On February 23, 1854, William C. McKinney, James W. Throckmorton, John A. Throckmorton, and Joseph Wilcox set aside twenty-five acres for the town of Mantua, which was conceived as a site for Mantua Seminary. Proceeds from the sale of town lots provided funds for the school. The town plat consisted of forty-eight city blocks surrounding a town square. To help ensure a proper environment for the school, deeds for town lots prohibited gambling, horse racing, prostitution and the sale of alcohol.
Mantua Lodge No. 209 A.F. & A.M. organized in 1857, and the Masons first met on the second story of Walcott's store. A post office was established in Mantua in 1858, and E.B. Rollins was appointed as the first postmaster. On October 21, 1858, McKinney, James W. Throckmorton and Wilcox met with Mantua citizens to establish rules for the co-educational Mantua Seminary, and a building was constructed just outside of town for the use of the seminary and the Masonic Lodge. Classes were first held in 1860 and by 1868, eighty pupils were enrolled. Liberty Christian Church was established in 1846 and a Methodist congregation was formed the next year.
In 1872 the Houston and Texas Central Railroad laid tracks approximately 1.5 miles east of Mantua, and the new town of Van Alstyne was formed along the tracks. Almost immediately, the residents and businesses of Mantua relocated to the new town. Mantua's post office was closed in 1873, the Mantua Seminary last held classes during the early 1880s and the churches relocated to neighboring towns. Today, only Mantua Cemetery and Mantua Road remain as symbols of the vanished community.
175 Years of Texas Independence · 1836-2011