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KELSEY, TEXAS


Texas Ghost Town

Upshur County, East Texas

32 43' 54" N, 95 2' 59" W (32.731667, -95.049722)

FM 1795
7 miles W of Gilmer the county seat
30 miles NW of Longview
Population: 50 Est. (2000) 200 (1990)

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TX - Kelsey schoolhouse
Kelsey schoolhouse
Photo courtesy Dustin Martin, March 2016
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History in a Pecan Shell

The town was named for early settler W. H. Kelsey - a doctor who arrived sometime before the Civil War. In 1901 a colony of Mormons was founded on Kelsey Creek. It drew Mormons from far and wide and a school was established that same year - run by missionaries from the Mother Church in Utah.

The post office opened in 1902 and closed in 1918. In 1910 the Marshall and East Texas Railway arrived and Kelsey's future seemed bright.

By 1911 the town had a brick kiln, sawmills, a cotton gin, two blacksmiths, and a gristmill.

The Kelsey Academy, a public school staffed by Mormon missionaries opened in 1911. Kelsey reached its zenith in 1917 with 750 people and more living nearby in Enoch, a Mormon settlement. The railroad was abandoned in 1917, the post office closed and during the 1920s and 1930s people moved away in droves. By 1938 there were 350 people left but after WWII it declined further. Then came school consolidation which finished the town off.

By the mid-1960s all that was left was one store and a church and cemetery. It is now known as a dispersed community and the remaining residents are descendants of the original Mormon settlers.


[See Texas Mormons by Clay Coppedge]

TX - Kelsey Mormon Colony historical marker
Kelsey Mormon Colony historical marker
Photo courtesy Dustin Martin, March 2016
See Texas Mormons by Clay Coppedge

Historical Marker: FM 1795 about 5 miles W of Gilmer

Kelsey Mormon Colony

Received church endorsement after Mormon brothers John and Jim Edgar bought a large tract of timber land here in 1898.

By end of 1901, Sunday School and church were organized.

In Nov. 1902, townsite was laid out by church officials. Post office was located in J. S. Ault store. One-room building served as school and church until 1909, when first church was built (1/10 mi. W).

Kelsey Branch was sponsor of Latter Day Saints churches in Enoch, Dallas, Gilmer, Tyler, Longview, Pittsburg, Texarkana, Hooks and Marshall; joined with Enoch, Gilmer churches, in 1958.
1969

TX - Kelsey map
Kelsey map
Photo courtesy Dustin Martin, March 2016


Upshur County TX 1920s old map
Upshur County 1920s Map showing Kelsey
W of Gilmer
(Above "P" in "UPSHUR")
From Texas state map #10749
Courtesy Texas General Land Office

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Kelsey, Texas Nearby Towns:
Gilmer the county seat
Diana
Gladewater
Longview
Tyler
Mount Pleasant
Jefferson
See Upshur County

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