in a Pecan ShellSettled
in the late 1840s, Omen has gone under many names – including Canton, Old Canton,
Round Hill, Clopton, and Troup – all before finally settling on Omen in 1880.
In late 1849 the Round Hill post office was opened in the home of Arnold
O'Brien, the community’s first resident. In 1851 the new postmaster changed the
name to Canton – which caused confusion with the Van Zandt county seat,
necessitating the second change to Clopton. After a brief closing, the
post office reopened as Troup, Texas.
The International-Great Northern
railroad arrived in the 1870s, bypassing the town by four miles, forming the new
town of Zavalla. The post office joined other residents in moving to the
new town, although they retained the name Troup.
the penultimate change of name, Troup’s post office was renamed Old Canton
– a name still in popular use by residents. Finally, in 1880, the town settled
The population was estimated at 550 in 1892 and in 1906
the much-named post office closed it’s doors for good – but leaving the permanent
By 1912 the town was down to two businesses and in time, the justice
of the peace moved to nearby Arp, along with the local
Masonic lodge. By 1933 the population was down to 150. Omen’s last store closed
in the 1960s and the population continues to be given at the 1933 level.
Alexander Douglas, Thomas Weatherby, and Mitus White platted the townsite of Canton
in 1850 near the junction of two main roads, one leading to the county seat at
Although the post office was renamed Clopton in 1852 and the name was changed
to Troup in 1854, the village continued to be known as Canton for many years.
The first store opened in 1852 and soon the community had a tanyard, blacksmith
shop, cabinet and wagon shop, hotel, school, several doctors, churches, and a
Masonic Lodge. The 1860 census showed 34 households in the town.
the International & Great Northern Railroad bypassed Canton in the 1870s, many
businesses moved away. In 1880 the town and post office adopted the name Omen.
For 30 years, Omen was the location of the Summer Hill Select School, a coeducational
boarding school directed by A. W. Orr (1849-1924) of Georgia. This highly-regarded
institution drew students from all parts of Texas
as well as from out of state.
The closing of the post office in 1906 and
the school hastened Omen's decline. Oil discoveries during the 1930s revived the
community briefly, but with the depression the population dwindled further and
Omen became a rural village.
a small community of about 150 souls, may be the only town in East Texas that
once went by an alias.
Located on State Highwy 346 in southeastern Smith
County about two miles west of Arp... more
County 1907 Postal Map showing Omen SE of Tyler|
Texas General Land Office
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