|The Kosse Echo
Our Hometown Newspaper
|Historical Articles Featured in the Kosse Echo
Reprinted with permission of Kosse Echo Publisher Nell McKinney
as an advertisement to attract people to the area. It is copied exactly.
Present, Past and Future Greatness. A Wide-awake Commercial Center in a Rich
Agricultural and Mineral District.
Traveling southward on the Houston and Texas Central railroad, the last Limestone
County town is Kosse. A German by the name of Theodore Kosse was the chief
engineer of the Houston and Texas Central railroad, who located the route through
his section, and it was in his honor that this town was named. It is situated 154
miles north of the city of Houston, 111 miles south of Dallas and 16 miles south of
Groesbeck, the county seat. It is very near the extreme southwestern corner of
Limestone County, within two and a half miles of Falls County and but four miles
north of Robertson County.
It is also near the dividing line of the timber belt on the east and the prairie on the
west, being surrounded by a very productive country. The lands to the east, in the
timbered belt are for the most part a deep sandy loam, very productive of corn,
cotton, fruits and vegetables. The black lands of the adjacent prairies to the west
are the grain and cotton lands.
The present population of Kosse is about 1200. The business portion of the town
was, until December 22, 1895, built up largely of brick, but on the night of that date
an unfortunate fire swept away a larger part of one of the best blocks. Eight
houses were then consumed with most of their contents, incurring a loss of about
$50,000. The total amount of insurance was about $25,000 only.
The work of rebuilding the burnt district is now in progress, and a large brick
building is also being erected on the street west of the burnt block. Contracts have
been let for nine new bricks - one more than the last fire destroyed - five of which
are now under construction. Most of these new buildings will have plate glass iron
fronts. Counting the business houses soon to reopen, the town of Kosse has six
general stores, some of which carry a line of hardware; one large hardware and
implement house, seven groceries, one dry goods and clothing store, two drug
stores, a meat market, two furniture and undertaking establishments, two fancy
groceries and confectioneries, a harness and saddle store, two millinery stores, a
jewelry store, a lumber yard, a livery stable, two saloons, a barber shop, a good
weekly paper and job printing office, three hotels, two lawyers, six doctors, one
painter, three blacksmith shops, and last, but not least, a good private bank of
ample capital. There is a good ginnery here which has a capacity of forty bales a
Last season Kosse shipped 10,000 bales of cotton. Up to date this season about
6000 bales have been shipped. This season some 125 cars of cotton seed have
been shipped against 200 cars last season. Considerable numbers of beef cattle
are annually fed in the vicinity and shipped from here. Sweet potatoes also
constitute an important export here. The mellow loam of the adjacent timbered
lands is finely adapted to their growth and every year a good number of carloads
are shipped north.
Mineral water - Sowders' mineral well, three and a half miles north of town, is
making a reputation on the curative properties of its water, which is recommended
for liver, kidney and stomach troubles. A hotel has been built at the wells and (the
water) is shipped in jugs, kegs and barrels, being boiled down to a highly
concentrated condition for this purpose.
Some of the leading business houses here sell $40,000 to $60,000 worth of goods
annually. One strictly cash grocery, who carries only about $1500 stock, sold last
year goods to the amount of $13,600.
Journalistic - The first paper published in Kosse was the News by J.A. Keigwin, now
of Marlin. The News was published about two years, when the plant was moved
away. The Kosse Local, by the veteran journalist, Hanson, was next. The Local was
a democratic paper, but - as the greenback craze was cutting a wide swath about
the time (1876-1881) Editor Hanson conceived the brilliant idea of corralling some
the green-backers' green dollars by publishing a paper of that political faith and
order. He then started the People's Vindicator (greenback), at the same time
keeping up his democratic paper, the Local. The kind of a business contradiction did
not work well, and ere long both papers died for the want of financial breath. The
Cyclone was the next newspaper venture here. It was started by J.O. Jones, now
of the Waxahachie Light. It is now in its eleventh volume and is published by
Robison Bros. The Cyclone is a six column octave and enjoys a large advertising
patronage from the businessmen of Kosse and adjacent towns. The Cyclone's
entire plant and stock was consumed in the fire of Dec. 22 but the proprietors put in
a new outfit at once and their paper now comes out in a brand new dress. The
Cyclone office prints the Southern Poultry Journal of Neches, Texas, a sixteen-page
The railroad reached Kosse in 1870. The first merchants here were N. Markham,
general stock, and B.F. Ouzts, drugs. This was the terminus six month or more. A.J.
Burleson, native Texan was about the first settler, and the supplier of the date
herein given relative to the place. The first brick building in Kosse was erected by N.
Markham in 1880. It was a two-story brick store.
The first destructive fire that Kosse had occurred in 1882 or 1883, in which seven of
eight stores - all wooden buildings - were consumed. Only three business houses
escaped, and they were brick. In a year or two after this fire some fifteen brick
business houses were built on the burnt district, eight of which were destroyed in
the recent fire.
Schools and churches - Kosse has been an incorporated town for 15 years and as a
special tax is levied for school purposes the public schools are under control of the
town government. There are two public free schools taught. The white school has
some 250 pupils. Prof. J.T. Hall is principal and four assistants are employed. There
are some 90 or 100 pupils in the colored schools. A term of nine months are taught.
The Methodist, Baptist and Cumberland Presbyterian churches have good buildings
and the Presbyterians are organized. The colored Baptists and Methodists also
have churches. The white Methodist and Baptist churches are good brick edifices,
costing about $2500 each. The Masons, Odd Fellows, Knights of Pythias, and
Knights of Honor have organized lodges at Kosse. There is also an opera house.
Mineral resources - From eight to ten miles east of Kosse are found extensive beds
of lignite, potter's clay and fire clay, all of excellent quality. An immense block of this
lignite, 3x3 thick and 7 feet long was shipped to Dallas a few years ago but nothing
has yet been done toward the development of these beds of coal. Some years ago
an extensive manufactory of paving and "drawing" tiles was carried on here but had
to shut down for lack of patronage. The character of wares turned out was
first-class, as were the fire bricks which were made. Kaolin of good quality is also
found in this vicinity and the finest quality of pure white sand for making glass is
here in unlimited quantity apparently. About 10 or 12 miles east of town is a
remarkable mound of solid granite. The mound is several acres in extent, but its
depth is not known. No other granite has ever been found in this section. In view
of these valuable minerals, as yet almost untouched by man, it would seem that this
locality presents some unusually fine inducements for the investment of capital in
manufacturing and mining enterprises.
Many changes have taken place since the advertisement was circulated. Odd thing
about the above is the attention given to minerals which is in the process of being
developed. Ray A. Walter