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GOD & TEXAS: Leon County

In 1894, the Leon County town of Poor, Texas, was having trouble attracting settlers. Some citizens suggested that the name of the community might be uninviting to newcomers. So, when the government refused to let them name their post office “Poor,” they changed the name to “Wealthy.” Solid decision.

Leon County was established in 1846, with Centreville (now Centerville) becoming the County Seat. Leon County sits on the western banks of the Trinity River, with the Old San Antonio Road serving as the southern border. Most settlers started arriving to the area around 1840, bringing with them a strong Christian commitment that remains today.

Centreville was created to be the County Seat in 1850 because it sits virtually in the center of Leon County. Writing for The Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, historian W.D. Wood recounts that one of the first buildings erected in Centreville was a Baptist church that was used by all denominations. Various circuit riding preachers visited often to minister the Word of God and to conduct sacerdotal functions.

There were several communities in Leon County that were given Biblical names. About 10 miles north of Centreville was the town of Corinth (Acts 18:1). Their first church was organized in 1888 by Pastor W.A. Prichard as he traveled his Buffalo Circuit.

Twenty-one miles east of Corinth was the town of Mount Pisgah (Deuteronomy 34:1), now known as Red Branch. The first burial in the Mount Pisgah cemetery was John Orenbaum in 1854.

Twelve miles east of Centreville was Egypt (Genesis 12:10). Egypt was founded in the late 1800’s and ceased to exist in the late 1930s. It is now considered a ghost town. The name Egypt is remembered fondly in the Bible because Mary and Joseph escaped to this North African country of Egypt with the newborn Jesus (Matthew 2:13).

Thirteen miles southwest of Centreville is the rowdy town of Nineveh (Nahum 3:1). When it was named, the hope was that it would become a great city like the one in the Bible. However, the town only replicated the bad traits of Biblical Nineveh, becoming infamous for quarrelling, gunfights, and general violence. The hostility was most notable between the various political factions.

Finally, there is the town of Shiloh (Genesis 49:10), which is located about 22 miles northeast of Centreville. In Hebrew, the word Shiloh means “His gift,” and is the prophetic name for Christ, the Messiah. In Genesis 49, Jacob gave a final blessing to his sons. To Judah he prophesied that the Messiah would come through his lineage. What a beautiful Name.

The early settlers of Leon County knew God and the Bible. Further, they highly valued and esteemed the Word of God by placing these sacred names on their settlements. In 1 Samuel 2:30 (ESV) the Lord told the people, “For those who honor Me, I will honor.” Let us not forget that it was true then, and it is still true today.

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