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Tommy J. Hicks

COFFEEVILLE, TEXAS. Coffeeville is south of State Highway 155 and five miles west of Lake O' the Pines in the pine country of northeastern Upshur County. One account of the origin of the community's name claims that an early traveler spilled green coffee beans along the trail he was following, and the beans took root and grew. Another account explains that when Coffeeville was just a camping area, the smell of brewing coffee established its name. Actually, the community was named after the Coffee family, early settlers in the area. Coffeeville is one of the oldest settlements in East Texas. When Jefferson served as a riverport, Coffeeville was the goal of the first day's journey west from the port. Wagon trains moving west also stopped at Coffeeville for supplies, repairs, and recreation. Between 1845 and 1866 the Coffeeville area was settled by former plantation owners from Southern states. By 1852 a post office was established there. In the 1850s the community had Methodist and Presbyterian churches, three doctors, two dry-goods stores, two grocery stores, a drugstore, a Masonic lodge, an academy, and a large hotel. At its peak Coffeeville included several saloons, a bowling and pool hall, numerous blacksmith shops, and five churches. As late as 1867 the town had one of only four high schools in Upshur County; this school had an enrollment of seventy. During the Civil War and after, Coffeeville declined. Upon the request of Governor Edward Clark, the community voluntarily bore the burden of establishing and supporting a training camp for Confederate soldiers. After the war, however, the railroads bypassed Coffeeville, and the town's economy fizzled. Its population was 200 in 1887 and 153 by 1904. Its post office was closed in 1915. By 1936 the population of Coffeeville was down to fifty, and only two stores remained in 1940. Though a population of fifty was still reported in 2000, nothing of Coffeeville remained but a small church building.


G. H. Baird, A Brief History of Upshur County (Gilmer, Texas: Gilmer Mirror, 1946). Claude W. Dooley, comp., Why Stop? (Odessa: Lone Star Legends, 1978; 2d ed., with Betty Dooley and the Texas Historical Commission, Houston: Lone Star, 1985). Doyal T. Loyd, A History of Upshur County (Gilmer, Texas: Gilmer Mirror, 1966).

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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, Tommy J. Hicks, "COFFEEVILLE, TX," accessed April 05, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hnc78.

Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Modified on October 2, 2019. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
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