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Pearl, twenty-two miles west of Gatesville in northwest Coryell County, was originally known as Wayback. A petition was sent for the establishment of a post office with the name Swayback, for Swayback Mountain, which was near the community. A clerical error resulted in the post office being named "Wayback" in 1884. The post office continued under that name until March 28, 1890, when the community was renamed Pearl, after Pearl Davenport, the son of a local store operator. Early settlers included G. Dallas Edmondson and his brothers, J. Polk and Sam, in 1871. In the early 1900s three doctors in Pearl, Dr. H. Davenport, Dr. Taylor, and Dr. Ralph Bailey, waged a "price war" for services. As a result, a baby could be delivered at that time for a mere $2.50. The last country doctor was Dr. B. F. King, who moved to town in 1920 and died in 1947. Several churches were organized in Pearl, including the Methodist church in 1854, the Church of Christ in 1878, the Baptist church in 1889, the United Baptist Church of Jesus Christ in 1896, and the Nazarene church in the early 1900s. Until the mid-1920s all of the churches in Pearl had ten-day revival meetings in July and August. Some of the churches rented tents, and people loaded their wagons with bedding, utensils, and food. These revivals were the main social event of the year. At one time Pearl had a steam-powered cotton gin, a flour mill, and a gristmill. In 1908 the "Price System" telephones came to Pearl. People had to buy their own telephone boxes, wire, and posts, and string and maintain their own lines. The average monthly bill was forty cents. In May 1875 Ellen Reily deeded a tract of land for a school, which was named Cowhouse School. By the 1890s it was known as Sweet Home School. On July 21, 1917, voters passed a $4,000 bond to build a new school. A four-room brick building was constructed and named Pearl School. In 1958 it was consolidated with the Evant school, and the building became the Pearl Community Center, which is still used for reunions, quilting bees, and parties. The population of Pearl was 125 in 1892. That figure fell to seventy-five from the 1920s to the 1940s, and from 1943 until the 1970s it was 220. From the 1970s to 2000 the population was 125.

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Violet Freeman | © TSHA

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Adapted from the official Handbook of Texas, a state encyclopedia developed by Texas State Historical Association (TSHA). It is an authoritative source of trusted historical records.

Belongs to

Pearl is part of or belongs to the following places:

Currently Exists


Place type

Pearl is classified as a Town

Associated Names

  • (Wayback)


Latitude: 31.41016300
Longitude: -98.03502960

Has Post Office


Is Incorporated


Pearl by the Numbers

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Pop. Year Source
50 2009 Local Officials