First United Methodist Church
Photo courtesy Gerald
Massey, August 2010
a Pecan Shell
had first visited this part of Texas
in 1818. After hearing of Texas Independence after San
Jacinto, he came here later in 1836. The two are credited with
being the town founders. William and Mary (McGill) Humphries named
the tiny settlement Maple Springs.
By 1844 the community had opened a school and in 1851 the town was
granted a post office under the name Maple Springs.The town
was supplied by goods shipped from the steamboat connection at Jefferson,
Growth necessitated a split and by 1880 the Maple Springs post office
renamed itself Rosalie, Texas and the following year a second
post office (2 miles west) was supposed to be named Bogotá after the
Columbian capital. But the postmaster’s application was misread (or
misspelled) and the postal authorities declared the town to be Bogata.
Residents were resigned to use the “official” spelling although they
insisted on pronouncing the name as BUH-GO-TAH.
During the 1880s both Bogata and Maple Springs shared a school – the
most famous alumus being former vice president John Nance Garner.
By the mid 1880s the population of 400 was served by too many gristmills
(6) as well as 4 cotton gins. Bogata wasn’t bypassed when the Paris
and Mount Pleasant Railroad arrived in 1910, but the tracks were far
enough from the business district to require a new commercial street
to be built.
Growth slowed as decades passed. The town survived the Great Depression
and the postwar exodus for better paying jobs. The high-water mark
occurred in 1980 when 1,508 people called Bogata home. The 1990 census
reported 1,421 people which declined to just under 1,400 for 2000.
Escapes, in its purpose to preserve historic, endangered and vanishing
Texas, asks that anyone wishing to share their local history and vintage/historic
photos, please contact