Mayflower - Newton County - Texas

Another of Newton County communities that has had two names is that of Mayflower. It acquired the name of Mayflower because its first name of Surveyville was the name of another town in Texas that had become a post office before this community applied for a post office.

Mayflower is in northern Newton County and was first known as "The Survey" because the first known surveying in the county began there in William Williams League. A post office was established in 1903. Robert Joiner was the first postmaster, and the office was in his home. In 1936 Mayflower had a school and church. There are two houses still standing there over 100 years old. They arc known as the Mattox House and Bush Home, formerly known as the Trotti House. Three cemeteries are named for families of people who lived there: the Mattox, Rogers, and Mitchell.

The Mayflower church was built as a Methodist church in 1889 and is still owned by the Texas United Methodist Conference. It has been used, however, by various denominations and for different types of meetings as school, homecomings, singings, and revival meetings.

It is located in the Survey Community which is also known as the Mayflower Community. It is located in the northern part of Newton County in the William Williams League of land. Settlers coming from the East could know what land they were getting because it had been surveyed, a fact that was important to settlers and was not a widespread practice at first. The community first got a post office under the name of Surveyville, but upon finding there was another community of the same name in Texas with a post office, the name was changed to Mayflower and Mayflower was the post office name although the community was often referred to as "The Survey." It is on State Highway No. 87.

The land for the site of the church was donated by J. W. Mattox and his wife, M. E. Mattox. The church was built in 1889 but the deed was not fixed until November 1893. One and one-half acres was given for the sum of$l to the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. Later on in 1953, J. F. Newberry and his heirs deeded three acres which adjoin the site to the Survey Methodist Church for the sum of $10. Various Methodist preachers (circuit riders) preached at the church and held meetings in it. The one that is most often referred to as the first, or one of the first is Robert M. (Dock) Stewart. Another early preacher was a Rev. Short (no reference to his given name). The building was used as a school building. Hayne Booker, now a retired 83-year-old man in Newton, Texas, says that he attended school there. He started in 1898 and went through the 5th Reader after which he moved to Newton. He says the teachers were Rufus Windham, Ira Bean, Monroe Casey, Drew Miller, and Rob Good. It was a one-teacher school and used the church long benches as student stations. The sessions of school were timed so as not to interfere with farm work for the boys and girls.

The Survey Community has its annual homecoming on the third Sunday of September each year. At its homecoming on September 19, 1975, the community dedicated an Official Texas Historical Marker which reads: William Williams, an early 1800s Sabine Valley pioneer, obtained a large land grant in 1834 from the Republic of Mexico. His surveyed land attracted settlers, who called the location "The Survey." In 1847, Wade H. Mattox (1800-1863) built the first frame house in the settlement, using lumber hauled from Alexandria, La., by a Neighbor, Ezekiel Cobb (1825-1864). By the 1850s, The Survey had settlers named Booker, Bush, Cade, Clark, Collins, Conner, Droddy, Garlington, Hardy, Joiner, Jones, McGee, Mitchell, Smith, Trotti, and Weeks. The economy was based on farming and (later) lumbering. At least sixteen Survey community residents fought for the Confederacy in the Civil War (1861-65).

In 1889, the Methodists built a church on land given by Mr. and Mrs. J.W. Mattox. The building was also used for school purposes. Surveyville Post Office opened in 1903, was soon renamed "Mayflower."

Population shifts starting in the 1940s caused the school to consolidate with Burkeville (1949), the post office to close (1951), and the church to disband (1961). Public facilities, including the church building, Mattox Cemetery, and several other burial grounds arc now maintained by the Survey Cemetery Association.