in a Pecan Shell
Settled about 1870 as Hughes Store, when Mills county was organized,
the town optimistically designed their town square with a big empty space for
the courthouse. When Goldthwaite
was designated the county seat, they had to draw straws to decide who would ride
over to Hughes Store and break the bad news.
without a courthouse, businesses sprang up around the empty town square. By 1874
the town had a post office, gristmill, school and all the businesses essential
for a growing town.
of Texas Oak"In
the 1870s it was announced that the town was at the exact geographic center of
Texas and that a tree was growing at the exact spot.
This would more than make up for not being declared county seat! But the
tree was threatened by highway construction. The townspeople weren't about to
lose their second chance at fame. They stood up to the chain saws and the "Heart
of Texas Oak" stands today, fifty feet from the highway that moved. The story
of the tree and a photo (circa 1970) can be seen in Famous Trees of Texas
- available in most libraries.
By 1885 the town had a population of 100
and although it lost its mail service in the 1920s, there were still seventy-five
people in town by 1940. From 1970 through 2003 the town has had an estimated fifteen
See 1907 Mills County Postal
in 1864 by the families of William Jenkins and David Morris (1811-89), this community
was called "Hughes Store" after W. C. Hughes and his wife opened a store
here in the 1870s. They platted a townsite in 1876, hoping to attract the railroad
and to become county seat. An ancient live oak (100 yds. S), by tradition once
considered the center of Texas, was site of temporary
court and school sessions and religious services. Renamed "Center City", this
thriving town boasted several stores and businesses until the railroad
bypassed it in 1885. The post office remained until 1920.
Center City Cemetery since 1874|
"Beneath Every Tombstone Lies a Story"
Center City Cemetery historical marker|
Photo courtesy Barclay
Center City Cemetery began with the burials in 1874 of Julia M. Bishop and M.
E. Hughes, the adult and infant daughters of W. C. and Caroline Hughes, early
settlers of this area. Judge L. E. Patterson purchased 2.5 acres containing the
Hughes burials in 1905 for use as a community graveyard. Concern for its upkeep
prompted the establishment of a cemetery committee in 1951. A $1000 gift to the
cemetery in J. M. Dalton's will in 1967 helped establish a maintenance fund. The
more than 500 burials recorded here include those of many of this area's earliest
Mills County Postal map showing Center City|
(Below "S" in "M-I-L-L-S",
near Hamilton County line)
Courtesy Texas General Lands Office
Center City, Texas
From what I understand and also from some notes I have, my gg grandparents were
some of the very first settlers in Center City. My g-grandmother was born in Center
City in 1877. Their last name was Morris and they were from Indiana. - Patricia
Woods, May 09, 2005
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historic, endangered and vanishing Texas, asks that anyone wishing to share their
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featuring Center City, Texas||