Yorktown is on State Highway 72 and Coleto Creek seventy-five miles east of San Antonio and thirty-six miles northwest of Victoria in southwestern DeWitt County. Settlement began in 1846 when Capt. John York, Indian fighter and landowner in South Texas, moved to Coleto Creek near the present townsite. York and Charles Eckhardt, a prosperous merchant and land speculator from Indianola, planned a trading post and a new, shorter route for teamsters from Indianola to San Antonio. In February 1848 Eckhardt contracted with John A. King to survey this road via York's property and King's home on the Coleto. Many German immigrants traveled this route, the Old Indianola Trail, to settle here. York conveyed half interest in the townsite property to Eckhart and others, and the first ten settlers were promised a lot and ten acres of land gratis. Eckhardt built Yorktown's first log house in May 1848 and established the Charles Eckhardt and Sons store in 1850. Captain York was killed in October 1848 defending the settlement from marauding Indians. Yorktown was named in his honor when it was chartered on August 2, 1854. It was incorporated in 1871 and established its first post office that year. The first school opened in 1853 and the first church in 1857. In 1886 the Aransas Pass Railway was built through a mile to the south of the community. The town slowly relocated to the railway line, and for a time the old site of the community was called Upper Yorktown. Yorktown grew slowly but steadily and by 1898 had 846 residents, a newspaper, and more than fifty businesses, such as hotels, groceries, blacksmith shops, cotton gins, and saloons. In 1902 the fire department was organized and built a fire station. The chamber of commerce dates from 1918. The Yorktown Fair Association, organized in 1920, sponsored the annual "Little World's Fair" until 1949. The chamber of commerce sponsors an annual Western Days celebration. In 1980 Yorktown had a population of 2,498 and more than 150 businesses, including an oilfield-equipment factory. In 1985 the 1871 Charles Eckhardt store, fully restored, housed a museum and was listed in the National Register of Historic Places. In 1990 Yorktown had a population of 2,207. The population reached 2,271 in 2000.
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