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TUSCOLA, TX

TUSCOLA, TEXAS. Tuscola, in southern Taylor County, is nineteen miles south of Abilene on U.S. Highway 83. The original townsite, sometimes referred to as "the Flat" by area settlers, was two or three miles west of the present location. The first schools in Taylor County had been founded in 1877 and 1879 in the Jim Ned Creek and Lemons Gap areas, but their locations changed several times in response to population shifts. Nevertheless, a school district named Jim Ned was organized by the commissioners' court in 1884. Between 1897 and 1900 a more continuous school site emerged at Tuscola near Jim Ned Creek on land deeded by John L. Graham, who made similar donations to attract a store, church, and cotton gin. Tuscola was named by one of its founders, Clarence M. Cash, who moved to the area in 1898 from Tom Green County, for his hometown in Illinois. The town became a recognized community on April 6, 1899, when the name Tuscola was accepted by the United States Post Office Department. Early settlers and developers in the area included John L. Graham and David Cole, who established the first general store around 1899. In 1907 the Abilene and Southern Railway made its way through the area. Three years later the Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe crossed the Abilene and Southern in the center of the valley, bringing more people and businesses to the crossing. A two-story school building with four classrooms and an auditorium was constructed in 1912. In 1913 Tuscola had 300 residents, four churches, public school facilities, and two fraternal organizations. Businesses and enterprises had been established, including a state bank and a newspaper, the Tuscola Valley Vidette. The population remained stable for the next ten years, and the community grew to 500 people by 1927. In the late 1920s total school enrollment averaged about 200, mostly at the elementary level. The population declined to 300 during the Great Depression before returning to previous levels by 1956, when the town had 497 inhabitants. In 1948–49 the Tuscola Independent School District expanded by adding the Cedar Gap, Ovalo, and Bradshaw schools and changed its name to South Taylor County Independent School District. In 1956 the Lawn schools, previously a separate independent district, also joined. The merger formed a new unit called the Jim Ned Consolidated Independent School District. In 1974 a more modern structure replaced the 1912 school building. The town had a population of 620 in 1991, a post office, a bank, twenty other businesses, five churches, and the high school affiliated with the Jim Ned school district.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Clifford Casey, A Baker's Dozen (Seagraves, Texas: Pioneer, 1974). S. G. Reed, A History of the Texas Railroads (Houston: St. Clair, 1941; rpt., New York: Arno, 1981). James A. Roberson, A History of Education in Taylor County, Texas, 1878–1950 (M.A. thesis, University of Texas, 1951). Juanita Daniel Zachry, The Settling of a Frontier: A History of Rural Taylor County (Burnet, Texas: Nortex, 1980).

Tancie Bell, Becky Dement, and Magda Delgado

Citation

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Tancie Bell, Becky Dement, and Magda Delgado, "TUSCOLA, TX," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hlt39), accessed December 24, 2014. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
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