Bess was sixteen miles north of San Diego in northeastern Duval County. A post office under the name of Mindiette operated there for less than a year in 1879, with Fabian Favela as postmaster. A second post office named Shaeffer after a local rancher opened in 1883 with John F. Leo Phelan as postmaster. In the 1890s a general store operated in Shaeffer, and by 1914 the town had a cotton gin. The local school was still known as the Mindiette school when forty-one pupils were registered in 1906–07. In 1917 the community was renamed Bess. In 1925 its estimated population was twenty. Two years later the count was 100, but by the mid-1930s it was again twenty, where it remained through 1990. Bess had two businesses during the 1930s, but by the early 1940s only one was still in operation. In the late 1940s the community had a few dwellings, a church, a cemetery, and a school. By 1955 the latter was known as the Bess school, but by the mid-1960s it had been consolidated with the San Diego Independent School District. At that time the community, which had a few scattered dwellings and the García and San José cemeteries, was called Mendiates on maps. In the mid-1970s the church was still identified as the Bess church.
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