a Pecan Shell
Named after Saltillo,
Mexico (no reason known) by storekeeper John Arthur, the town was
settled before the Civil War.
In 1860 the community was granted a post office. A rival store opened
across from Arthur's store which gave the town the unofficial name
of "Twin Groceries."
The population was 60 by the mid 1880s. (See 1882
map below.) The St. Louis Southwestern Railroad laid tracks 1.5
miles north of Saltillo in 1887, the post office and one store moved
to the new community, creating an "Old Saltillo" which still
appears on detailed Hopkins
The population of (new) Saltillo was 350 by 1914 and all essential
businesses were established, including a newspaper.
Like most towns, Saltillo prospered in the 20s and declined in the
30s. The 1933 population of 250 residents remained for the 1940 census.
In 1964 the population had increased to 270 but has decreased to 200
by 1990. The same figure is given for the 200 census.
Old Saltillo remains in the form of a Methodist
church and cemetery.
A recent caller from Bowie County had an intriguing question recently,
“Does East Texas have a town named Twin Groceries?”
The answer is yes and no.
Around 1850, John Arthur helped settle the town of Saltillo
on the Old Jefferson wagon road sixteen miles east of Sulphur Springs
in Hopkins County. He named it a town in Mexico.
Saltillo soon became a popular place for teamsters, leading
to the establishment of a post office in 1860 with Moses Russell as
The town also had a gristmill, a cotton gin and a store.
A second store was opened on the opposite side of the road from Arthur’s
store and for the first time, the community was known as “Twin Groceries”
for obvious reasons.
But the name didn’t last long and Saltillo reemerged. By 1885.
Saltillo had a water-powered gristmill, two churches, a school and
a population of about sixty. But what about Saltillo’s name?
Admittedly, it’s not as colorful as Twin Groceries, but it does have
an interesting history.
Saltillo, Mexico, the namesake of the one in Hopkins County, and Austin
share a unique place in Texas history. Both were Texas capitals.
Saltillo was the capital of Texas when its territory was part of the
Mexican state of Coahulia before Texas won its independence and Austin
became the capital of the Republic of Texas.
In 1989, while I was serving on the Texas Sesquicentennial Commission,
a delegation from Saltillo, Mexico, journeyed to Austin to help Texas
celebrate its 150th birthday.
In 1887, the St. Louis Southwestern Railroad built a line a few miles
north of Saltillo, Texas, and one of the town’s two grocery stores
moved to the train station site. Twin Groceries had no good reason
to use its name anymore.
Saltillo opened a school in 1905 with an enrollment of eighty-four.
And in 1909 the Gulf Pipe Line was laid through Hopkins County near
Saltillo, further spurring its growth.
The town kept growing and by 1904 it had a population of about 350,
a number of stores, several barber shops, a bank, a printing shop,
and a newspaper known as the Saltillo Signal.
The town continued to grow during the l920s, but the Depression years
reduced its prosperity and its population fell to 250.
Today, Saltillo is still an active settlement of about 200 folks and
a few stores at the intersection of U.S. Highway 67, Farm Road 900,
and the railroad. The town is also less than a mile from Interstate
Sadly, there is nothing left of Twin Groceries, but a colorful old
Post Office Drug Store at Saltillo, Texas
In 1930 Rua Arthur opened the Post Office Drug Store in its new
building facing the newly paved U.S. Highway 67, also known as the
Bankhead Highway and the Broadway of America. A few yards behind
the building were the Cotton Belt Railroad tracks and a depot. The
drug store occupied one half of the new building; the other half
was a grocery operated by Rua's brother Eric.
When I was younger, I could never quite understand how anyone could
be devoted to the town where I was born. My birthplace was a farm
house five miles south of Saltillo, where our post office and school
Sounds of Home
In one of his essays Scott Russell Sanders writes that in centuries
past Japanese villagers were cautioned never to wander so far from
their homes that they could not hear the village drummer...
I grew up on a farm during the 1940s. The farm was located south
of Saltillo in the region of loamy soil just south of the crescent
of prairie land that extends over the eastern part of Texas...
Claims of the Wilderness
"As I stood on the site, I realized that the land that day
may have looked much the same when the Caddo Indians built their
Caudles: A Family of Entertainers
A memory of chipped Kewpie dolls and other chalk figures comes to
me when I recall the Arthurs’ farm house...
First and Only Football Team
In its seventy-five years as an accredited high school, Saltillo
fielded a football team only one year. The year was 1945, the year
I enrolled there as a ninth-grader. The Japanese had just surrendered
unconditionally a week or so before our term began...
Day Services at Old Saltillo Church
Beginning in the early 1930s, annual memorial services are held
at the Old Saltillo Methodist Church in Hopkins County. Until the
early ‘60s the program was scheduled for the third Thursday of July.
By that time the cotton crops had been “laid by.” It was a time
of waiting through the Dog Days of summer until the cotton bolls
began to open. Since 1960, the services are held on the second Sunday
In the late 1940s cattle auctions were common in the towns of Northeast
Texas. Each town picked a different day of the week so as not to
compete with nearby towns. Sulphur
Springs held its auction on Mondays, Mt.
Pleasant on Tuesdays, Paris
on Wednesdays, and Winnsboro on
Power We Longed For
In the years just before and during World War II two unpaved roads
led south from Saltillo. Those of us who lived on the road that
started from the east side of town used kerosene lamps and wood-burning
heaters and cook stoves. Those who lived on the road that ran from
the west side had the benefit of power supplied by an Rural Electric
Administration co-operative in Greenville...
Unsolved Mystery from The World War II Years
While walking across our pasture near Saltillo one rainy afternoon
in 1944, my father noticed a steel bar standing askew in the damp
Popular Music of the 1940s
As a child on a farm near Saltillo in the 1940s, I depended on radio
as the only contact with the world beyond our community. We had
no telephone. The only newspaper we received was a local weekly.
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