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The Story of Cuthand

by Bob Bowman
Bob Bowman

The remains of Cuthand, a town with one of the most unusual names in East Texas, are scattered around the intersection of Farm Roads 1487 and 916 seven miles east of Bogata in Red River County.

Originally known as Enterprise as it was being settled by cotton planters around 1850, the town began to grow in the l860s when E.A. Mauldin established a grist mill and cotton gin and Samuel T. Arnold opened a general store.

By 1867, the community had enough people to justify a post office, and its first postmaster, Cornelius Crenshaw, named the post office for Cuthand Creek.

The creek supposedly got its name from a Deleware Indian chief who accompanied Frank Hopkins, a soldier in the battle of Tippecanoe, from Indiana to Texas in 1823.

The chief had lost three fingers from a sabor’s slash in his younger days and because of his difigurement, he was forever known as Cuthand.

The creek bearing his name was named by General Thomas J. Rusk of Nacogdoches, a close friend of the old chief.

An old legend says that immediately after the war, a well-groomed man known as Professor Dobbs came to Cuthand and applied for a job as the teacher that fall. Dobbs was hired and, taught during the year. After the school’s closing in the spring, he left the community. It was later learned that he was William Clarke Quantrill, leader of perhaps the most savage fighting unit in the Civil War.

Quantrill, indeed, was a schoolteacher in Ohio and Kansas and brought his guereillas to a camp on the Red River near Sherman during the winters of 1862, 1863 and 1864.

The climax of Quantrill's guerilla career came on August 21, 1863, when he led a force of 450 raiders into Lawrence, Kansas, a stronghold of pro-Union support, and set the torch to much of the city. Quantrill was eventually killed on a raid into Kentucky in 1865.

As Cuthand thrived from a cotton economy, people began to settle aound the community. Six doctors practiced in the town, an indication that it was growing.

By 1880, Cuthand had a population of 130 people, two cotton gins, a church and a school. The town’s population reached 150 in 1890 but begun to decline by 1896. In 1914, ninety-one residents lived in the community and it had ninety-six from 1920 through 1956.

The town lost its post office in the 1950s and in 1986 the community reported only thirty-one residents and no businesses.

You can learn more about William Clarke Quantrill in East Texas from “A Civil War Tragedy” by John Wilkins of Tyler, which can be puchased from the East Texas Historical Association in Nacogdoches.


All Things Historical September 22, 2008 Column.
Published with permission

A weekly column syndicated in 70 East Texas newspapers
(Distributed by the East Texas Historical Assn. Bob Bowman of Lufkin is the author of nearly 40 books on East Texas. He can be reached at bob-bowman.com)


Cuthand, Texas Nearby Towns:
See Red River County
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