History of Retreat

Navasota, Grimes Co. Cemeteries of TX

Submitted by Kyle Osborn 

Eagle Project, Boy Scouts of America (2005)

  MAP               HISTORY            LIST

Retreat got its start as a village when a Houston to Springfield stagecoach line was run through this area and a stagecoach stop and place to change horses was established here.It was first called Groce’s Retreat, though the small second home Jared Groce had built as his “retreat” (from malaria at his home Bernardo, farther south and in the Brazos bottom) was two miles to the west. Groce’s Retreat Post Office was established by the Republic of Texas and D. T. Dunham was appointed as Postmaster on October 12, 1838.Groce had died in November of 1836 and the Daniel A. Dunham family from Tennessee had bought the Groce’s Retreat place from the Groce heirs.

When the mail was put off at the stagecoach stop, it was for Groce’s Retreat.  As time went on, people just said the mail was for “Retreat” and that finally became the name of the stagecoach stop.

The first Postmaster Retreat had from the Federal government was Josiah W. Ogden, appointed in 1851.The post office was discontinued in 1867 and re-established in 1872 and lasted 35 more years until 1907.

Retreat had the most population following the Civil War and into the early 1900’s.  At one time Retreat had a McCaskill store, another store, Joe Clark’s store, John A. Danford’s store, two saloons, a school for whites and a school for blacks,and Pleasant Hill Baptist Church (black) on Red Hill.This hill was also called Davis Hill and Binford Hill.  There were three cotton gins at different times.

1)         Residence and stagecoach stop.Mail drop-off started 1838 during the Republic of Texas.

2)         Cotton gin owned by a McAlpine, possibly Frank around 1880-1890.

3)         Cotton gin built by Lem McGee around 1924-1929 when it burned.

4)         Joe Clark’s General Merchandise Store and Post Office started in 1875.  Clark was     Postmaster for 16 years, 1873-1889 and again 6 years, 1898-1904.

5)          Cotton gin built by Frank McAlpine and later sold to Ben McGinty around 1890-1915.

6)          Retreat School – White – 1880-1915.

7)          Giboney – Clark Cemetery – White.

8)          Scott-Lawrence Cemetery – White.

9)          Pleasant Hill Baptist Church – Black – 1890 – Present.

10)        Retreat School – Black – Across old road from Pleasant Hill Baptist Church.Early   1900’s.  In 1930’s, the building was torn down and school was consolidated with Templeman Hill School very near to old Mount Pleasant Church (No. 18 – Main Map).

11)        Lacey Hill Cemetery – Black – This hilltop is where Captain Tom Lacy, an  ex-Mississippi riverboat captain built his home after the Civil War.Captain Lacy had a blacksmith shop south from Lyle’s home.  This cemetery was started after Captain Lacy’s time.  It was in back of his home site to the east.  The land was given by Elliott McCaskill.

12)       Pratt Cemetery – Black.

13)       Harris Cemetery – White.

14)       Childre Cemetery – White.

15)       Lacy-Shelton Cemetery – White – Long abandoned, surrounded by trees and undergrowth.At least 8 markers and a lot of foot stones.This Thomas Lacy is the same as he who had his home on Lacey Hill.

Retreat Postmasters

  In a book titled Texas Post Office Papers 1836, on page 62, there is a list of Post Offices and their Postmasters.  Montgomery County Post Offices on the list that eventually was in Grimes County when Grimes was carved out of Montgomery in 1846 are:


Date Commissioned             Post Office                  County                      Postmaster

1837, March 30                       Fanthorp                      Montgomery           H. Fanthorp

1838, October 12                   Groce’s Retreat          Montgomery            D. T. Dunham

1838, November 3                 Greer’s                         Navasota                  Thomas N. B. Greer

1840, January 20                   Rusk                             Montgomery            M. Manning


The following names are for U. S. Postmasters.  We do not know how long the Groce’s Retreat Post Office lasted nor how much of a gap there was until Ogden was appointed in 1851.  

Ogden, Josiah W. January 14, 1851
Weaver, Lewis G. April 8, 1854
Grimes, Jacob September 17, 1855
Van Alstyne, John A. October 27, 1855
Stresaw,Thomas G. October 1, 1860
(D)             January 23, 1867
Fisher, R. H. August 2, 1872
Thompson, W. H. September 18, 1872
Clark, Joseph August 19, 1873
McGinty, Benjamin H. July 12, 1889
Clark, Joseph R. January 21, 1898
McCaskill, Fannie C.
Navasota, M. December  31 1907