Leesville, on State Highway 80 in the southwestern part of Gonzales County, was originally established on the east bank of Castleman's Creek, later named O'Neill Creek, for the Henry O'Neill family, who had arrived in the 1830s. The town was first named Capote, after the Capote Hills. In the late 1860s Sylvester A. Hubbard built an ox-powered treadmill to grind corn and saw lumber. About 1868 Daniel Brown and his brother opened the first general merchandise store at the site. A brick kiln and a saddletree and stirrup factory also began operation. Between 1868 and 1887 Newburn H. Guinn divided land on the west bank of the creek into town lots and sold them to various businesses. About 1870 he named the community Leesburg, in honor of his daughter, Lee. A post office opened in 1873 was first designated Capote because there was another Leesburg in Texas. The name was changed to Leesville in 1874. A one-room, red-brick schoolhouse was constructed, and Mrs. M. C. Hubbard deeded a quarter acre of land to the stockholders of the Leesburg Male and Female Institute on January 21, 1873. Early sources of income were cutting and selling oak and other hardwood timber for building purposes, raising grain, and ranching. Cotton became the principal money crop after the Civil War. Three gins were in operation at the same time. Leesville flourished as a business and supply center. The Methodist Episcopal Church, South, organized about 1866 and hosted the annual West Texas Conference on December 20, 1871, in a new building. The Leesville Baptist Church organized in December 1876, the Leesville Church of Christ in 1911, and the Colored Methodist Episcopal Church and Mexican Baptist Church later.
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