•  Mr. Speaker, one of the best things about Texas is the fact that Texas towns each have their own unique history. There are hundreds of stories about towns and their colorful past and the settlers who founded them. However, the most interesting part of their unique history is how each town received its name.
  • A notable example is Gun Barrel City that picked up its name in the 1920s prohibition era. The secluded area in North Texas was also one of the hideouts for Bonnie and Clyde. Apparently, a moonshiner living on the main road to the remote area sat in his front room with a shotgun barrel sticking out of the window, watching for Federal Revenuers and Texas lawmen. Thus, came the name Gun Barrel City.
  • Dime Box was first called Brown's Mill in the 1860s. Since there was no Postal Service, settlers would leave mail in a wooden box at the mill with a dime. Old Man Brown would then take the letters (and dimes) then go 15 miles away to the official post office in Giddings and pick up mail for the community. When the Post Office eventually appeared, it made the community change its name. The concern was that Brown's Mill sounded too much like Brownsville; naturally they could not have that. So, they decided on Dime Box. Not to be outdone, by the ``10 cent town,'' there is a Nickel, Texas.
  • Notrees, which you can guess by its literal name, is obviously in barren west Texas. It received the name when the only tree in the area was cut down for an oil and gas drilling boom in the 1940s.
  • There are many more such places in Texas with odd names, such as Hoop and Holler in nearby Liberty County. The list goes on, including towns like: Salty, Oatmeal, Earth, Moscow, Turkey, Tarzan, Ding Dong, Happy, Paris, Bigfoot, Muleshoe, and Hogeye.
  • My all-time favorite is Cut and Shoot, Texas, close to Conroe. There are several versions of how it got its name, but the one that seems the most credible comes from The History of Montgomery County, by William Harley Gandy, whose family members witnessed this story firsthand. According to Gandy, the following happened 112 years ago:
  • The homesteaders in this area were a God-fearing community of a couple hundred. They erected a community church/school for almost all denominations to use, including the Methodists, Missionary Baptists, and Hard Shell Baptists. However, they prohibited the Mormons and Apostolics from using the building.
  • All went well with the different religious groups until an out-of-towner of the Apostolic faith showed up ready to preach to the local sinners at the church house. Pastor Stamps was welcomed by some, but not by others.
  • Soon the community was divided into two groups: the ``Let him Preach'' group and the ``He Aint Preaching'' group. The two groups agreed to vote on it and set a meeting for Sunday morning, July 21, 1912. Someone locked the door of the meeting house, likely to keep the Preacher from preaching. Word got around that the door to the church was locked. Those who sided with Stamps vowed to break the doors down. So, both sides sent ``Paul Revere riders'' throughout the town, telling them to bring their firearms to the scheduled Sunday church meeting.
  • On Sunday morning, both sides showed up at the locked church building. Many had not only packed a lunch, but they also put their knives and pistols in their wagons just in case there was trouble. The obvious argument between the two sides erupted, and guns and knives were brandished. Unkind words may have been uttered as well.
  • Eventually, the ``Let him preach'' (in the building) crowd backed off. So preacher Stamps had to preach under a nearby tree. Later, a makeshift structure was erected for Stamps to preach all summer long under some shade--but he could not enter the church building.
  • However, the churchgoers headed off to court the next day. Both sides filed assault and disorderly conduct charges on the other with a nearby local Justice of the Peace (JP). Obscene language charges were alleged as well. (I guess unkind words were actually spoken at the church house by the church goers.)
  • When the JP inquired of a witness where the altercation took place in the County, a witness not knowing the actual location replied that it happened at the place of the cutting and shooting fight. The name Cut and Shoot stuck, and the rest is Texas history.
  • Let it be known that the names of Texas towns are not random, but a living symbol of what once was. They give us Texans a peak into how life used to be. The names of these towns represent vivid stories about culture and community with just a couple of words, all adding to the rich history of our great state.
  • And that's just the way it is.