HAZEL DELL, TX (COMANCHE COUNTY)
HAZEL DELL, TEXAS (Comanche County). Hazel Dell, sometimes misspelled Hazle Dell, is at the intersection of Farm roads 591 and 1702, seventeen miles southeast of Comanche in southeastern Comanche County. The community began about 1869 after a sawmill was established on Mill Branch, a tributary of the Leon River. Residents still listed their post office as Resley's Creek in 1870. The town soon grew to include a store, a hotel, a ten-pin alley, a saloon, and the sawmill that furnished much of the rawhide lumber for the buildings. The community grew as additional similar businesses were added. A post office was established there in 1871. Though the first official mention of a school appears in 1876, a rawhide lumber building erected for the purpose is noted in 1873. The community was also served by the nondenominational Flat Rock Church, which is no longer extant. The earliest marked graves in the local cemetery date from 1873. During the 1870s Hazel Dell served nearby ranches, but it also attracted cowboys, drifters, and a lawless element. Violence was a fact of life, and local stories-supported by court records-reflect a history of murders, hangings, cattle rustling, gaming, and mob activities. By 1880 the town was reputed to be the second largest in the county. Decline began when Hazel Dell was bypassed by the railroads. The community had a population of thirty in 1884, forty-five in 1890, and 100 in 1896, when it also had a flour mill and a cotton gin. By 1940 the community included the school, a cemetery, and scattered dwellings. The school consolidated with that of Gustine in the 1940s. In the 1990s, the site was still marked on county highway maps with its community center, cemetery, and scattered houses.
Willo M. Robinson Bradley and Edith Lucille Robinson, Family Trails: Ancestral and Contemporary (Stephenville, Texas: Stephenville Printing, 1978). Comanche County Bicentennial Committee, Patchwork of Memories: Historical Sketches of Comanche County, Texas (Brownwood, Texas: Banner Printing, 1976). Eulalia Nabers Wells, Blazing the Way: Tales of Comanche County Pioneers (Blanket, Texas, 1942).