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LYDIA, TEXAS

Red River County, East Texas
FM 44 and FM 911 Ė just West of Bowie County Line
7 Miles S of Avery
SE of Clarksville
NE of Mount Pleasant
W of Texarkana
Population: 109 est. (2010, 2000)

Lydia, Texas Area Hotels > Mount Pleasant Hotels
Lydia TX Cemetery

Lydia Cemetery
Photo courtesy Gerald Massey, August 2010
More Texas Cemeteries

History in a Pecan Shell

Named after the daughter of pioneer David B. Pritchett, the town was formed in 1870 and when the community applied for a post office in 1885, Pritchett, as postmaster insured the the name was made official.

From an 1890 population of 30, it increased to 50 by 1910 even though the post office had closed in 1906. Thereafter mail was routed to nearby DeKalb.

From 1920 through the mid 1980s the number of residents stood at 58. The 1990 census showed 109 residents, the same number given in 2000.

Photographer's Note:
"Lydia is another one of the small, quiet northeast Texas towns that I really like. It is well-suited for the easy going, undemanding traveler. Not recommended for the traveler expecting excitement, bright lights and tourist-type stuff because they ainít there." - Gerald Massey
Lydia TX  Scene
Former store-gas station
Photo courtesy Gerald Massey, August 2010
Lydia TX Street Scene
Photo courtesy Gerald Massey, August 2010

Subject: The William H. Baker Family of Lydia, Texas
I am sending stories told by my Aunt Leta Baker Pritchard and information by Neal Baker, Jr, about living in Lydia. Texas. Aunt Leta lived in Lydia until she was ten years old and Neal grew up there. Neal's grandfather, Neill Archie Baker and my grandfather, William Calvin Baker were brothers. - Ema Fielder, February 24, 2015:

The William H. Baker Family of Lydia, Texas


In 1879 William H. Baker, a widower age 64, left North Carolina and moved to Texas. He came with his nine unmarried children: Barbara, Malcolm, Neill Archie, Margaret, Duncan, Murphy, Henry, Mary Ann, and William Calvin. William H. Baker settled a little distance from the Sulphur River on sandy land, just barely in Bowie County. His son, Murphy had land near the river, and possibly his oldest son, Malcolm.

As the Bakers moved to the Lydia area, they decided to form a Presbyterian church. They did much of the construction of the building themselves. The church had two doors in front. The women would go in one door and sit on one side of the church, and the men entered through the other door and sat on the other side. The women took the children along with them. If the children got sleepy, they just put a quilt down in the aisle for them to lie on. My aunt said, "Some of the best sleeping I ever did was 'piled down' on the floor of the church".

The church was in Lydia until the time of World War II. The families moved away and the church went under. The building was sold and later demolished.


(This account was told by my Aunt Leta):

When Papa (William Calvin Baker) came to Texas, he was 19 years old. The general merchandise store at Lydia was owned by Mr. Pritchett, a man with long white whiskers. He wanted a young man to help run the store, so he hired Papa. Several years later Pr. Pritchett's health failed and Papa bought him out. Papa was in business there 18 years. He handled an assortment of goods such as groceries, dry goods, and guns. (They made their own shells.) The store also served as the Post Office. The mail came to DeKalb, and once a week the mail carrier brought mail to Lydia. When a customer wanted to buy sugar, it was scooped out of a barrel, put into a paper sack and weighed. The meat came from St. Louis.

A young lady, Martha Bell Mann, was living in the home of her half brother, Dr. J. H. Mann. She and Papa started going out together and were married in 1889. Papa's father (William H. Baker) stayed with them a good while. He liked to go to the store. He would sit on an old nail keg on the front porch. (All the stores had a front porch to them). I was just pulling up and walking around a chair when my grandfather died in 1891.

Later on, I remember when they built our house across the road from the store. Lydia was just a little country community. There was a cotton gin, a gristmill, the school house, a Baptist church and a Presbyterian church.

Aunt Barbara was about 40 when she married William Weaver. He had three girls from a previous marriage. They were Mary, Julie, and Dovie. Lacy was their own son and, of course, the idol of the home. Two of Barbara's step daughters married two of Papa's brothers. Uncle Duncan married Julie Weaver and Uncle Murphy married Mary Weaver.



(Information from Neal Archie, Jr.) :

Malcolm Baker died in 1884 and is buried at Dalby Springs (Bowie County). His father, William H. Baker was buried near Malcolm in Dalby Springs. My Grandpa, Neill Archie Baker, died in 1886. He was buried in the Woodmen Cemetery in DeKalb, but his grave was lost. He had thphoid fever. He died about a month before my father was born. In those days, women in Grandma's condition did not appear in public, so she did not go to the funeral. Apparently there was a typhoid epidemic at the time, and when Grandma went to the cemetery after my father was born, there were so many new graves that no one could tell her which one was his.

Henry Baker lived on some of the property adjacent to the church property in Lydia. He had a child who died and was buried in New Hope Cemetery. The grave was lost. Henry swore that it would not happen again, so he started his own private cemetery on his land. He and members of his family are the only ones buried there.

William Calvin and Bell Baker had a baby girl, Ila Reed, who died in 1894. She was buried in the Lydia Cemetery. They put an iron fence around her grave. Also in Lydia are the graves of five of William H. Baker's children: Barbara Weaver, Margaret Watson, Murphy Baker, Mary Ann Murphy, and Duncan Baker.

In January 1901 W. C. Baker moved his family to west Texas. He had bought 160 acres of land just outside the city limits of Anson where he spent the rest of his life, and where he and Bell and their five children are buried.

- Ema Fielder
Lydia TX - William Calvin Baker & Martha Bell Mann

William Calvin Baker & wife - Martha Bell Mann
Photo courtesy Emabel Baker Fielder

Lydia TX - William Calvin Baker children

Their three chidren in 1896: Leta, Roy and Willie D.
Photo courtesy Emabel Baker Fielder

Lydia TX - Duncan Baker Family, 1890

Duncan Baker Family, 1890
Photo courtesy Emabel Baker Fielder

Lydia TX - Henry Baker Family, circa 1892

Henry Baker Family, circa 1892
Photo courtesy Emabel Baker Fielder

Lydia TX - Murphy Baker Family, 1894 or 1895

Murphy Baker Family, 1894 or 1895
Photo courtesy Emabel Baker Fielder

Red River County Texas 1907 Postal map
1907 Red River County Postal Map showing Lydia
(Below last "R" in "RIVER" near Bowie County line)
Courtesy Texas General Land Office

Lydia, Texas Forum

Subject: Lydia Texas
In 1947-48 I lived with my family about five miles from Lydia. Dad would some time go there to buy a few groceries or maybe some gas. There was two pumps in front of the store at Lydia. One of the pumps had regular gas, and the other pump had kerosene in it. At that time. Dad drove a 1929 Chevrolet 2 door car. I went with him one day to get some groceries and some gas for his car. He didn't look when he stooped to buy gas. He stooped in front of the kerosene pump. He filled his car with kerosene, thinking it was gas. He had some gas in the car, I don't remember just how much. When we left Lydia. The car didn't go far down the road before it started missing and smoking real bad. As soon as it started acting up. Dad knew what he had done. He went ahead and drove the car on the kerosene and gas mixture. I ran pretty good, still smoked and missed. Dad was glad when he got most of it burnt out. So he could put some more gas in it. The kerosene that we bough then was a lot better grade of fuel than what we can buy now. I doubt if a car would run on it now. Even a lawn mower. The building that is still in Lydia was the store-gas station then. - Jesse Suttles, May 9, 2012

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