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Giles, Texas

Giles was between Ben Franklin and Pecan Gap and just south of the North Sulphur River and Farm Road 128 in extreme northwestern Delta County.

History

The area was originally an Indian hunting ground and became part of the John Evans survey before settlers-including the families of Isaac B. Nelson, James Patterson, and Greenville Smith-arrived there in 1857 from Giles County, Tennessee. In 1858 residents formed a Baptist congregation, and in 1859 they built the Giles Academy, one of only two schools in the area, under the leadership of teacher Thomas B. Hockaday. The building was also the Giles Academy Baptist Church. During the Civil War, Gen. Samuel Bell Maxey's Ninth Texas Infantry performed drills in a nearby encampment, but the area was otherwise virtually untouched by the war. In 1894 the North Sulphur Baptist Church was constructed. By 1905 the Giles school had one teacher and sixty-nine students. Around this time the community also had a store and a gristmill. Its church burned in 1917 and was rebuilt. The 1936 county highway map showed a cemetery and a cluster of dwellings at the site. C. W. Teague became pastor of the community's church in 1941, when it had seventy-one members; by 1944 the congregation had increased to 120. In 1949 the Giles school consolidated with that of Pecan Gap, and the Giles school land was auctioned off. Most of the community's residents moved to Ben Franklin and Pecan Gap. A 1964 map showed only the cemetery and a few scattered dwellings at the site, and by 1970 local students attended school within the Fannindel Independent School District in Fannin County. In 1972 only the cemetery remained at the former townsite. Giles was not shown on maps in 1984. Source: Handbook of Texas Online

Giles Academy. Early settlers, who came to this area from Giles County, Tenn., founded an academy at this site in 1859. Hired fellow-Tennessean Thomas Hart Benton Hockaday (1835 - 1918) as the first teacher, and named the new school in memory of their southern Tennessee homeland. Hockaday taught at Giles until his enlistment in the Confederate Army in 1862, and after the Civil War for several years before moving to Fannin County in 1870s. He presented a curriculum emphasizing arithmetic, reading the classics, and uses of the English language. (His daughter, Ela Hockaday, 1876 - 1956) founded the well-known Hockaday School for Girls in Dallas in 1913.) School expenses, including teachers' salaries, were paid by parents of the students. A small community center, with a blacksmith shop, general merchandise store, and church, grew up around the large log schoolhouse. After the organization of common school districts in Texas in 1883, the Academy became Giles School, District No. 4. The old log house was replaced with a frame structure in 1886. A more modern building, erected on this site in 1924, was badly damaged by a tornado in 1936. The Giles School never reopened, and its students were distributed between the Ben Franklin and Pecan Gap schools. Historical Marker Text, 1973. Marker located on FM 128, about 3 mi. SW of Ben Franklin.

Location

33° 27' 18.36" N, 95° 47' 46.716" W