Russelltown, TX

By: Jean Brady Fox

Type: General Entry

Published: 1952

Updated: November 1, 1995

Russelltown (formerly Barreda) is on the Missouri Pacific line at the junction of State Highway 100 and U.S. Highway 83/77 in the delta region of the Rio Grande, twelve miles northwest of Brownsville in south Cameron County. The site was settled by Mexican ranchers who built adobe headquarters there before 1800. There was no other settlement there until after the Civil War and no community until the arrival of the railroad in 1910. The introduction of nurseries in 1904 and irrigation in 1910 made the town a supply point for the surrounding agriculture area. On 1936 maps the site is labeled Barreda and shown with only a few scattered dwellings. In 1937 Frank and Martha Russell came there on a visit and began buying land; eventually 5,000 acres were brought under cultivation in the Rio Grande Palms Water District. In 1939 the community name was changed to Russelltown (sometimes spelled Russeltown), though the settlement continued to appear as Barreda in official sources until 1948. In 1947 the town had a school and a population of 100 and was a shipping point for agricultural products. In 1991 the population was an estimated fifty. The area is used for ranching, farming, sugarcane, and aquaculture. No population estimates were available in 2000.

Edward Doughty, Availability of the Counties of Cameron and Hidalgo on the Lower Rio Grande, Texas, for Agricultural, Stock Raising and Manufacturing Purposes (Brownsville, Texas: Sentinel Book and Job Printing Office, 1869). Frank Cushman Pierce, Texas' Last Frontier: A Brief History of the Lower Rio Grande Valley (Menasha, Wisconsin: Banta, 1917; rpt., Brownsville: Rio Grande Valley Historical Society, 1962). J. Lee and Lillian J. Stambaugh, The Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas (San Antonio: Naylor, 1954). James Heaven Thompson, A Nineteenth Century History of Cameron County (M.A. thesis, University of Texas, 1965).

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

Jean Brady Fox, “Russelltown, TX,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed August 19, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

November 1, 1995

Currently Exists
Place Type
Town Fields
  • Has post office: No
  • Is Incorporated: No
Belongs to
  • Cameron County
Associated Names


  • Latitude: 26.08285470°
  • Longitude: -97.58193250°