recent caller from Bowie County had an intriguing question: “Does
East Texas have a town
named Twin Groceries?”
The answer is yes and no..
Around 1850, John Arthur helped settle the town of Saltillo
on the Old Jefferson wagon road sixteen miles east of Sulphur
Springs in Hopkins
It soon became a popular place for teamsters, leading to the establishment
of a post office in 1860 with Moses Russell as the postmaster.
The town also had a gristmill, a cotton gin and a store.
A second store was opened on the opposite side of the road from
Arthur’s grocery store and, for a time, the community was known
as “Twin Groceries” for obvious reasons.
But the name didn’t last long and Saltillo
soon reemerged, By 1885, Saltillo
had a water-powered gristmill, two churches, a school and a population
of about sixty. But what about Saltillo’s
Admittedly, it’s not as colorful as Twin Groceries, but it does
have an interesting history.
Saltillo, Mexico, the namesake of the one in Hopkins County, and
Austin share a unique
place in Texas history.
Both were Texas capitals.
Saltillo was the capital of Texas when its territory was part of
the Mexican state of Coahulia before Texas won its independence
and Austin became the
capital of the Republic
In 1989, while I was serving on the Texas Sesquicentennial Commission,
a delegation from Saltillo, Mexico, journeyed to Austin
to help Texas celebrate its 150th birthday.
In 1887, the St. Louis Southwestern Railroad built a line a few
miles north of Saltillo,
Texas, and one of the town’s two grocery stores moved to the
train station site. Twin Groceries had no good reason to use its
a school in 1905 with an enrollment of eighty-four. And in 1909
the Gulf Pipe Line was laid through Hopkins County near Saltillo,
further spurring its growth.
The town kept growing and by 1904 it had a population of about 350,
a number of stores, several barber shops, a bank, a printing shop,
and a newspaper known as the Saltillo Signal.
The town continued to grow during the l920s, but the Depression
years reduced its prosperity and its population fell to 250.
is still an active settlement of about 200 folks and a few stores
at the intersection of U.S. Highway 67, Farm Road 900, and the railroad.
The town is also less than a mile from Interstate Highway 30.
Sadly, there is nothing left of Twin Groceries, but a colorful old
Bob Bowman's East Texas
July 18, 2009 Column, Modified 6-18-12
A weekly column syndicated in 109 East Texas newspapers