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Pecan Grove, Texas

Pecan Grove, commonly known as Granny's Neck or Harper's Crossing, was located about five miles southeast of Cooper west of State Highway 154 where the Bonham-Jefferson Road crossed the South Sulphur River in south central Delta County.

History

The area was settled in the 1840s. Benjamin DeSpain, a settler from Tennessee, built a toll bridge of oak and bois d'arc at the highest ridge of land at the South Sulphur crossing in 1846. The bridge connected the two sides of the river both socially and economically as the Bonham-Jefferson Road became an important artery of commerce. In the early 1870s a flood destroyed the DeSpain Bridge, and in 1873 George Washington Harper was authorized to construct another toll bridge. The spot became known as Harper's Crossing for more than a century. In 1883 Harper sold his toll bridge to Hopkins and Delta counties, and it was jointly maintained from then on.

In the latter half of the 1800s, a widow named Mary Sinclair, reportedly lived on the narrow ridge of land that rose between Doctors Creek and the South Sulphur River north of the crossing. Local tradition holds that farmers called this peninsula "Granny's Neck" after "Granny" Sinclair. A small community developed around a store and Granny's Neck School. Early residents included the Talley family. Farming remained an important industry in the region throughout the first half of the twentieth century. By the 1930s, however, the school and community were renamed Pecan Grove, though most locals still referred to the area as Granny's Neck. Pecan Grove School closed in 1949 when it was consolidated into the Cooper Independent School District. After World War II agriculture declined in the county, and some of the rural population moved away.

The construction of better highways and farm-to-market roads in the county diminished the geographic importance of Harper's Crossing, though the bridge remained open into the 1970s. On January 10, 1971, the bridge received a Texas Historical Marker. With the completion of Cooper Lake in 1991, the site of Pecan Grove was forever flooded. The Granny's Neck Shelter Area in Doctors Creek Unit at Cooper Lake State Park honors the memory of the rural community.  Source: Handbook of Texas Online

DeSpain Bridge. (Site 4.2 miles Southwest) Located where the Bonham-Jefferson Road crossed the South Sulphur River, this pioneer bridge served the area's rich cotton trade for some 20 years. It was constructed before 1850 by landowner Brig DeSpain and his neighbors to provide access to the county seat -- Tarrant -- in Hopkins County. The land was originally awarded to the family of Randolph DeSpain, a Texas Revolutionary soldier who was killed in the massacre at Goliad in 1836. Strongly built of native oak and bois d'arc wood, the bridge withstood heavy traffic of ox-wagons and horse-drawn vehicles. The narrow ridge of land where it was situated was known as "Granny's Neck," for Mrs. Mary Sinclair, who lived in the vicinity. Until cotton and corn became important crops, the South Sulphur River ran clear. Afterward, eroded dirt from plowed fields muddied its waters. Shortly after 1870 -- the year Delta County was organized -- heavy rains washed out the bridge. The State of Texas built a new one, which took the name of G. W. Harper, Toll Keeper. Later Hopkins and Delta counties assumed maintenance of this new bridge, which continued to channel cotton and corn wagons between the two regions for several decades. - Historical Marker Text, 1970. Marker located about 4 mi. east of Cooper at SH 154 and SH 19

Location

33° 21' 19.332" N, 95° 35' 44.916" W