in a Pecan Shell|
J. K. Walling, a Tennessean is considered to be the first resident in the
vicinity. He arrived in 1884 and was joined a few years later by Mississippian
A.L. Coleman. It was on Coleman’s property that the town formed. But neither Coleman
or Walling were honored by having the place named for them. That honor went to
the wife of the engineer of the first train (The St. Louis, Arkansas and Texas
Railroad) that arrived in 1887.
Walling opened a general store and it was
here the first post office opened in 1888.
The population had grown to
75 and the town supported both a gin and a gristmill. The 20th Century dawned
and with it came the town’s first bank (1902). A second railroad line crossed
the tracks of the first in 1902-03 – and the town incorporated in 1914.
Mertens was given electrical service in 1915 and other infrastructure such as
sidewalks and curbing appeared. The town had a weekly paper and the population
reached 342 residents for the 1920 Census.
A water system was installed
in the 30s, but with the construction of State Highway 22, the outside world beckoned
– and the town entered a decline.
The railroads stopped running and over
the years businesses and people left. By the 1980s there was only a single brick
building to mark where downtown once was.
The 1990 census showed 104 residents
which increased to 146 for the year 2000.
Hotel Here > Hillsboro
appears in the 1920s Hill County map|
General Land Office