Pilot Point

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Pilot (Pilot's) Point was at the junction of U.S. Highway 377 and Farm Road 455, eighteen miles north of Denton in northeastern Denton County. The Missouri Pacific Railroad tracks ran through the community, and Lake Ray Roberts was immediately to the west. It was named for its location on the top of a ridge that could be seen from a distance. The grove of oak trees with one tall cottonwood in the center was used as a landmark by Indians, Texas Rangers, scouts, and early settlers. Dripping Springs, just north of the hill, provided water and a convenient camping area for travelers and was an attractive area for settlers as early as 1845, two years before the county was organized. The land was granted to Charles Smith's heirs on March 13, 1841. James Pierson laid off the plat of Pilot Point on February 11, 1854. Settlers arrived rapidly, and Pilot Point received a post office in 1855 with James D. Walcott, the owner of Pilot Point's first general store, as postmaster. In 1856 the first subscription school in the community opened, operated by a New Yorker, Alphius "Yankee" Knight. Two churches were founded that year, the First Baptist and the Methodist. In the late 1850s the Butterfield Overland Mail stage route ran through Pilot Point.

On July 8, 1860, Pilot Point was one of ten communities, including Denton and Austin, which had a fire blamed on a Black uprising. The fire in Pilot Point caused $10,000 damage. During the Civil War the men of Pilot Point were active participants and organized their own Confederate company of 101 men under Capt. N. Wilson. The remaining inhabitants, because of their location near the frontier, were troubled by horse and cattle thieves. The residents formed a vigilante group, the Regulators, who meted out their own justice. Six cattle rustlers were hanged in one day from a large oak tree east of the community. One man, who claimed to be a former federal soldier, "Spoon" Butler, roamed the county stealing jewelry and silver spoons before he was hanged from a post oak near the square. After the Civil War Pilot Point continued its progress, which had been halted by the war. On October 8, 1866, Pilot Point was incorporated. During Reconstruction violence in the community made it necessary for nine policemen to be employed to keep order. In 1878 Pilot Point's citizens repealed their charter and were no longer an incorporated community. That year the first newspaper, the Pilot Point Post, was published by D. J. Moffitt and James Taliaferro Jones.

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Lisa C. Maxwell | © 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

Pilot Point is part of or belongs to the following places:

Currently Exists


Place type

Pilot Point is classified as a Town


Latitude: 33.39636600
Longitude: -96.95224500

Has Post Office


Is Incorporated


Population Count, 2021 View more »