years ago this year, Concord vanished.
Not the one in Massachusetts; the one in East
In 1962, the waters of the Angelina River rolled out of their banks
to form Sam Rayburn Reservoir. In the process, they swallowed
up a settlement that had existed in Angelina
County for more than 125 years.
As a young reporter for the Houston Chronicle, I stood a few hundred
yards from Concordıs muddy main street and watched the town's 100
or so families -- the Moses, the Motts, the Hopsons and others --
weep over the loss of the homes their ancestors had hewn from logs
in the river bottom. Concord's families fought the U.S. Corps of
Engineers as long as they could.
In the end, they gave up and watched as the dam builders pulled
down their log houses, destroyed their school, moved their church,
dug up the bodies of their ancestors in Concord Cemetery, and finally
rolled behemoth tree crushers into the community to flatten its
When Forest Hopson realized he would have to leave, he moved his
small frame home with the help of neighbors. He then ripped apart
the other buildings on his land and carried the lumber to his new
homesite in his old, battered pickup truck.
But Hopson couldn't carry with him one of his proudest possessions,
a 12-foot cedar tree in his front yard. For ten years Hopson had
decorated the cedar as his Christmas tree.
of the first homes to go was a log cabin built by Colonel T.L. Mott,
one of the community's first settlers.
Mott pitched a tent in the river bottom in the early 1800s and soon
built the cabin for his family and for later use as a post office
for the town. In 1878, Mott was buried where his tent once stood.
The site became Mott Cemetery, one of five graveyards relocated
by the dam builders. One of Colonel Mott's sons, Rev. R.L. Mott,
founded Concord Missionary Baptist Church, which marked its 99th
anniversary just before it was moved. One of the old colonel's grandsons
owned Concordıs only store, a combination grocery and service station.
Before the dam builders demolished it, the store was used to store
wooden coffins for transporting the dead from Concord's cemeteries
to a new graveyard several miles away on Texas Highway 63.
The relocation of the graves bothered Concord's families the most.
Matthew Mott, another of the old colonel's kin, said: "When they
move the graves, the souls of our pioneers won't have any place
to rest. They'll just roam around, never leaving Concord." Today,
forty years later, maybe Concord's spirits are still there.