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Bleakwood, Texas

Bleakwood is at the junction of Farm Road 363 and U.S. Highway 87, forty-five miles north of Beaumont in west central Newton County.

History

One of the first settlers in the area was Thomas S. McFarland, who established a plantation home. The post office that served the area from 1850 to 1860 was called Cotland, presumably after a San Augustine County residence sold by McFarland in 1838. The post office was moved a short distance in 1867 and renamed Bleakwood by T. L. McDonald, in honor of his former home in Scotland. In 1883 officials again moved the post office, this time to the community that had grown up around Jessie Lee's grist and saw mills. The area's rich forests attracted the interest of large lumber industries, which began to penetrate Newton County in the late 1890s. The Jasper and Eastern Railway between Kirbyville and the Sabine River was completed in 1905, and the Orange and Northwestern linked Newton to Orange by 1906. These lines gave Bleakwood early railroad connections to move timber to processing plants. In its heyday just after 1900, Bleakwood had the post office, two general stores, sawmills, and a railroad depot. At least one small lumber company seems to have been based there in 1910. From 1928 to 1942 the E. E. McDonald Lumber Company operated a large plant at Bleakwood. Despite the company's departure and a major flood that temporarily severed Bleakwood's railroad links in the early twentieth century, the community remained a shipping point for logs, ties, staves, and pulpwood. The Bleakwood post office closed in 1943. An 1890 estimate set the population at fifty-eight; subsequent figures through 1950 range from fifty to 150. By 1966, however, the community's population had increased to about 300, and it remained at that level through 2000.  Source: Handbook of Texas Online.

Bleakwood Cemetery. Pioneers who settled the Bleakwood community after the Civil War established thriving mill and cotton gin businesses. Mill-owner Reuben Bennington donated an acre of land for this cemetery to serve area residents. The oldest marked grave, that of Doulie Lee, is dated Jan. 24, 1871. In 1940 J. K. Wilson gave an additional acre of land to the cemetery in memory of his wife Minnie Lee. Veterans of wars from the Civil War to the Korean War are buried here. The graves are given full care by the Bleakwood Cemetery Association, incorporated in 1975. - Historical Marker Text.  Marker erected 1981. Located 1 mi. N of Bleakwood on SH 87.

Location

30° 41' 36.3012" N, 93° 49' 20.9028" W