Early Livingston Businesses


The Livingston Telephone Company, Polk County's first utility, was organized August 3, 1903, with the following stockholders:

  • A. L. Sawyer
  • B. C. Marsh
  • D. R. Bonner
  • George F. Sawyer
  • George Smith
  • H. B. Davis
  • Hill and Hill
  • J. A. Dye
  • J. L. Muller
  • J. W Cochran
  • J.C. Feagin
  • L. F. Gerlach
  • Mistrot Brothers
  • P. H. Blalock
  • S H. Smith
  • S J. Andress
  • S M. Peters
  • T. B. Davis
  • T. F. Meece
  • W B. Everitt

Capitol stock was as low as $2,000.  Forty telephones, each on its own line, were placed into service and Mr. Watt Scarborough was hired as manager. The outside plant was rebuilt in 1909 and the first creosote pine poles in Polk County were placed into service. The first one was on the northwest corner of Washington Avenue and Church Street.

Power Plant

The Livingston Power Plant was established in 1905 by George and Albert Sawyer, using a small wood-fired steam engine of about 20-horse power. Fifteen homes were wired with lines and since lighting was he sole use of. this power the plant gave service only at night for five years. The company was operated by two men: the manager, Roy Sawyer, and a lineman. During the first two years, the revenue did not reach $100 a month.

The Press

Earliest years the newspapers are known to have been published are as follows:

  • 1858-61 and 1865-67 - The Rising Sun, Livingston, J.E. Hill, Sr. Owner and editor.
  • 1868 - The Argus, Livingston, John and EM. Kirgan.
  • 1878-79 - Polk County Nanner, Livingston, Frank and Jeff Brown.
  • 1881 East Texas Pinery, Moscow (later moved to Livingston), J.M. And J.C. Stockton. (later: Argalus Rice, editor and publisher).
  • 1882 - Local Progress, Livingston, P. Roger Rose. (Still being published in 1902.)
  • 1889-92 - National Alliance, Livingston (Farm Publication).
  • 1892 - The Corrigan Index, Corrigan.
  • 1895 - Livingston Local, Livingston, R.L. Synott, Dave Green, and Will Palmer.
  • 1905 - Polk County Enterprise, Livingston, Will West (First linotype press in the county brought from Coldspring ).


  • Elijah Peters and Walter Willis
  • W. D. Willis
  • B. W Henry and Demetrius Willis
  • M. B. Stone
  • C. J. Gerlach and Brother
  • W. E Fitze
  • C. H. Davison
  • David S Chandler
  • J. A. McCardell
  • Davis McCardell
  • Abe Peebles
  • C. R. Miller
  • Chandler and Carr
  • John P. Kale
  • L. R. Fife

Additional Early Businesses

  • Barber: T. F. Meece.
  • Jeweler and Auto Mechanic: C. N Fisher.
  • Land and General Agent: R. W Hubert.
  • Livery and Feed Stable: C. K. Sisson.
  • Real Estate and Cotton Gin: J. W Cochran
  • Surveyor: Ben Lewis.


Andress Hotel

The first hotels in the county were located at Swartwout and Drew's Landing, and the Andress Hotel in Livingston had the distinction of being the third. It was established around 1848, and was a combination of a

  • Bank
  • Frequently the Only Office for the Town's Businessmen
  • Grocery Store
  • Livery Stable
  • Post Office
  • Restaurant
  • Saloon
  • Stage Station

James Andress built his hotel south of the present courthouse, where the Polk County Judicial Center is now located. It was a center of bustling activity for many years, and Sam Houston attended dances there. The hotel records for the years 1851-1856 are available today.

Andress Inn customers, August 1851 include:

  • Alex Weathers
  • Arthur P. Garner
  • Charley Cleveland
  • Col. Buckner
  • D.D. Moore
  • E A. Burrell
  • E T. Wingate
  • Elby Curtis
  • Enoch Jones
  • G. W Nelson
  • Isaac Williams
  • J. L. Neyland
  • J. M. Williams
  • J. W Knight
  • Jack Jones
  • Jackson Long
  • James Butler
  • James H. McCardell
  • James Hickman
  • John Culp
  • John English
  • John H. Jones
  • John P. Kale
  • John Perrins
  • John Victory
  • K.B. DeWalt
  • M. Darby
  • Oliver Garner
  • Robert Williamson
  • Samuel Rowe
  • W H. Carter
  • W H. Gee
  • W L. Knight
  • Wiley Harper
  • Wiley I. Peace
  • Wm. Agee
  • Wm. Fields
  • Wm. L. Gates

Keys Hotel

The story of the old Keys Hotel as told by Mrs. W T. Epperson (from Polk County Enterprise, October 13, 1938) "It was in the year of 1860 when I was a child of four years, we arrived at the Andress' Inn by way of stage coach. The Inn, situated on the south side of the present courthouse of Polk County, was the only hostelry in town.

"It consisted of two large rooms and a hall downstairs, two rooms upstairs, and a kitchen out in the back yard. Here the meals were prepared on A huge fireplace. The large dinner bell that could be heard all over the town, is now owned by the Masonic Lodge of Livingston.

"The bedsteads for the guests were hand carved and laced together with ropes that served as springs. Sills of the Inn were hand hewed logs about 12 x 12. As the county prospered, a new courthouse was built and the old courthouse of one large room was purchased by Mr. Andress. This he attached to the Inn and used it as a dining room. In this room square dances were enjoyed.

"The passing of Mr. and Mrs. Andress left the Inn to their only heir and daughter, Mrs. H. C. Keys, who as proprietress, added several rooms and discarded the kitchen in the yard for a "modern" attached kitchen with a cook stove.

"The name of the house was then known as the Keys Hotel. In later years, Mrs. Epperson, granddaughter-in-law of Mrs. Keys, took charge of the hotel and remained its proprietress until 1907, when the property was sold for building purposes."

In 1902, the City Restaurant, owned by Miss Lillie Stockwell, opened and was located just across the railroad from the courthouse.

The Oleander Hotel was owned and operated originally as the Meece Hotel by T. F. Meece and his wife.