in a Pecan Shell
W. C. Crawford
built Fort Crawford (one mile west of present-day Hallsville)
here in 1839 to protect against Indians. Ten years later the community
was granted a post office which joined a church, school and Masonic
Lodge – all of which were nestled in a single two-story building.
Four years after the Civil War ended, the Southern Pacific Railway
bypassed Ft. Crawford by a single mile – resulting in both a move
and a name change.
The new name of Hallville came from a railroad officer whose
complete name has been forgotten. A cemetery remains at the old site
– the only proof remaining that Ft. Crawford was there.
With the new post office in place, the community opened the first
enterprise not connected to the government: a saloon. The town enjoyed
the benefits of being the railroad’s terminus (and railroad repair
shops) for about three years.
Hallville’s growth was the envy of East
Texas. It supported an estimated 50 businesses In the early 1870s.
The Texas and Pacific Railroad arrived in 1872, buying out the Southern
Pacific and completed installing track to Longview.
The community lost much of its population to Marshall
when the railroad relocated their shops and offices to Marshall.
The 1884 population was nearly 600 residents, served by six (!) grist
mills, a school, two saloons and a hotel.
Eight years later, the population had fallen to 300 but rebounded
to 600 in the early 1900s. The spelling of the name was changed by
the post office to Hallsville in the 1920s.
From a 1920 census count of 696, Hallsville fell to 480 in 1930. It
reached a new high of 1,000 in the 1940s, falling back to 600 in the
In 1988 the population passed 2,000 and the 1990 count was 2,288.
Cemetery Historical Marker
Sunday Drive Through Hallsville
Harrison County Vintage Postal Map
on US 80 at Harrison County Sub-Courthouse:
Successor to Fort Crawford and Ash Springs, pioneer settlements of
1840s. Hallsville was founded when Texas & Pacific Railway was built.
First train arrived Aug. 17, 1869. Western terminus for a time, and
site (1870-73) of T. & P. shops, town attracted ox-wagon freighting
in wool, cotton and buffalo hides from the West. Hallsville, named
for Kentuckians Elijah and Volney Hall, received charter Aug. 13,
1870. Volney Hall was a vice president of the old Southern Pacific
Railway, which was rechartered as the T. & P. Acquired Sub-Courthouse,
on 300 W. Willow St.:
After the establishment
of Hallsville in 1869 by railroad developers, land was secured here
for a cemetery. In 1875 the James F. Taylor Masonic Lodge No. 169
acquired from the railroad (by then named the Texas & Pacific) three
acres of land near the rail line and dedicated it as a community burial
The earliest marked burial is that of Mrs. G. C. Russell in 1875,
taking place while the land transaction was in progress. Some burials
from the older communities of Ash Springs (2 mi. NE) and Fort Crawford
(2 mi. SW) were transferred here, as most of their settlers moved
to Hallsville and the railhead.
Since the 1920s cemetery cleaning days during May served as community
gatherings. Children were encouraged to take part and learn about
their ancestors while helping to maintain family plots. Politicians
spoke to the crowds before spring primary elections, and veterans
were honored on war memorial days. A cemetery association was formed
in 1947 to ensure perpetual care and acquire more land. Several additions
were made through the generosity of the railroad. Formal entrance
gates, landscaping and other improvements have been sponsored by the
Texas Sesquicentennial 1836 - 1986
A Sunday Drive
& Marshall: A Metropolitan Sunday Drive
by Bob Bowman
head east on U.S. 80. You'll pass through Hallsville while traveling
a scenic route characterized by meadows, ranches, and turn-of-the-century
buildings. Hallsville dates back to l839 when W.C. Crawford built
a fort as protection against Indians. The town was named for pioneer
Elijah Hall in l870 when the railroad arrived...
in its purpose to preserve historic, endangered and vanishing Texas,
asks that anyone wishing to share their local history and vintage/historic
photos, please contact