In a tale of two communities close to Terrell, one voted to incorporate and the other said no during last week’s general election. In both Poetry and Ables Springs voting was decisive.
Voters in Poetry overwhelmingly favored becoming an incorporated municipality. The Election Day tally was 180-57 in favor, or about 76% to 24%.
Over in Ables Spring, which was making its second attempt to incorporate, the proposal was shot down 163-42, or 79% against to 20.5% for.
Located about six miles northeast of Terrell, Poetry lies within two Texas counties—Hunt County and Kaufman County. Poetry was established in 1845, founded by Elijah Turner as one of the first rural communities in the area. Initially, it was named Turner’s Point. In 1876, the community was renamed Poetry after a local merchant said in the springtime that the area reminded him of a poem, according to a news release.
Poetry originally sought to incorporate in 1984 as residents voted in favor. Those results, however, were invalidated and thrown out by the Kaufman County Commissioners Court on technicalities.
Expanding growth in surrounding cities and the threat of Poetry’s lands potentially being poached through annexations caused residents to take action in the latest election. It might have been Poetry’s last chance at finishing Elijah Turner’s work and fully establishing his small agricultural community as a town, according to Citizens for Poetry, an organization that spearheaded the drive to incorporate.
“Our many thanks to all that worked tirelessly to incorporate Poetry. We are all blessed to live in the finest country in the world. We live in a country that allows likeminded community members to pull together and establish a beautiful small agriculture town like Poetry. It is now up to the fine citizens of Poetry to carve our own destiny,” Citizens for Poetry said in a prepared statement.
Supporters of incorporation in Ables Springs, which is about 10 miles northeast of Terrell along FM 429, saw their initiative soundly defeated last week.
Earlier this year, Kaufman County commissioners unanimously gave the go ahead to conduct an election on whether to incorporate.
Ables Springs resident Peter Esposito told commissioners that residents there wanted the ability to represent themselves and have a say in how the community grows and develops instead of leaving their fate to outside forces.
A faction of Ables Springs residents tried in 2007 to incorporate the community, citing a desire to preserve its small-town character amid the swift growth in Kaufman County. An election was conducted in May 2007, and the initiative failed with 40 people in favor of incorporation and 62 opposed.
Unincorporated communities in Texas can become legally incorporated towns following approval from the majority of voters. The rules for incorporation are outlined in Texas Local Government Code. Towns can be incorporated as type A, B or C general law municipalities or as a home rule municipality with its own charter.
Ables Springs’ roots go back to 1848, when the state of Texas granted land to Ezekiel Ables, according to historical accounts. Ezekiel's son James and his wife, Eliza, settled there five years later. A spring that yielded bountiful freshwater was incorporated into the community’s name. The spring eventually ran dry, and in 1979 the Ables Springs Water Supply Corporation was formed.