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Cass County TX
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Cass County, East Texas

32°59'53"N 94°37'50"W (32.998115, -94.630542)

State Hwy 11 & 49 and FM 250
15 Miles W of Linden the county seat
30 Miles SW of Atlanta
9 Miles NW of Avinger
6.5 Miles E of Daingerfield
ZIP code 75656
Area code 903
Population: 1,709 Est. (2019)
1,760 (2010) 1,856 (2000) 1,938 (1990)

Hughes Springs, Texas Area Hotels:
Atlanta Hotels | Jefferson Hotels

Hughes Springs TX Mural  -  Searching for Trammels Treasure
"Settled while Searching for Trammels Treasure"
Photo courtesy Gerald Massey, June 2010
More Texas Murals

History in a Pecan Shell

The town dates to 1839 when Reese Hughes settled near three mineral-rich springs. First referred to as Chalybeate Springs, the community that was to form adopted Mr. Hughes’ name – as did the post office when it opened in 1847. This initial post office was run by a W.V. Hughes but only lasted a few years.

In 1876 the East Line and Red River Railroad made Hughes Springs a stop on its line. The railroad connection allowed people to easily visit the springs which had gained a word-of-mouth reputation for curative powers.

In the late 1870s a second post office was established at the slightly relocated community. By this time the springs had become a popular health destination for the region.

In the 1850s a furnace for smelting the iron ore was built and during the Civil War it was made the property of the Confederate government. After the war, the Federal Government decided that exploiting the deposits wasn’t worth the cost of transporting coal to fire the furnace. The lode of iron ore was estimated to be in the hundreds of millions of tons. In 1912, an offer was made to buy the ore by Bethlehem Steel, but was turned down by the lease holders.

By the mid 1880s the town had a population of around 300 with most essential businesses present. It remained at that level (more or less) for years. The 1920 census reported just over 800 residents and by the end of that prosperous decade, it had broken the 1,000 mark. After the stock-market crash, it was reduced to just over 700 by 1933.

The town’s popularity as a resort was diminished but it’s importance as an agricultural shipping point increased.

During WWII when iron ore was important to the war effort, the Lone Star Steel Plant opened ten miles away in neighboring Morris County. Hughes Springs finally benefited from collateral industries from the plant, one of which was a plant for producing road-building material from the steel plant’s byproducts.

In the 1940s, the area population doubled from 767 to over 1,400. It reached 1,823 by the 1960s census – with jobs still being supplied by the steel mill.

Hughes Springs TX downtown corner building
Photo courtesy Gerald Massey, June 2010

Historical Marker

Town of Hughes Springs

Founded by Reece Hughes (1811-1893), who settled in Texas, 1839. In 1841 he married Elizabeth Rose, daughter of patriot Wm. Pinckney Rose. Her dowry enabled him to start a great plantation. After her death in 1853, he wed her sister, Mrs. J. w. Scott. In 1847 Reece Hughes founded the town of Hughes Springs at a famous chalybeate (iron salt-bearing) spring. It prospered for some years, becoming the site of a large boarding school and a favored place for church camp meetings, but later it declined. In 1878, Hughes' descendants founded present Hughes Springs.

/Hughes SpringsTX main street
Photo courtesy Gerald Massey, June 2010

Hughes Springs TX Street Scene
Photo courtesy Gerald Massey, June 2010

Hughes Springs TX First Baptist Church
Hughes Springs First Baptist Church
Photo courtesy Gerald Massey, June 2010

Hughes Springs TX - First United Methodist Church
First United Methodist Church
Photo courtesy Gerald Massey, June 2010
More Texas Churches

Hughes Springs TX Library Museum
Hughes Springs Library / Museum
Photo courtesy Gerald Massey, June 2010
More Texas Museums

Hughes Springs TX Street Scene
Photo courtesy Gerald Massey, June 2010

Hughes Springs TX Mural Backdoor
Photo courtesy Gerald Massey, June 2010

Hughes Springs TX Mural Wildflower Trail
Hughes Springs Wildflower Trail Mural
Photo courtesy Gerald Massey, June 2010

Hughes Springs TX - Spring Park
Spring Park
Photo courtesy Gerald Massey, June 2010

Historical Marker - Spring Park, 3rd St.
Chalybeate Springs
(Pronounced "KA LIB E ATE)
Discovered in 1839 by brothers Reece and Robert Hughes (from Alabama) while looking for pirate gold. Springs derive name from iron salts in water. In 1847 Reece Hughes (1811-1893), wealthy planter who later built iron foundry, started the first town of Hughes Springs here.

Historical Marker - Spring Park, 3rd St.
Trammell's Trace
Entered Cass County at Epperson's Ferry. Continued south and west in an arc, passing through Chalybeate Springs (Hughes Springs). This 1813 pioneer trail originated in St. Louis and linked the "Southwest Trail" with the King's Highway to Mexico. It was laid out by Nicholas Trammell (1780-1852).

Hughes Springs TX Cemetery
Hughes Springs Cemetery
Photo courtesy Gerald Massey, June 2010
More Texas Cemeteries

Hughes Springs and Trammell’s Treasure
by Mike Cox
"Texas Tales" Column

More than 300 miles inland from the Gulf of Mexico, the community of Hughes Springs owes its existence to a fanciful pirate story and one man who believed it.

Born in Tennessee and raised in Alabama, Reece Hughes first saw Texas in 1829 when he crossed the Sabine to hunt buffalo. The expedition proved short-lived.

“This little band of adventurers was soon driven out of Texas by a much larger force of hostile Indians,” son Howell Rose Hughes wrote a century later.

Nine years later after his first visit, Texas having wrested its independence from Mexico, Reece Hughes returned with his younger brother. They settled in Red River County, but an intriguing tale Hughes had heard on his first trip to Texas lured him to what is now Cass County.

As his son remembered it, “an old sea pirate who bore the name of Trammel” had buried “a great strong box of gold coins” near an Indian village on the trail that later bore his name – the Trammell Trace. Others gilded the legend, claiming Trammel had once been a member of Jean Laffite’s not-always-jolly band of saltwater brigands. After Laffite got run off Galveston Island by the U.S. Navy, the tale continued, Trammel decamped for St. Louis with his share of the loot. Hounded by hostile Indians while on the way to Missouri, he buried his treasure in Northeast Texas.

Hughes and his brother set out to find Trammell’s treasure, following the trail to an old Indian village along a mineral rich spring-feed creek in a handsome valley about a mile east of present Hughes Springs. On March 28, 1839 they pitched a tent and started chopping trees for a log cabin about a mile from the spring.

“If they ever found the golden treasure for which they were searching I have no record of it,” Hughes’ son wrote. “But they built their log cabin, cleared their little farm, and planted a crop of corn and peas and some garden truck.”

That fall, convinced that in putting down roots in Texas he had found another kind of treasure, Hughes left his brother in charge of their farm and rode back to Alabama to bring his father and other family members to Texas. As his son later remembered, others “seized with the Texas fever” joined the party and soon all “began to prosper wonderfully.”

Nicholas Trammell, the reputed pirate who played an unintended role in the beginning of Hughes Springs... Read full article

© Mike Cox

Hughes Springs TX - Hughes Springs Basketball Champions old photo
Hughes Springs Basketball Champions
Click on image to enlarge
Photo courtesy Dan Whatley Collection

Hughes Springs TX - Hughes Springs Basketball Champions old photo
Hughes Springs Basketball Champions
Photo courtesy Dan Whatley Collection

TX - Cass County 1882 map
1882 Texas map showing Hughes Spring in
SW Cass County near Morris County line
From 1882 Texas state map #2134

Courtesy Texas General Land Office

Cass County Texas 1907 Postal map
1907 Cass County postal map showing Hughes Springs
(SW Cass County)

Courtesy Texas General land Office

Take a road trip

Hughes Springs, Texas Nearby Towns:
Linden the county seat
See Cass County, East Texas

Book Hotel Here:
Atlanta Hotels | More Hotels
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