Stoneham is on a dirt road at the junction of the Missouri Pacific and the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe railways, a mile south of State Park Road 234 in southern Grimes County. It was established by farm families in the vicinity of Hurricane Creek who began migrating onto a projected line of the Central and Montgomery Railway in 1879. In that year the railroad acquired a right-of-way from local landowner John H. Stoneham, for whom the town was named. The site was first settled by members of Austin's colony during the 1830s. In the 1840s a Methodist meetinghouse was constructed, and the building doubled as a schoolhouse. After the Civil War the High Point Baptist Church was built on the road to Yarboro. The churches seem to have been the only public buildings in the vicinity until the coming of the railroad. John Stoneham established a general mercantile store near the rail line, which was purchased in 1885 by the Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe Railway. A post office was established in 1890 with Stoneham as postmaster. A new Methodist church was constructed in 1894. About 1900 the International-Great Northern Railroad extended a line through the community, which had become a shipping center for cotton and other agricultural commodities. In 1901 the Smith Land and Improvement Company of Beaumont laid out the present townsite and began the sale of lots. The early settlement supported a cotton gin, a drugstore, a barbershop, a meat market, a blacksmith shop, and two general stores. In 1909 St. Joseph's Catholic Church was organized to accommodate the growing numbers of Polish immigrants who began arriving in the vicinity in the late nineteenth century. In 1910 a new school opened, and the community's first Black church, the Stonehamville Methodist Episcopal Church, was built a mile south of town; its members had previously worshipped in a brush arbor near the site of the present Stoneham cemetery. A school for children of Polish ancestry was established three miles from town on Grimes Prairie in 1910–11. Three White and three Black schools were operated by the Stoneham Common School District during the early twentieth century.
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.
Charles Christopher Jackson | © Texas State Historical Association
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