PEORIA, TEXAS. Peoria, one of the oldest settlements in western Hill County, is at the intersection of State Highway 22 and Farm Road 1947, six miles west of Hillsboro. It began as an area for travelers to rest and let their cattle graze. One of these transient residents, B. F. Stewart, called the area Peoria after his home in Peoria, Illinois. In the 1840s the community had twenty-one log huts, and in 1853 one square mile of streets was laid out. In 1855 Peoria's Cumberland Presbyterian Church was founded, and the next year the community had a post office, with Henry Young as postmaster. The town's population was 500 by 1878, but it had dropped to 349 by 1890, when the railroad bypassed it. At that time the town had a steam gristmill, which had been installed in the cotton-gin building in 1871, five churches, two schools, and daily stages to Hillsboro and Whitney. Its population continued to fall, and by 1904 was 129. In 1907 the community lost its post office. At one time Peoria had a Masonic lodge and many other businesses, including three brickyards and several hotels and boardinghouses. Its population declined further, and businesses left. The Peoria Mill and Gin shut down in 1922. In the early 1930s Peoria had four businesses. By the 1980s the town had a population of eighty-one, two general stores with gas stations, and a garage. Peoria residents, who primarily raised peanuts, cotton, and hay, attended the Baptist or Presbyterian churches still active there, and their children attended Hillsboro schools. Through 2000 the population of Peoria was still reported as eighty-one.
Hill County Historical Commission, A History of Hill County, Texas, 1853–1980 (Waco: Texian, 1980).
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The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.Lisa C. Maxwell, "PEORIA, TX," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hnp17), accessed November 30, 2015. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
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