in a Pecan Shell
As you may have imagined, the town was named
after the town in Illinois. “Transient resident” B. F. Stewart, is credited with
suggesting the name after his former hometown. Peoria was comprised of 21 cabins
in the 1840s but the town had big plans. An entire square mile of streets was
platted in 1853 and in 1887 the town was granted a post office. By 1878 Peoria
had a population of 500 and hope were high. But when it was by-passed by the railroad
in 1890, it immediately declined to around 350.
In the 1880s the town
had daily stage service to Hillsboro
and Whitney, but the population still dropped
– reaching 129 by 1904.
The post office closed in 1907 and although there was some growth in the prosperous
20s, by the time the Great Depression arrived, Peoria was down to only four businesses.
The Baptist and Presbyterian churches still remain active and the population of
81 has been in use since the early 1980s.
Hill County map showing Peoria (SW of Hillsboro)|
Texas General Land Office