In The Weeds, 7.8.15: Bug Town

Admittedly a more eye catching title than “Elizabethtown”, “Bug Town” was the nickname for an early Denton County settlement named after Elizabeth Creek which was, in turn, named after John B. Denton’s daughter Elizabeth. In the far southeast corner of the Shamblin Survey you can see a tiny cross indicating the Elizabethtown Cemetery. That plat is located near the intersection of Hwy 114 and I-35W (click on image for larger view):

ShamblinSurveyElizabethtown002

Elizabethtown is one of several Denton County ghost towns and got its nickname from its settlers who hailed from Tennessee who had never seen the number and varieties of insects in that area.

Here is a Google Earth image of the area:

Elizabethtown

In Hollace Hervey’s book “Historic Denton County: An Illustrated History” published by the Denton County Historical Museum, Elizabethtown is said to have been settled by Peters Colonists in 1847 at “the point where the Ranger Trail and the stage route from Ft. Worth to Denton crossed the creek.” Isn’t it interesting to see how closely I-35W has apparently paralleled the old Anglo trail which, in turn, may have followed an Indian trail?

By the late 1870s, the town had several businesses, a post office, saloons, and its own school district. However, the eventual arrival of the Missouri, Kansas & Texas Railroad a couple miles to the east in Roanoke sounded the death knell to Elizabethtown. On August 2, 1881 the post office was closed and reopened the next day in Roanoke. The community barely survived into the 20th Century and by the 1940s was little more than the location of a cemetery (seen below). The bugs are probably still there, however.

ghosttowns 024

 

There is an excellent history of the the town and cemetery written by Mrs. I. Neal Samuels and Mrs. A. B. Harmonson located in our vertical files at the Emily Fowler Library, and an article from the Oct. 19, 1966 Denton Record Chronicle available at any DPL location from Newspaper Archives.

Chuck Voellinger

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