Dr. Elmer Adison Swepston in front of the Myrtle Springs Baptist Church

Myrtle Springs Community

Thank you for stopping in, we hope you will browse around and learn a little bit about this small East Texas community. We wish to thank everyone who furnished information especially the Van Zandt County Historical Commission who gave permission for the use of their publication Van Zandt County, Texas, Pictorial History 1848-1994. We wish to further thank all of the wonderful people who gave of their time and shared their photos with the Historical Commission so that this publication could be made available to those who are interested in our history. There were so many photos to choose from, that I hardly knew where to begin and had a very difficult time deciding where to stop. Additions, corrections, comments, complaints and compliments concerning this page should be submitted to Betty Miller and Patsy Vinson.

Myrtle Springs Community
by Linda Rollins
transcribed by
B. Miller, 1999
from Pictorial History of Van Zandt County, 1848-1994
with permission of Van Zandt County Historical Commission

In 1872, J. M. Holden purchased land in this area and built a steam gin and mill. The area was known as "Holden Springs" due to the natural spring nearby. In 1875, Mrs. L. H. Young purchased 79.5 acrew adjoining J. M. Holden on which Brigham Young started a nursery. W. A. T. Murrey, later known as the founding father of Myrtle Springs, worked for Mr. Young, then started his own nursery. He named the town after his favorite flowering shrub, the crepe myrtle, and then his daughter, Myrtle.

Myrtle Springs once had five grocery stores, a post office, three service stations, florist shops, schools, churches and one of the most beautiful parks anywhere. Note: Information on this page of the beginnings of Myrtle Springs came from the Texas Encyclopedia "Men of Texas" and "History of Van Zandt County", by W. S. Mills.

William Andrew Thomas Murrey, known as the founding father of Myrtle Springs was born in Cherokee County Texas on 30 August 1859. He began his career as a teacher at age 22 in Myrtle Springs.

Murrey started on of the largest nurseries in Texas, with fruit trees, roses, and plants that were shipped all over the United States.

He was also founder of the first newspaper in Myrtle Springs, "The Texas Fruitgrower", was a well known Baptist Minister, and organized several groups to promote the area.

One of these was the Myrtle Springs Investment Company, which, in 1859, had a contract with a Boston Syndicate to build the city of Myrtle Springs.

He was to donate large tracts of land for factories and enterprises. The agreememt was later canceled (sic).

Mr. Murrey also founded a Myrtle Springs Shipper's Union to assist farmer in distributing and marketing products of the area. W.A.T. Murrey died June 3, 1929. He was married three times and had several children.

Schools of Myrtle Springs

transcribed by B. Miller, 1999
from Pictorial History of Van Zandt County, 1848-1994
with permission of Van Zandt County Historical Commission

The first school in Myrtle Springs was built prior to 1884. The only information is that it was a frame building. The second school was built about 1884 and was a brick building with arched windows. It was torn down about 1908. The third school building was a brick building built in 1919 and was razed (sic) about 1928. It only lasted ten years. The fourth school was a frame building built in 1929, and is the building which has been restored and is now used as a community center. One of the out buildings on the campus of the fourth school was sold and used as a school by the black community in Edgewood. After integration in the 1960s, the school fell into disrepair and was used for hay storage. In 1990, the Edgewood Historical Society purchased the building, fully restored it, and it is now available for viewing in the Heritage Park Living History Museum in Edgewood. Above information courtesy Lynn Mullins and Edgewood Historical Society.

A "Ring" for the Doctor

by Guy Malone

transcribed by B. Miller, 1999
from Pictorial History of Van Zandt County, 1848-1994
with permission of Van Zandt County Historical Commission

There was nothing as consoling

In those bygone, childhood days

As our Kind, old family doctor

With his reassuring ways.

Gloom would hover like a stormcloud;

Make our faces drawn and sad,

But that dear, old family doctor

Brought a smile that made us glad.

Sometimes fever like a bonfire

Made a loved one burn in pain.

Then that kind, old family doctor

Gave a pill that worked like rain.

Often Party lines would jingle

In the middle of the night -

Someone calling for the doctor

To dispel a wave of fright.

He would come and "bring the babies;"

Always there when dear ones left,

Saying words of joy or comfort,

Using hands so swift and deft.

Dollars? Not his aim, I'll tell you.

Service? Yes, that was his goal.

I'm afraid God lost the pattern

Of that kind, old doctor's soul.

then my tears burned like that fever

When he took his well-earned rest.

But when God "rings" for a doctor

We must send the very best.

This peom was "Written especially in honor and memory of our beloved Dr. Swepstone whose kindness and generosity shall always be a bright spot in thinking on the good old days."

Interesting Photographs Pertaining to This Page


Myrtle Springs Baptist Church in 1902

William Andrew Thomas (W.A.T.) Murrey

Elder C. C. Carr

Franklin Lydurgus Eiland

Dr. Cornelius E. Farrell

John Newland Reynolds

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Betty Teal Miller Patsy Finley Vinson