MESHAW, TEXAS. Meshaw was fourteen miles west of Rusk on the Texas State Railroad and U.S. Highway 84 in western Cherokee County. It was a prison sawmill camp in the early 1900s. The camp was named for a Captain Meshaw of Garland, who was a member of the state prison board in 1908. It was constructed around 1909 to provide lumber for the construction of the Texas State Railroad and charcoal for the ironworks at the Rusk Penitentiary. The complex included a large sawmill, a plowing mill, and quarters for the guards and prisoners. A two-mile-long team railroad with a cog track was constructed north of the mill to haul logs. The sawmill burned in 1912 and was never rebuilt, but the state prison system continued to use the site until 1917, when the Rusk Penitentiary was closed. During the 1930s a Civilian Conservation Corps camp was constructed nearby. No permanent community, however, ever developed at the site. In the 1980s the area was part of the I. D. Fairchild State Forest.
Donald R. Walker, Penology for Profit: A History of the Texas Prison System, 1867–1912 (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1988).