Edward Southerland's This & That
By Edward Southerland
Sep 10, 2019
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Naming more names

As the tracks of the Texas & Pacific snaked across Fannin County in the 1870s, communities popped up along or ahead of the right of way. They became watering points for the steam engines, and in time, as they grew, they took on official status as organized towns.

That example fits Windom, which got started in 1870, just before the T&P pushed through to Bonham. The community, thought to be named for the winds that blew along the hills, was incorporated in 1918. Just down the road was Dodd City. Maj. Edmund Dodd of Kentucky was the first to build a log house in the area in 1839. From 1845 to 1865, the post office was called Licke. It became Dodd in 1873 and Dodd City in 1902.

On the other side of the county seat at Bonham is Ector. When the community got a post office in 1886 they opted for the name Victor’s Station, but a place with that name already existed, so the took the name Ector for Ector Owens, one of the pioneer settlers in the region. Co. William Savoy was one of the first settlers in the community that took his name when it got a post office in 1873.

Solomon L. Leonard was a Missouri man who bought 3,520 acres near Wildcat Thicket and headed to Texas. He drowned crossing a river in the Nations and never saw his land. On July 22, 1880, lots went on auction and the town of Leonard came into existence.

Dr. W.C. Holmes laid out the plan for a town along the MKT tracks. When the community got a post office in 1881, it was called Trenton, named for the capital city of New Jersey.

The St. Louis & Southwestern Railway Company needed land for a station in the central part of the county. Two doctors, Josiah S. Bailey and A.J. Ray both offered land. The Cotton Belt took Bailey’s offer in 1885, and when the post office opened two years later it was called Bailey. East of Bailey was the community of Lindsey School House. The Louisiana, Arkansas & Texas RR laid tracks southwest of the school and the new town that popped up was named Randolph in honor of Judge Tom Randolph of Sherman.

James McFarland and Daniel Davis settled in the southeast corner of Fannin County in 1840 and staked out a town site called McCownville after the areas first merchant, Frank McCown. The story has it that McCown was so taken by the singing of a traveler on a wagon train from Tennessee, a woman named La Donna Millsay, that he changed the name of the community to La Donna. When the U.S. Post Office came to town in 1858, it was Ladonia.

Gober started life as Grittersville, named for a steam gristmill in the area. In 1885 the residents changed the name to honor the men who built the mill, J.F. and William Gober. Riverby, in the northeastern corner of the county, just up the road from Monkstown, was by the river and Duplex, just north of Lake Fannin, might have been named for two schools, one for whites and another for blacks that were located there. As for Ely—well, the Handbook of Texas knows about Ely, but not where it got its name.