In continuation of our Texas towns with Western names, the following is:
One would think the Fayette County community of Winchester honors the weapon that won at least half the West, the lever-action repeating rifle generically known as a Winchester. But one would be wrong.
Turns out Winchester is named for a town of like name in Tennessee. (Founded in 1809, that town was named for James Winchester, a Revolutionary soldier who served as a Brigadier General in the War of 1812).
Located 20 miles northwest of LaGrange on a tract of land first settled in 1827, Winchester, Texas was laid out in 1857 by John Gromme. In 1866 the community was of sufficient caliber to merit the opening of a Post office. A farming town, Winchester boomed as much as it ever would when the San Antonio and Aransas Pass Railway came through on its way to Waco in the mid 1880’s.
Cotton being king back then, the community had 18 businesses by the turn of the century. But as cotton became less dominant as a Central Texas crop and better roadways made it easier for folks to trade in larger towns, Winchester withered like so much long staple in a dry year. By 1950 the population had decreased to 220. Thirty years later it was down to 50, which was also the headcount in 2000.
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