FAYETTE COUNTY, TEXAS
From Fayette County, Her History and Her People by F. Lotto, 1902:
Winchester is situated in the northwestern part of Fayette county on the Waco branch of the San Antonio & Aransas Pass Railroad. It is about twenty miles distant from La Grange. The fertile Colorado River bottoms close by are tributary to its business. Part of the land is fertile mesquite prairie. There is also a great deal of postoak near Winchester. The Ingram prairie and the Cunningham prairie, the latter in Bastrop county, are in its neighborhood.
The teacher of the Winchester school is Miss Gillespie. Of lodges there are the Odd Fellows, Knights of Honor and Woodmen of the World.
The town has a Lutheran Church, Rev. A. L. Grasens, pastor; a Baptist Church, Rev. Duke, pastor; a Presbyterian Church, Rev J. W. Montgomery, pastor; and a Methodist Church, Rev. Calloway, pastor.
The town of Winchester was founded and laid off about the year 1857 by John Frame, who now lives in Falls county. It consists of seven general merchandise houses, one hotel, one butcher shop, two drugstores, two physicians, one saloon, one lumber yard, one blacksmith shop, one gin and one barbershop.
Of all the towns of Fayette county which are not incorporated Winchester does the largest business. It has become a lively town, due to the energy and business talent of her merchants, of whom Messrs. Sam F. Drake, W. A. Giles and E. Zilss may be mentioned as the most enterprising. Little & Mohler is the only saloon in the town; they are liberal and popular men and do as much business as any saloon in the county. Dr. A. F. Verderi is an old resident eminent physician of Winchester, who has effected a great many cures. [Note that all of the above purchased advertisements in Lotto's book.]
The settlement is one of the oldest in the whole county. As early as 1822 John Ingram, after whom Ingram's Prairie is named, came into that neighborhood and settled on the prairie. John C. Cunningham was another old settler of the Winchester neighborhood, but he settled in Bastrop county on the prairie named after him. The oldest settler of the Winchester neighborhood now living is A. D. Saunders. He has come there in the early forties and still remembers the last Indian raid in that neighborhood. Other prominent settlers are J. H. McCullom, Paul Haske, Dr. A. F. Verdery, G. C. Thomas, Mrs. James Young, Joseph Mohler, sr., Mrs. T. T. Parr.
The population of the settlement is largely American. Of late a great many Germans have come in. Winchester is a railroad station, postoffice and voting precinct of the county.
Winchester, named for Winchester, Tennessee, is on a line of the Southern Pacific Railroad twenty miles northwest of La Grange in northwest Fayette County. The area was first settled in 1827 by John Ingram, who received a grant nearby on the Colorado River still known as Ingram's Prairie. The town itself was platted in 1857 by John Gromme on lands originally granted to E. Campbell and J. F. Berry in 1831. A post office was established in 1866, and by 1900 the town had eighteen businesses. As a shipping point on the Waco branch of the San Antonio and Aransas Pass Railway, the community served a wide area of prosperous farms. Due to improved roads and the decline of cotton farming, the number of businesses dropped to nine by 1950, and the population dropped to 220. By the 1980s the population was fifty, and the settlement had four businesses. Most of the surrounding farmland had reverted to pasture for cattle, and additional revenues came from oil production. Through 2000 Winchester still had a population of fifty.
Traugott Michael Schoppa
Traugott Schoppa was a farmer at Winchester for most of his long life, although he lived at Vernon for a few years. He lost two wives, Ida Hentschel and Anna Graf, by the time he was thirty. He lived another fifty years after his third wife, Anna Traeger, passed away. (Photographer: Sink, Vernon, Texas)
Submitted by Tony Zoch Hettler
Texas Historical Marker
for Winchester Cemetery
Related Items at the Fayette County TXGenWeb Project:
Fayette County's Precinct Courthouses
A Footprints of Fayette article
See biographical information about David Porter Croft, buried in Winchester Cemetery
Terry's Texas Rangers Website
Related Articles at the Handbook of Texas Online:Winchester, Texas
James Seaton Lester
Theodore Sylvester Boone