Fannin County, Texas

History of Ely Community

By Tom Hymer, Fannin County Historical Commission

The Ely Community, located six miles east of Whitewright, on Farm Market Road 898, was named after Levi Wells Ely (1828-1904), who, with his wife, Laura Page Ely, and their family, migrated from Georgia to what is the Ely Community in 1882.

Ely had served four years in the Confederate Army.  The family is buried in the Oak Hill Cemetery.

Ernest Booher, who settled in the Ely community in 1903, states that Ely was inhabited almost entirely by Levi and Laura and their sons, Arthur, Frederick, Forrest, Walter, Conyer and Robert L. Forrest Elly ran a general store and Robert L. was a preacher.

A post office was established in 1895 and was discontinued in 1905.  Postmasters were Isaac B. Norell, William A. Smith and James L. Dobbs.

Ely once had a gin, a blacksmith shop, churches and a barber shop.  From the beginning Ely had a two teacher school.  The first building burned and was replaced by a two story building the second story used as a lodge by the Woodmen and the Odd Fellows.

In 1942, when there were not enough pupils for two teachers, the school closed and consolidated with Whitewright.

There was a doctor living in Ely.  Dr. George W. Cobb, who brought the first car to Ely in 1912.

Ely reached its zenith in 1895 with a population of 56 persons.  Ely was located on the Ocean Highway, so named because it was supposed to be a designated highway running from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean.

The names of some of the families that lived in the community at its peak were: Guthrie, Abbot, Harper, Booher, Cowns, Malugen, Fielder, Hicks, Harrison, Massey, Williams, Graves, Woodson, Cox, Sample, Monk, Smith, Taylor Roberson, Mitchell Stalkup, Haglar and Allison.

The Texas Historical Marker was dedicated in 1981.


Marker Text:

A veteran of the Civil War, Levi Wells Ely (1829-1903) and his wife Laura (Page) migrated to this area from Georgia in 1882.  The settlement that grew up around their farm became known as the Ely Community.  Settlers were attracted to this cotton-producing area by the fertile soil and nearby rail lines.  Ely was the site of a general store, cotton gin, blacksmith shop, barber shop, and churches.  A post office, opened in 1895, closed in 1905.  A school was located here until 1949 when it was consolidated with the Whitewright District.

Location:  Six miles southwest of Ector on FM 898.