Site of Freestone County's FIRST Phone Exchange - Stewards Mill, TX
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member QuarrellaDeVil
N 31° 49.354 W 096° 12.268
14R E 764607 N 3524174
Quick Description: A 1964 Texas Historical Marker at the derelict 1869 Stewards Mill store, near the intersection of FM 833 and FM 2547 in Stewards Mill notes that the county's first phone exchange was located here.
Location: Texas, United States
Date Posted: 4/19/2022 5:42:29 PM
Waymark Code: WM162D6
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member model12
Views: 0

Long Description:
This is an early Texas Historical Marker, when they were not known for their verbosity. It provides a few sound bytes:

In settlement begun 1849 at Washington Steward's grist mill-- only one in area later had post office, brick plant, sawmill and county's first phone exchange.

Still owned by heirs of early partner. Doorstep is original millstone. 1964 fixtures include first counters, bins, cabinets.

Today, the store is derelict, and should best be enjoyed from outside. There's a modern concrete step where the millstone was, and presumably, it and other store treasures are safe at the museum in Fairfield or with the owners. USGenWeb (see below) has about all we're going to find about the phone exchange, although it's still interesting reading:

On October 29, 1886, "The Fairfield Recorder" reported that a telephone line from Wortham to Fairfield by way of Stewards Mill was under consideration. The store ledgers record a long distance telephone call charged to a customer as early as 1888. Some say the first telephone exchange in Freestone County was inside the Stewards Mill Store. A line ran from Corsicana to the Store and later connected to Teague and Mexia. A. T. Watson paid $500 to Mrs. M. B. Kemp for the line connecting to Groesbeck and Cotton Gin in 1899. The line's main function was to keep up with the current prices for livestock and cotton in the various markets.

FIRST - Classification Variable: Place or Location

More Information - Web URL: [Web Link]

Date of FIRST: Not listed

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