Smith Bend, inside a bend of the Brazos River a few miles below Lake Whitney in southeastern Bosque County, was settled in 1856 by John Jackson Smith, a wealthy landowner from Scott County, Mississippi. Smith's oldest son, Burton was sent ahead to Texas but died before the rest of the family arrived. Meanwhile, Smith's daughter and son-in-law, Ann and Silas McCabe, moved from South Texas to join the slaves who had accompanied Burton Smith. The McCabes eventually formed the adjacent Coon Creek community. Smith may have seen the land during one of his trips as a government guide to relocate Indians from Mississippi to Indian Territory. After the deaths of John Smith and his widow, Margaret Butler Smith, seven of their children continued to live in Smith Bend or nearby. His youngest son, Gip, emerged as a prominent rancher-merchant. By 1900 the farming community, also known as Smith's Bend or Smiths Bend, had 100 residents, mostly tenant farmers. But by then the numerous slave descendants had virtually disappeared from Smith Bend. Smith Bend never developed commercially beyond a roadside store. A three-teacher school, open since the 1880s, closed in the early 1940s. By then, many of the farmers, beset by the Great Depression, had fled to other jobs. The opening of Lake Whitney in 1950 resulted in a paved road (Farm Road 2114) and a bridge across the Brazos at Smith Bend. But the economic benefits went to the new lakeside businesses, bypassing the older community. As the land passed into other hands, river landmarks known to earlier generations, such as Twin Rock Bluff, Burks Crossing and Chalk Bluff, were cut off from public access. The Smith Bend-Coon Creek Cemetery, in which Burton Smith was the first burial, contains 500 graves. Of the twenty houses now scattered along the roads, only half a dozen date from the 1930s or earlier. A Baptist church was built in 1962 to replace the old schoolhouse as a meeting place. In 1990 a gravel-processing plant and a commercial pecan orchard dominated the community.
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