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2010-04-24 / Community News

Lexington – A Small Town Rich in History and Tradition

In 2008, Billie Tillery’s great granddaughters, Katie & Jordan Storenski, demonstrated how to pose like Annie Oakley on the streets of Lexington during Homecoming. In 2008, Billie Tillery’s great granddaughters, Katie & Jordan Storenski, demonstrated how to pose like Annie Oakley on the streets of Lexington during Homecoming. Lexington’s history is rich in tradition and Homecoming is one of those traditions that makes this small town, located between East and Middle Yegua Creeks on Texas State Highway 77, sixteen miles north of Giddings in Lee County, a special place to live and visit.

Lexington also played a role in the founding of this great state. In 1837, James Shaw rode on horseback into the area seeking favorable grant of land as a reward for his military service to the Republic of Texas. Among the other early settlers in the area were Titus Mundine, Gabriel Smith, and Thomas Suppington. The Mundine name is still well known and some of the descendents of that early family remain in and around Lexington.

In 1848 a post office named String Prairie opened with Shaw as the postmaster; he was also the schoolteacher, a surveyor, and a legislator. In 1850 the community changed its name to Lexington, after the town in Massachusetts.

Like now, the economy of Lexington in those early days was based on farming and open-range ranching. Settlers on the prairie east of the settlement raised cotton. In 1869 twenty-one families moved by wagon train from Mississippi, and most settled in this area.

As the population increased so did the need for services: general stores, gristmills, blacksmith and wood-working shops, and saloons opened. R. M. Dickson built a general store in 1860 that lasted into the 1930s. A building he built in 1892 was still in use as a grocery store known as the Lexington Mercantile, whose last owners were Rick and Rebecca Green. The Mercantile closed her doors in the late 1990’s, but the Greens, natives to Lexington, still live here.

The population of Lexington fell somewhat in the 1860’s due to the Civil War and emancipation caused many families to leave their large farms and move into town.

In 1884 Lexington had an estimated population of 250. The San Antonio and Aransas Pass Railway arrived in 1890, and by 1892 Lexington had a population of 500. It was incorporated in 1917. By 1927 the town had 1,000 inhabitants and a bank. But in 1931 the population had fallen again, this time to 519.

In the 1950s Lexington had 600 residents and thirty businesses. In 1980 it had a population of 901 and fourteen businesses. In 1989 the town had six churches, a school system with 800 students, a population of 1,284, and sixteen businesses.

When the Lexington Leader was established in 1997, the population of Lexington was estimated at 953, a number that increased to 1,178, according to the 2000 Census.

Lexington has had a homecoming celebration yearly since 1966. In 1976 the Lexington Community Chamber of Commerce moved two log cabins dating from 1850 near the town square and restored them to become the Pioneer Village Museum. Today, the Lexington Log Cabins and Historical Center is a well-known feature of downtown Lexington and plays host to many events throughout the year.

“Welcome, Home” is the mantra the first Saturday in May in Lexington.

“Welcome Home, Indeed. Welcome Home to Lexington!”

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