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ELM MOTT, TEXAS


McLennan County, Central Texas North

31 40' 19" N, 97 5' 56" W (31.671944, -97.098889)

Interstate 35 and FM 308
8 Miles N of Waco
Population: 300 Est (2020) 190 Est. (2010, 2000)

Elm Mott, Texas Area Hotels › Waco Hotels

Elm Mott TX  Railroad Section House
Elm Mott Railroad Section House
Click on image to enlarge
Photo courtesy Richard Wilshire
See Texas Railroads

History in a Pecan Shell

Settled shortly after the Civil War, the area had been known as Geneva until a post office was applied for in 1872. Citizens were saddened to learn that another community had beaten them to the name. Since there was a grouping of Elms in the vicinity, the name Elm Mott was submitted and accepted.

As the Missouri, Kansas and Texas Railroad extended its tracks from Hillsboro to Taylor, Elm Mott found itself in the right place. With a population of just 40 citizens in the mid 1880s, the town grew to 247 by 1900.

It briefly broke 300 residents, but drought and the boll weevil dealt the town a double-whammy even before the Great Depression arrived. Somehow the population maintained its population around 250.

Highway expansion in the late 1950s forced many residents to relocate, but the population stayed just below 300. The population has been given as 190 from the 1970s to 2010.

Elm Mott TX - First Water Well & Storage Tower 1881
The earliest water well & storage tower in Elm Mott dating back to 1881
Photo courtesy Richard Wilshire
More Windmills in Texas

History of my hometown, Elm Mott, Texas

By Richard Wilshire

The town of Geneva originated from two grants, the first being from the Texas Governor George T. Wood to Samuel Burton on January 17th, 1849 and the second from Texas Governor P. H. Bell on July 10th, 1850 to Edward Holmes, it being 1280 acres of land. On March 4th, 1892, E. M. Long placed on public record in Volume 86, page 488 of the deed of records in McLennan County a plat of the town of Geneva which was called Long's Addition in the town of Geneva. This came from the survey bought by F. M. Long from Seth Miller on January 7th, 1869. L.B. Christian bought 150 acres on October 17th, 1870 from Seth Miller. Seth Miller acquired this land on October 8th, 1864 from the Confederate States of America. It was sold for taxes for the year 1861. Jesse Wesson Miller bought his first farm consisting of 200 acres east of Geneva from Seth Miller in 1868. The Little Tehuacana Creek crossed his land. To get to the farm you had to go down Little Leroy Road. He built a log house for his family and dug an enormous well which was walled with stone. Jesse built a lovely large home on his 2nd farm near White Rock Creek. L. B. Christian bought more land on October 27th, 1870 from D. L. Chamberlain, it being part of the original 1280 acres granted to E. H. Holmes in 1850.

Two of Elm Mott's earliest settlers, Louis Bishop Christian and Edward M. Long, described the area as a wilderness or "an earthly Eden" when they first arrived. Both came to the sparsely populated region known at that time as Geneva Station just north of Waco Village after serving in the Civil War. Some of the other early settlers in Geneva were Charles R. Bastille, Jesse Miller, the Behelers, Christians, Longs, F. M. Crabtree and Thompson McFerrin.

When the community applied for a post office several years later on November 8th, 1872, the area's name changed to Elm Mott in order to avoid confusion, as there was already another Texas town bearing the name Geneva. Local residents selected Elm Mott because of a nearby grove of Elm trees. William C. Griffin served as the first postmaster, and the post office operated until November 11th, 1873. It was reestablished May 12th, 1876, in with William A. Miller as postmaster. Throughout its years of operation, the post office was housed in businesses around the area including several local stores, those being the old Joe Beheler's grocery store that was located on the corner of US highways 77/81 and FM 308 and, Cain Christians General Store which had an odd fellows club upstairs and in William "Bucky" Harris's McLennan County Bank opened in Elm Mott in 1921. However, state examiners closed it in 1926 after a previous year's drought kept area farmers from repaying their loans. The current post office was built in 1988 at the corner of F. M. 308 and the Old Dallas Highway.

For many years, children in the surrounding area attended school in a one-room log cabin in Lewis Christian's pasture, where one teacher taught all grades. In 1876 Edward M. Long gave land for a building to be used by the Methodist Episcopal Church south, the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, the Missionary Baptist Church and the State of Texas for a free public school. This building was called Union Grove and was completed in September 1876 The White Rock Baptist Church began holding services there in November of 1876.

The community truly began to grow when the Missouri, Kansas, and Texas Railroad laid tracks from Hillsboro to Taylor in 1881, passing through Elm Mott. The depot came to stand as a center of commerce for the area. Thomas McFerrin, his wife Belle and their daughters Alma and Agnes moved to Elm Mott in 1891. Thomas and his daughter Agnes were station agents for the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad until he passed away in November of 1936 leaving Agnes to take over the duties. Agnes also taught Sunday School classes at the Methodist Church in Elm Mott since she was 14 years old. She unexpectedly passed away in the MKT hospital in Denison, Texas on May 17th, 1936 after undergoing surgery. The McFerrin house faced the depot on the east and was a boarding house for teachers and many of the railroad workers. Cain Christian's general store faced the depot on the West side. A loading pen for cattle was beside the store to the South. The Stroman's barber shop was located beside Cain Christians store on the East side of the railroad track. In the decade following the arrival of the railway, the population tripled and the settlement boasted a hotel, a gristmill and cotton gin, two general stores, Fred Neaves general store in Elm Mott was typical of stores in every county town. It was heated by a wood-burning stove, around which plank chairs were grouped, the store was as much community center as shopping center. Most of the shelf products were canned or bottled, but the railroad brought in boxed apples and stalks of bananas. The store also sold cloth in bolts, salted bacon in slabs, and lard in buckets. In 1881 Jesse W. Miller opened a store about one and one-half miles north of Geneva, where he engaged in merchandising in connection with his farming pursuits. In 1890 E. M. Long and his wife S. Elizabeth Long gave the town the land on what is now F. M. 308 and Church Street for a larger Methodist Church, the present Methodist Church still remains on this site. This is the sixth church to be on this site.

Carl "Charley" Christian Itschner and his wife Mollie Charlotte Heitmiller Itschner lived on their farm that was located between the Old Dallas Highway and Highway 77/81 on the south edge of Elm Mott.

In 1872 Jim Miller rode into Waco, he was serving on the Grand Jury there, on his return trip home he was ambushed and shot by Bush Whackers, his horse dragged his body home to the gate of his farm in Geneva. He was buried in Concord Cemetery near Bellmead in McLennan County, his wife was left with 8 children.

Another rail line passed through Elm Mott after Mary E. Thomas deeded land to the Northern and Texas Central Railroad Company on October 28th, 1879. The track was laid to Ross, Texas, and renamed the Waco & Northwestern Company. M-K-T unsuccessfully attempted to purchase the line, later choosing to build its own line in the region. Elm Mott had 2 cotton gins, one being the Co-Op gin belonging to the farmers of the area and the other belonging to J. D. Long, S. T Christian and M. C. Christian of Elm Mott. They bought the gin from the J. A. Nichols Gin Company in Leroy for $ 3,600 and moved it to Elm Mott in 1907. In 1913 an interurban line from Dallas was completed, passing through Elm Mott on the way to Waco. The line ran parallel to the M-K-T on the west side of Elm Mott and provided citizens with convenient and economical transportation to Waco and Dallas. On April 11th, 1929 the Waco & Northwestern Company's line was abandoned. The interurban operated until December 31th, 1948, when the Texas Electric Railway ceased operations. In 1920, J. D. Long gifted land for a new school. A two-story building was erected at the site. In 1938, the second story of the building was turned into a gym and auditorium. Officials combined Elm Mott Independent School District and the Lakeview Independent School District to form the Connally Consolidated Independent School District in the early 1950's.

The second half of the twentieth century brought a number of changes to Elm Mott. Beginning in the 1940s, the government established plans to renovated and upgrade US Highway 81. Initially, residents hoped this would spur the growth of the already expanding population, leading to Elm Mott's incorporation as a town. Unfortunately, the expansion of the highway to an Interstate Highway in the 1950s forced many Elm Mott residents to vacate homes and relocate their businesses. As of today Elm Mott remains unincorporated.

The Church of Christ first met in 1953 in a small home on the corner of the Elm Mott School grounds. In 1955 a house was moved to its present location on Battaile Street and the Old Dallas Highway. A new church was started in 1961 and completed in 1965.


"This is what I have researched on the history of my hometown, Elm Mott, Texas" - Richard Wilshire, February 18, 2022



TX - Elm Mott Schoolhouse
Elm Mott Schoolhouse
As Union Grove school in 1876, Geneva in 1887, and Elm Mott in 1897

Photo courtesy Richard Wilshire


Elm Mott TX - Elm Mott School history
History of the Elm Mott School
Click on image to enlarge

Courtesy Richard Wilshire


TX - Elm Mott Elementary School
"The Elm Mott Elementary School, I went there from 1949 until 1955, it was built in 1920 and still stands today."
- Richard Wilshire, November 5, 2017
More Texas Schoolhouses


Elm Mott TX KATY depot
Elm Mott KATY Depot
Photo courtesy Richard Wilshire
More Texas Depots | Texas Railroads


Elm Mott TX  depot, Western Union Telegraph
Western Union Telegraph at the depot
Photo courtesy Richard Wilshire


 Elm Mott, Texas - Emmitt D. Wilshire in front of his Texaco Service Station
"My Dad, Emmitt D. Wilshire in front of his Texaco service station in Elm Mott in the mid 40's."
Richard Wilshire, November 5, 2017
More Texas Gas Stations


Elm Mott TX  Barber Shop
Elm Mott Barber Shop
Photo courtesy Richard Wilshire


Elm Mott TX  Gin
Elm Mott Cotton Gin
Photo courtesy Richard Wilshire
More Texas Cotton Gins


TX - Elm Mott Cemetery, a black cemetery
Elm Mott Cemetery - a black cemetery.
Photo courtesy Richard Wilshire
More Texas Cemeteries | Texas Black History



People:

Elm Mott's Eccentric Airman by Michael Barr

"W. D. Custead, a cousin to Buffalo Bill Cody, was an MKT railroad agent in Elm Mott - a tiny town north of Waco. He was also a tinkerer with a passion for powered flight. In 1894 Custead began work on an airship ..."
Read full article



Elm Mott TX - BankJan 1923
"An old advertising picture of the Elm Mott Bank, it had a calendar on the bottom which was dated January 1923."
- Richard Wilshire, November 5, 2017

Take a road trip

Central Texas North

Elm Mott, Texas Nearby Towns:
Waco the county seat
See McLennan County

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