Ledbetter is on the Southern Pacific Railroad and U.S. Highway 290 between the Brazos and Colorado rivers eight miles east of Giddings and a mile north of Cummings Creek in extreme north Fayette County. It was named for an early pioneer family. In 1870 it was the first community in the county to be served by a railroad and enjoyed a brief period of prosperity in the 1870s and 1880s. It was a voting precinct by 1876. Ledbetter declined around 1900, when La Grange began to develop as the economic and political center of the area. The major industry of Ledbetter is the mining and shipment of gravel; some 100,000 cubic yards of crushed rock, used mostly for road construction purposes, is removed from its quarries annually. By the 1950s cotton and poultry were also important in the local economy. Ledbetter was the first community in Fayette County to organize an independent school district, and it was for this reason that the town incorporated in the late nineteenth century. In 1902 it had four churches, four general stores, two lumberyards, two saloons, two drugstores, and a blacksmith shop and was served by two physicians. By 1947, however, the churches had disappeared, and only three stores and three filling stations still existed. The population was 300. In 1947 the town voted to disincorporate, and the Ledbetter Independent School District was dissolved. The few children who remained in the community were taken into the school district at Giddings. By 1986 the population had further declined to seventy-six, and only three businesses remained. Through 2000 the population was still recorded at seventy-six.
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.
F. B. Largent, Jr. | © Texas State Historical Association
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