the eastern fork of the Trinity River, the city of Seagoville
lies eighteen miles southeast of Dallas
on State Highway 175. It rests in the bottom right-hand corner of
though a small section crosses through Kaufman
County's western border. Attracted to the water and rich land,
three Native American tribes settled into this region.
The Caddo, Hainai, and Wichita had abandoned
the nomadic lifestyle of their relatives the Pawnee in favor of
an agricultural one. The three tribes spent most of their time farming
but also engaged in heavy trade. The main products they sold to
Indians living in Mexico and Southwestern America were copper, turquoise,
obsidian, salt, and a type of hardwood called bois d'arc. Among
the three tribes living along the Trinity River and its three forks,
the Caddo were the most prevalent. They also received the most attention
from outsiders, thanks to their mound temples and unique homes.
Like other Native American tribes, the Caddo eventually lost their
A section of this land was given to a Texas soldier named M. L.
Swing as a reward for serving in the Civil War. The patent, which
was issued in 1862, fell into the ownership of J. D. Merchant. Hugh
L. Buchanan and other settlers entered the area after the conclusion
of the war, attracted by the same features which lured the Caddoan
tribes. Though most preferred the Cross Timbers because of its soil,
a significant number chose the Blackland Prairies and Grand Prairies
as their new home.
The number of residents eventually became plentiful enough to warrant
the construction of a school in 1867. John A. Brinegar made a one-room
log house on his property at the current location of Heard Park.
Sitting on split logs, the students studied the basic, traditional
subjects of reading, writing, and arithmetic. The week always ended
with a spelling contest.
On April 29, 1870, James J. Lee donated some land to be used as
a cemetery under the condition that all burial plots would be free.
Currently located at the intersection of Seagoville Road and Highway
175, the oldest cemetery in Southeast Dallas
County was named after the Confederate Veteran. The land started
out with one acre but expanded over the years to three acres. Overall,
1,500 people have been buried there, three hundred of them unknown.
The other residents include the original pioneers, a slave, thirty
Mexicans, and a Confederate officer named James S. Raines.
During the spring of 1872, eight people got together and combined
their resources to buy some land to build a church. They purchased
an acre for thirteen dollars and construction began on the one-room
structure. With A. E. Baten as its pastor, Friendship Baptist Church
became not only a place of worship, but also served as a school.
This dual purpose motivated the owners of the organ to remove the
instrument every Sunday night.
Tillman Kimsey Seago was born in Georgia during 1836, the
son of a soldier who fought in the Mexican War. During one of the
campaigns, Isaac contracted measles and died. At the age ten, Tillman
and his mother Lucinda were forced to leave their home because of
Isaac's demise. They moved to an area in Cass
County where the town of Linden
now resides. The two stayed together until Tillman married another
former Georgian in 1855. Matilda brought him a total of eight children.
While she took care of the family, Tillman tried his hand in agriculture
then turned his efforts toward carpentry. When the Civil War erupted,
he joined the Third Texas Calvary for a one-year contract, but he
ended up serving the army for the entire duration of the war.
Seago went back to farming when he got back but had little luck,
He moved his family to McClennan
County and failed again. Once more, they looked for a new home
in hopes of a brighter future. Unfortunately, Marion
County was not the place, for his endeavor to operate a mill
proved futile. His last destination was Dallas
County. Tillman bought some land and finally had some success
in farming. However, he decided to change his career and try something
In 1876, Seago opened the first dry goods store in the area. Made
from the timber on his land, it had an inventory of groceries and
items worth 200 dollars. The store became so popular that it became
a center for social interaction.
B. F. Peak constructed the first cotton gin that same year as the
town's founding. Because cotton was the area's most important crop,
two others were later built. Clarence Murphey operated one for the
North Texas Gin Company while Bob Randerson managed the second for
the Southern Gin Company.
The settlers decided to form a town in 1879 and called it
Seago in honor of the storekeeper.
J. T. Doss built a new schoolhouse in 1880, which earned the knick
name Woodside for reasons unknown. Although the building had a frame
structure, split logs were still used for seats to go with the desks.
Woodside eventually faced abandonment in favor of a four-room building,
the actual date remaining a mystery.
During the year of Woodside's grand opening, the Texas Trunk Railroad
arrived in town and changed everything. Beforehand, farmers had
to ship and receive their goods using barges on the Trinity River.
This meant loading wagons and traveling six miles southward to the
river locks. The alternative was a long road to the north. Operating
between Dallas and Kaufman,
the rails provided a faster means of transportation. The Texas Trunk
Railroad later merged with the Texas and New Orleans Railroad.
The town established its post office in 1881 and made Tillman Seago
the first post master. The following year, members organized First
Methodist Church and held services in Woodside until they built
a structure four years later. In 1883, Dallas
County officials gave the town of Seago its first official plat,
a map showing the various divisions of land. The population reached
eighty-five by 1890.
J. L. Fly erected a general store that year, providing farm supplies
to the public. He also got elected to serve as Justice of the Peace
while son Ben became a county judge for Dallas.
The year of 1894 brought the emergence of two buildings. Friendship
Baptist Church replaced its old structure and hosted a music school
at the new location twelve years later. Meanwhile, E. A. Thompson
and his family donated land at the intersection of Malloy Bridge
Road and Kaufman Street to be the new location for First Methodist
Made out of brick, the town's first bank opened its doors in 1905.
The first newspaper was published two years later with W. S. McCauley
as its editor.
The local school, which now had an enrollment of 166 students, burned
down in 1909. Ben H. Fly donated some land on North Kaufman Street
for a new building. At a cost of 10,000 dollars, the two-storied
brick school had four rooms on each floor, the lower one hosting
the lower grades and the upper housing the higher grades. Although
the place catered to children of all educational levels, people
called it the High School. It later became known as the Old Red
In 1910, the U. S. Post Office forced the town to change its name
to Seagoville. This was done to eliminate any confusion with
another Texas city called Sego.
M. B. Hawthorne established Farmers Guaranty Bank in 1912. It eventually
merged with the First State Bank of Seagoville, resulting in the
shortening of the name to First State Bank. The year also provided
a new building for the First Methodist Church to replace the old
one. Rev. O. E. Moreland became its first pastor. The biggest event,
however, was the addition of an artesian well.
The city of Seagoville started a fundraiser and managed to raise
$3,000 for the project by selling fifty-dollar shares. A man named
Mr. Weatherford came from the town Ferris to drill the well, which
ended up having a depth of 1,700 feet. Although the main pipe led
to a trough near the intersection of Kaufman Street and Elm Street,
a cut-off valve allowed people to drive their trucks or wagons beneath
the pipe and fill their empty barrels with water. The citizens continued
to use the well until man-made lakes arrived on the scene.
In 1914, the local newspaper changed its name to the Seagoville
News with Red R. Kreiger as its editor. A. H. McWhorter built and
operated the town's first movie theater, which was called the Happy
Hour Theater. He also owned a grocery store and dry goods store.
At the same time, a man named M. P. Hawthorne constructed five brick
buildings. Other businesses in the community included two hardwood
stores, two drug stores, a lumberyard, a cotton gin, four grocery
stores, five general stores, two restaurants, and a blacksmith shop.
The total population had reached 300.
A telephone exchange started providing service to the city in 1921.
Located across from the train depot, the center was operated by
a woman named Miss Marshall. However, there were only sixteen subscribers.
Electricity arrived in Seagoville first received electricity in
1925 and filed a second plat the following year when it became incorporated.
Government officials bought some land on North Kaufman Street belonging
to Reagan Hasthorne for the purpose of building Seagoville High
School. At a cost ranging from sixty to seventy thousand dollars,
the place opened in 1928. Not only did it serve as a school, but
it also acted as a community center. A dragon became the mascot
of choice and the official colors were white and naval blue. Published
by the students, the first school newspaper was called the Boll
The congregation of Friendship Baptist Church renamed the building
to First Baptist Church of Seagoville during 1929. The year also
witnessed the population reaching 650. Unfortunately, news of this
milestone was marred by the arrival of the Great Depression.
The crash of the stock market had a devastating effect on the city
economy. Out of the twenty-businesses, only twelve remained four
years into the depression. The telephone exchange now resided inside
a small house on Kaufman Street. First State Bank met its demise
in 1932, forcing the residents to do their banking in Crandall.
To help alleviate hardships, a federal program called the Reconstruction
Finance Corporation established the Seagoville Community Cannery.
A further boost to the local economy came when Gibson Discount Stores
moved its headquarters to Seagoville and built a warehouse there.
Needing more facilities to handle the growing number of female criminals,
the Department of Justice instructed the Bureau of Prisons to build
some new quarters. In response, a minimum-security correctional
institute was constructed in Seagoville during the late 1930s. The
Federal Reformatory for Women opened its doors in 1940, providing
strong economic relief for the community. All the structures within
the walls were made using bricks and had a limestone trim on top.
Each two-story dormitory had at least forty rooms but no more than
sixty-eight. In addition to the sleeping quarters, all six buildings
had a kitchen, laundry, living room, dining room, and bathroom.
The residents also made use of another two-story building, which
had an auditorium, library, and some classrooms. Despite all the
effort put into making the women's prison a reality, it didn't last
for very long.
on Pearl Harbor and the subsequent declaration of war filled
people with anger and anxiety, both emotions being directed toward
the Germans, Japanese and Italians. Anyone belonging to these ethnic
groups were treated with strong suspension. Fearing that the enemy
might use them to spy on the United States, the government began
the process of arresting citizens to ship them back to their native
country. Detention camps were set up as temporary quarters until
deportation, three of them located in state of Texas. Officials
sent the families to Crystal
City and the men to Kenedy
while Seagoville became the place for single women and married couples.
In April 1942, the Immigration and Naturalization Service took control
of the women's prison and renamed it the Seagoville Enemy Alien
Detention Station. Throughout its operation, the facility hosted
between 500 and 700 people. The residents were mainly Japanese and
German, but some Italians found their way into the camp.Although
the majority of the prisoners were American citizens, a large percentage
came from Latin America to be deported. Those crossing the border
tended to be men forced from their homes into captivity. The wives,
called voluntary detainees, often joined their spouses out of economic
necessity. An influx of prisoners from South America forced the
Seagoville camp to construct fifty temporary houses which were called
victory huts. Each one had a dining room, bathroom, and laundromat
in addition to the sleeping quarters.
Facing the inevitable task of increasing resources to guard prisoners
of war, the State Department started the process of deporting those
who had been sent from Latin America in June 1943. The task was
completed four months later. However, the camp still continued to
hold single women and childless couples.
The detainment in Seagoville came to an end in June 1945 when the
Immigration and Naturalization Service sent all the residents to
the camp in Crystal
City. Ownership of the place went back to the Bureau of Prisons,
which transformed it into a minimum-security center for male criminals.
The city of Seagoville emerged from the second
world war with a growing economy, evidenced by its forty-five
businesses and the new artesian well. By 1948, the population had
Five people got together and opened Seagoville State Bank in 1952,
which allowed the citizens to receive local economic services for
the first time in twenty years. Located on Kaufman Street, the bank
became the property of a man named M. D. Reeves. He donated 22 acres
to the city for development purposes. This gift became the home
of a junior high school in 1955. Two years later, Seagoville High
School burned to the ground. From these ashes, an elementary school
was built. The year of 1958 brought the arrival of a new high school,
which was positioned right next to the junior high. In August 1964,
the Seagoville school system was merged into the Dallas Independent
The Seagoville prison narrowed its purpose in 1969 by only accepting
young male criminals under the age of 28.
The city hall moved from West Elm Street to a new municipal building
at the intersection of Highway 175 and Farmers Road in March 1975.
It was accompanied by a police substation and local library.
During 1979, the prison removed its age limits and a new sewage
treatment plant was built. The year also witnessed the opening of
an army reserve center on Simonds Road. It started off as a training
facility but expanded to include a medical center. The biggest event,
however, was the city's celebration of its one hundredth birthday.
Starting in 1980, a rancher named John Bunker Sands began the process
of restoring wetlands and making new ones. The owner of the Rosewood
Corporation, he developed over 2,000 acres to help migratory birds,
conserve water, and restore natural resources. Those which were
man-made relied upon a levee system. His efforts proved to be a
complete success. The area was named the John Bunker Sands Wetland
Center and later had an educational facility added to it.
The Seagoville prison had a perimeter fence installed in 1981 and
became a federal correctional institution. Ten years later, the
city population reached 9,100.
Covering 334 acres and featuring a twelve-acre lake, Poss Oak
Preserve opened in 1993 and became one of the largest ones in
It also contained one of the few remnants of the Post Oak Savannah.
Three miles of trails and an educational center were eventually
In October 1995, Seagoville State Bank purchased Buckner State Bank,
which was located on North Buckner and Interstate 30. HomeBank became
the new name of the combined institution in 1998.
The Seagoville Veterans Memorial Park opened to the public
in 1999. Although the city donated the land, officials predicted
a final cost of fifty thousand dollars. Half of the amount was paid
through a grant from the Seagoville Economic Development Corporation
while the other came from a fundraiser operated by the Lions Club.
Upon its completion, the park paid tribute to local citizens who
had fought in Korea, Vietnam, and the two world wars.
Wanting to cut costs to fight its budget deficit, the United States
Postal Service announced in 2011 its decision to close the Seagoville
office and merge it with the one in Kleberg. Even when prominent
citizens expressed the desire to pay for the building's rental costs,
the department refused to listen to their offers and abandoned the
Star Transit, a company based in Terrell,
established a bus service for Seagoville in 2016. The singular route
provided twelve stops during the weekdays, one of them located at
a DART rail station. Even though the service was only available
during the weekdays, the Seagoville Express still gave people access
to public transportation so they could reach Dallas
among other destinations. According to the census that year, Seagoville
had a population of 16,093.
June 27, 2018