in a Pecan Shell
is one of the few counties in Texas
to have both County and Seat named after men who were blown-up in
the test firing of a cannon. Thomas W. Gilmer was an unfortunate sailor,
and Abel P. Upshur was the U.S. Secretary of State that fatal day
in February, 1844. The " Peacemaker," a state-of-the-art
naval gun had already been fired once with satisfactory results. President
Tyler was delayed a few seconds and narrowly escaped the blast that
killed 6 and injured 12. It was under John Tyler's administration
(and with his signature) that Texas
joined the Union.
Gilmer had had bad times in the 20s when other parts of Texas
had it good. It was only fair that when the Great Depression was being
felt elsewhere, oil was discovered near Gilmer in 1931. The boom paid
for the new Courthouse
in 1937. A quarantine that had been placed on sweet potatoes after
an infestation of weevils was lifted in 1935 and the thankful people
of Gilmore have been celebrating it ever since with their Yamboree.
with the new availability of cars, Gilmer's workforce was able to
drive to jobs in Longview,
and Marshall. This brought
in cash at first, but then workers started seeing things to spend
their money on in Longview,
Historical Marker Text
1846. Named for Thomas W. Gilmer, U. S. Secretary of the Navy and
ardent champion of annexation for Texas. Supply, training, production
and educational center during the Civil War. Farming, lumbering and
oil hub. Home of famous Annual Yamboree, Sweet Potato Festival.
town square in the 1930s
Photos Courtesy City of Gilmer
Archie P. McDonald
"... Upshur County, authorized by the legislature in 1846, and
Gilmer, were named in memory of United States Secretary of War Able
Upshur and Thomas W. Gilmer, who lost their lives in an explosion
aboard the USS Princeton in 1844...." more
Landmarks / Attractions
Located in the 1925 Post Office Building on the N. E. corner
of the square. Hours: Thursday to Saturday 10:00 until 5:00.
of the Phoenix Museum: Located at the Gilmer Municipal Airport.
Tire and Rock Museum: 216 S. Wood Street (Hwy 271) South
Library: Just west of the Courthouse Square, the Upshur County
Library has an excellent genealogy department as well as a Civil
War reference section. Hours are Monday to Friday 8 to 6, Saturday
9 to 1.
Park on Hwy 271 has RV camping facilities. Call the chamber
Drive the area
roads to see spring wildflowers and rich fall colors.
Roads of Upshur County
Hotels - Longview
Hotels | Tyler
is perhaps the oldest food festival in the state. Upshurers were
always fond of the sweet potato, but when a weevil caused the harvest
to be quarantined in the late 20s, they realized its economic importance
and have celebrated it ever since. Third Thur., Fri., and Sat. each
October. website: www.yamboree.com
Year 2000 Yamboree included a renaming of the Gilmer Municipal Airport
to honor Gilmer native Robert "Bobby" Stephens. Colonel Stephens
was a P-47 Thunderbolt Pilot in World
War II. After the war he became an Air Force test pilot and
was among the first to fly many new (and sometimes secret) aircraft.
He also held the world's record for speed. Col. Stephens always
enjoyed coming home to Gilmer, especially for Yamboree, and so it
is fitting that the airport be named in his honor during this year's
Yamboree - "The oldest civic festivals in Texas"
Texas by Archie P. McDonald
"Upshur County farmers became major producers of sweet potatoes
early in the twentieth century, and in 1935 the county's citizens
began celebrating their area's major crop with an annual Yamboree
festival. The Yamboree quickly became the major civic promotion
for Gilmer and remains one of the oldest civic festivals in Texas."
Gilmer Area Hotels > Longview
Hotels | Tyler
Related Topic: Texas Food
Pines: 17 miles North on Hwy 155. This 18,700 acre lake, set
among rolling, timbered land is regarded as one of the nicest lakes
in East Texas. website: www.lakeothepines.com
14 miles South on Hwy 271
The Upshur County Chamber of Commerce - 903-843-2413.
Upshur County website: www.upshurcounty.com
- Gilmer City website: www.gilmer-tx.com
Our thanks to Diana Oglesby, Webmaster for both Gilmer and Upshur
County for providing us with photos and updating information for
the Gilmer town page.
Escapes, in its purpose to preserve historic, endangered and vanishing
Texas, asks that anyone wishing to share their local history and vintage/historic
photos, please contact