Fawil is on Farm Road 363 five miles west of Bon Wier and fifty-five miles northeast of Beaumont in central Newton County. Land grants in the area date from 1836, although dense forests and red clay made early agriculture difficult. By 1903 Tom Hughes had established a small-scale lumbering operation near what was once known as Davis Community. Hughes hauled cut trees to Belgrade, then floated them down the Sabine River to awaiting mills. Fonzo A. Wilson, a native Georgian who had come to Texas in the early 1890s, built a sawmill at the site that would eventually be called Fawil in 1905. Local lore holds that in painting a sign on his mill, Wilson had room for only his initials, F. A., and the first three letters of his last name, Wil. When the Jasper and Eastern Railway came through the region to link the forested areas with outlets at Kirbyville, Texas, and Oakdale, Louisiana, the stop was named Fawil, after Wilson's sign. Wilson subsequently sold his mill to Will E. Gray, and ownership eventually passed to John Ramsey and Joe Kinnear. Nearby lumbering operations continued to offer employment to community residents. During the early 1970s the Kirby Lumber Company built a new plywood plant at Fawil, thus revitalizing the little community. It was still listed as a community in 1990.
Adapted from the official Handbook of Texas, a state encyclopedia developed by the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA). It is an authoritative source of trusted historical records.
Robert Wooster | © Texas State Historical Association
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