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Hopkins County TX
Hopkins County

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Hopkins County, East Texas

Highway 67 and FM 900
Just N of I-30
16 Miles E of Sulphur Springs
Population: 200 est. (2010)

Saltillo, Texas Area Hotels › Sulphur Springs Hotels

History in a Pecan Shell

Named after Saltillo, Mexico (no reason known) by storekeeper John Arthur, the town was settled before the Civil War.

In 1860 the community was granted a post office. A rival store opened across from Arthur's store which gave the town the unofficial name of "Twin Groceries."

The population was 60 by the mid 1880s. (See 1882 map below.) The St. Louis Southwestern Railroad laid tracks 1.5 miles north of Saltillo in 1887, the post office and one store moved to the new community, creating an "Old Saltillo" which still appears on detailed Hopkins County maps.

The population of (new) Saltillo was 350 by 1914 and all essential businesses were established, including a newspaper.

Like most towns, Saltillo prospered in the 20s and declined in the 30s. The 1933 population of 250 residents remained for the 1940 census. In 1964 the population had increased to 270 but has decreased to 200 by 1990. The same figure is given for the 200 census.

Old Saltillo remains in the form of a Methodist church and cemetery.

The Town of Twin Groceries

by Bob Bowman

A recent caller from Bowie County had an intriguing question recently, “Does East Texas have a town named Twin Groceries?”

The answer is yes and no.

Around 1850, John Arthur helped settle the town of Saltillo on the Old Jefferson wagon road sixteen miles east of Sulphur Springs in Hopkins County. He named it a town in Mexico.

Saltillo soon became a popular place for teamsters, leading to the establishment of a post office in 1860 with Moses Russell as the postmaster.

The town also had a gristmill, a cotton gin and a store.

A second store was opened on the opposite side of the road from Arthur’s store and for the first time, the community was known as “Twin Groceries” for obvious reasons.

But the name didn’t last long and Saltillo reemerged. By 1885. Saltillo had a water-powered gristmill, two churches, a school and a population of about sixty. But what about Saltillo’s name?

Admittedly, it’s not as colorful as Twin Groceries, but it does have an interesting history.

Saltillo, Mexico, the namesake of the one in Hopkins County, and Austin share a unique place in Texas history. Both were Texas capitals.

Saltillo was the capital of Texas when its territory was part of the Mexican state of Coahulia before Texas won its independence and Austin became the capital of the Republic of Texas.

In 1989, while I was serving on the Texas Sesquicentennial Commission, a delegation from Saltillo, Mexico, journeyed to Austin to help Texas celebrate its 150th birthday.

In 1887, the St. Louis Southwestern Railroad built a line a few miles north of Saltillo, Texas, and one of the town’s two grocery stores moved to the train station site. Twin Groceries had no good reason to use its name anymore.

Saltillo opened a school in 1905 with an enrollment of eighty-four. And in 1909 the Gulf Pipe Line was laid through Hopkins County near Saltillo, further spurring its growth.

The town kept growing and by 1904 it had a population of about 350, a number of stores, several barber shops, a bank, a printing shop, and a newspaper known as the Saltillo Signal.

The town continued to grow during the l920s, but the Depression years reduced its prosperity and its population fell to 250.

Today, Saltillo is still an active settlement of about 200 folks and a few stores at the intersection of U.S. Highway 67, Farm Road 900, and the railroad. The town is also less than a mile from Interstate Highway 30.

Sadly, there is nothing left of Twin Groceries, but a colorful old name.

© Bob Bowman

Robert Cowser's Saltillo

  • The Post Office Drug Store at Saltillo, Texas
    In 1930 Rua Arthur opened the Post Office Drug Store in its new building facing the newly paved U.S. Highway 67, also known as the Bankhead Highway and the Broadway of America. A few yards behind the building were the Cotton Belt Railroad tracks and a depot. The drug store occupied one half of the new building; the other half was a grocery operated by Rua's brother Eric.

  • Familiar Ground
    When I was younger, I could never quite understand how anyone could be devoted to the town where I was born. My birthplace was a farm house five miles south of Saltillo, where our post office and school were located...

  • The Sounds of Home
    In one of his essays Scott Russell Sanders writes that in centuries past Japanese villagers were cautioned never to wander so far from their homes that they could not hear the village drummer...

  • Daddy's Potato Patch
    I grew up on a farm during the 1940s. The farm was located south of Saltillo in the region of loamy soil just south of the crescent of prairie land that extends over the eastern part of Texas...

  • The Claims of the Wilderness
    "As I stood on the site, I realized that the land that day may have looked much the same when the Caddo Indians built their village..."

  • The Caudles: A Family of Entertainers
    A memory of chipped Kewpie dolls and other chalk figures comes to me when I recall the Arthurs’ farm house...

  • Saltillo's First and Only Football Team
    In its seventy-five years as an accredited high school, Saltillo fielded a football team only one year. The year was 1945, the year I enrolled there as a ninth-grader. The Japanese had just surrendered unconditionally a week or so before our term began...

  • Memorial Day Services at Old Saltillo Church
    Beginning in the early 1930s, annual memorial services are held at the Old Saltillo Methodist Church in Hopkins County. Until the early ‘60s the program was scheduled for the third Thursday of July. By that time the cotton crops had been “laid by.” It was a time of waiting through the Dog Days of summer until the cotton bolls began to open. Since 1960, the services are held on the second Sunday in July...

  • Selling the Calves
    In the late 1940s cattle auctions were common in the towns of Northeast Texas. Each town picked a different day of the week so as not to compete with nearby towns. Sulphur Springs held its auction on Mondays, Mt. Pleasant on Tuesdays, Paris on Wednesdays, and Winnsboro on Fridays....

  • The Power We Longed For
    In the years just before and during World War II two unpaved roads led south from Saltillo. Those of us who lived on the road that started from the east side of town used kerosene lamps and wood-burning heaters and cook stoves. Those who lived on the road that ran from the west side had the benefit of power supplied by an Rural Electric Administration co-operative in Greenville...

  • An Unsolved Mystery from The World War II Years
    While walking across our pasture near Saltillo one rainy afternoon in 1944, my father noticed a steel bar standing askew in the damp soil...

  • Defending Popular Music of the 1940s
    As a child on a farm near Saltillo in the 1940s, I depended on radio as the only contact with the world beyond our community. We had no telephone. The only newspaper we received was a local weekly.

  • More Robert Cowser's Columns

    1882 TX map showing Lamar, Delta, Red River, Hopkins, Franklin, Titus, Camp Counties
    1882 Texas map showing Saltillo
    (E of Sulphur Springs, Hopkins County, near Franklin County line)

    Courtesy Texas General Land Office

    Take a road trip
    East Texas

    Saltillo, Texas Nearby Towns:
    Sulphur Springs the county seat
    Mount Vernon

    See Hopkins County | Franklin County

    Book Hotel Here:
    Sulphur Springs Hotels | More Hotels

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