Texas History, Genealogy, Old Photos, Postcards, Maps, and Information.

Kaufman County History 1940

Settlements were well distributed over the county by 1856, and postoffices were Cedar Point, Cedar Grove, College Mound, Kaufman, Kemp, Prairieville, Trinidad, Warsaw Prairie, Black Hill and Rockwall. The last two were in the present Rockwall County. Crandall was also an early settlement. Growth slowed up during the war decade, but the population in 1870 was 6,985, nearly double that of 1860, and it more than doubled again during the next decade, with 15,448 in 1880.

The first railroad, the Texas & Pacific, had crossed the northern part of the county in 1872-3, establishing stations at intervals of four to seven miles—Cobb, Elmo, Terrell, Lawrence and Forney. Townsite booming was a favorite side-line with railroad builders and their associates, and Lawrence was among those most highly touted. The former settlement of Brooklyn was renamed Forney (for a director of the railroad), because another postoffice had pre-empted Brooklyn. It grew to about 800 by 1880.

R. A. Terrell, one of the early surveyors of the county, had located in the fine black land north of the county seat, and some time prior to the war, had built "the famous round house of cedar logs," at the present site of the town named for him. C. N. Nash, Sr., foreseeing its townsite possibilities, had optioned 300 acres of land here, and when the railroad came through, named his town for the old settler who had come to the country with Dr. King more than thirty years before. Terrell quickly outstripped the older towns which yet had no railroad, and in 1880 had two thousand people.

"There is one wagon factory run by steam power, and a number of steam flouring mills in the county," reports Commissioner A. W. Spaight in 1882; "also two door and sash factories, one tanyard, one cigar factory, and three manufactories of saddlery. There is also a manufactory of yarn and cotton goods at Terrell, which runs a large number of spindles.

"Wild land of good quality is worth $2.50 to $5. per acre, and improved farms from $8. to $15., according to location and value of improvements . . . latest assessment rolls show 9,707 horses and mules, 33,848 cattle, 4,878 sheep and 9,044 hogs . . . there are a few bear, deer and turkeys, many prairie chickens and quail."

Not until 1881, when the Texas Trunk reached Kaufman from Dallas, did the county seat get railroad facilities. The following year the Houston & Texas Central built a branch line from Ennis, through Kaufman to Terrell, forming the first link in what was later to be the Texas Midland. The extension of the Texas Trunk as the Texas & New Orleans gave the southeastern part of the county its chance to grow, with Kemp as one of the original stations, and Mabank (derived from Mason & Eubank ranch) was established around the turn of the century.