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Denton County TX
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Denton County, Central Texas North

33 21' 30" N, 97 14' 43" W (33.358333, -97.245278)

Where FM 2450 intersects with FM 455
14 Miles NW of Denton the county seat
NW of Dallas
4 miles from Sanger
19 miles from Pilot Point
Population: 40 (Since 1980)

Bolivar Area Hotels ›Denton Hotels

 Bolivar TX highway sign
Entering Bolivar
Photo courtesy Mike Price, August 2009

History in a Pecan Shell

Originally called New Prospect in 1859 when Hiram Daily, physician and Methodist minister platted the town and opened a store here.

A few years later a resident from Bolivar, Tennessee decided that the town should be renamed after his former town. According to myth, drinks were bought for those voting for the name of Bolivar and the plan went as expected.

Cattleman John Chisum had a ranch near Bolivar but later moved his operations to West Texas. Perhaps it was to avoid confusion with the Chisholm Trail which was only three miles west of town.

Bolivar was bypassed by the railroad in 1866 and most residents and merchants were drawn to Sanger, Texas.

Bolivar soldiered on with its reduced population and enjoyed a brief economic jolt with the discovery of oil in and around the town during the 1940s and 50s. After WWII the population was recorded as just over 100 declining to a mere 40 by 1980. The same figure was given for the 2000 census.

Historical marker:

Town Site of Bolivar

Named indirectly for Simon Bolivar, South American statesman, general and patriot. It might have been called "New Prospect," but for a mug of rum. When town was founded in 1852, a man who had settled here from Bolivar, Tenn., wanted to name the community in honor of his hometown. But a preacher-doctor insisted that it be named New Prospect. An election was called to settle the matter and the Tennessean exchanged mugs of rum for votes, Bolivar won.

During the 1800s, Bolivar was the westernmost fort in Denton County and the first settlement west of Collin County. Two stagecoach lines changed horses here. The town thrived and could count three hotels, several stores, a gin, a flour mill, a sawmill, a blacksmith shop, a saloon, a church and a school. It was here that the Texas cattle trail joined the Jesse Chisholm Trail, but it was John Chisum, Texas cattle baron, who had herds here and furnished beef to the Confederacy during the Civil War.

Bolivar and the surrounding area were havens for Sam Bass and his men. Two Bolivar men were jailed in 1890 for harboring notorious marauders. Many early settlers (whose descendants still live here) played important roles in development of county.

Bolivar TX - Divine Nature Church
Divine Nature Church
Photo courtesy Mike Price, August 2009
More Texas Churches

Bolivar TX -  Bolivar  Grocery
Bolivar Grocery
Photo courtesy Mike Price, August 2009

Bolivar TX - 1908 Bolivar Cemetery
1908 Bolivar Cemetery
Photo courtesy Mike Price, August 2009

Historical marker:

Bolivar Cemetery

The town of Bolivar was laid out by Dr. Hiram Daily in 1852 with a burial plot on high ground nearby. Though the site had probably been used as a burial ground for many years, the earliest marked grave is that of 4-month-old Zolly Cofer Waide, who was born and died in 1863.

G. A. Grissom, a prominent Bolivar Masonic leader, died in 1876. After his interment, Bolivar Lodge No. 418, A. F. & A. M. and the Independent Order of Odd Fellows Lodge No. 221 set aside five newly purchased acres, including the graveyard, for community burials. A decorative fence was installed across the front of the cemetery in that year. Many monuments were erected by the Woodmen of the World organization.

Many of the nine adults and eight infants buried in 1892 were victims of a nationwide influenza epidemic. Another influenza epidemic in 1918 claimed more lives. Bolivar citizens of all walks of life were buried here. Some were members of farming and ranching families; others were business people, educators, physicians, and ministers. They include veterans of the Mexican War, the Civil War, World War I, World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War.

Operated by the board of trustees of the Bolivar Cemetery Association, the graveyard continues to serve area residents, many of whom are descendants of those who shaped the history of Bolivar and Denton County. The burial ground remains a record of the pioneer settlers of the area.

Bolivar TX - 1908 Bolivar Cemetery marker
Bolivar Cemetery marker
More Texas Cemeteries | Texas Towns

Take a road trip

Central Texas North

Bolivar, Texas Nearby Towns:
Denton the county seat
Sanger | Pilot Point | Dallas
See Denton County

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