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Vista K. McCroskey

MOUNT SYLVAN, TEXAS. Mount Sylvan is at the intersection of State Highway 110 and Farm Road 724, eight miles north of Tyler in northwestern Smith County. The settlement was founded in 1852 on a local trade route, the Tyler-Garden Valley Road (now State Highway 110), in the Lindsey Mann survey. The post office was established in 1858 with Sidney B. Murphy as postmaster. The postal service was temporarily discontinued in 1868, in 1869–70, and in 1872–73. During this time the International-Great Northern Railroad bypassed the community and built through nearby Lindale. In 1881 Thomas J. McBride and George Cross founded the Rosedale Academy. In 1884 the town had a population of 200, two churches, and a district school that employed three teachers. Local businessmen included two wagonmakers, three doctors, a shoemaker, and a blacksmith. Businesses included a nursery, two sawmills, four general stores, a gristmill, and two cotton gins. In 1886 the Mount Sylvan Methodist Episcopal Church, South, was established. In 1890 the population was 200, and the sawmills and gristmill were still in operation, but many of the businesses had moved to Lindale. In 1892 a flour mill and three general stores were the major enterprises.

In 1902 residents were producing mainly subsistence crops, especially peas, some wheat, oats, and corn, and very small amounts of cotton and fruit. The community was known for good schools and fine church services. In 1914 the businesses were a cotton gin, a drugstore, a grocery, a blacksmith shop, a telephone exchange, and three general stores. Farmers raised a few cattle to supplement their incomes. In 1936 the Mount Sylvan elementary school employed four teachers for white students. Black children attended the nearby Fairview elementary school, which employed two teachers. Mount Sylvan had a factory, a business, a sawmill, a cemetery, and two churches. The oil boom of the 1930s and 1940s did not bring wealth to Mount Sylvan, but it did bring some stability. By 1948 the Bud Lee oilfield had developed around the community, and the town had stabilized at a population of 181 and four businesses. By 1952 the school had been consolidated into the Lindale Independent School District. That year Mount Sylvan had six businesses; it had five in 1965 and three in 1973. The post office was discontinued sometime during the 1970s. The community was still identified on maps in 1981. In 1990 it reported a population of 181 and one business. The population remained the same in 2000.

Edward Clayton Curry, An Administrative Survey of the Schools of Smith County, Texas (M.Ed. thesis, University of Texas, 1938). "Post Offices and Postmasters of Smith County, Texas: 1847–1929," Chronicles of Smith County, Spring 1966. "School Sights," Chronicles of Smith County, Fall 1969. Smith County Historical Society, Historical Atlas of Smith County (Tyler, Texas: Tyler Print Shop, 1965). "The Southland," October 1902 (facsimile in Chronicles of Smith County, Fall 1969). Donald W. Whisenhunt, comp., Chronological History of Smith County (Tyler, Texas: Smith County Historical Society, 1983). Albert Woldert, A History of Tyler and Smith County (San Antonio: Naylor, 1948).

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The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, Vista K. McCroskey, "MOUNT SYLVAN, TX," accessed May 21, 2019,

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
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