Thank you to 1000Words for pointing out that Gilmer is the hometown of Johnny Mathis. Who'd have thunk it?? Perhaps memories of Gilmer propelled him to stardom?
"On this site during the Civil War, a shoe factory converted leather into footgear for the Confederate Army. A harness factory nearby made bridles and saddles and also leather lines and breechings that hitched horses and mules to gun carriages, wagons and ambulances, to move armies through campaigns and battles. Leather was obtained from a local tanyard that treated over 2,000 hides a year. East Texas plants furnished the South 900 sets of harness and 300 saddles monthly during the war."