St. John's in Context

St. John's Church and Cemetery exist in the larger community of Pilot Point in Denton County, Texas. So while the people found in the cemetery and those who associated with them may not have actively participated in the larger communities of Pilot Point and Denton County, they were affected and influenced by local trends in politics, agriculture, and manufacturing. As such, in order to best understand the history and larger role of St. John's we must understand the larger history of Pilot Point and Denton County.

This exhibit traces the history of Denton County at large, and then focuses in on Pilot Point. It further traces the political, agricultural, and manufacturing histories of Denton County and Pilot Point. While the people of St. John's may not be directly referenced, they surely interacted with the developments in one way or another. We may not know the specific crop return for the farmers of St. John's but we can place them in the context of Denton County. By understanding the political developments of the state and Denton County's role in them, we can better understand the political environment that the people of St. John's lived in. It is only through a thorough understanding of the larger context that we can best understand the lives and people of St. John's.

Politically, Denton County existed within the larger political trends of the state. Republicans dominated during Reconstruction, but were quickly replaced by the Redeemer Democrats. This began the reign of Democrats in Texas that would last long into the twentieth century. Democrats would only be threatened by the Populist movement for a short period of time before they absorbed the party and its platform. The Progressive Era split the Democrats over ideas of prohibition, but in the end they continued to have dominant control of the state.

Agriculturally, Denton County fit into the larger trends of the state of Texas. Denton County farmers were primarily white, but there were some colored farmers. Tenant farmers became the majority of the farmers in the county following the turn of the twnetieth century. Cereal crops, cotton, peanuts, and orchard crops were some of the primary agricultural outputs of the county. As a county in the wheat belt, Denton County was a significant producer of cereal crops, and was close to the main producing county for orchard crops and peanuts, implying that Denton County's production was, while not leading, significant. Additionally, Denton County was involved in ranching and other livestock raising enterprises.

Denton County did not have an emphasis on manufacturing. This aligns with the general trends of the state, as Texas was late to come to manufacturing. Denton County had multiple manufacturing establishments starting in 1870. Examples of manufacturing establishments include canning factories, a broom factory, bottling works, roller mills, cotton gins, and a cotton oil mill. Even more so, some of the establishments in Denton County were renowned for their products. So, while Denton County may not have been a manufacturing hub in the state, it was involved in it.