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    BELGRADE, TEXAS

    Texas Ghost Town
    Newton County, East Texas
    FM 1416
    1 Mile W of the Sabine River
    About 60 Miles N of Beaumont
    SE of Newton and Jasper

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     Site of Town of Belgrade Texas Centennial Marker
    "Site of the Town of Belgrade" Texas Centennial Marker
    Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, December 2010
    History in a Pecan Shell

    The site was called Biloxi by Indians although it isn't clear why or if there is any connection to the place of the same name on the Mississippi coast. William McFarland settled here in 1837, making it the oldest settlement in what would become Sabine County.

    The name was borrowed from the capital of (what was then) Serbia in hopes it would become as successful a riverport as that city. McFarland sold lots here for $100 - a hefty price when vast plots sold for pennies per acre. It did develop as a port during the 1840s and 50s and due to a huge raft of logs upstream, Belgrade was the last navigable point on the river.

    Belgrade was granted a post office by 1840 and 13 years later the name of Biloxi resurfaced. It went as Biloxi for about seven years when the townsfolk (and postal authorities) changed it back to Belgrade. River commerce was dampened by the ever-expanding railroads in the 1880s and Belgrade's commerce declined accordingly.

    While its location on the river was advantagous for floating logs to market downstrean, the inland sawmills and the railroads killed all hope of Belgrade developing a sustaining industry. After the Civil War, the post office closed, reopened around 1880 and closed again in 1906. It opened again in 1910 and remained open until 1936 - the year the Centennial marker was installed.

    Although the original townsite was abandoned years ago, nearby communities of Upper and Lower Belgrade are currently inhabited.

    Photographer's Note:
    Subject: Newton County: "Old" Belgrade

    "This is a strange one. It's up to you to figure it out. Dig out your map of Newton County.

    Belgrade, as currently shown on the map, is located about 12.5 miles southeast of Newton on FM 1416. The Belgrade Centennial Marker is two miles SSW of Belgrade near the Sabine River, or one mile SE of Sandjack. The Old Belgrade Cemetery is located 2 miles SW of Belgrade or 0.3 miles south of Sandjack.

    The Francis Wilson Historical Marker (poor photo due to camera facing the sun) is located at Sandjack on FM1416. It states that Wilson is buried in the Old Belgrade Cemetery, "2 mi SE" (of Sandjack). The current Old Belgrade Cemetery is only 0.3 miles south of the marker. ????" - Barclay Gibson, December 2010

    PEOPLE:

  • Heavyweight champ Jack Johnson by Bob Bowman
    Heavyweight champ Jack Johnson was arrested for boxing in 1903 in Galveston. Johnson, who was born in Galveston and honed his physical skills by lifting cotton bales as a youngster in the Newton County river port of Belgrade, became the heavyweight title in 1910 when he defeated Jim Jeffries...
  • Francis Wilson
  • Belgrade Texas Centennial Marker
    Belgrade Townsite Centennial Marker
    Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, December 2010
    See Texas Centennial
    Belgrade Texas - Old Belgrade Cemetery
    Old Belgrade Cemetery
    Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, December 2010
    Belgrade Texas - Old Belgrade Cemetery
    Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, December 2010
    Belgrade Texas - Old Belgrade Cemetery
    Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, December 2010
    More Texas Cemeteries
    Belgrade Texas Centennial Marker
    Centennial Marker Full View
    Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, December 2010
    Belgrade Texas - Francis Wilson Historical Marker
    Francis Wilson Historical Marker
    On FM 1416 "6 miles SE of Bon Wier"

    Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, December 2010
    Historical Marker Text

    Francis Wilson

    (1790-1867)
    A central figure in the early days of Texas Methodism, Virginia native Francis Wilson was the son of a Scot-Irish immigrant and a native Marylander. After a brief period of military service in the War of 1812, he became a Methodist minister, preaching his first sermon on Dec. 25, 1815. He rode the circuits in West Virginia and Ohio until 1839, when he moved to the Republic of Texas over the objections of family, friends, and his bishop.

    Stationed first at Shelbyville and then at San Augustine, Wilson traveled over all of East Texas, holding camp meetings and organizing churches. Noted for his lectures and stirring sermons, he was respected throughout the area. In 1846 Wilson was appointed as a delegate to the first convention of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. He was instrumental in the establishment of Wesleyan Male and Female College in San Augustine. In 1847 Wilson and wife Elizabeth settled near Belgrade on the Sabine River.

    Francis Wilson's last official service was in 1851 as a missionary to the black communities on the Austin circuit. Shortly after, he retired in poor health to his home in Newton County, but continued to preach locally until 1864. He died three years later and is buried in the Old Belgrade Cemetery (2 mi. SE).
    Texas- 1940s Newton County map
    1940s Newton County map showing Bon Weir (SE of Newton)
    Courtesy Texas General Land Office
    Texas Escapes, in its purpose to preserve historic, endangered and vanishing Texas, asks that anyone wishing to share their local history, stories, and vintage/historic photos, please contact us.
    Belgrade, Texas
    Area Destinations:

    Newton
    Jasper
    Beaumont

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