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Mendoza ~ Rest ~ ca 1860

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 with Lockhart.

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

Source - Caldwell County Kin: The First 150 Years published by the Genealogical and Historical Society of Caldwell County, November 2000.

The Plum Creek Almanac is a project of  The Genealogical and Historical Society of Caldwell County.

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