a Pecan Shell
into being in 1838 with the donation of land by Moses Herrin. Twelve
families formed the core population in that year and in 1847 it became
the first county seat of the newly-formed Limestone
The community incorporated in 1848 and had a post office to serving
a population of 120. Prior to the Civil War, the community was thriving
with five stores as well as its own newspaper and two hotels.
The community was excited at the prospects of getting a railroad connection
in the 1870s, but they rejected the railroad’s price for a right-of-way.
Springfield’s status as county seat didn’t impress the railroad and
as in most cases of this sort, the railroad went elsewhere.
Groesbeck and Mexia
benefited by their railroad connection, but Springfield still had
the courthouse. That changed in 1873 when the courthouse burned and
Groesbeck became the county seat.
The population moved to the more prosperous towns and Springfield
was on its way to becoming a ghost. By 1878 the post office closed
and it started disappearing from maps. Only the cemetery was left
by the 1930s when it became part of the Fort
Parker State Park.
It’s status as the first county seat is mentioned in two historical
markers in the area erected in the 1960s.
Missionary Baptist Church
Gibson, June 2010
Named for the large
spring on townsite donated Jan. 6, 1838, by Moses Herrin, who gave
4 lots to any person agreeing to settle in the town. 12 families later
in 1838 were forced out by Indian hostility. Post office was established
in 1846. When Limestone
County was created April 11, 1846, Springfield-- its only town
of any size-- became county seat. First courthouse was built 1848
near Navasota River; new 2-story brick courthouse in 1856 on the hill.
Home of Springfield District of Methodist Church from which stemmed
the Northwest Texas Conference.
Also had active Baptist and Disciples of Christ churches. Springfield
College was established, but closed during the Civil War. The Navasota
Stock Raisers Association was organized here.
When Houston & Texas Central Railroad was built some miles to the
East in 1870, population dwindled.
In 1873 there were 2 great fires in the town-- one burning the courthouse.
Surviving buildings were moved away. Groesbeck
became the county seat. The old cemetery and Springfield Lake, both
in Fort Parker
State Park, retain the historic name of the once important town.
Lake Springfield provides recreation, irrigation and municipal water.
a 10-acre community burial ground in town plat dedicated Jan. 6, 1838,
by Moses Herrin. Earliest graves probably never had stone markers
because of primitive frontier living conditions. It is recorded that
12 families were driven out of Springfield late in 1838 by Indian
hostilities; the town's growth was halted materially until 1846.
Oldest tombstone is for an infant who died Oct. 3, 1849. Another early
marker is for a native of New York State "Slain in 1854 violence for
his gold". This burial ground was open to use by surrounding areas,
and many strangers found a final resting place here alongside veterans
of the Texas War for Independence, the Mexican War and other conflicts.
Since Springfield was county seat of Limestone
County (1846-1878), home of Springfield College (closed in the
1860's) and a center for church and business affairs, it attracted
persons of distinction. Some of them were buried here. Although the
town lost its means of growth after it was bypassed by Houston & Texas
Central Railroad in 1870 and then suffered a devastating fire in 1873,
families of old residents often have returned to bury their dead in
their established lots, beside pioneer forefathers.
in Old Springfield Cemetery
Photo courtesy Barclay
Gibson, June 2010
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