itself, Redwater isn’t a terribly unusual name, but the story
behind the name is a heck of a tale, especially when you throw in
an agnostic, a colorful British-born postmaster, and the first set
of female quadruplets born in the U.S.
In the mid-1870s, a small town grew up around a sawmill operated by
two men named Daniels and Spence. who decided to name the community
for agnostic Robert Ingersoll and established a post office in his
honor in 1881.
But in 1886, the town started talking about founding a church and
called in Rev. R.D. Fuller, pastor of Texarkana’s
First Methodist Church, for help.
A Methodist church was organized and a few years later, the town held
a revival with a hundred conversions.
With a church and an expanded religious faith, townspeople decided
they didn’t want to live in a town named for a man who didn’t believe
So they trashed Ingersoll, and adopted the name “Redwater” because
the water in nearly all of the springs and shallow wells around the
community had a reddish color.
They also mounted a campaign against liquor, closed down the town’s
saloons and forced their owners to leave the community. That was in
1899 and since then, whiskey has not been sold in Redwater.
Then came E.T. Page, a British-born businessman who liked East
Texas so well that he was often called “East Texas Page.” He soon
became a tutor for children in the nearby community of Mooresville.
When a group of Texarkana financiers approached Page about establishing
a bank in Redwater. Page agreed and, after the Texarkana
financiers procrastinated, he established the
Citizens Bank on his own in 1913.
An avid Democrat, Page also served as Redwater’s postmaster for several
years during a Democratic administration in Washington. But when Republican
Grover Cleveland became president, Page was on the verge of losing
his postal job. (Correction: Grover Cleveland was NOT a Republican,
but instead was the only Democratic president elected from the Civil
War until 1912. He did serve non-consecutive terms, and either of
his successors, Benjamin Harrison or William McKinley could have been
the Republican president you were referring to. - Allen Lee Hamilton,
Professor of History, Social Sciences Department, St. Philip's College,
San Antonio, TX, April 26, 2011)
Page’s wife Nannie, however, saved the day.
She gave birth to female quadruplets--reportedly the first born in
Learning of the history-making quads, President Cleveland decided
that E.T. Page could remain a postmaster, regardless of his political
Redwater also found itself famous because of the quads. Every time
a train stopped at the local depot, passengers wanted to see the famous
little girls. Gifts poured in from all over the nation.
E.T. Page, the rock-ribbed Texas Democrat, was also basking in the
glory and often referred to his daughters as “the children who kept
a Democrat in office under a Republican administration.”
Things Historical December
3, 2007 Column
(Bob Bowman of Lufkin is the author of almost 50 books)
Missionary Baptist Church
Photo courtesy Gerald
Massey, June 2010
|1940s Texas map
showing Redwater in SE Bowie
Courtesy Texas General Land Office
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