. Some folks call it the “new” Little Hope. The town had a school taught by 15-year-old Emily Smith, a church and a cemetery, but by 2000, it had only 15 residents.

Another Little Hope existed in Van Zandt County four miles southeast of Canton. Its name came from the Little Hope Baptist Church. The community is often called the Little Hope-Moore Community because the Methodists established the Moore church in the same area.

A New Hope, also known as New Home, stands four miles northwest of
Starrville in Smith County. It was founded in the 1930s when New Hope School was established for white students and New Home school was founded for black children. The community was not shown on 1981 maps.

A second New Hope, also known as Gum Creek, lies 13 miles northwest of Rusk in Cherokee County. The area was settled in the 1950s and got its name from a Baptist Church which also served as a school. In the l990s, only the church and a few homes remained.

Limestone County also had a New Hope which was bypassed by a railroad in 1906, limiting the community’s chances for growth. By the 1980s only a church and a cemetery appeared on local maps.

A fourth New Hope stands nine miles west of San Augustine in San Augustine County. In its early days, the settlement consisted of a school, church and a cemetery. Today, the church and school are gone and by 2000 the population had fallen to 75.

San Jacinto County
had a New Hope, also known as the Brown School settlement. An abandoned railroad tram also ran through the community, indicating that logging was important to the community. A church still marks the settlement and several new buildings have been built since the 1950s.

Besides having a Little Hope, Smith County also has a New Hope two miles north of Troup. It, too, had a school, a church and a cemetery. The population in 2000 was seventy-five.

Wood County had a New Hope four miles east of Mineola, but moved north of the earlier location The town also had a Blackjack Academy and a Baptist church. In 2000, its population was 15.

Hopewells can be found in Red River and Franklin counties in East Texas. Red River’s Hopewell, once known as Mulberry, was five miles north of Clarksville and Franklin County’s Hopewell was six miles southeast of Mount Vernon.

Other East Texas Hopewells were seven miles west of Gilmer in Uphsur County and two miles northwest of Paris in Lamar County, The two Mount Hopes in East Texas are in Cherokee County near
Wells and in Tyler County near Chester .


Bob Bowman's East Texas
December 20, 2009 Column
A weekly column syndicated in 109 East Texas newspapers
Copyright Bob Bowman


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