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Upshur County TX
Upshur County

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Home of the "Yamboree" since 1935

Upshur County Seat, East Texas

3243'57" North, 9456'49" West (32.732387, -94.946980)
Hwy 155
15 miles N of Hwy 80
35 miles NE of Tyler
22 miles NW of Longview
Population: 5,216 Est. (2016)
4,905 (2010) 4,799 (2000) 4,822 (1990)

Gilmer, Texas Area Hotels

Longview Hotels | Tyler Hotels
Gilmer Tx Downtown
Downtown Gilmer
Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, 2007

Gilmer, Texas Topics:

  • Gilmer History in a Pecan Shell
  • Gilmer Landmarks / Attractions
  • Upshur County Courthouse next page
  • Gilmer Scenes
  • Yamboree

  • History in a Pecan Shell

    Upshur is one of the few counties in Texas to have both County and Seat named after men who were blown-up in the test firing of a cannon. Thomas W. Gilmer was an unfortunate sailor, and Abel P. Upshur was the U.S. Secretary of State that fatal day in February, 1844. The " Peacemaker," a state-of-the-art naval gun had already been fired once with satisfactory results. President Tyler was delayed a few seconds and narrowly escaped the blast that killed 6 and injured 12. It was under John Tyler's administration (and with his signature) that Texas joined the Union.

    Gilmer had had bad times in the 20s when other parts of Texas had it good. It was only fair that when the Great Depression was being felt elsewhere, oil was discovered near Gilmer in 1931. The boom paid for the new Courthouse in 1937. A quarantine that had been placed on sweet potatoes after an infestation of weevils was lifted in 1935 and the thankful people of Gilmore have been celebrating it ever since with their Yamboree.

    After WWII, with the new availability of cars, Gilmer's workforce was able to drive to jobs in Longview, Tyler and Marshall. This brought in cash at first, but then workers started seeing things to spend their money on in Longview, Tyler and Marshall.

    Gilmer Historical Marker Text

    Founded 1846. Named for Thomas W. Gilmer, U. S. Secretary of the Navy and ardent champion of annexation for Texas. Supply, training, production and educational center during the Civil War. Farming, lumbering and oil hub. Home of famous Annual Yamboree, Sweet Potato Festival.

    Gilmer town square 1930
    Gilmer town square in the 1930s
    Photos Courtesy City of Gilmer
    Gilmer, Texas by Archie P. McDonald

    "... Upshur County, authorized by the legislature in 1846, and Gilmer, were named in memory of United States Secretary of War Able Upshur and Thomas W. Gilmer, who lost their lives in an explosion aboard the USS Princeton in 1844...." more

    Upshur County Courthouse Gilmer TX old post card
    Postcard courtesy www.rootsweb.com/%7Etxpstcrd/
    Upshur County Courthouse

    Gilmer, Texas Landmarks / Attractions

  • Upshur Museum: Located in the 1925 Post Office Building on the N. E. corner of the square. Hours: Thursday to Saturday 10:00 until 5:00.

  • The Flight of the Phoenix Museum: Located at the Gilmer Municipal Airport. Website: www.flightofthephoenix.org.

  • Oglesby's Tire and Rock Museum: 216 S. Wood Street (Hwy 271) South

  • Upshur County Library: Just west of the Courthouse Square, the Upshur County Library has an excellent genealogy department as well as a Civil War reference section. Hours are Monday to Friday 8 to 6, Saturday 9 to 1.

  • Yamboree Park on Hwy 271 has RV camping facilities. Call the chamber for information.

  • Drive the area roads to see spring wildflowers and rich fall colors.

  • The Roads of Upshur County

  • Gilmer Area Hotels - Longview Hotels | Tyler Hotels
  • US271 Upshur County Texas road sign collage
    Collage courtesy Barclay Gibson, July 2007
    The Roads of Upshur County

    Gilmer Scenes
    Gilmer Tx Downtown
    Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, 2007
    Gilmer Tx - First Baptist Church
    First Baptist Church
    More Texas Churches

    Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, 2007
    Gilmer Tx - Ghost Coke Sign
    "Have a Coke"
    More Ghost Signs | Coca-Cola

    Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, 2007


    The Yamboree is perhaps the oldest food festival in the state. Upshurers were always fond of the sweet potato, but when a weevil caused the harvest to be quarantined in the late 20s, they realized its economic importance and have celebrated it ever since. Third Thur., Fri., and Sat. each October. website: www.yamboree.com

    Year 2000 Yamboree included a renaming of the Gilmer Municipal Airport to honor Gilmer native Robert "Bobby" Stephens. Colonel Stephens was a P-47 Thunderbolt Pilot in World War II. After the war he became an Air Force test pilot and was among the first to fly many new (and sometimes secret) aircraft. He also held the world's record for speed. Col. Stephens always enjoyed coming home to Gilmer, especially for Yamboree, and so it is fitting that the airport be named in his honor during this year's celebration.

    Yamboree - "The oldest civic festivals in Texas"
    From Gilmer, Texas by Archie P. McDonald
    "Upshur County farmers became major producers of sweet potatoes early in the twentieth century, and in 1935 the county's citizens began celebrating their area's major crop with an annual Yamboree festival. The Yamboree quickly became the major civic promotion for Gilmer and remains one of the oldest civic festivals in Texas."

    Gilmer Area Hotels › Longview Hotels | Tyler Hotels

    Related Topic: Texas Food

    Gilmer Area Recreations:

  • Lake o'the Pines: 17 miles North on Hwy 155. This 18,700 acre lake, set among rolling, timbered land is regarded as one of the nicest lakes in East Texas. website: www.lakeothepines.com

  • Lake Gladewater: 14 miles South on Hwy 271

    Gilmer Tourist Information

    - The Upshur County Chamber of Commerce - 903-843-2413.
    Upshur County website: www.upshurcounty.com
    - Gilmer City website: www.gilmer-tx.com

    Our thanks to Diana Oglesby, Webmaster for both Gilmer and Upshur County for providing us with photos and updating information for the Gilmer town page.

  • Take a road trip

    Gilmer, Texas Nearby Towns:
    Tyler | Longview
    See Upshur County | East Texas

    Book Hotel Here:
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