In 1856, Poolville was known as a water hole for the large herds of cattle on their way to West Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and other parts west and north. It was named for a large pool of spring-fed water which was located east of where the town now stands. With the coming of homesteaders who cultivated the land, sand seeped into the pool and eventually it disappeared. The pool was 200 yards long, running 6 inches deep at the east end and 6 to 8 feet deep on the west.
The first saloon was kept by Doc Clark in 1870. A sawmill was run by M.L. Scott in 1877. The first post office was started in 1882 by G. A. (Dolph) Holland and he was appointed the postmaster. In 1877, the first church was Baptist and the Pastor was J. F. Head. In 1879, the first grave was a child of Bill Crumpton.
A.H. Dunn also owned the Poolville Hotel, which was established in 1891. Previously, he had established the first blacksmith shop. The hotel was later sold to Dave Waters.
Some of the first settlers in the 1870’s were Dave Ripple, the Sherwood family, Aetna Harrison, Jim McCarty, the Womacks, the Deals, John King, Tom Jones, Mr. Tallent, Neal Harris, Van Cogburn, the Shadles, Rev. Turnbiw, the Crumptons, and the Erwins.
In the 1880’s came the Penrods, Ellers, Uncle Tom Phillips, the Stells, Housers, Stones, Logans, Dr. Kinnard, the Bullingtons, John Martin and Dave Waters. Many of these settlers were large families.
The First Baptist Church was organized in 1887 in Pate school house, a little log school house. It had fourteen charter members. Nehemiah N. Vernon served as the first pastor. In its beginning it was called Hopewell Church and then Mount Olive Church and finally Poolville Baptist Church. The little log school house was located about one-half mile northeast of Poolville. Later, the church was moved to a newly erected building just west of the stores in Poolville. The building was also used for a school and also a place of worship for different denominations. In 1914, the present building was erected on a four-acre lot.
In 1895, the Methodist people of the Poolvilled community joined together with the Central Methodist Conference to organize their church. At that time Poolville was a thriving town complete a town square that had all building occupied with businesses. At that time there were five doctors, two cotton gins, a hotel and many other businesses long forgotten.
Later, Henry Erwin operated the first telephone company, which had 151 telephones and about 150 miles of wire. The rate was $1.00 a month.
In 1905, a private bank was organized by general demand with $10,000 capital. The first officers were Jack Holland, president, J. F. Head, vice president (also Baptist minister) and W. T. Houser, cashier.
In 1906, the population was over 400, there were several business establishments. There was a photograph gallery run by U.S. Patmon (see photo); W.I. Bullington owned a pharmacy and stationary store; Joe Davenport was owner of a gin; Roundtree and Franklin was a general merchandise store; Turpin and Upton dealt in groceries, dry goods, undertaker’s goods, hats, shoes and other needs of the town folks; and Waters Brothers Restaurant was next door to the bank. There were three doctors taking care of the physical well-being of the folks. They were Dr. W. J. Sparks, Dr. Alec McConnell, and Dr. B. Brittain, whohad his office at Nickson’s Drug Store.
A school was first established in 1879 with teacher W. T. (Uncle T) Baggett. Some of the first pupils were Jim Seaberry, Will Deal, and Minna Taylor. Some have said that there have been more school teachers who came out of Poolville than from any other town of comparable size. Among the early teachers, there were two who seemed to have great influence on the advancement of the school. Mr. C. H. Leaver and a Mr. Judd. The latter succeeded in having the school called “The Judd College.” Mr. Leaver taught for five years and in 1898 conducted a normal school. A pupil could attend the school for a few weeks, probably six, then receive a second or third-grade certificate, entitling him to teach school.
When the expected railroad line failed to come through Poolville, many of the early settlers began to gradually move away to the larger cities and towns. Like so many other frontier towns that had their demise, many of the buildings deteriorated.
Today, Poolville doesn’t have the many businesses it once had as there are larger cities wherein to shop. It does have a thriving community of folks living in and around a small post office, convenience store and the Wilhite Seed Company. The schools are excellent and the churches still serving the folks in a small, rural Texas town.