Gulf Coast Towns
Barrett (Harris County)
Dinsmore - "Dinsmore
is on Farm Road 1301 and the Galveston, Harrisburg and San Antonio Railway
two miles east of Wharton in Wharton County. It was established in John
Dinsmore's quarter league by a black man, E. W. Roberts, for African
Americans. qv The plat was recorded in 1913, and the town was named
Roberts; the residents, however, called the place Dinsmore, and the
name Roberts appears only on the plats. The original plat had thirty-eight
blocks, with nine avenues running east to west and six streets running
north to south. One lot was designated for a school, with a park across
the street. The streets and avenues had the names of local citizens.
The lots were small but cheap, and gave descendants of former slaves,
now working as tenant farmers, sharecroppers, or hired agricultural
workers, a place to build and own their own homes. The site was near
Burr, which had the largest black population in the county because the
large plantations along the Caney Creek had been in that area.
After the railroad was built from Wharton to Van Vleck in 1900, white
farmers moved in. E. W. Roberts, who owned and operated a brick two-story
mercantile store on the east side of the courthouse square in Wharton,
began selling lots in 1914. He eventually declared bankruptcy, sold
all of his Wharton County holdings, and moved to Houston. A revised
plat was recorded in 1920 that reduced the townsite to three avenues,
four streets, and ten blocks containing twelve lots each. The school
and park never materialized. In the early 1990s Dinsmore comprised fifty
houses, an estimated 250 residents, and one business."
Wharton County Historical Commission, Wharton County Pictorial
History: 1846-1946, Our First 100 Years (Austin: Eakin Press, 1993).
Houston Freedmen's Towns:
There were several Freedman settlements established in the location
of present-day Houston. At the time of settlement, these places were
located outside of Houston and as Houston expanded, these areas were
incorporated. These settlements included the Fourth and Fifth Ward,
and Freedmanís Town:
Freedmanís Town: "Historical
and cultural legacies bounded by Gennessee, West Dallas, Arthur and
West Gray Streets. This 40 block residential area represents the first
settlement of the Cityís freed blacks. The district contains
many examples of shotgun houses. Rutherford B. Yates House Historical
and cultural legacies, 1314 Andrews in Freedmanís Town. The building
will house a museum that will focus on the work of African-American
printers. RTHL is designated a recorded Texas Historic Landmark.
Antioch Missionary Baptist Church - Historical
and cultural legacies, 313 Robin Street. Located in historic Freedmanís
Town, this church was organized in 1866 and is the oldest Black Baptist
congregation in Houston. Independence Heights Historical and cultural
legacies bounded by North Yale, East 34th and I-610. This community
was established about 1908 as middle-class African-American families
began moving into the North Houston area. The first African-American
Community to be incorporated in Texas, Independence Heights operated
as a city from 1915 until annexation by the City of Houston. SM at 7818
N. Main, NR."
Freedmanís Town Historic District.
Texas Historical Subject Marker. Listed in the National Register of
Mission Valley (Medina County)
TX." The Handbook of Texas Online. [Accessed Fri Jul 4 7:51:06
US/Central 2003 ]. by Merle R. Hudgins.