in a Pecan Shell
Electo Creek had several towns founded along its banks. Here, a Mr.
Carl Edward Riedel dammed the creek in 1869 and set up a small gristmill shortly
after others had settled there.
They decided to name the town in his
honor when the time came for a post office in 1871. The postal authorities granted
the application, but misspelled the name as Riddleville.
town underwent a change of name in 1905 when newspaper publisher E.G. Gillett
of Runge was honored for his contributions toward
The town's location made it a hub of activity
for NE Karnes County.
The town was practically self-sufficient with
post office, hotel, café, two stores, two saloons, two drugstores and a school.
By the prosperous 20s Gillett had a population of nearly 200.
Riedel Dam and Early Industries Historical Marker
Karnes County map
few relics from more prosperous times|
Photo courtesy William
Beauchamp, February 2011
Marker (on FM 887 West of Hwy 80)|
Riedel Dam and Early Industries 250
yards west lie the remains of a pioneer dam built in 1869 by Carl Edward Riedel
to supply the power for his sawmill, gristmill and cotton gin.
another German immigrant, Max Krueger, helped install Riedel's gin first
steam cotton gin in Karnes County. Shortly before, Krueger had built the barracks
to house 50 U.S. Cavalrymen near Helena.
Within 2 years a town grew up near Riedel's industries and was named Riddleville
in his honor. On June 9, 1871, the U.S. postal records were moved from Ecleto
post office (3 miles up the creek, where Kelly's Stage Stand stood) to the post
Between 1870 and 1886 Riddleville was one of the 5 principal
towns in Karnes County. It was located at the crossing of the Helena-Gonzales
Road and the Yorktown-Sutherland
Springs Road. In 1876 its population was about 75. In 1905 the name of the
town was changed to Gillett.
With lumber from his mill, Riedel
had built a hotel, which was destroyed by fire about 1905; but he immediately
built a second hotel. Many homes and business houses in this area were constructed
of Riedel's lumber, which can still be found today in existing Karnes County buildings.
storm or root cellar is all that remains of one business|
Karnes County map|
(Gillett above "E" in "Karnes", near
Wilson and Dewitt County line)
Courtesy Texas General Land Office
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