Depending on who you talk to, you will hear one of three different stories about how Mineola got its name.
Version One is that Ira H. Evans, secretary of the I&GN Railroad, named Mineola after his boyhood home of Mineola, Long Island, New York.
Version Two is that Ira H. Evans named Mineola after his daughter, Ola and her friend, Minnie Patten.
Version Three comes from an entry into The Handbook of Texas, volume 11, page 204, which reads, “In the early 1870’s a major Rusk, then surveying for the International & Great Northern Railroad, came to Quitman. He was staying with Dr. A. L. Patten in Quitman while he was in the area. He and Dr. Patten had known each other while back in Rome, Georgia…”
Major Rusk planned the northern expansion of the I&GN Railroad to go through Quitman, but property owners there would not relinquish the rights to allow the railroad through. This upset Rusk, so he told Dr. Patten, “We will build our town 10 miles south of here.”
Major Rusk then called the doctor’s daughter, Minna, into the living room and told her that he would name the new town after her and his daughter, Ola, who was back in Georgia. So the name, Minnaola was sent to Washington DC for incorporation. Somehow, the post office changed the spelling to Mineola by the time the incorporation papers were returned.
Version Three is the generally-accepted version of how Mineola got its name.
The source for all material in this post or in this series of posts is the book “Mineola: the first 100 years.” This book can be found in the Mineola library or online. We are using a digital copy provided by the University of North Texas. The book contains many citations and credits. For our purposes, we will credit the book with all of the content we publish in this series. If you made it this far, thanks for reading Mineola Buzz.