Honey Grove Preservation League

Saving and Documenting the History of Honey Grove, Texas

Authentic History of City of Honey Grove 
Signal-Citizen, October 29, 1937

Co-operating First History of Honey Grove, Commencing in 1836 and Written by James Gilmer, 
​Who Settled Here in 1845, and Compiled to 1883. 

From This Date H. P. Allen, Honey Grove, Has Taken Up the History 

and Is Compiling It Until the Present Date,
Assisted by W. J. Erwin of Honey Grove

Not very long ago two old friends, both born and reared at Honey Grove, met and very naturally their conversation turned to their younger days in Honey Grove.  Many pleasing experiences were related.  We soon found that our schoolmates and the good men and women whom we remembered so kindly were sleeping peacefully in Oakwood cemetery, mostly forgotten by the public. We virtually agreed that the merits and deeds of the splendid men and
women who were the pioneers of Honey Grove and surrounding country should not forever pass from the earth untold.  At the same time we were fully aware of the fact that neither of us were much in the habit of writing for publication, but assure you that we claim to have no merits of our own that we wish to parade before the public, but we do wish to pay a long-past overdue.


the courageous pioneer men and women who first settled in the town and
surrounding country. 

Our first chapters will necessarily be traditional, although Mr. Erwin’s collection of papers dates back almost a hundred years; then the senior writer was a pupil in Judge Rutherford’s school in Honey Grove exactly 82 years ago and was then exactly 6 years of age.

As to traditional reports we will have to depend on, we believe that honest men and women will not teach their children false history.  Hasn’t one of the sages said that the noblest institution of learning on earth is the Christian mother with her children gathered about her teaching the fundamentals of good citizenship and Christianity?

We have just read Mr. Gilmer’s history of Honey Grove, and think it excellent.  Jim was a painstaking, careful writer and believed in historical accuracy, and we know something of the difficulty of securing accurate data on pasts events, for almost no one keeps a dependable diary.  Mr. Gilmer’s equipment was good, having attended the schools of Honey Grove as far as they could advance him, and then finished his education at the old McKenzie College
near Clarksville, Texas, and in addition was in public service several years as postmaster and mayor of the town.  We have no criticism to make on his 41 years of history writing, but much praise.

What difference does it make whither the Texas & Pacific railroad was built in Honey Grove in 1874 or 1873? The writer was in the employ of the Company at the time as bridge builder, and the track layers were crowding us at the time, but if you ask me what year it was built my answer would be, I don’t remember. 

After Honey Grove town site was laid out it grew slowly, and there were several reasons for it. The type of men who came as emigrants were mostly from Kentucky and Tennessee, with some from Missouri, Alabama, Georgia and Virginia. They came to secure land, and avoided the open high prairies mostly, often buying and building their homes on inferior land. It was selling from 25c to 50c an acre for deeded land, or they could homestead 640 acres by paying a few cents per acre.  Then the State had paid her soldiers in land script after her war with Mexico in 1836, and it was salable, and often at a very low price. 

Now from the time Davy Crockett was here and names the place until Mr. Erwin built his home, one or two years had passed and it is highly probably that there were some families already settled about Vineyard Grove and Allen’s Chapel, 6 or 7 miles northwest of Honey Grove.

Wilson Allen said that he and a son of Jessie Shelton and another man were here exploring the country and saw the name Honey Grove cut on a stooping Pin Oak tree.  Wilson Allen was an upstanding good man and we believe his statement. Mr. Gilmer said in his history there
were others. 

After 1845 settlers came faster, but not until the fifties did they come very fast, and by 1859, a great many came who had sold their farms in the old states and brought considerable money and good stock. They bought from one-half to a section of land each and were a fine lot of people.    

By 1859 this was a prosperous section of Fannin County.  The 13th Legislature had granted the Memphis and El Paso Railroad Company a charter and three surveys had been made into Honey Grove.  The Legislature also granted the company 16 sections of land for each mile of road to be built.

Typed by Hailey Rader