Old Boston is four miles south of New Boston in south central Bowie County. The town was settled in the early 1830s and named for W. J. Boston, who operated the first store there. When the county was organized in 1841 the community was selected as the county seat. A post office was established there in 1846 with L. D. Vandike as postmaster. The town served farmers throughout the central part of the county, and by the time of the Civil War it was also the residence of a number of wealthy planters who owned plantations along the Red River. It has been estimated that during the 1860s the community's population reached 300 to 400. When the Texas and Pacific Railway was built through the county in 1876, it bypassed Boston to the north by four miles. Area businessmen met with railroad officials and had a station built directly north of Boston. The town of New Boston was laid out on the railroad, and a number of merchants from Boston moved to the new town. By the early 1880s the population of the original Boston had declined to seventy-five. Then, in the mid-1880s, citizens of Texarkana successfully campaigned to have Texarkana made county seat, and by the end of the decade the population of old Boston had fallen to fifty. Another relocation campaign, this time by residents from the central part of the county, proposed a county seat in the county's geographic center. In 1890, when the new courthouse was constructed 2½ miles north of Boston, its post office-still named Boston-was moved. Residents who remained at the original townsite began to call their community Old Boston. In 1984 Old Boston had three churches, two businesses, and a cemetery. By 2000 the population was 100.
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.
Cecil Harper, Jr. | © Texas State Historical Association
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Old Boston by the Numbers
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