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BETHEL, TEXAS

Texas Ghost Town
Anderson County, East Texas

U.S. Highway 287
About 8 Miles SE of the Trinity River
About 21 Miles NW of Palestine
Population: 00050 (2000)

Book Area Hotels > Palestine Hotels
Bethel  TX Closed School
Closed School
Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, March 2014

History in a Pecan Shell

The land fell into private hands in 1828 when a Mexican land grant was given to José Jesús Grande on the condition he populate it. But José failed to live up to the promise. One hundred and five years later, a group of Baptists arrived and by 1850 the community of Bethel was showing signs of permanence with a store and a blacksmith. The 1860 census counted 300 Bethelians.

A church was built on donated land in 1859 and a cemetery was established that same year. The town was granted a post office in 1852 which remained open through 1914.

The Union church served Baptists, Methodists, and Cumberland Presbyterians. After 49 years of use, the building was abandoned and then demolished. The cemetery continues and is maintained by volunteers.

In the worst years of the Great Depression, Bethel's population fell to just 30 residents. After WWII a local oil discovery boosted the population, but not by much. It remained under 100 where it remained for decades.

The count was given as 90 until the 1970s when it returned to 30. By the 1990s, only the Cayuga Independent School District building (which absorbed the Bethel school in the 1950s) and the cemetery remained. The 1990 census counted thirty one people which rose to 50 for 2000.


Photographer's Note:
Bethel is located on US 287 about 21 miles northwest of Palestine. There is a new, modern school across the highway from the old one. These other churches are about 1.5 miles south of Bethel on FM 2706.
Bethel  TX Closed School
School cornersone
Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, March 2014
See Texas Schoolhouses
Bethel TX - Bethel Church
Bethel Church
Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, March 2014
Bethel TX - Bethel Church cornerstone
Bethel Church cornerstone
Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, March 2014
More Texas Cornerstones
Bethel TX - Closed Church
Bethel's closed church
Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, March 2014
More Texas Churches
Bethel TX road sign
Bethel TX road sign
Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, March 2014
More Texas Signs
Bethel TX Anderson County 1888 postmark
Bethel TX Anderson County 1888 postmark
Cover cancelled with Bethel TX 1888 postmark
Courtesy The John J. Germann Collection

Bethel, Texas
(TE's 3200th town)
Area Towns:

Palestine - County seat
See Anderson County
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