Joppa, Texas

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Joppa is an unincorporated community located in Burnet County, Texas, United States. Joppa is located on the North Fork of the San Gabriel River seven miles northeast of the City of Bertram. First settlers of this farming and ranching community included the William Alexander Faires family who moved to the area in 1874 and the Martin Luther Ater family who moved from nearby Mahomet in 1875.

History[edit]

The community got its start when in 1881, J. S. and Jane Danford of Delaware County, Iowa, donated two acres of land on the north bank of the river for a school and church. Their only stipulation was that residents had to complete construction of the schoolhouse by March 1, 1882 and they met that the deadline.

The original settlement name was Pool Branch for a nearby pool of water carved out by a waterfall on the North Fork of the San Gabriel River. By the 1880s, a water-powered cotton gin and mill were established on the pool and a store and blacksmith shop soon followed, the only other businesses in the settlement.

When a post office was established in 1891, residents submitted the biblical name “Joppa” and the postal service approved it. The first postmaster was William F. Childers and the post office continued in existence until rural mail delivery was established in 1904 and it closed.

On May 19, 1904, the first telephone was installed in Joppa and in 1911, the Missouri Valley Bridge and Iron Company out of Leavenworth, Kansas built an iron bridge across the river. The bridge still stands today (2011) though a new concrete bridge has replaced it for automobile traffic. In 1939 under the Rural Electrification Act, the Pedernales Electric Cooperative strung the first transmission line to bring electricity to the area.

As late as the 1930s, the community held annual picnics as well as Friday and Saturday night socials and Sunday night singings. Part of that tradition continues today when members of the community gather the second Sunday of each month for "dinner on the grounds."

The original school building was converted to a community center after the one-room school consolidated, in 1942, with the Bertram Independent School District.

Until 1913, the schoolhouse hosted church services. That year the Joppa Baptist Church congregation erected a meetinghouse across the road from the school and has been holding weekly services continuously ever since.

All that remains of the pioneer settlement is the church and community center.

References[edit]

1 - Texas State Historical Association
2 - Burnet County Genealogical Society
3 - Burnet County, Texas
4 - Historical Marker Data Base for the Joppa Texas community

Coordinates: 30°49′32″N 98°01′54″W / 30.82556°N 98.03167°W / 30.82556; -98.03167