History of Frost
Navarro County Texas


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Frost Community


 

Frost Texas 1887 - 1987
Researched by Mary Stevenson Warren,
Originally published in "The Navarro County Scroll", Vol. XXI 1988
Reprinted with permission of the Navarro County Historical Society

Before 1887 there was a settlement with a number of stores, including a post office, located in the Tullos Store, at a place called Cross Roads which is about two miles south of the present town of Frost. With the coming of the St. Louis, Arkansas & Texas Railroad in 1887, an application was filed with the U.S. Postal Service for a post office to serve the residences in a farming community located approximately twenty miles west of Corsicana. The application was approved on March 18, 1887, and Frost, Texas was born. Thus all businesses including the post office at Cross Roads moved to the Frost Station.

Miss Molly Tullos and Mr. J. A. Tullos served as postmasters at Cross Roads. Mr. William Chestnut was appointed postmaster at Frost on March 18, 1887. Other past postmasters were Miss Janie Hyer, Mr. Andrew Howell, Mr. and Mrs. S. O. Hyer, Mr. Rip Blake, Mr. Frank Henderson and Mrs. Ethel Burns. Mr. Walter Bloyed is postmaster at the present time [1986].

The town of Frost was laid off from the land given by Mr. R. J. Sanders, more familiarly known as Uncle Jack Sanders, and the town was named from Sam R. Frost who was a judge in Navarro County in 1876. He represented his district in the 16th Legislature in 1879 and represented the Flotorial District of Johnson, Hill, Ellis and Navarro Counties in the 21st Legislature in 1889. It is said that he fought many legal battles for the young town of Frost.

An election to incorporate Frost was held on May 27, 1893, and Frost was incorporated on June 7, 1893. The incorporation was signed by John H. Rice, judge of Navarro County.

In 1890 a system of water works was built to supply Frost with water from a nearby lake, dug by the railroad company when the railroad came through in 1887. Since the Frost Station was halfway between Corsicana and Hillsboro the train would take on its water from this lake. A steamboat, built on this lake by Wylie N. Jones, was one of the few to operate on an inland lake in Central Texas. It was also known as an excursion boat, and for a small fee one could ride over the lake. Being within the corporate limits of the town, this lake was a marvel of beauty and, when it was filled to its fullest capacity, it covered over one hundred acres. Beside the enjoyment of boating and sailing, many people came from far around to fish in the lake. The ice house and cotton seed mill situated on the west side of the lake had to use plenty of this water. Many a Sunday found the lake being used for baptismal services. In 1902 a deep well was dug to supply the town with water. At this time, 1986, Frost continues to use water from this deep well.

Also in this year of 1986, Frost has a grocery store, a bank, two beauty shops, a cafe, a mercantile store, a laundry, a dress factory, post office, city hall, insurance office, a feed store, a fertilizer business, lumber yard, two garages, two service stations, a gin and five churches.

In 1887 a Methodist Church was established at Frost and was situated on the site where the new telephone office now stands. The Church grew and in 1904 a resolution was passed authorizing the building of a new church which was completed in 1905 with a value of $2,500. On May 6, 1930, the town of Frost, including the Methodist Church, was almost wiped out by a vicious tornado. On this day the General Conference of Southern Methodist Churches was in session in Dallas. Hearing of the plight in Frost, these church people began contributing toward a building fund for a new church in Frost; thus a new Methodist Church was built on a new site which is the spot where the present church now stands. On January 19, 1941, with the church free of debt, a dedication service was held. Then when Rev. Gary Carroll was pastor (1980-1984) he supervised a building program for an annex to be attached to the church to replace the old one. Within two years, with the building free of debt and with a value exceeding $60,000.00, a dedication service was held March 3, 1985.

In 1890 Rev. H. A. Conway and Rev. T. R. Conway, with representatives from Oak Grove, Blooming Grove, Irene, Cross Roads and Slay Baptist Churches met in the one-room school house standing where the present school building stands and organized the Frost Baptist Church. Jack Sheppard was elected the first clerk of the church; R. A. Mitchell and M. M. Mosley were the first deacons. At a second meeting H. A. Conway was called to be the pastor. At this meeting these deacons reported that a location had been selected and a deed secured for the property on which the Baptist Church building was to be erected. This original spot is where the present church stands. In its 96 years the church has had four buildings. The first was a one-room building erected in 1890 with Rev. H. A. Conway as pastor. The second church was built during the ministry of J. H. Grimes in 1906; this building was destroyed by a tornado on May 6, 1930. The church was rebuilt during the ministry of Rev. Jim Baggett; dedication services for this building were held in 1980.

Tindle Memorial Church in Christ began in August of 1961 with three members. Elder Earl Tindle came from Teague to be the pastor. Services were held in homes until a building was purchased in 1962. In 1970 this building was replaced with a larger house. In 1977 Rev. Tindle and his wife were killed in a car wreck. Superintendent Bennett pastored the church until 1978 when Elder James Keeton came to be pastor. In 1981 the present church building was purchased and the membership is twenty-two.

The Taylor Chapel Missionary Baptist Church was organized in 1910 with Rev. Thomas as one of the first pastors. In 1930 a tornado destroyed the church; services were held in homes until the church was rebuilt. Finally a new church was completed in 1949. At that time and for several years Rev. W. M. Mayberry was pastor; the deacons were T. H. Tubbs, T. H. Banks, O. N. Lamor, C. C. Carson and Freeman Robinson. Other pastors were the Reverends J. L. Lewis, C. D. Deckard, C. Holt and Andrew "Tex" Taylor, Jr. Rev. L. B. Watson is the present pastor and we are enjoying a larger building and a church van purchased in 1983.

The Church of God held its first service on the last Sunday in June, 1980. Rev. Charles E. Barber started the church with eleven charter members and he continues to serve the church at the present time.

From 1887 to 1890, the school that was moved from Cross Roads to Frost, had Professor J. E. Nowlin as superintendent with one other teacher, both in the one-room school house. In May, 1890, W. R. Cain, H. C. Hyer and D. W. Smith officiated in a trustee election and the Frost Common School District came into being. The High School consisted of three large rooms and the primary grades occupied the lower floor of the Masonic Hall which had been moved from Cross Roads. Professor E. J. L. Wyrick was superintendent from 1890 to 1895. Then from 1895 to 1898 W. T. McGee served as superintendent. Mike Howard was head of the school from 1900 to 1903, followed by G. W. Gable from 1903 to 1904. L. V. Stockard was superintendent from 1904 to 1908. O. L. Albritton later held this position, followed by C. E. Jackson, J. F. Gadberry and W. R. Stevenson. It was during Superintendent Gadberry's tenure that the school term increased from seven to nine months because of his recommendation. It was also during his tenure that the people voted almost unanimously for a bond issue of $15,000.00 for a larger modern school building and it was completed in 1910. In 1922 W. V. Harrison became superintendent and remained in that position through June of 1950. Through these years the following schools became a part of the Frost School; Grimes Common School District, League District, Hackberry, Emmett, Henry Jones, McCord, Brushie Prairie and Mertens. The tornado on May 6, 1930, did considerable damage to the building and then it was destroyed by fire in January 1948. Because of Mr. Harrison's untiring efforts, the ground was cleared, bonds voted and a new building was entered in January, 1949. Those following W. V. Harrison as superintendent were: Truman Newsom, Rodney Shelton, Curtis Cochran and Dale Cosby. The present superintendent (1985 - 1986) is Gene Burton. In 1967 an air-conditioned building was added to the campus to house the primary grades, the home economics department, business office and cafetorium. Plans are in the making to build a new building or add on to the present plant.

Frost was fortunate to have from one to three resident doctors to serve Frost and the surrounding community. Some of the earliest doctors were: Dr. H. H. Stephenson, Dr. John W. Matlock, Dr. R. Knox, Dr. Robinson, Dr. Chamberlin, Dr. Howard B. Orr; of this group Dr. Matlock served the longest. Other doctors included Dr. Ed. L. Evans, Dr. A. L. Grizzaffi, Dr. Ben H. Griffin, Dr. Clinch and Dr. George Neece. Dr. J. D. Holland was the dentist here from the early twenties until the sixties. Today Frost, like all the small towns in Navarro County, is served by doctors at clinics in Corsicana.

Frost has had two banks. The Citizens State Bank of Frost was organized in 1909. At the present time this bank is in continuous growth and has never changed its name. The building is not the same, but the same vault is in use. Three different crises have faced the fate of this bank: the depression beginning in 1929; the tornado in 1930; and the attempted robbery in 1935. During the depression J. M. Scott was president, A. H. Strain vice-president, G. L. Haley cashier, J. B. Strain assistant cashier, Y. H. Greer, J. F. Slater and R. D. McFarland were directors. In March of 1932, the federal government closed all banks for a period of time; this bank closed nearly two weeks but re-opened with A. H. Strain as president, J. M. Scott as vice-president and the same directors as before. The article on the bank's re-opening and its financial condition was published in the Frost Enterprise, the town's weekly paper, by J. E. Laney, editor and publisher. These articles were saved and submitted by J. B. Strain, who is the only surviving original official of the bank in 1986. The tornado completely destroyed the original bank building in 1930. The bank personnel and many citizens were saved by getting into the bank vault. The attempted bank robbery was great excitement for the town. The strangers came to town in a Pierce Arrow car, attempted to rob the bank, but nightwatchman, Bill Melton, (known to many as "Confound It" - a favorite saying of his) shot one man and killed him. The others fled and Melton lost his trigger finger in the battle. The dead man lay at McCormick Funeral Home until he was identified as David Stone, a sewing machine repairman from out of this state. He was buried in Frost Cemetery.

Across the street from the Citizens State Bank was the First National Bank which was destroyed by the tornado. It was rebuilt and the building still stands but the bank closed after the depression and never re-opened. John Beck was president and Carroll Young was cashier.

Frost has always been an agricultural community. The rich blackland prairie attracted people to settle in the area, and by 1920 most of the land had been cleared and planted in cotton. Frost's economy was dependent on King Cotton until the mid-fifties when some of the land was taken out of cultivation and turned into pasture. Grain crops such as oats, wheat and maize have become more popular as cotton has declined. At one time Frost had three gins; in 1986 there is only one in operation. Several years ago to stress our pride for our town, we placed a motto at its entrance on a huge bill board: "Where Cotton is King / And Friendliness is Queen".

From its beginning the population of Frost continued to grow and reached a peak of 671 in 1945. In this Sesquicentennial Year of 1986 the Texas Almanac reports a population of 564. Some of the early settler of Frost were: Sanders, Tullos, Hightower, Osborne, Scott, Way, Jones and Hollingsworth.

Notes:

  • Sources published in the Navarro County Scroll Vol. XXI for 1988

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Copyright March, 2009
Edward L. Williams & Barbara Knox