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The Iron Road Sorority
Penelope, Maypearl, and Venus

by John Troesser
Maypearl watertower & Dr Pepper sign
Maypearl, Texas
TE Photo, 2001
Scarlett may have had a fever named after her, but these women/girls had Texas towns named after them.

Railroad expansions in Texas created towns. The towns needed naming and many times the names were in honor of railroad executive's wives, daughters, mistresses or maybe even a Harvey Girl or two - who knows?

South of Houston the towns of Louise, Edna and Inez were all related to railroad investor Count Telferner. The Count ran out of female relatives, or he decided enough was enough, for he named one town Telferner.

In the blackland prairie between Waco and Dallas there's another string of these towns. These towns have shared common rises and falls, ebbs and flows, trials and tribulations and for this reason (and their feminine names) we link them together here. Our sources are all short on personal traits and descriptions. We have no idea of how they looked or what their personalities were like. Only their names remain.

A quick look at a map of this region of Texas will show that there are more towns here with women's names. There's Irene (Hill County) and Lillian (Johnson County). Irene (we always thought she should've married into the Goodnight family) was named before the railroad came through, so she's not in our sisterhood. Lillian (the town) has an unusual story in that it was named after two Lillians - wives of local men who owned land along the railroad. So in this part of Texas you have seven women who loaned their names to five towns - all of them along the rails of the International-Great Northern Railroad.


Click on any of these three towns - they are all linked together, just as they are in history.
Venus | Maypearl | Penelope


John Troesser

January, 2001 column

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