The towns of Mendoza and Rest are virtually
the same. Irish, French and German miimgrants began settling the
area in 1872 on land deeded to the heirs of Isaac Jackson. Early
records show the name St. Clair for the settlement eventually known
as Rest, its location near the present day intersection of U. S. Highway
183 and State Highway 21. A school and church were first established
there, with the school also serving as a community center. Mrs.
John (Melissa) Thomas applied for a post office in 1879. The application
was approved, and Mrs. Thomas became postmistress. The office
lasted three years and was closed in 1883.
By the mid-1880s the population had
shifted slightly south. John and Melissa Thomas donated four acres
of land to build a church and school. It was here that Mendoza,
named for Juan Mendoza, began. In 1892 John Booton applied for
a post office in his store and requested that the town be called “Booton”.
Although Booton did become the postmaster, the name Mendoza was chosen.
The post office lasted 19 years before discontinuing to Lockhart.
The population of Mendoza was about
50 in 1891, but by 1900 it had risen to 200. The town boasted
three stores, two gins, a service station, two physicians, and a Masonic
Lodge. The Rest school closed in 1887, and the Mendoza school
district was created. At one time there were three schools located
in the immediate vicinity. But by 1950, the district had consolidated
As the younger generation grew up in
Mendoza, they moved away to larger towns for better jobs. The
cotton farms decreased, and, one by one, the stores and gin closed.
Today, there remain several older homes dating back to the early 1900s,
and the old cemetery can be seen across the road from where the old
Baptist Church stood.
Source – Caldwell County Kin:
The First 150 Years published by the Genealogical and Historical
Society of Caldwell County, November 2000