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HISTORICAL – Magnolia: The Town With Four Names

The Dean Brothers general merchandise store.

The Dean Brothers general merchandise store.

The Dean Brothers general merchandise store.

When Texas won independence from Mexico in 1836 and became a republic, people began to settle in the prairie lands west of the San Jacinto River. In 1840 Joseph Mink did so, and the community became known as Mink’s Prairie. By the time Texas joined the Union and became a state in 1845, many new farms had been carved out around the Mink Prairie community. Commerce began to develop when the Seussy brothers built a sawmill, and R.R Stokeley built a general store that housed the unofficial Mink Prairie post office. When weather permitted, the mail was brought in by horseback from a station near the present town of Plantersville. On Sept. 3, 1885 the official U.S. Post Office was established as Mink, Texas with John F. Dobbs as postmaster.

In 1886 W. S. and A.E. Proctor donated an acre of land in the area to the Methodist Church. In 1887 J. C. Turner donated an acre of land for a grange building that was also used for church services and other civic functions. In 1889, John L. Turner deeded one acre of land for a Baptist church to be built. Both of the church buildings were used as schools. Dr. James M. Ware set up his medical practice.

By 1896, four schools were within a radius of five miles: the Methodist, Baptist, Steger and Rodgerson schools. They were consolidated around 1900, and classes were taught in the old Farmer’s Grange building.

In 1901 the International and Great Northern Railroad started acquiring right-of-way in the area. Mink businessmen decided to move the community about a mile southeast (Magnolia’s present location) to be closer to the railroad. On Jan. 1, 1902, two general stores opened directly across the street from the planned train station; the Dean Brothers store is still standing. In 1902 the railroad was completed providing a direct route from Houston to Fort Worth. Also in 1902, Mink became Melton, but the Post Office denied it due to the similarity to a town called Milton. In 1903 the name Magnolia was selected because of the abundance of magnolia trees along Mill Creek and the surrounding area. The Post Office approved, and on Oct. 31, 1903, Magnolia became the city’s fourth name.

Magnolia began to grow and prosper. The depot continued to be the center of activity, cotton, sweet potatoes and other produce, cattle and lumber were shipped from it. During the early 1900s, five area sawmills shipped from Magnolia. Other businesses sprang up around town, including another general store, a barbershop, a telephone company, a saloon and a cotton gin.

The Magnolia Historical Society has restored the depot and is proud to display its Texas Historical Marker in the Historic Depot Complex located at the corner Buddy Riley Blvd. and Melton St. in downtown Magnolia.

The Montgomery County Historical Commission and its Youth Advisory Board sponsors an annual History Road Rally event, which gives area residents and others a change to see Magnolia as it once was. This year it will be held in Magnolia on Jan. 28, 2017 from noon to 5 p.m. Trophies and prizes will be awarded. Preregistration fee is $30 per vehicle. Teams will consist of 2-6 participants. For more information, visit the website listed below or call 936-525-7311 to register.


The Montgomery County Historical Commission provides the content for this page.

For information on the commission and its efforts, visit montgomerycountyhistoricalcommission.com.


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