Month: January 2013


Markham is at the junction of Farm roads 1468 and 2431, six miles northwest of Bay City in northwestern Matagorda County.  The settlement was first called Cortes and from 1901 to 1903 had its own post office under that name.  Cortes, named for H. W. Cortes, president of the Moore-Cortes Canal Company, was on the New York, Texas and Mexican Railway between Markham and the Colorado River.  In 1903 the Moore-Cortes Canal Company boosted community development.  That same year residents altered the name of the town to Markham, after C. H. Markham, an engineer for the Southern Pacific lines.

The building pictured above appears to have been a bank during its prime.  The corner entrance suggests that it was located on an important (probably the most important) corner of the town.  Brickwork on the building is quite complex - forming quoins on the building corners, pilasters, capitals, and friezes.  It’s a shame that vegetation has been allowed to engulf this little gem of a building.

The post office was established under the new name in 1903 and was still in operation in the early 1990s.  By 1914 Markham had become a stop on the Texas and New Orleans Railroad and had a population of 500. In 1925 its population was estimated at 400. Markham in 1936 had numerous dwellings and two schools, two churches, a factory, and about ten other businesses, including a hotel run by A. A. Moore.  By the 1930s Markham residents had established an independent school district.  During the school year 1937–38, eight teachers instructed 278 white students through grade eleven, and two teachers instructed thirty-six black students through grade seven.  The population of Markham was reported at 700 in 1943.  By 1949 its schools had been consolidated with the Tidehaven Independent School District. Markham constructed a public school complex in 1952.  In 1950 the community population had been reported as 300, and in 1965 it was 750, with seven businesses.  In 1970 the population was 603, which remained the reported estimate through the 1980s.

REFERENCE:  Stephen L. Hardin, “MARKHAM, TX,” Handbook of Texas Online (, accessed December 11, 2012. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.


Maple Methodist Church

Maple, named for Maple Wilson, an early settler, is on Farm Road 596 in southern Bailey County.  This is almost a “blink and you miss it town”, for not much exists there anymore.  It was established after local ranches were subdivided for farms its post office opened in 1926. In 1940 Maple had six businesses, a school, and 600 residents.

Bailey County is a part of the Southern High Plains and has an altitude of 3,800 to 4,400 feet above mean sea level.  The county was marked off from Bexar County in 1876 and named for Peter J. Bailey, an Alamo hero.  Settlement of Bailey County did not come early, since the XIT Ranch held most of its land from 1882 until the division and sale of the ranch in 1901.  Bailey County land fell within the Spring Lake, Yellow House, and Bovina divisions of the XIT.

A severe drought in 1910 drove away many of these early settlers, but others moved in to take their places, particularly after the Santa Fe Railroad extended its tracks through the county in 1913. Hoping to establish a taxing authority that could provide schools and roads for the area, residents decided to organize the county. They raised $1,500 to send delegates to Austin to lobby for a revision of the minimum county-voter requirement to seventy-five. Despite the opposition of ranchmen who feared that organization would bring taxation, the delegates succeeded.

During the 1920s and 1930s new conditions helped to transform the county’s economy from ranching to farming.  Ground water was discovered at depths of twenty to forty feet, and large ranches were broken up and sold as farm tracts.  While many of the new farmers grew wheat, corn, and forage crops, a rapid expansion of cotton farming was responsible for much of the development of the county during these years.  It has been said that Bailey County “is one of the few areas in the United States that can produce varying crops such as cotton, wheat, corn, grain, sorghum, soybeans, castor beans, hay, peanuts, cabbage, lettuce, peas, and beans.” About 40 percent of agricultural receipts derive from livestock. Manufacturing income in 1980 was almost $2 million, from farm tools.

REFERENCE:  “MAPLE, TX (BAILEY COUNTY),” Handbook of Texas Online (, accessed December 11, 2012. Published by the Texas State Historical Association; and William R. Hunt and John Leffler, “BAILEY COUNTY,” Handbook of Texas Online, (, accessed December 11, 2012. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.