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Sister Mary Elizabeth Jupe, C.D.P.

TOURS, TEXAS. Tours, on Farm Road 3149 seventeen miles northeast of Waco in northeast McLennan County, was first called St. Martinville. A wagon train from Teutopolis, Illinois, arrived at the site on November 11, 1874, the feast day of St. Martin of Tours, in response to an appeal from the state of Texas for homesteaders. The site was designated university land. Clemens Uptmor, John and Edward Deiterman, Frank Debbendener, and John and George Schneider brought their families, accompanied by two single men, George Hirschfield and George Busker. Although St. Martinville was founded and named by these German Catholics, settlers of many nationalities joined them. In 1891, when the settlers applied for a post office and learned of another community with the same name in East Texas, they renamed their community Tours, after Tours, France, where St. Martin was bishop in the fourth century. Tours had four general stores, two blacksmith shops, a grain mill, a saddle shop, two cotton gins, and two beer saloons. St. Martin's Church was built in 1890. The children of the town attended the free parochial school and were taught by the Sisters of Divine Providence of San Antonio until 1977, at which time the children were bused to the West Independent School District. In 1896 the town had a population of forty-five and five businesses. The post office closed in 1905 and was replaced by rural delivery from West. In 1936 Tours had sixty-one residents, seven businesses, two churches, one school, and a number of scattered dwellings; by 1941 the population was estimated at 150. Since the 1950s the population has been around 100.

Tours has always been an agricultural community. Crops commercially grown include cotton, sorghum, oats, and wheat. Due to the uncertainty of the yield, most of the farmers hold full-time jobs in Waco or West and work their farms in late afternoons and on weekends; thus Tours has become a bedroom community. In 1970 the town had two businesses, one school, one factory, a community hall, and the church and cemetery. St. Martin Catholic Church was still operating in 1990. Through 2000 the population continued to be reported at 100.

Sister Mary Elizabeth Jupe, A History of Tours, Texas (San Antonio, 1988). A Memorial and Biographical History of McLennan, Falls, Bell, and Coryell Counties (Chicago: Lewis, 1893; rpt., St. Louis: Ingmire, 1984). William Robert Poage, McLennan County Before 1980 (Waco: Texian, 1981).

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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, Sister Mary Elizabeth Jupe, C.D.P., "TOURS, TX," accessed June 07, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hlt25.

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