a Pecan Shell
In the 1870s the State of Texas was placing ads in northern papers, enticing people
to come to Texas. One such ad lured a group of German
Catholics who traveled from Teutopolis, Illinois by wagon train. Their arrival
fell on the feast day of St. Martin of Tours, which makes it easy to remember
the town’s founding (November 11, 1874). The site, which had been “school land”
owned by the state was first called St. Martinsville. It wasn’t until 1891
when a post office was applied for that the citizens of St. Martinsville found
another Texas town (in East Texas)
was already using that name. Their second choice, Tours (after the French city
where St. Martin was Bishop) was submitted and accepted.
Church was built in 1890 and the town had four general stores, two blacksmiths,
two saloons and 2 gins. By the mid 1890s, Tours had retained five businesses although
the population of that time was a mere 45 residents.
It was determined
that the population didn’t warrant a post office, so in 1905 the doors were shut.
Thereafter, mail was delivered through West, Texas.
In the middle of the Great Depression, tours managed to retain 61 people,
although it rose to 150 (estimated) by 1941.
Tours’ population leveled out at 100 and has remained there ever since. Tours
has become a bedroom community for Waco
and / or West, Texas with local farmers working in
those towns and tending to their crops in late afternoon and on weekends.