in a Pecan Shell
called Lickskillet, the town was settled about 1850 and since
the name wasn’t quite up to postal standards, the townsfolk borrowed
the name Pilot Grove from the nearby ranch of the same name.
The community remained tiny until the 1880s when a resemblance of
grow appeared. By the mid 1880s it was still only a mere thirty
residents. It had a store, school and three churches at that time
plus a cotton gin. By 1904 the number of citizens had increased
to almost 200 but the post office closed that year.
During the Great Depression Pilot Grove had the same population
supported by three businesses.
the population declined to 125 and a single business. The school
and three churches remained intact. From the mid 1970s to the 1990
census, Pilot Grove reported seventy-five residents.
|Pilot Grove Historical
Photo courtesy Barclay
Gibson, August 2013
| Historical Marker
early 1850s. On Bonham-McKinney Stage Line. Called Lick Skillet;
renamed, 1858, for J. P. Dumas' Ranch. Site of Lee-Peacock feud,
1865-1871, between ex-Confederate Capt. Bob Lee with his gold and
Union supporter Lewis Peacock. Although Lee was killed in 1865,
his followers carried on the fight until Peacock was shot.
traces its history to the establishment of the United Baptist Church
here in 1848 on 3.5 acres of land donated by Hezakiah Warden. By 1850
the town of Pilot Grove contained the Baptist Church, a post office,
grist mill, drugstore, several saloons, and a cotton gin. Warden donated
an acre of land along Pilot Grove Creek to the Baptist Church in 1854.
Pilot Grove Baptist Church was established as a mission of the United
Baptist Church by Elders John A. Piars, Benjamin Watson, and George
F. Calor, and a number of other charter members in 1858.
Early worship services were held in members' homes and in a local
schoolhouse until a sanctuary was built in 1876. During this time
and until the early 1970s new converts were baptized in nearby Pilot
Grove Creek. According to local tradition the original sanctuary was
destroyed in a tornado and replaced with a new church building at
this site in 1917.
During World War
II the town of Pilot Grove began a rapid decline and today is
a small rural community with only this congregation and two cemeteries
remaining. Pilot Grove Baptist Church nevertheless continues a tradition
of hosting social events and providing worship services for the community.
Grove Baptist Church Historical Marker
on Pilot Grove Rd., 1/4 Mils N of FM 121
Gibson, August 2013
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