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 Texas : Towns A-Z / Ghost Towns / Central Texas South :

CHEAPSIDE, TEXAS

Texas Ghost Town
Gonzales County, Central Texas South
Ranch Road 2067
21 miles SE of Gonzales
18 miles W of Cuero (via FM 766)

Population: 31 (estimate used since 1972)

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Cheapside Community Church, Texas
The Cheapside (interdenominational) Community Church
Photo Courtesy Margie Warwas, April 2006
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History in a Pecan Shell

The name sounds English, but although the man who named it (Doctor E.R. Henry) was of English descent, he actually named it for his hometown of Cheapside, Virginia (which may have been named for the London neighborhood).

The first permanent settler was former Mississippian Thomas Baker who built a cabin in the vicinity in 1857. He was soon joined by other families and the town was platted by one Thomas Carter. Cheapside was granted a post office in 1882 while it was still technically in DeWitt County. This minor descrepancy was cleared up in the early 1890s when it was moved one mile west - into Gonzales County. (See Gonzales, the Gonzales County seat.)

This part of Texas seems to have been popular with former Mississippians (see the ghost town of Albuquerque, Texas).

Cheapside's major economic engine was cotton with poultry, and cattle raising to a lesser degree. A cotton gin / gristmill was built in 1889. Cheapside at its zenith had three stores, a smithy, drugstore, doctor, hotel and two saloons. Order was kept by a Gonzales County deputy sheriff.

A private school was in operation from 1890 to 1913, and both Masons and Woodmen of the World maintained lodges in Cheapside.

A Delco electric generater was installed in the mid 1920s, providing electricity nearly 15 years before other towns were electrified.

The Cheapside Baptist Church was organized in 1893, joining a Presbyterian Church that had been organized in Bellevue in 1874 and then moved to Cheapside.
Cheapside Communty Center, former school, Texas
Cheapside Community Center utilizes a former schoolhouse
Photo Courtesy Margie Warwas, April 2006
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Cemetery, Cheapside, Texas
The Cemetery. Photo Courtesy Margie Warwas, April 2006
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Bellevue Cemetery, two miles south of the townsite was established in 1876 and is still maintained by an active association. It is said that among the interred are veterans from "every declared American war."

When cotton bottomed out and the Great Depression arrived, the gin closed and cotton fields became pasture. By the beginning of WWII, school enrollment was in decline and it merged with Cuero schools in in the late 40s.

B
y 1960 all that was left was a store with the post office inside. Both held on until early 1989. The Cheapside (interdenominational) Community Church was still holding services in 1990 according to the Handbook of Texas and the Community Center (a former school) was still servicing the community.

Former students reportedly held an annual June reunion.

From a population of just over 100 in 1904, it has declined over the years to 31 - the estimate first used in the early 1970s.

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