Centennial History of Wise County, Texas, 1853-1953

The “Centennial History of Wise County 1853-1953” by Mary Cates Moore, published by The Story Book Press in Dallas, Texas, commemorates the hundred-year history of Wise County, Texas. This volume serves as a detailed record of the county’s development from its early settlement through various significant historical events, up to the mid-20th century.

The book is dedicated to students interested in the county’s history and to those who served in the country’s wars, reflecting the author’s gratitude and recognition of their contributions. The historical account begins with the initial settlement in 1853, detailing the establishment of the first homes, stores, and land claims. It goes on to cover the formal organization of the county, including the selection of county seats and the social customs of the time.

Significant sections of the book delve into periods of conflict and development, such as the Civil War, Indian depredations, and the economic expansion following the arrival of railroads. Notable travel routes like the Chisholm Trail and Butterfield Stage Route are also highlighted, emphasizing their importance in the county’s history.

The narrative continues through the late 19th and early 20th centuries, covering industrial advancements, the impact of World Wars I and II, and the Great Depression. The book concludes with the post-war adjustments and changes up to 1953, providing a comprehensive overview of Wise County’s evolution over a century.

Moore’s work, meticulously compiled from various sources including memories of old inhabitants, newspaper clippings, and historical records, aims to preserve the county’s rich heritage. It offers readers a concise yet informative outline of Wise County’s past, capturing the essence of its journey from a primitive frontier to a thriving community.

Table of Contents

  1. Early Settlement (1853-1856): First Home. Pioneer Store. Land and Preemption Claims. Cactus Hill Ranch.
  2. Organization Of The County (1856-1861): The “Father of Wise County”. Location of the County Seats. Origin of Rhome. Manners and Customs. Early Markets. Social Life and Amusements.
  3. Civil War (1861-1865)
  4. Indian Depredations (1859-1876): Comanches and Apaches, Indian Murders. Indian Fights.
  5. Economic Expansion (1874-1882): Conditions before the Coming of the First Railroad. Sale of School Lands. Mills and Gins. The Coming of the Ft. Worth and Denver.
  6. Noted Travel Routes (1856-1882): The Chisholm Trail. Butterfield Stage Route.
  7. Production Development (1883-1900): The Coming of the Rock Island. The Spanish-Amercan War. Decatur Baptist College Estab-lished. Bridgeport Coal Mines. Wise County Court House.
  8. Industry (1900-1911) First Automobiles. Packing Plant Markets. Gas Introduced. Cotton Seed Oil Mill.
  9. Beginning of Highway Development (1911-1917)
  10. World War I (1917-1918): Company H, 142nd Regiment. Arrival in France. Battle of Etienne. Death of Lloyd Smith and Monte Dunaway. Armistice Day. Great Parade. Band. Roster.
  11. Beginning of Conservation (1911-1953): Lake Bridgeport. County and Home Demonstration Agents.
  12. Depression Years (1930-1934): Drout. Unemployment. Highway Work. Bank Holiday. Crop Reduction. Commodity Office. Stock Slaughtered. Public Works. Sewing Room. Civilian Conservation Corps Camp.
  13. Normalcy After Depression (1934-1939): Rise of Dairying. Grade A Barns. Urschel Kid-napping. Increased Food Production.
  14. World War II (1940-1945): European Theatre. Pacific Theatre. Home Front. Casualty List. Roster.
  15. Lost Battalion (1941-1945) Java. Liberation. Casualty List. Roster.
  16. Oil Development (1947-1953)
  17. Adjustment To Changing Conditions (1945-1953): Decline of Cotton. Decline of Farm Labor to City Industrial Jobs. Mechanization.
  18. Korea Roster (1950-1953)
  19. Wise County Notables: Dr. J. L. Ward. Dr. Joseph Fort Newton. W. T. Waggoner. J.J. Perkins, Dr. J. B. Tidwell. Dr. Walter Splawn. Cliff Cates.
  20. How Much Change?


Moore, Mary Cates, Centennial history of Wise County, 1853-1953, Dallas, Texas : Story Book Press, 1953.

Wise County TX,


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