LEXINGTON, LEE COUNTY, TEXAS
LEXINGTON, TEXAS BULLETIN BOARD
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1264 FM 2116, Rockdale, Texas 76567.
Map of the Lexington Area
THE HISTORY OF LEXINGTON
Lexington is a small town south of Rockdale and Tanglewood, located between the East and Middle Yegua creeks and intersected by Texas State Highway 77, sixteen miles north of Giddings in Lee County. Initially, the area that became Lexington was known as String Prarie. Around 1850, the Prospect Baptist Church and Cemetery was established to serve several small settlements in the area.
One of the earliest European settlers in the area was Captain
James Shaw who visited the area seeking a grant of land as a reward for his military service to the Republic of Texas. A few families were living east of his claim at that time.
James Shaw , born in Clermont County, Ohio, on August 8, 1808. Shaw served in the Texas Army during the Texas War of Independence; was a member of the Texas Republic House of Representatives, 1838-39, 1840-41; and was a member of the Texas Republic Senate from the District of Milam and Robertson, 1841-44; a member of the Texas state house of representatives, 1847-48, 1853-56. Capt. Shaw died near Lexingtonon February 14, 1879 and is buried at the Early Chapel Cemetery 3-1/2 miles east of Lexington just off FM 696.
Among the other early settlers in the area were Titus Mundine, Gabriel Smith, and Thomas Suppington.
STRING PRAIRIE ESTABLISHED 1848
In 1848 a post office named String Prairie opened with James Shaw as the postmaster. Shaw was also the schoolteacher, surveyor, and a legislator.
NAME CHANGED TO LEXINGTON IN 1850
Captain Shaw, who served as surveyor for the Stephen F. Austin colony, laid out the town of Lexington in 1850 and was instrumental in getting the name changed from String Prairie to Lexington after the town of Lexington, Massachusetts. In 1869 twenty-one families came by wagon train from Mississippi and most of these families settled in the Lexington area. After the end of the Civil War, the town of Lexington prospered and by 1870, the town contained several general stores, gristmills, a blacksmith, two wood-working shops, and several saloons.
R. M. Dickson built a general store in 1860 that lasted into the 1930s. A building he built in 1892 was still in use as a grocery store in 1989.By 1884, Lexington had a population of some 250 citizens.
ARRIVAL OF THE RAILROAD IN 1890
The San Antonio and Aransas Pass Railway arrived in 1890, and by 1892 Lexington boasted a population of some 500. It was incorporated in 1917. By 1927 the town had 1,000 inhabitants and a bank. In 1931 the population was 519. In the 1950s Lexington had 600 residents and thirty businesses. In 1980 it had a population of 901 and fourteen businesses. In 1989 the town had six churches, a school system with 800 students, a population of 1,284, and sixteen businesses. In 1990 the population was 953. That figure increased to 1,178 by 2000. Local income is from small family-run businesses, ranching, hay and grain crops, and peanuts.
An auction barn in continuous weekly operation since 1938 handles area-raised livestock. Lexington has had a homecoming celebration yearly since 1966. In 1976 the Lexington Community Chamber of Commerce moved two log cabins dating from 1850 near the town square and restored them to become the Pioneer Village Museum.
KEY CITIZENS OF EARLY-DAY LEXINGTON
Titus H. Mundine
Titus H. Mundine was a legislator, Unionist, and early Republican party leader.About the Civil War era, Mundine married Catherine B. Merrill and moved to Lexington which was initially in Burleson County and continued in the merchandising business. Mundine was moderately prosperous, with three slaves and property valued at $15,000 in 1860. Mundine began his political career in 1857 by supporting Sam Houston's unsuccessful bid for the governorship. Two years later he again supported Houston and at the same time ran successfully for a seat in the House of Representatives of the Eighth Legislature. On April 21, 1860, he served as a vice president at the San Jacinto Battle Ground Assembly that put forward Sam Houston as a candidate for the presidency. When Houston was not nominated, Mundine actively supported the Constitutional Union party ticket.
Although generally regarded as a member of the conservative faction of his party, Mundine shocked the convention on July 8, 1868, by proposing to enfranchise women as well as blacks. His resolution read: "Every person, without distinction of sex, who shall have arrived at the age of twenty-one years . . . shall be deemed a qualified elector." After a good deal of what one reporter called "squabbling and fun," a motion to reject was defeated, and the resolution was sent to the Committee on State Affairs. It was never reported out of the committee, although according to newspapers Mundine continued to champion his "favorite measure." Mundine may have been the first man in a position of power to propose woman suffrage in Texas. Titus Mundine died in Lexington on July 3, 1873.
SCENES AROUND MODERN-DAY LEXINGTON