Members Only Area
Bookmark and Share
sidebar menu icon


TARKINGTON PRAIRIE, TEXAS. Tarkington Prairie was founded by Burton B. Tarkington in the mid-1820s near the old Nacogdoches-Lynchburg trail in northern Liberty County. The surrounding land was well suited for crop and cattle raising, and the group of settlers soon grew to become a thriving rural community. By the 1860s there was a store-trading center, a blacksmith shop, a steam mill and gin, a combination Baptist church-Masonic lodge, and a post office. Immediately after the Civil War many veterans settled in the community, and trail drivers and shippers of goods made Tarkington Prairie a stop along this major route to the coast. The post office was abandoned because of the proximity of the larger post office at Cleveland. A small part of the original cattle trail was covered by pavement at the point that State Highway 321 was built across it in the 1930s. In 1931 five area schools joined to establish the Tarkington Consolidated School District. A volunteer fire department was formed in 1974, and in 1976 the old trading center still stood. During the latter part of the twentieth century and in the early twenty-first century, Tarkington Prairie remained a largely rural and dispersed community and included residents that commuted to Houston. In 2009 the population was estimated at 300. The volunteer fire department and the Tarkington Prairie Historical Society were both located in nearby Cleveland .


Cleveland Advocate, November 26, 1936. Historical Marker Files, Texas Historical Commission, Austin. Tarkington Independent School District (, accessed June 4, 2015. Tarkington Volunteer Fire Department (, accessed June 4, 2015.


Mrs. Ben E. Pickett, rev. by Laurie E. Jasinski

Image Use Disclaimer

All copyrighted materials included within the Handbook of Texas Online are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 related to Copyright and “Fair Use” for Non-Profit educational institutions, which permits the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), to utilize copyrighted materials to further scholarship, education, and inform the public. The TSHA makes every effort to conform to the principles of fair use and to comply with copyright law.

For more information go to:

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.


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

Handbook of Texas Online, Mrs. Ben E. Pickett, rev. by Laurie E. Jasinski, "Tarkington Prairie, TX," accessed February 13, 2016,

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Modified on June 4, 2015. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

Texas AlmanacFor more information about towns and counties including physical features, statistics, weather, maps and much more, visit the Town Database on!