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Cherokee County, Texas

Cities, Towns & Communities

Alto | Atoy | Black Jack | Brunswick | Circle | Craft | Cove Springs | Cross Roads | Cuney | Dialville | Edgefield | Elm Grove | Fastrill | Forest | Gallatin | Gent | Gould | Griffin | Henry's Chapel | Holcomb Store | Hume | Ironton | Jacksonville | Java | Kilraven | Knoxville | Larissa | Linwood | Lone Star (Skin Tight) | Love's Lookout | Maydelle | Mixon | Morrill | Mount Hope | Mt. Selman | New Birmingham | New Hope | New Summerfield (Summerfield) | Oakland | Pierce's Chapel | Pine Grove | Pine Town | Ponta | Red Lawn | Reese | Reklaw | Rock Hill | Rusk | Salem | Sardis | Shady Grove | Shook's Bluff | Talladega | Tecula | Troup | Turney | Union Grove | Wells | Weeping Mary | Wildhurst


CHEROKEE COUNTY Cherokee County is named for the Indians who lived in this territory from 1819-20 until they were expelled in 1839. The county has an area of 1,049 square miles, and a great variety of soils and topography. There were 6,475 farms in 1935, cultivating a little less than 140,000 acres of crop land. The altitude ranges from about 250 to more than 500 feet; the annual rainfall averages between 44 and 45 inches, and is quite equably distributed throughout the year, ranging from a normal of nearly three inches in August to a little under five inches in April and May. The volume and regularity of rainfall is favorable to the development of improved pastures with a high carrying capacity, and the county had 30,503 cattle, besides other livestock, in 1933. Among the early settlements was Box's Creek, which began with the purchase of one-third league by Roland W. Box on September 12, 1835. A sort of log fortification was known as Fort Box, and although no soldiers were regularly stationed there, it provided the neighborhood with protection against the Indians. In 1837 a group of Alabamans, known as the Killough colony, took up residence about two miles west of a site that later developed into Larissa. Larissa began with the McKee colony of Tennesseeans in 1846, and was for a time the most promising town in East Texas. Larissa College, started in a log cabin in 1848, later had educational facilities approaching that of an accredited university. The college was moved to Tehuacana, after the Civil War, and became known as Trinity University.

An act of April 11, 1846, approved the organization of the county, and provided for the selection of the county seat within three miles of the geographical center, with the stipulation that this radius would be accepted if adequate water facilities and proper elevation were found therein. The locating committee either purchased or were given one hundred acres on the west half of the John Hundley headright, which had been purchased by James F. Timmons in 1839. The townsite was surveyed by Absalom Gibson (who was granted a league in 1834 and lived on it several years) and William Roark, and the name of Rusk was in honor of Thomas Jefferson Rusk. At the time the surveys were made there was only one white man living within the newly established town boundaries, John Kilgore. By 1850 Rusk had a population of 355.  

The commissioners court that came into existence with the creation of the county was empowered with the surveying and construction of roads, but there were roads in Cherokee long before 1846. St. Denis, the French governor of Natchitoches (Louisiana), gave the name of El Camino del Rey to the trail which led to Mexico City. This, one of the most historic American roads, traversed present Cherokee County under the names of the Old San Antonio Road or the Road to Bexar. Another early trail, dating from 1836, was the Nacogdoches-Fort Houston Road. Roads to the salines northwest of the settlements were even older.

Fords and ferries preceded bridges, and the first ferry permit was granted by the commissioners court to John Stinson, in November, 1846, authorizing him to establish a ferry on the Neches River, at Matthews Bluff, crossing of the Rusk-Crockett Road. Later it became known as the Boner Ferry. The Rusk Ferry, later known as the Hatchett Ferry, on the Angelina, was in operation before the county was organized, and there was also the Cannon Ferry at the Old San Antonio Road crossing on the Neches. Ferry operators were required to pay regular license fees and execute bonds.   Continue Reading the History of Cherokee County 1940 >>

Cherokee County Historic Sites and Pioneer Graves 1940


Singletary Memorial Library
207 E 6th St
Rusk, TX 75785
Phone: (903) 683-5916

Jacksonville Public Library
502 S Jackson St
Jacksonville, TX 75766
Phone: (903) 586-7664

Rube Sessions Memorial Library
298 Rusk Ave
Wells, TX 75976
Phone: (936) 867-4757