Pontotoc is at the junction of State Highway 71 and Farm Road 501, near Pontotoc Creek in the northeastern corner of Mason County. The spot was formerly the junction of the roads leading from Llano and Fort Mason to San Saba. Early settlers began arriving in the 1850s. Benjamin J. Willis moved into the area in 1859 along with four or five other families, and by 1878 the community was well established. M. Robert Kidd is said to have named the town after his former home, Pontotoc, Mississippi. Kidd also opened the town's first business, a general store. The first post office was established in the home of Benjamin Willis in 1880 with Ellen Willis as postmistress. Pontotoc once promised to be a large town. The founding of the San Fernando Academy in 1882, which at times had as many as 200 students, drew people to the area. By 1886 the community had four stores, and by 1890 it had two doctors and more than twenty businesses, including general stores, a market, a gin and mill, several saddle and harness shops, a blacksmith shop, and a hotel. The main products of the community included cotton, wool, cattle hides, and pecans. A typhoid fever epidemic nearly wiped out the town in 1887. The town cemetery became so full that it had to be closed in 1888, and a new one was established. In 1890 there was a move to found a new county called Mineral County out of parts of McCulloch, Mason, San Saba, and Llano counties, with Pontotoc as the county seat. Mason residents petitioned against the action, however, and the movement failed.
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Pontotoc by the Numbers
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