Pelham Drivers veering off the big curve of FM 744 roll into a ghost town that appears to have met the same fate as thousands of rural Texas communities a dormant or dying, marked by a smattering of farmhouses and mobile homes and surrounded by farm fields. But there's an unseen pulse in Pelham, thanks to a concerted effort by the remaining residents and their extended families to keep alive the spirit of the community, which was founded by freed slaves 146 years ago. Pelham and nearby communities with similar origins drew freed slaves from across the south. In the 1920as, the population reached 350 and thrived with businesses, several churches and a school. Now residents say the population is close to 40. Most of todayas residents are descendants of the one of the first residents of Pelham, a freed slave named Henry Caruthers, and are related by blood or marriage. Many have come and gone but have lived most of their lives in Pelham, well versed in itas history and keeping it alive. Caption: The oldest Pelham resident and native, Beatrice "Aunt Bea" Gee Beaty, 95, sits in her kitchen in the trailer she lived in next to her nephew, Frederick Carruthers, shortly before her death in April. "We don't cook like we used to but we still love to eat," Aunt Bea said as she sat down for a lunch prepared by Carruthers' wife. Carruthers often takes plates of food to elderly residents.