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YOAKUM, TEXAS

On the Lavaca-DeWitt County Line, Central Texas South

29°17'28"N 97°8'50"W (29.291052, -97.147315)
Hwy ALT 77 and Hwy 111
17 Miles NE of Cuero
26 Miles SW of Gonzales
39 Miles NW of Victoria
Population: 5,992 (2010) 5,731 (2000)

Yoakum, Texas Area Hotels > Gonzales Hotels
Yoakum Library Texas
The former city power plant. Today the city library.
TE photo, 2002
History in a Pecan Shell

Early settler John May received a land grant from the Mexican state of Coahuila and Texas in 1835. There was very little history and no community per se until after the Civil War when the area became a gathering point for cattle drives. Longhorn cattle drives became the one immediate source of cash for the devastated Texas economy.

(The Chisholm Trail was the major route for cattle drives to Kansas from 1867 through 1884. Although cattle were herded from as far south as the Rio Grande, Yoakum is considered the first town on the route. Cheaper than shipping by rail, by the time barbed wire stopped the drives in 1885, more than 5 million head of cattle had been shipped out of Texas. A Post Office Mural in Ogallala, Nebraska commemorates the town’s role as the one-time terminus of the Chisholm Trail.)

Yoakum didn’t experience substantial growth until the arrival if the San Antonio and Aransas Pass Railroad (the SAAP) in 1887. A townsite was platted and General Manager of the railroad Benjamin F. Yoakum was honored as the town’s namesake.

The community’s first store was opened that same year and a post office was granted.

The railroad maintained a large railroad yard and roundhouse in Yoakum.

By the mid 1890s Yoakum had a population of 3,000 – which was enormous by 1890 standards. By 1914 it had more than doubled to 7,500.

The tanning industry began in 1919 when a man named Carl Welhausen took over a small tanning company, and started to seriously produce saddles and bridles for horses and belts and wallets for humans.

The population in 1940 was given as 4,733. The population is split between its two counties and in 1984, 3,283 residents lived in Lavaca County while 2,325 others lived in DeWitt County.

The population of 5,611 in 1990 has grown slightly – to 5,731 for the 2000 census.

Yoakum remains as a division point for the railroad.

The former city power plant has been restored into the city library.
Yoakum TX Historical Marker
Yoakum Historical Marker
Photo courtesy Sarah Reveley, 2007

Chisholm Trail Memorial Park
in Yoakum

Trail Driver of Southwest Texas centennial marker Yoakum Texas
Photo courtesy Sarah Reveley, 2007
Yoakum TX Chisholm Trail Memorial Park
Photo courtesy Sarah Reveley, 2007
Click here to enlarge
 Yoakum TX Trail Drive
Photo courtesy Sarah Reveley, 2007

Yoakum Chronicles

  • Rocks From The Sky by Murray Montgomery
    One story appeared first in the Yoakum Times and the Halletsville Herald printed it on July 16, 1903. This fascinating piece was about a fellow named Benedict Manning who was witness to several strange occurrences during his lifetime...

  • Yoakum Area Trips

  • Cuero and DeWitt County Trip
    A driving through Cuero, Yorktown, Yoakum and Arneckeville


  • Yoakum, Texas Area Towns:
    Cuero | Gonzales | Victoria
    See Lavaca County | DeWitt County | Central Texas South
    Book Hotel Here:
    Gonzales Hotels | Victoria Hotels | More Hotels

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