Timpson, Shelby County, Texas
In 1884, Houston businessman Paul Bremond (1818-1885) and other investors began planning for a new railroad, Houston East & West Texas (H.E.&W.T.) to connect Houston and Shreveport. In 1885, surveys were made along the northern edge of Shelby County. The first survey went through an existing town, Buena Vista. The leading citizens were unhappy with the prices offered by surveyors. A second survey was made. The new townsite was laid out in the midst of the woods missing Buena Vista by three miles. The new town was called Timpson in honor of Paul C. Timpson, the railroad official who laid out the townsite. Buena Vista lost many citizens who moved west to the new railroad town.
Businesses developed quickly in Timpson. An axe handle factory was built in 1906 which was one of the best in the South. In 1909, the Timpson Soda and Mineral Water Company was one of the largest concerns for making carbonated water in the state. Timpson had a barber college and two banks, the Cotton Belt Bank, the oldest in Shelby County, and the First National Bank. There was a canning factory for peaches and a tomato shed that boxed and shipped tomatoes. A fine hotel was built near the train tracks, known later and for many years as the Blankenship Hotel, a fine dining place.
In 1884, Houston businessman Paul Bremond (1810-1885) and other investors began planning for a new railroad to connect Houston and Shreveport, Louisiana. Surveys soon began along the proposed route, and in 1885 the town of Timpson was founded, named for Paul C. Timpson, the railroad official who laid out the town. The Houston East and West Texas Railroad, a narrow gauge system, was soon a reality and the first passenger train arrived in the new town on August 1, 1885.
The first businesses in the new town were two stores, separated by a pine thicket which would later be cleared for use as the town square. Within a year, the population had grown to 1000.
Within the first year of Timpson's founding, a school was started and churches and fraternal organizations were organized. Many businesses were established, including a newspaper; grocery, drug and other retail stores; an ice company; factories; and banks. The town became an important resource of East Texas lumber and cotton, especially since Timpson had an established rail center.
Railroads continued their important role in Timpson until the 1940's, when development of state roads and highways decreased the use of rail shipments.
Timpson is located on Highway 84.
Area Baptists had established a church at Buena Vista when the railroad bypassed that community and founded Timpson in 1885. The Houston East and West Texas Railroad dedicated church sites for the new town in 1886, and the Baptists were given this land. Twenty members chartered First Baptist that year, with the Rev. W.F. Alford as pastor.
Many families moved from Buena Vista to the new town, including that of Dr. J.B. Bussey, trustee of First Baptist. M.D. Blankenship and his family built a log house in Timpson and became leaders in the community and First Baptist Church.
The congregation met in the Christian church for two years before their sanctuary was completed. The wooden building with a belfry was replaced in 1917 by a new brick structure with a classical entry portico. When the Timpson public school burned in 1937, high school classes were held at the church.
By 1939 the church listed 485 members. Musical traditions begun during the 30's, including special cantatas at Christmas and Easter, have continued through the years. A library was founded in the early 1950's, and a new parsonage was built in 1952. An educational building was erected in 1961, and the sanctuary and family life center that is currently used was completed in 1993.
Located 1 block north of Highway 59 at North 2nd and Timpson Streets.
Organized in 1857, this church was originally known as Mount Carmel. It was the first Presbyterian congregation established in Shelby County. A one-room log cabin served as the church meeting place until a large two story frame building was constructed in 1877. It was used by the Presbyterian, Methodist and Baptist churches in the Tennessee community. The building also served as the public schoolhouse and as the lodge hall for the Woodmen of the World. Tennessee Presbyterian Church built its own sanctuary at this site in 1914, and it served the congregation until a new structure was built and dedicated in 1957.
The earliest church roll dates from 1858 and lists E.T. Corley, Charley H. Corley, Mary Pitman, Mary Watts, R.R. Johnson, Martha Ann Johnson, and John F. Ramsey as members. Some of the early settlers of the community attended church here. The congregation first was served by circuit riders, but in 1866 the Rev. Mitchell Smith became its first full time pastor.
Over the years Tennessee Presbyterian Church has continued to uphold the ideals and traditions of its founders. As one of the oldest organizations in Shelby County, it is an important part of the heritage of the area.
Located 7 miles east of Timpson on FM 947.
This congregation traces its history to 1857, when a union church was organized to serve Methodist, Baptist and Presbyterian settlers in this area, many of whom migrated here from Tennessee. Named Mount Carmel, the church building was a one-room frame structure with log seats. It also served as a community school house. By 1871, the name was changed to Tennessee Church.
About 1877, a two story building was erected to replace the small church structure. The first floor was used for worship services, while the second story was used as a meeting hall by the local Woodmen of the World Lodge. The community school also continued to meet in the union building.
The three congregations finally divided in 1913, with the Presbyterian retaining the union church and the Methodist and Baptist congregations building new facilities. The Methodist church building was a white frame structure, which continued to serve the members until it was replaced by a new brick building in 1952.
A part of Shelby County history for well over a century, Tennessee Methodist Church continues to serve the community with a variety of programs.
Located 7 miles east of Timpson on FM 947.