Elm Grove History
by Anglos before the Civil War, including the families of Mullin,
Cowan, Crozier, Allsup, Hopkins and Butler.
community that took part in the large cattle drives in the 1860s
and 1870s; the trails closed circa 1883
then became an important industry until the Great Depression, resulting
in a gradual shift back to the cattle raising industry.
content in the groundwater supported an early health resort, known
as Slack's Mineral Well. A hotel, drug store and saloon were nearby
operated a gin and grist mill on Peach Creek, and Peeler and then
Rhodes operated another gin and grist mill on the Flatonia Road.
two molasses mills and a longtime blacksmith shop.
opened a store in 1908 - it operated for 40 years; Sam and Marvin
Brown opened another store in 1924.
Elm Grove School
operated from 1876 to 1944, with 80 students in the 1890s
The Elm Grove
Baptist Church was organized in 1855; the church still has weekly
One residence - but a very active church
There are 5 communities named Elm Grove listed in the Handbook
of Texas. This isn't one of them. For the curious, three of the
others are in Dallas, Rusk and Wharton counties - with the remaining
two in relatively nearby Hays and Caldwell Counties.
We were given a tour of Elm Grove and its environs by Mr. Billy Sellers
of Flatonia. We were
accompanying Fayette County Historian Gary McKee - who had recently
learned there was one last corner in Fayette County that he wasn't
totally familiar with.
Actually, what brought McKee to Mr. Sellers was a search for a mineral
spring / spa which flourished briefly sometime in the late 19th Century
and that Mrs. Sellers had written about in a local history. Mr. Sellers
is also a Deacon of the Elm Grove Baptist Church.
Elm Grove Church Cemetery
Grave of Sgt. Harvey Sellers
TE photo, 2003
area - which Mr. Sellers remembers as being cotton and corn fields
is now covered by a nearly impenetrable tangle of mesquite.
Sellers' antecedents came to Texas from Mississippi and many are now
resting in the Elm Grove church cemetery. Mr. Sellers has over 60
relatives interred here - including 6 great grandfathers from both
Another grave in the cemetery belongs to Mr. Sellers' Uncle Harvey,
who was killed at Salerno during the invasion of Italy in 1942. Mr.
Sellers says that his 21-year-old Uncle wasn't married at the time
of his untimely death and his entire worldly possessions barely filled
|Elm Grove Public
School 1876-1944 sign
Photo courtesy Carolyn
Heinsohn, September 2013
the church is a single residence - but next to that house is the former
Elm Grove store. Mr. Sellers remembers the store closing sometime
A sign shows that Elm Grove once had a school, although Mr. Sellers
remembers it as being on the opposite side of the road. The abandoned
house behind the sign was definitely not the school.
Billy rode a horse the four miles to school, but he said that most
of the time it was faster just to walk the four miles than to spend
the time chasing the horse.
The now-solitary Live Oak of Double Live Oak Lane
TE photo, 2003
were taken to nearby Double Live Oaks Lane - a dirt road just off
FM 1115. No one doubts that there were two trees here, but Mr. Sellers
says that only the remaining one was here when he first saw it around
The tree is as scarred and marked as you can imagine - with initials,
burls, severe heart-rot and dead branches. A rather large cross has
been carved high on the trunk, but the callus growth reveals that
this is a rather recent mark.
Mr. Sellers also remembers when the tree supported a colony of bees.
Billy Sellers of Flatonia
TE photo, 2003
The church itself
has been remodeled, but Mr. Sellers remembers attending services
as a boy when lighting was provided by carbide lamps. A marker to
the right of the main entrance (on the ground) gives some basic
information. A sealed jar serving as a time capsule was placed under
the marker in 1958 - no date has been announced for the opening.
Other Elm Grove memories include Billy's uncles hitching up their
horses to pull cars out of the mud right before the hill entering
Gonzales County. The charge was fifty cents.
The doctor's charge for Mr. Sellers' birth in 1929 was $25. Since
he was an only child, his cautious father waited a year before paying
the computer today, I decided to see if Elm Grove, Texas, happened
to have any computer information. To my surprise - there appeared
Elm Grove and Billy Sellers.
As a Junior at Trinity University I began a two year time as their
pastor. The time was January, 1956. I could wish that every young,
beginning pastor had an Elm Grove. They will be observing their 150th
Anniversary on the weekend of April 9-10 and have sought former pastors
to come and share some personal experiences. I mentioned the stone
and the fact that when the church had it's 100 Anniversary I was their
pastor - we dedicated the marker, and then buried a sealed jar with
a picture of the members of that day, plus some mementos the people
wished to place in the jar. Billy Sellers - he happens to be one of
those folks who helped us all get to today.
Enjoyed your article very much. Whoever thought that Elm Grove, Waelder,
would be on the computer. That is an illustration of our world today.
And, you all help keep the past alive yet also in the present."
- Henry Adrion III, Hilltop Lakes, Texas, February 10, 2005
|Elm Grove (not
show on map) - between Cistern and
1.5 miles E. of the Gonzales
Fayette County TX 1920s map
Courtesy Texas General Land Office
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