Texas is filled with towns bearing odd names, ranging from Dimple
and Cuthand in
Red River County
to Pluck and Soda
in Polk County--and
with places like Yallo Busha and Slocum
thrown in for good measure.
Just how these and other strangely-named communities got their names
is a whole slice of East
example, take Redwater, located twelve miles southwest of Texarkana
in southeastern Bowie County.
By itself, Redwater isn’t a terribly unusual name, but the
story behind the name is a heck of a tale, especially when you throw
in an agnostic, a colorful British-born postmaster, and the first
set of female quadruplets born in the U.S.
In the mid-1870s, a small town grew up around a sawmill operated
by two men named Daniels and Spence. who decided to name the community
for agnostic Robert Ingersoll and established a post office in his
honor in 1881.
But in 1886, the town started talking about founding a church and
called in Rev. R.D. Fuller, pastor of Texarkana’s
First Methodist Church, for help.
A Methodist church was organized and a few years later, the town
held a revival with a hundred conversions.
With a church and an expanded religious faith, townspeople decided
they didn’t want to live in a town named for a man who didn’t believe
So they trashed Ingersoll, and adopted the name “Redwater” because
the water in nearly all of the springs and shallow wells around
the community had a reddish color.
They also mounted a campaign against liquor, closed down the town’s
saloons and forced their owners to leave the community. That was
in 1899 and since then, whiskey has not been sold in Redwater.
Then came E.T. Page, a British-born businessman who liked East
Texas so well that he was often called “East Texas Page.” He
soon became a tutor for children in the nearby community of Mooresville.
When a group of Texarkana financiers approached Page about establishing
a bank in Redwater. Page agreed and, after the Texarkana financiers
procrastinated, he established the Citizens Bank on his own in 1913.
An avid Democrat, Page also served as Redwater’s postmaster for
several years during a Democratic administration in Washington.
But when Republican Grover Cleveland became president, Page was
on the verge of losing his postal job.
Page’s wife Nannie, however, saved the day.
She gave birth to female quadruplets--reportedly the first born
in the U.S.
Learning of the history-making quads, President Cleveland decided
that E.T. Page could remain a postmaster, regardless of his political
Redwater also found itself famous because of the quads. Every time
a train stopped at the local depot, passengers wanted to see the
famous little girls. Gifts poured in from all over the nation.
Meanwhile, E.T. Page, the rock-ribbed Texas Democrat, was also basking
in the glory.and often referred to his daughters as “the children
who kept a Democrat in office under a Republican administration.”