TE photo, May 2010
in a Pecan Shell|
Named after Winchester, Tennessee and laid out by John Gromme in 1851,
the town is in an area known as Ingram's Prairie.
The town site
was along the tracks of the Texas and New Orleans Railroad, and when a
second railroad (The San Antonio and Aransas Pass) came through in 1888,
the town really took off. Hotels, saloons, rooming houses, blacksmiths, wheelwrights,
barbers and seven merchantile stores made Winchester a town to be noticed.
Postcard courtesy www.rootsweb.com/ %7Etxpstcrd/
old store in Winchester|
TE photo, 2000
Top and Fayetteville,
Winchester once had a precinct courthouse and could afford to have a jail for
white prisoners and one for black prisoners. An escape from the black jail resulted
in a corner being burned and thereafter, all prisoners were housed together. The
fire damaged jail ended up being used as a tool shed. |
It has nothing
to do with Winchester, but when Schulenburg
built a tool shed that was too short to accommodate long handled tools, the handles
were sawn off to the level where they would fit.
A huge storm in 1910
damaged two churches in Winchester, so the townsfolk built a "Union Church" which
was shared by the two denominations.
Michaels Lutheran Church in Winchester |
Photo courtesy Barclay
Gibson, April 2005
United Methodist Church in 2005|
Photo courtesy Barclay
and Shoot, Gun Barrel City, Gunsight, Point Blank and Winchester by Mike Cox
stereotypical Texan is seldom gun shy when it comes to settling a difficulty with
violence, a mythology reflected in the number of Lone
Star communities with names evocative of rough and tumble ways.
least five such towns come to mind: Cut
and Shoot, Gun
Barrel City, Gunsight, Point
Blank and Winchester...
One would think the Fayette
County community of Winchester honors the weapon that won at least half the
West, the lever-action repeating rifle generically known as a Winchester. But
one would be wrong.
Turns out Winchester is named for a town of like name
in Tennessee. (Founded in 1809, that town was named for James Winchester, a Revolutionary
soldier who served as a brigadier general in the War of 1812.)
20 miles northwest of La Grange
on a tract of land first settled in 1827, Winchester, Texas was laid out in 1857
by John Gromme. By 1866 the community was of sufficient caliber to merit the opening
of a post office. A farming town, Winchester boomed as much as it ever would when
the San Antonio and Aransas Pass Railway came through on its way to Waco
in the mid-1880s.
Cotton being king back then, the communtity
had 18 businesses by the turn of the century. But as cotton
became less dominant as a Central
Texas crop and better roadways made it easier for folks to trade in larger
towns, Winchester whithered like so much long staple in a dry year. By 1950 the
population had decreased to 220. Thirty years later it was down to 50, which was
also the head count in 2000." more