Photographer's Note

According to Wikipedia, Booth is a small unincorporated community in Fort Bend County, Texas, USA at coordinates 29°31′48″N and 95°39′00″W where I took this picture. It is located along Farm to Market Road 2759 and the BNSF Railway southeast of Richmond, Texas. There are number of houses, an RV-park, a restaurant, a landscaping business and an historical marker in the area.

The BNSF Railway – the second-largest freight railroad network in North America, second to the Union Pacific Railroad – tracks run parallel to and south of FM 2759 through the area. Both railroad and highway come into Booth from the west-northwest. They curve slightly and leave Booth heading southeast. An historical marker is at the corner of FM 2759 and Agnes Road. The Old Trading Post restaurant is nearby. Agnes Road continues north-northeast 0.8 miles (1.3 km) to the Riverbend RV Park; beyond that point it becomes a one-lane trail and dead ends before reaching the Brazos River. The Enchanted Forest nursery is located 0.6 miles (1.0 km) southeast on FM 2759 at Insurance Road. The Royal Lakes subdivision entrance is 1.0 mile (1.6 km) to the west-northwest on the south side of the railroad tracks. Velasquez Elementary School is 2.2 miles (3.5 km) west-northwest on FM 2759 at Macek Road.

The property on which today's community stands was granted to Henry Jones (1789-1861) in Stephen F. Austin's Texas colony. Freeman Irby Booth, a wealthy landowner who owned a cotton gin, general store, lumberyard and syrup mill, founded the settlement in the 1890s. The community received a post office in 1894. Two years later there was a school, Baptist church and 150 residents. By 1914, a population of about 300 was served by a bank and telephone connections. The community's segregated schools taught 85 white and 177 black students in 1926. From the mid-1920s through 1948, about 100 people lived in the settlement. During the 1940s Booth had a school and two churches but by the end of the decade there were only 40 persons living there. In the 1980s there were two businesses and by 1990 there were about 60 residents.


The Texas State Historical Associated states that Booth is on the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway and Farm Road 2759, eight miles southeast of Richmond in eastern Fort Bend County. The site was originally a part of the Henry Jones league in the Stephen F. Austin colony. Freeman Irby Booth founded the settlement in the 1890s, giving it his name. Booth was a major landowner in the county and operated a general store, a lumberyard, a cotton gin, and a syrup mill in the community. The town of Booth was granted a post office in 1894 and had a Baptist church, a school, and an estimated 150 inhabitants in 1896. In 1914 the community had an estimated 300 inhabitants, a bank, and telephone service. In 1926 the Booth schools served eighty-five white and 177 black students. The population of the community stayed an estimated 100 from 1925 through 1948, and in the 1940s Booth had two churches, a school, a cemetery, and a number of dwellings. Booth's population fell to forty in 1949. In 1980 the community comprised a collection of dwellings and two businesses. Its population was estimated at sixty in 1990.


Another online note identified that Booth Public School was founded in 1908. In 1912, Freeman Booth donated three acres of land for the school and a new school building with stucco exterior was erected. In 1928, the school was enlarged and a portion became an auditorium.

One of the obscure pages of eastern Texas history portrays the life of Irby Booth and his wife Mildred. Freeman Booth moved into Ritchmond (today’s Richmond) in 1885. By 1889, Irby had met Mildred Ryon Wheat and the two were soon married. Booth also purchased land near the Brazos River and built a home. Booth furthered his settlement plans by traveling to South Carolina and convincing 30 families to relocate to his land in east Texas (near Houston). It wasn't long before crops of rice, corn and cotton were shipped out on the Brazos, a convenient outlet to the Gulf of Mexico.

The Booth settlement was very prosperous and was eventually serviced by the Gulf, Colorado & Santa Fe Railroad. By 1912, the new town was enjoying postal service, a general store, lumberyard, cotton gin, a Baptist church and the Booth Public School. Irby Booth had drawn up the plans with a strong resemblance to the old missions of San Antonio. The population of Booth peaked during the World War I era, with over 150 students attending school. Today, Booth’s history centers around this old school house and a wayside marker, alluding to remnants of the early 20th century.


The last piece of online info that I ran into states that once part of the Stephen F. Austin Colony, the community didn’t develop until the 1890s when Fort Bend County landowner Freeman Irby Booth arrived, and opened a store. Booth also opened a lumberyard, cotton gin and syrup mill.

A post office opened in 1894 when the population was estimated at 150. It doubled by 1914 and the town received telephone service as well as a bank.

From 1925 through the Great Depression and WWII. Booth’s population remained steady at 100 residents. By the late 1940s it had fallen to a mere 40 residents and has remained under 100. The 1990 census reported 60 citizens.

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Additional Photos by Ngy Thanh (ngythanh) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 471 W: 125 N: 2332] (8458)
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