Since its original printing in 1952, the publication of the Handbook of Texas has been made possible through the support of its users. As an independent nonprofit, TSHA relies on your contributions to close the funding gap for the online Handbook and keep it a freely accessible resource for users worldwide. Please make a donation today to preserve the most comprehensive encyclopedic resource on Texas history. Donate Today »


Rachel Jenkins

HOLLY SPRINGS, TEXAS (Wood County). Holly Springs (Holly Spring) was seven miles northeast of Pine Mills (then Liberty Hill) and probably near Gunstream Lake in east central Wood County. The Holly Springs community was named after the nearby natural springs of that name and was one of the earliest communities in Wood County. At the petition of Swedish immigrant Peter Magnus Gunstream, one of Wood County's first county commissioners and the founder of Holly Springs, the community received a post office in 1852. Gunstream served as postmaster until the post office was discontinued in 1866. Gunstream, who local sources say grew what may have been the first sorghum cane crop west of the Mississippi River, also owned the nearby Gunstream mill, which he had built by 1854 with an overshot waterwheel eight feet in diameter that he brought in from Jefferson. Gunstream's mill cut the lumber for the county seat's first courthouse. By 1869 Gunstream was also operating a cotton gin at his place. In 1853 the community formed the Holly Springs Baptist Church of Christ, one of the oldest churches in Wood County. Its first meeting was held in November at the home of its first pastor, John Donathan Jackson Davis. By 1854 the church was holding meetings at the Liberty Hill Meeting House, also known as the Liberty Hill Chapel, which was probably located at what later became Pine Mills. Around 1860 the church moved to the Mount Pisgah community, though it was called the Holly Springs Church until 1865 or 1866. By 1857 Holly Springs and the nearby community of Little Hope shared a schoolhouse southwest of Gunstream's home. The first teacher was said to be fifteen-year-old Emily Smith, who taught fifteen students. No mention of a Holly Springs school district was made in 1884, when Wood County was divided into public school districts. No further information was available for Holly Springs, which was not shown on the 1936 county highway map.


Marker Files, Texas Historical Commission, Austin. Timothy K. Perttula et al., 'This Everlasting Sand Bed': Cultural Resources Investigations at the Texas Big Sandy Project (Austin: Prewitt and Associates, 1986). Adele W. Vickery, A Transcript of Centennial Edition, 1850–1950, Wood County Democrat (Mineola, Texas, 1974). Wood County, 1850–1900 (Quitman, Texas: Wood County Historical Society, 1976).

Image Use Disclaimer

All copyrighted materials included within the Handbook of Texas Online are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 related to Copyright and “Fair Use” for Non-Profit educational institutions, which permits the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), to utilize copyrighted materials to further scholarship, education, and inform the public. The TSHA makes every effort to conform to the principles of fair use and to comply with copyright law.

For more information go to:

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.


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

Handbook of Texas Online, Rachel Jenkins, "HOLLY SPRINGS, TX (WOOD COUNTY)," accessed December 05, 2019,

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Modified on November 6, 2019. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
Texas AlmanacFor more information about towns and counties including physical features, statistics, weather, maps and much more, visit the Town Database on!
visit the mytsha forums to participate

View these posts and more when you register your free MyTSHA account.

Call for Papers: Texas Center for Working-Class Studies Events, Symposia, and Workshops
Hi all! You may be interested in this call for papers I received from the Texas Center for Working-Class Studies at Collin College...

Katy Jennings' Ride Scholarly Research Request
I'm doing research on Catherine Jennings Lockwood, specifically the incident known as "Katy Jennings' Ride." Her father was Gordon C. Jennings, the oldest man to die at the Alamo...

Texas Constitution of 1836 Co-Author- Elisha Pease? Ask a Historian
The TSHA profile of Elisha Marshall Pease states that he wrote part of the Texas Constitution although he was only a 24 year-old assistant secretary (not elected). I cannot find any other mention of this authorship work by Pease in other credible research about the credited Constution authors...