OAK, TEXAS. The Oak community, also known as Oak Branch, was on the Oak Branch of Chambers Creek three miles northeast of Maypearl in the southwest corner of Ellis County. Oak was once a prosperous farming community with a cotton gin and corn mill. Though cotton was the main crop of Ellis County, soil conditions near Oak favored the growth of wheat, oats, and corn. Early settlers Joshua and Sarah Higgins arrived from Blount County, Alabama, in 1869. In 1871 the Oak Branch Methodist Church organized in the home of the Reverend Asa Bynum. By 1873 a brush arbor accommodated regular camp meetings. In June 1875 William Claunch deeded twenty acres to the community for church grounds and a cemetery. The church became part of the Waxahachie Methodist Episcopal Circuit in the fall of 1883. A schism later prompted the formation of a second Methodist church in Oak. Children were educated in area homes until a log cabin schoolhouse was built; it was later replaced by a two-story clapboard structure called Oak College, which housed eight grades. It burned before 1929 and was replaced by a smaller structure. The school eventually merged with the Maypearl school system.
The Oak post office, established in 1890, was transferred temporarily to the Mountain Peak community. It was reestablished in 1894 and finally reassigned to Waxahachie in 1903. In 1900 a general store owned by Jesse James Bearden and the blacksmith shop and farm implement store operated by Mr. Belk made up the core of the town; the post office and a Methodist church with its parsonage completed Main Street. The town engaged Louis Bentley as a full-time law officer. Oak began to decline shortly after the railroad built its route to the south, and farmers took their crops to nearby Maypearl. The 1948 county highway map shows only a church and a cemetery at the site of Oak. By 1990 nothing remained but the Oak Branch Cemetery.
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The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.Handbook of Texas Online, Randell G. Tarín, "Oak, TX," accessed April 30, 2016, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hvo54.
Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
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