Our History

 

Downsville, Texas

Downsville is on Farm Road 434 eight miles southeast of downtown Waco in southeastern McLennan County.  William Woods Downs owned the land in the 1850’s and used slaves to work it; after the Civil War he gave each family a house and some adjacent land.  Former slaves established the Mount Pleasant Missionary Baptist Church there in 1866.  When the San Antonio and Aransas Pass Railway laid its track from Waco to Lott in the late 1880’s, it passed through this community, where a post office called Price was established in April 1890 with William P. Sparks as postmaster.  Later that year the community was renamed Downsville, in honor of Downs and his son, John Wesley.  By 1892 Downsville had three flourmills, a general store, two grocery stores and 100 residents.  In 1896 the community had a one-teacher school with seventy-three white students.  County school records also indicate the existence in the area of a school called Mount Pleasant, which had one teacher and 126 black students; although the map didn’t show it.  It may have been located in Downsville and named after the church.  The population of Downsville was estimated at 134 from 1900 to the late 1940’s.  The post office was discontinued in 1907 and mail from the community was sent to Waco.  Then number of residents fell to fifty in 1949 and to thirty-five by 1964.  The Southern Pacific abandoned the track between Waco and Rosebud in 1967, thus depriving Downsville of rail service.  In the 1980’s county highway maps showed three churches, two cemeteries, and two or three businesses at the site.  The population was still thirty-five in 1990, but grew to 150 by 2000.

 

Downsville Baptist Church

The congregation was organized on May 6, 1894 by elder, A. J. Moore and 19 members of the Robinson Baptist Church (3 miles NW).  Later that year 39 new members joined the congregation during a summer revival.  A sanctuary and schoolhouse were erected on land deeded by E.J. Webb, W. C. Crunk and Fannie M. Crunk in 1896.  Over the years a number of church facilities, including a fellowship hall, town hall, and educational building have been built on this site.  The church shares its facilities and religious services with a number of communities in the area.