Tidbits of Shelby County History
This week’s article on the town of Huxley, Texas which is in the eastern part of Shelby County near Toledo Bend Lake. The original article was written by Wanda Pearson, date unknown.
In 1890 there was a small community located in what is now known as Huxley. As usual, one of the first thriving businesses was a saloon. Being near Louisiana, it served patrons from both Texas and Louisiana. There being little money around, the barter system was put into operation. It seems that chickens became the most common means of exchange for a drink at the saloon. Some people referred to saloons as bawdy houses. Well, it wasn’t long until everywhere you looked in the community, all you could see was chicken coops. This is how the community received its first name “Roosterville”. Woodmen of the World camp No. 2140, as well as a cotton gin and grist mill were located here. Tom Strong owned the cotton gin and grist mill. There were two ferries on the Sabine nearby which gave access to Louisiana and Texas. They were Myrick’s and Haley’s ferries. (Note: An international boundary had to be established above Logansport. The U.S. surveyed the Sabine River establishing ferries and communities with mile markers. Some of the points with mile markers were Haley's Ferry, 445; Myrick's Ferry, 459; and Logansport, 514. Logansport is the upper end of Toledo Bend Lake making the thalweg 208 miles long. A thalweg is a line connecting the lowest points of successive cross-sections along the course of a valley or river. This marking of the eastern boundary between United States and the Republic of Texas was began in 1840 and completed in 1841).
A post office was established in 1903, however, the postal authorities and the people of the community did not was the name “Roosterville” to be used. A young schoolteacher named Joseph Hooper came to the rescue and suggested the name of a novelist, Aldous Huxley be used. The name, Huxley, was adopted, however the post office was short-lived as it only lasted three years. The post office was consolidated with Shelbyville.
Around the turn of the century, Ben Fleming, Emma Collins, and Joseph Hooper owned stores in Huxley. Hooper was not only a store owner but also the postmaster and schoolteacher. He married a Huxley girl, Bettie Pearl Scruggs, and resided in the community until his death.
Huxley had a school as early as 1915, there were 92 pupils.According to "Handbook of Texas", in 1938 the community had a school with 100 students. In 1945 it had a store, a church, and a population of fifty. Toledo Bend Reservoir was constructed nearby in the 1960s. Huxley was incorporated in 1969 as an attempt by local broiler growers to avoid the high prices charged by petroleum gas companies. To secure the required number of inhabitants for incorporation, the city limits were run down the center of the road, then would loop out to surround a house whose owners wanted to subscribe to the gas service offered by the city. In 1970 the town had a population of 302 and in 1990 the population was 335. By 2000 the population dropped to 298. The town has had several businesses and three marinas over the years. With the assistance of the attorney general, the city of Huxley was legally incorporated on July 21, 1967, with citty elections being held.
P.C. Corbell was elected may with the following elected as councilmen, L.G. Fittz, Bibb Dean, Robert Eddins, Sam Lafitte, Jr., and J.T. Fleming. Billy Jack Corbell was elected Marshal, Joe Davis Foster, attorney, and Dr. L.S. Oates, health officer. The city of Huxley issued revenue bonds on March 10, 1969, amounting to one million, three hundred thousand dollars which were purchased by H.U.D. The first fast meters were turned on in October 1969. Bonds for a water system were issued in 1974 and they were brought by Farmers Home Administration. In 1975, 250 customers were served with water purchased from the Sabine River Authority.
Another important community in the area that later became part of Huxley was thecommunity of Paul's Store was located about twelve miles northeast of Shelbyville and seventeen miles east of Center. The community was established in an area that was known for many years as Terrapin Neck. Sometimes simply called "the Neck," it was named for a Sabine River bend shaped like a terrapin, butthe town was later named after William Paul, the man who owned the store, gin, and sawmill. Paul was born August 6, 1843, in Macon, Georgia. He was a veteran a Confederate veteran. He moved to California in 1922 and died there in 1930. The post office was opened in 1886 and continued in operation until 1906 with William A. Paul the first postmaster.
During the Regulator-Moderator War of 1839-1844, the area gained the attention of Sam Houston, President of Republic of Texas at the time. Hostilities in Shelby County became so bad that Houston reportedly said," I think it advisable to declare Shelby County, Tenaha, and Terrapin Neck free and independent governments, and let them fight it out."
Like many other Southerners during Reconstruction, W. A. strived to make a decent living and farming played a big part in his life. But realizing there were enough families scattered throughout the Terrapin Neck area to support a new venture, he decided to open a general store. About 1870, a small community formed around the building and became known as Paul's Store. Using the store as a hub, other businesses were soon established, including a grist mill, a sawmill, a cotton gin, and a blacksmith shop owned and operated by members of the Paul family.
Apparently, W. A. did well in his ventures. In 1870, his real estate was valued at $2,500 and his personal estate was valued at $1,931. According to the 1887 tax list, he owned 558 acres.