Big Sandy, TX

By: Christopher Long

Type: General Entry

Published: 1976

Updated: November 1, 1994

Big Sandy, also known as Big Sandy Switch, at the junction of State Highway 155, U.S. Highway 80, and Farm Road 2911, fourteen miles southwest of Gilmer in extreme southwestern Upshur County, was established in the early 1870s. In 1873 the Texas and Pacific Railway was built through the area, and around 1880 the Tyler Tap, a narrow-gauge railroad, intersected the Texas and Pacific just south of Big Sandy Creek. A switch was constructed at the junction of the two railroads and came to be known as Big Sandy Switch, after the creek. By the early 1880s a small settlement, also known as Big Sandy Switch, began to grow up. A post office was established in 1875, and two merchants named Arenson and Yesner opened stores around the same time. By 1885 the community, now known as Big Sandy, had several stores and saloons, Baptist and Methodist churches, a school, and an estimated population of 500. Several hotels and restaurants opened by 1900, and by the eve of World War I Big Sandy had two banks, a weekly newspaper named the Times, and a cotton market. The town's principal products included lumber, cotton, potatoes, and livestock. The community incorporated on June 21, 1926. The estimated population was 850 in 1929. By 1933 the population had fallen to 579, and the community had twenty businesses, several churches and schools, and a large number of houses. After World War II Big Sandy again began to grow. The population increased from 609 in 1945 to over 1,000 by 1958, when the number of businesses was twenty-eight. In the mid-1960s Big Sandy had five or six churches, a high school, and twenty businesses. In 1990 the town was a regional commercial and shipping center with twenty-eight businesses and a population of 1,185. In 2000 the population was 1,288.

G. H. Baird, A Brief History of Upshur County (Gilmer, Texas: Gilmer Mirror, 1946). Doyal T. Loyd, History of Upshur County (Waco: Texian Press, 1987). Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.
  • Communities

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

Christopher Long, “Big Sandy, TX,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 23, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

November 1, 1994

Big Sandy
Currently Exists
Place Type
Town Fields
  • Has post office: Yes
  • Is Incorporated: Yes
Belongs to
  • Upshur County
  • Latitude: 32.58610220°
  • Longitude: -95.11280900°
Population Counts
People Year
1,185 1990
1,288 2000
1,343 2010
1,384 2019