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REDWATER, TEXAS

Bowie County, East Texas

33°21'37"N 94°15'14"W (33.360255, -94.253993)
12 miles SW of Texarkana
SE of Boston the county seat
Population: 1,073 Est. (2016)
1,057 (2010) 872 (2000) 824 (1990)

Redwater, Texas Area Hotels › Texarkana Hotels
Redwater Tx -  Redwater VFD  building
Redwater VFD building
Photo courtesy Gerald Massey, June 2010

A Unique Town Story

by Bob Bowman

East Texas is filled with towns bearing odd names, ranging from Dimple and Cuthand in Red River County to Pluck and Soda in Polk County--and with places like Yallo Busha and Slocum thrown in for good measure.

Just how these and other strangely-named communities got their names is a whole slice of East Texas history.

For example, take Redwater, located twelve miles southwest of Texarkana in southeastern Bowie County.

Redwater Texas City Limit Road Sign
Redwater City Limit
Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, 2009
By 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 in God.

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 the U.S.

Learning of the history-making quads, President Cleveland decided that E.T. Page could remain a postmaster, regardless of his political leanings.

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.

Meanwhile, 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.”


All Things Historical December 3, 2007 Column

(Bob Bowman of Lufkin is the author of almost 50 books)
Redwater Tx -  Redwater VFD sign
Redwater Volunteer Fire Dept.
Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, 2009
Redwater TX - Friendship Missionary Baptist Church
Friendship Missionary Baptist Church
Photo courtesy Gerald Massey, June 2010
Redwater TX - United Methodist Church
Redwater United Methodist Church
Photo courtesy Gerald Massey, June 2010
See Texas Churches
Redwate TX - Old SchoolHouse
Redwate Old Schoolhouse
Photo courtesy Gerald Massey, June 2010
See Texas Schoolhouses
Bowie County Texas 1940s map
1940s Texas map showing Redwater in SE Bowie County
Courtesy Texas General Land Office

Take a road trip

Redwater, Texas Nearby Towns:
Boston the county seat
Texarkana
New Boston
Clarksville
Paris
See Bowie County | East Texas

Book Hotel Here:
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