a Pecan Shell
The town was named
for early settler W. H. Kelsey - a doctor who arrived sometime before
the Civil War. In 1901 a colony of Mormons was founded on Kelsey Creek.
It drew Mormons from far and wide and a school was established that
same year - run by missionaries from the Mother Church in Utah.
The post office opened in 1902 and closed in 1918. In 1910 the Marshall
and East Texas Railway arrived and Kelsey's future seemed bright.
By 1911 the town had a brick kiln, sawmills, a cotton gin, two blacksmiths,
and a gristmill.
The Kelsey Academy, a public school staffed by Mormon missionaries
opened in 1911. Kelsey reached its zenith in 1917 with 750 people
and more living nearby in Enoch, a Mormon settlement. The railroad
was abandoned in 1917, the post office closed and during the 1920s
and 1930s people moved away in droves. By 1938 there were 350 people
left but after WWII
it declined further. Then came school consolidation which finished
the town off.
By the mid-1960s all that was left was one store and a church and
cemetery. It is now known as a dispersed community and the remaining
residents are descendants of the original Mormon settlers.
[See Texas Mormons
by Clay Coppedge]
Colony historical marker
Photo courtesy Dustin
Martin, March 2016
FM 1795 about 5 miles W of Gilmer
endorsement after Mormon brothers John and Jim Edgar bought a large
tract of timber land here in 1898.
By end of 1901, Sunday School and church were organized.
In Nov. 1902, townsite was laid out by church officials. Post office
was located in J. S. Ault store. One-room building served as school
and church until 1909, when first church was built (1/10 mi. W).
Kelsey Branch was sponsor of Latter Day Saints churches in Enoch,
and Marshall; joined
with Enoch, Gilmer churches, in 1958.
County 1920s Map showing Kelsey
W of Gilmer
(Above "P" in "UPSHUR")
From Texas state map #10749
Texas General Land Office
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