Danville, an East Texas settlement four miles west of New Waverly on the old Houston road in northern Montgomery County, was reported to be flourishing as early as 1838 and again in 1850. Danville was on the lower Coushatta Trace and was perhaps named by Samuel and Joseph Lindley, who moved their families to this area from Danville, Illinois, in 1830. At its height in the mid-1800s, the community had about 1,000 residents, 600 of whom were slaves. It had fourteen businesses, including two blacksmith shops, two mercantile stores, and an inn, as well as a cotton gin, general store, saloon, saddle shop, hotel, and grocery store. The town hosted Sam Houston at a barbecue on September 11, 1858. Most of Danville's businesses and many of its residents moved to the new railroad town of Willis in 1870. When the old Houston road (later U.S. Highway 75) was rerouted through New Waverly, the Danville economy was further damaged. This area of northern Montgomery County and southern Walker County was the scene of substantial Polish settlement in the late 1800s (see POLES). In 1872 Father Orzechowski led the effort to establish Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Church in Danville. Though this church was abandoned in the 1920s, its site is commemorated by a bell and a historical marker in Danville, while the original church building serves as a hay barn on a nearby ranch. The loss of the church and highway led to the decline of Danville. In the 1980s it was a small, quiet, rural community.
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.
Gerald L. Holder | © Texas State Historical Association
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