Van Zandt County, Texas

Small Community

Taken from Van Zandt County Texas Biographies 1848-1991 Vol. II. Thanks to Kitty Wheeler for the original information and for permission to use it on the web site. The information that is included in this document is transcribed portions of information that appear in the above referenced book. Additions, corrections, comments, complaints and compliments concerning this page should be submitted to Betty Miller and Betty Phillips.

Small, Texas

The village of Small was located four miles northwest of Edgewood close to the intersection of VZCR 3608 and VZCR 3609 less than one-half mile southeast of FM 859.

While W. H. Luster was postmaster at Small, he married Miss Elsie Jones 26 Jan 1902. Mr. Luster was known for his concern for his friends and neighbors and on occasion when the need arose because of sickness or adversity, did deliver groceries to his customers.

William Henry Luster was born 24 Nov 1871, and died 14 Dec 1940, and his wife Elsie, was born October 1884, and died 18 Jan 1937. Both are buried in the Small Cemetery, Van Zandt Co., TX.

Small had a daily mail service from Edgewood and a lot of trade was attracted to the village. There was an excellent school with a good building, the upper story of which was used for the Odd Fellows' Hall. the spring session for 1901, had been taught by Prof. O. Rice, a resident of small and he was hired again for the next session.

Folliwing is a list of business enterprises of the town in 1901: J. A. Casky & Son, groceries; W. H. Luster, groceries and postmaster; G. L. Tombs, drugs; W.N. Dillard, general merchandise; Howard Castleberry, blacksmith and wood shop; Otis Joyce, gin and grist mill, which in 1901, was overhauled and fitted with new machinery; and Lee B. Melton, barber shop. Dr. L. D. Russell was the resident physician and had a good practice.

the country surrounding Small was one of the best in the County. From Wills Point to small there was but a very short distance that was not in a lane and the neat, well-kept farms had comfortable and substantial homes on them.

In the spring of 1904, the farmers had produced a very large crop of Irish potatoes. Other than potatoes the farmers in the Small area grew almost exclusively corn and cotton. they had to learn under the new stock law, requiring the control of their cattle, to have fewer stock, but better grades. many of the farmers along with D. B. erwin & Co., were trying to improve the grade of the hogs they were raising.

The health of the majority of the people that year was very good with the exception of chills and fevers in the summer and fall. The thinking was that considering the number of people who lived in the area they were fortunate to not have more illness.

the post office a Small conducted by Mr. Luster was doing well for a country office and the business continued to increast. They still had two stores, W. H. Luster, groceries, and W. N. Dillard, who handled almost anytyhing from a peanut to a steam engine. Along with performinghis duties as a blacksmith, Howard Castleberry and friend, Wiley Caldwell, would occasionally to go the river and catch a lot of fish, bringing it back to sell for 8 cents a pound with some bringing as much as $1.25. The gin and grist mill was still in operation and a new doctor had moved to Small. Dr. R. L. Gray had moved into the house vacated by Dr. L. D. Russell who had moved to Edgewood.

At least two people in the community were investing in rental property. O. J. Joyce completed a new rent house in Jan 1904, and A. L. Spradlin was preparing to put up a house on his land to rent.

The Farmers' Union had a strong hold at Small and had much faith in the success of their accomplishments.

The Church at Small was growing and they were quite proud of the Sunday School they had established in March 1904. Some of the preachers that preached through the years 1900-1907, were Rev. Will Grammar, Rev. Copeland, and Rev. Richardson. The third annual session of the Van Zandt Co. Missionary Baptist Assoc. was held at Pleasant Union Church at Small, at 11:00 o'clock, on October 11-13, 1907. There were pastors, clerks and messengers from eighteen churches attending. The pastor of Pleasant Union, rev. J. H. Weatherly, the clerk, G. W. Lee and two messengers were present: H. C. Bartlett and George Dean.

In May 1904, the school at Small was a real source of pride to the people in the area. That year there were about 120 pupils enrolled with W. N. McCarty as principal and H. M. Jones, assist. The trustees were H. H. Haptonstall, J. D. Miles, and D. A. McDonald. In later years a three teacher school building was erected to accommodate the growing number of children.

Through the years this community was known as Hickory Grove, later Cross Roads and finally Small. Some of the ones that owned stores in Small as the years went by besides those already mentioned were: Hanie Smith, Walter Lee, Isom Brown, J. A. Foster, Will Courtney, Will Wilcoxson, and Jess Estes. Two other gentlemen that operated the barber shop were J. H. Sims and Barney Sims. There was once a cafe there run by J. S. Vines and Perry McCormick. Price Wilcoxson ran a syrup mill that was purchased from Pellam Miles. The syrup makers were Joe Vines, Charlie Sims and Pellam Miles. Wilcoxson's son was also a well digger.

Small had its own telephone exchange, which was ow2ned and operated by W. R. Henson and sons, Edd and Homer.

Otis Joyce also ran a garage, besides running the gin and grist mill. bob Taylor, another blacksmith at Small, operated the blacksmith shop in Joyce's building.

Small even had a photographer, Henry Haptonstall, at one time. he also had a device to record music. The first records were made of wax, then were later made of rubber.

Other doctors that ministered to the citizens of Small were Dr. Estes and Dr. Barnes.

Besides a Baptist church first known as Cross roads, then on 1 mar 1898, was changed to Pleasant Union, there were other churches in the area: a Methodist Church at Small, the Church of the Nazarene at New Home, and the Church of God at Lane.

Gone now are all the above enterprises with only the memories of days gone by. The Baptist Church moved west of FM 859 and the Methodist Church moved away. The school, as did other in the county, was consolidated.

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