Just as Native Americans were attracted to this area because of the climate and resources. Early settlers also utilized these resources. The are was originally named Clough after George W. Clough (1820-1884) who, in 1868, purchased the 640-acre Harvey Randolf Survey. The northwest corner of his land became the majority of the old downtown of Ben Wheeler. Clough established a post office in his home in 1876 and became the first postmaster. The post office was named Ben Wheeler in honor of Kentucky native Benjamin F. Wheeler. Wheeler came to Texas in 1847 and contracted to carry the mail from Tyler to Buffalo and was the first person to carry mail into Van Zandt county. In the early 1880's George Clough applied for permission to move the post office to his store in town and change the name to Georgetown. Permission was granted to move the post office bu the name remained Ben Wheeler since there was already a town named Georgetown.175 Years of Texas Independence * 1836 2011
Ancel Clough, heir to George Clough, sold 50 acres in 1885 to Professor James F. Davidson. In 1890, Davidson and J.W. Downs established the Alamo Institute. The first school of higher learning in Van Zandt county. The town grew rapidly from 1885 to 1892 and boasted four general stores, two grocery stores, a drug store, boarding houses, a hotel, three gins and mills, a blacksmith and wood working shop, two churches and the Alamo Institute. Fires in 1893, 1933 and in 1945 destroyed businesses in the downtwon area. Ben Wheeler's growth began to decline in 1929, but stabilized in the 1960's when the area farmers transitioned into ranching and coastal Bermuda haying operations.
Marker is property of the State of Texas