a Pecan Shell
D. W. “Wash”
Cole settled here in the early 1840s. Originally called Black
Jack Grove, the site had served as a Texas Ranger camp during
the Republic. It had a post office granted in 1848.
In the early 1850s, the land was purchased by storekeeper John D.
Matthews. Matthews also sold town lots and gave a plot for the building
of a Masonic Lodge.
From February of 1857 to May of 1858, the post office was known
as Theodocias. It reverted back to Black Jack Grove
Volunteers from Black Jack Grove a company of the 9th Texas Cavalry
distinguished itself at the battle of Elkhorn Ridge.
The community became one of those rowdy towns that discouraged the
preferred class of settler. The “sporting” group held sway, despite
(or because of) a healthy economy. In 1866 a gunfight took the lives
of five men over a racing bet.
The railroad arrived in the form of the East Line and Red River
Railway in 1880 and with it came “civilization” and a change of
name to shed its reputation. Former Confederate Robert H. Cumby
became the permanent namesake of the community.
Early population figures are unavailable, but the town grew and
prospered. It peaked in the late 1920s with a population just over
900. It survived the Great Depression but not without a population
decrease. It hit bottom around 1970 with just over 400 residents.
The 1980 census showed nearly 650, but falling again to 571 for
the 1990 count. The 2000 census counted 616 residents.
Jack Grove 1872
On Saturday, July 6, 1872, Judge W. H. Andrews, Presiding Judge of
the District Court, and District Attorney Lucas Flattery Smith, of
County, Texas, were traveling together on business of the Court.
From Smith's personal Diary, I have transcribed his experience, as
"Judge Andrews and I left for "Black Jack Grove" this morning to try
a Habeas Corpus Case for Tom. Beard. We had a mule team and had to
whip nearly all the time. The trial was postponed and we returned
to Greenville, having
traveled 32 miles for nothing. I am very sore &c."
I wonder if you have any record of this Case for Tom Beard, or is
the name correct? Lucas Flattery Smith was, according to his 1901
biography, "elected county attorney of Fannin county in 1869 and as
appointed district attorney of the Eleventh judicial district, composed
of five counties, in 1870. Those Counties, based on his Diary entries
were: Fannin, Hunt,
Thanks for keeping history alive.
- Stanley D. Stevens (Librarian Emeritus, University of California
at Santa Cruz), firstname.lastname@example.org,
July 29, 2020
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