Bartlett Western Railway

By: Chris Cravens

Type: General Entry

Published: 1952

Updated: November 1, 1994

The Bartlett Western Railway was chartered on June 17, 1911, by J. W. Jackson and others as a successor to the Bartlett-Florence Railway Company, which had been sold under foreclosure on May 29, 1911. The line was located in Williamson County. The capital was $25,000, and the business office was at Bartlett. The road was mainly chartered by non-county residents who sought to make a profit from the traffic in cotton. Members of the first board of directors included W. J. McDaniel, H. W. Peck, and John R. Graham, all of Dallas; and G. W. Hubbard of Teague, John C. Collins of Houston, C. C. Bailey of Bartlett, and John McDowell of Florence.

The Bartlett Western acquired eleven miles of railroad operating between Bartlett and Jarrell, and in 1912 completed its line to Florence. Its stations between Bartlett and Florence were named St. Matthew, St. Mark, St. Luke, and St. John. The company was successful for a number of years, during which it primarily hauled cotton; in 1912 it carried 53,750 tons of the fiber. In 1916 the company owned one locomotive, eighteen freight cars, two passenger cars, and eight company cars and earned $3,817 in passenger revenue and $30,327 in freight revenue. In 1926 the road was listed by the Railroad Commission as a Class II railroad and owned one locomotive, thirty freight cars, two passenger cars, and three company cars. Earnings for that year included $1,611 in passenger receipts and $27,467 in freight revenue.

But cars jumped the tracks so often that the line became known as the "Bullfrog line." In 1926 Texas began to experience a decline in cotton prices. By 1931 the Bartlett Western was listed as a Class III railroad, and its earnings for that year were down to $6,908. The company's last president was Marie Cronin. The Bartlett Western and its twenty-three miles of track were abandoned on October 11, 1935.

Clara Stearns Scarbrough, Land of Good Water: A Williamson County History (Georgetown, Texas: Williamson County Sun Publishers, 1973).

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

Chris Cravens, “Bartlett Western Railway,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 22, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

November 1, 1994