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Some 32 wagons moved through Alabama travelling west out of Georgia in 1875.  One of those making that trip was Jesse H. Ratcliff (June 22, 1844 - Jan. 1, 1920).  Ratcliff, Confederate veteran, had served with Co. G. 2 Ark. Inf., C.S.A.  Their settlement was a mile and half from the present State Highway 7 in virgin pine country near the Neches River.  It is referred to as Old Ratcliff today.


J.H. Ratcliff recognized the timber value and opened a small sawmill around 1885.  Ratcliff purchased land from H.W. Payne on which to build it.  A postoffice was established February 6, 1889, and was called Ratcliff after Jesse H., first postmaster.


Ratcliff sold his sawmill and the land around it to the Louisiana and Texas Lumber Company on January 10, 1901.  With this purchase, the Four C (Central Coal and Coke Company), a lumber and mining firm operating from central offices in Kansas City, Mo., began development of one of the largest sawmills at the turn of the century.


J.H. Ratcliff's early settled area moved toward the sawmill which was built three-quarters of a mile to the south.  His daughter named Jessie Belle had married Gary Mahoney and the couple had opened and were operating a general merchandise store in the New Ratcliff.


Jesse Ratcliff died on January 1, 1920, the year that the Four C Mill and the Eastern Texan Railroad wound up.  He was a Mason and Masonic graveside rites were conducted at Mt. Vernon Cemetery.


By:  Eliza Bishop

"History of Houston County, Texas 1687-1979"