Retreat is a tiny rural community located near the junction of Farm roads 362 and 2 about eleven miles southeast of Navasota in southern Grimes County. This community began about 1851 with the establishment of the Houston-Retreat-Anderson-Springfield stagecoach line. A stagecoach stop, located about two miles east of Groce's Retreat, the former home of Jared E. Groce, took its name from that historic plantation. The McAlpine family owned sizeable landholdings in this area, which included a large section of territory known as Wallace Prairie. A post office was established at the new town of Retreat in 1851, and Josiah W. Ogden served as the first postmaster. Pioneers in the 1850s included the Wallace, White, Weaver, and McAlpine families. By the 1860s, with the operation of the Houston and Texas Central Railway in the nearby town of Courtney to the west, the community of Retreat also had access to a railroad station. The post office closed in 1867 but was reestablished in 1872. More settlers moved to Retreat after the Civil War, and a number of African-American families including the Bennetts, Hearnes, Pratts, and Coopers farmed in the area. By the mid-1880s Retreat had a population of seventy-five. Joseph Clark was postmaster and operated a general store. The town also had a cotton gin, steam gristmill, church, and school. By the late 1890s the population was fifty. In 1915 the Retreat school district was consolidated with the nearby White Hall district. An African-American school operated in the vicinity in the early 1900s, and black residents built Pleasant Hill Baptist Church. Farming remained a mainstay of the community in the early twentieth century, and highway maps in the 1930s still showed numerous dwellings in the region. By the 1980s, however, only two families lived in Retreat. No population figures were available in 1990 or 2000.
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.
Laurie E. Jasinski | © Texas State Historical Association
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