FINCASTLE, TEXAS. Fincastle, on Farm Road 315 four miles north of Poyner in southeastern Henderson County, was settled in 1848. A post office was established there on March 6, 1855, with Daniel R. McRae as postmaster. Apparently McRae proposed the name Fincastle, after a town in Scotland. Seven years later a town plat was drawn up by John and Mary Tindel for a site that the Tindels purchased from Dr. P. P. Adams in 1851. Through the years the town saw a succession of general stores, a drugstore from which several doctors practiced medicine, a blacksmith shop, a cotton gin and gristmill, and a well and wagonyard where farmers could park their wagons. Some stores sold whiskey, although the Tindels stipulated in a deed to Thomas Hendon on March 22, 1862, that "if he sold any spirituous liquors to the injury of the schools and church" the title to the lots would be void.
The first school was begun by the Tindels in a small log building on their property. It was followed by one established by Dr. P. P. Adams. Then Tindel put up a larger building for use both as a school and church. The land for both the church and a large cemetery across the road was later formally deeded to the town by Lydia Frances Tindel Parmer from her inheritance from John and Mary Tindel. The church building was used by various congregations on alternate Sundays and as a school until the 1930s. It was used in 1980 for elections and for such community meetings as the annual memorial on the first Sunday in August. In the early 1990s burials continued to occur in the Fincastle Cemetery.
The Confederate flag was raised in Fincastle in 1861, and the first Confederate company in the county was organized there in May 1861. During the Civil War, the Confederate government built a quartermaster storage depot on Lot 1, Fincastle. At this time, the vicinity was reputed to be the most prosperous part of the county. As the war progressed, several planters from Louisiana and Arkansas moved their slaves to the Fincastle area to keep them out of reach of the Union Army.
By 1884 Fincastle had three steam cotton gins, three churches, and a population of 100. Cotton was the principal shipment out of the area. By 1896 a local sawmill had been established and the population had risen to 150. Fincastle's decline came when the Texas and New Orleans Railroad built south of the town in 1900–01 and diverted commerce to other centers. Many Fincastle residents moved to Athens or Poyner, both of which had rail connections. The post office was discontinued in 1907. In 1929 Fincastle had a store, a school, a church, and two families. The reported population stood at 100 in 1939 and at forty from 1949 to 1969, the last year for which a figure was available. In 1985 the Fincastle Cemetery and church received a Texas historical marker. In 1989 the name was still preserved in Fincastle Lake and Fincastle Nursery and Farms. Fincastle was listed as a community in 1990, but without census figures. In 2000 the population was twenty-five.
J. J. Faulk, History of Henderson County (Athens, Texas: Athens Review Printing, 1926). Winnie McGaughey Reynolds, The History of Henderson County (M.A. thesis, East Texas State Teachers College, 1952).
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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, Kathryn Brown, "Fincastle, TX," accessed February 14, 2016, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hrf10.
Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
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