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Unique Town Names

by Bob Bowman
Bob Bowman
Sadly, we’re losing much of the history of East Texas--the small communities that sprouted and faded away as East Texas grew and much of our population was congested in larger cities and towns.

Many of our small communities had unique names that gave them a flavor unlike places such as Tyler, Longview, Paris, Lufkin and Nacogdoches.

Byspot
Byspot is a good example. Settled in 1899 in San Jacinto County, it was first known as Teddy, but in 1903 J.O. Bennett changed the community’s name to Byspot, a name derived from spelling his wife Topsy’s name backward and adding a B. Bennett owned and operated a logging tram railroad, indicating Byspot was a logging community.

Point Blank
Point Blank, also in San Jacinto County, got its name from Florence Dissiway, a Frenchwoman who moved to the county in the 1850’s. She called the community Blanc Point, which was changed by local residents to Point Blank. Texas Governor George Wood, who rode a mule to Austin and hated to wear socks, was buried here when he died.

Bug Tussell
Bug Tussle, in Fannin County, was originally called Truss, but supposedly got its new name when an invasion of bugs spoiled an ice cream social, but there are other versions.

Stringtown
Stringtown in Newton County was named by a peddler because the houses were strung out along the road. Two other names attached to the community were Rainbow and Griggs.

Weeping Mary
Weeping Mary in Cherokee County was named for Mary Magdalene’s weeping at the tomb of Jesus.

Naclina
Naclina in Nacogdoches County got its name from a mixture of Nacogdoches and Angelina County, which was served by the Angelina and Neches Railroad.

China
China in Jefferson County was named China Grove for a grove of Chinaberry trees, but the name was later shortened.

Seven Oaks
Seven Oaks in Polk County was a sawmill settlement named by an early settler for his ancestral estate in England.

Moss Hill
Moss Hill in Liberty County was named for the Spanish moss that covered the trees in the dense forests of the area.

Goober Hill
Goober Hill, a small farming community in Shelby County, was named for the peanuts, locally known as “goobers,” that were a major crop in the region.

Black Ankle
Black Ankle, in San Augustine County, also had a school known as Black Ankle, but how the town got its name is unknown. One old story says it came about when a girl wore black stockings to school.



Bob Bowman's East Texas
July 18, 2010 Column
A weekly column syndicated in 70 East Texas newspapers
Copyright Bob Bowman


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