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History of Gravelhill (Connville) – Sabine County, Texas

The community of Gravelhill (at one time known as Connville) seven miles north of Hemphill on FM 1592, had its beginning on land granted to Joseph Mott by the Mexican government on June 20, 1835, and not long after this date it became a growing and established community.

Antioch Missionary Baptist Church, among the very few surviving churches established in Sabine County prior to 1900, was organized at Gravelhill on January 3, 1876, and has been in continuous existence from that time. The church was organized by J. S. Lambert and J. J. Roundtree with the following charter members:

  • George Conn
  • H. S. White
  • John Deweese
  • Hosie Baldree
  • M. A. Conn
  • Sophia H. Wallace
  • C. Baldree
  • John Anderson
  • T. D. Buckhalter
  • L. S. Hoard
  • Ann Mason
  • Mary E. White
  • Mrs. C. A. Hoard

The Gravelhill Cemetery lying alongside the church, as well as the church, is located on land donated by the Conn family. Possibly the cemetery precedes the church in existence as tradition is that an emigrant family encamped on the hill where the present cemetery is located had a child who died and was buried there. The date is unknown, and the grave unmarked. However, one early burial date is that of Mary Boyett in 1869. Several veterans of the Civil War are also interred there.

A United States Post Office was established in Gravelhill on February 8, 1904, with the official name of Connville. Elisha L. Conn was the first and only postmaster. The post office was discontinued on June 10, 1907, with mail being handled from Bronson.

As was common in most pioneer communities, there were several stores in operation within the community at various times over the years. Perhaps one of the earliest was that of Henry Conn who also operated a cotton gin and a water (grist) mill on the banks of Tebo Creek. Other store owners were Pat McGown, George Boyd and Boston Watson.

During the years of the community school system which began in 1854, at least four schools existed at various sites in the community. One was located on the north bank of Tebo Creek near FM 1592, another directly in front of the Antioch Missionary Baptist Church in a building formerly used by a Woodmen of the World Lodge, and one atop the hill immediately north of the church. The last school (a three room building) was located directly across the road from the present day home that is owned by the descendents of Johnnie and Allie Conn. At its peak, there were not less than 75 scholastics living within the community. The school closed permanently after consolidation with the Hemphill Independent School District during or immediately after the end of World War II.

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