|James J. Corbett
1890, Wikimedia Commons
in a Pecan Shell
First settled just after the Civil War by a man called
Colonel Cook, it's original name had been Cook's Schoolhouse.
With the arrival of the railroad the town name was changed to Waters,
Until recently, history had forgotten the source of the name Corbet.
Germann, Historian and postal researcher who looked 9deep) into
the matter and found that just prior to the postal application, prizefighter
James John (Gentleman Jim) Corbet had won the title of Heavyweight
Champion of the World by defeating his fellow Irishman John L. Sullivan.
(See John Germann's letter below.)*
Postmasters were not above hero worship and the American landscape
is littered with place names of nearly forgotten celebrities, characters
The community produced enough children to require a school and in
1906, it had 57 students being taught by one exasperated teacher.
The population reached its zenith in 1914 with a very respectable
At the close of WWII,
Corbet's population had been reduced by two-thirds. The 1970 Census
reported just 80 people - the same was used through 2000.
Germann's email: "The name origins of a lot of Texas post offices
are lost to the public, and oftentimes lost to history. But there's
one fewer now.
No one seemed to know the name origin. I had not come up with it
when I did all of my research years ago, the Handbook of Texas
was quiet on the subject, the websites dealing with Navarro County
said nothing. I checked genealogical sites, cemetery transcriptions,
census records, etc. - looking for some Corbet family which might
have lived in the area in 1893. All in complete vain.
And, then, I found it - a quick mention on some obscure website.
The notation suggested that the first postmaster named it for the
legendary boxer, "Gentleman Jim Corbett." I checked up on that and,
sure enough, in the previous year (1892) Corbett had beaten the
even more legendary John L. Sullivan to win the heavyweight championship.
Hallelujah! That's the kind of thing that makes research worth researching."
had an early movie career,
Here he is shown impatiantly waiting for a train.
map showing Corbet
(Under "V" in "NAVARRO")
Modification of Texas General Land Office 1920s map
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