The earliest record to be obtained of the founding of the little town, Bethany, located on the extreme eastern edge of Panola County is 1840. It was then a small village and at that time called Vernon. The post office was located on the Texas side, later moved to the Louisiana side, and then the name was changed to Bethany. In 1840 the interprising [sic] little village boasted one log store, a tavern, a grain mill, run by water, and a tan yard.
There was lots of traveling and passing thought, for Bethany was a day’s travel from Shreveport, and one of the old roads used by settlers from Alabama, Mississippi, North and South Carolina, Georgia, and Louisiana that came this way.
Some of the oldest settlers were Dr. and Mrs. White. Mrs. White taught the first school before the private tutors were used. The Harrises, Shadowens, Davenport, Rogers, O’Brians, Woolworths (the father of our prominent East Texas lawyer, now living in Carthage, J. G. Woolworth), Hills, Birdsongs, Fosters, Agrus, Holts, Griffins, Trospers, Gills, Smiths, Gipsons, and Flanagans.
Dr. and Mrs. John Schumpert were prominent citizens. They gave to the medical world their only child a son. The late Dr. T. E. Schumpert, who for a number of years had charge of the Charity Hospital, but later founded his own hospital, the Schumpert, which he willed to the Catholic Sisters of the Order of St. Vincent.
Mr. Molt Trosper was a prosperous merchant through a number of years. He was later, succeeded by his son, Mr. James M. Trosper who now resides in San Antonio.
Some of the direct descendants live there today: Mrs. Clanten, Mr. Frank Clanten, Mrs. Rhoda Wooten, Mr. Pink Taylor, Anna Gretchin, Howard and Bobby Edgar, Mrs. E. H. Hammett and children, L. L. Davis and daughters, Mary and Frances, Mr. and Mrs. Joe Alexander, B. M. Alexander and son, and Mr. and Mrs. Shadowens and children.
Bethany today has five general mercantile stores, two churches, Methodist and Baptist, a good elementary school, four teachers. The people live by farming and developing the wonderful gas fields that has done much towards the growth in wealth and population of this and all East Texas, also making its influence being felt in the State of Louisiana.
– History of Panola County, 1936