in a Pecan Shell|
James J. Gathings was a Mississippian who
arrived in Texas in 1852 and bought thousands of
acres of land in the region. Using slaves, Gathings ran successful farm and ranching
operations, setting aside 100 acres for what would become the town of Covington.
He platted the town and offered free lots to temperate families as long as they
agreed to build a home and a school. The town was named after his wife's maiden
In 1855 Gathings became postmaster of Covington and together with
his brother Philip, they founded Gathings College in the early 1860s. By 1870
Gathings's population was nearing 500 and the school continued in operation until
The town was in economic peril when it was bypassed by the Katy
Railroad in 1904 but saved when the Trinity and Brazos Valley Railroad built through.
Covington prospered for the next 30 years and the town's prosperity was only ended
by the onset of the Great Depression. The Trinity and Brazos Valley discontinued
the stop at Covington and war time growth of Waco
and Fort Worth drained off population
as highways improved. From a population of 450 in 1945 it fell to less than 300
by the late 1980s.
Hill County map showing Covington|
"HI" in "HILL")
Courtesy Texas General Land Office