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Rusk  County
Rusk County

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Rusk County, East Texas

On the Rusk-Panola County Line

3218'53"N 9431'8"W (32.314853, -94.518875)
Hwy 43 and 149
20 miles SE of Longview
19 miles NE of Henderson
Population: 1,369 Est. (2016)
1,385 (2010) 1,175 (2000) 1,289 (1990)

Tatum, Texas Area Hotels:
Henderson Hotels | Longview Hotels
Tatum Texas  - RR Track
Photo courtesy Gerald Massey, October 2010
See Texas Railroad
History in a Pecan Shell

Settled in the 1840s by Albert and Mary C. Tatum, a large plantation was constructed in 1848. The homestead was so vast that according to folklore, a shotgun blast at the property line couldn't have been heard in the main house. When the railroad came through in 1885, a townsite was platted and a post office opened in 1886.

An abbreviated timeline of important events:
1896 or 1897: the Miller School was opened 6 Miles NW of town.
1903: The first bank was established.
1904: Population reaches 154 and part of the town is destroyed by a tornado.
1905: fire destroys nearly all of Tatums north side.
1925: population reaches 428.
1929: The eleven-grade Tatum school consolidated with the school in nearby Stewart, Texas.
1954: Tatum's population reaches 599 residents.
1976: A marker was erected to commemorate Trammel's Trace, an early East Texas trade route.
1988: Tatums population reached 1,531
Tatum Texas - First Baptist Church
First Baptist Church
Photo courtesy Gerald Massey, October 2010
More Texas Churches
Historical Marker:

Town of Tatum

Wealthy Alabama native Albert Tatum (1810-1870) settled here at Trammel's Trace and Grand Bluff Road crossing in the 1840s. Slave labor built Tatum's plantation home, a social center for the area. His wife Mary gave land and a station in 1882 for Longview & Sabine Valley Railroad, later part of the Santa Fe system. In 1892 Tatum's son Paul (1848-1914), known as "Uncle Fox," donated land and laid out the townsite. Farming and lumbering became the main industries. The formation in 1971 of Martin's Creek Lake and an electrical generating plant brought rapid growth.

Tatum Sunday Drive

Excerpts from "The East Texas Sunday Drive Book" by Bob Bowman

" ... Texas 43. Turn south here and proceed through the town of Tatum.

Enroute you will cross the Sabine River, one of the major tributaries in East Texas. The name Sabine comes from a Spanish word meaning cypress and refers to the great growth of cypress trees found on the river's lower regions. The river, which becomes the border between Texas and Louisiana further south, was probably named by Domingo Ramon in l716; it is so designated on a map from l721 giving the route of the expedition led by the Marquis de Aguayo.

At Tatum, you'll find a restored Sante Fe railroad depot dating back to the days when the town bustled with railroad commerce. The depot is located in a city park about a block east of Texas 43.

Tatum was laid off in l885 on land donated by the Tatum family when the railroad arrived.

Not far from Tatum is Hendrick's Lake, which has been attracting treasure hunters since l913 when a man name Miller supposedly dredged up three silver bars. Treasure hunters have probed the 470-acre lake (located on private property) time and time again, using everything from ox-drawn scoops to electronic equipment. If they've found anything of value, they've kept the secret well....

When you leave Tatum, drive a a few miles south of the community on Texas 43 and take a left on Farm Road 1716. You'll come to a dead end at historic Harmony Hill Cemetery, one of the last vestiges of the old town of Harmony Hill, once a trading settlement. Just down the road from the cemetery is Martin Creek Lake State Park, a small but attractive lake overlooked by an electrical generating plant. ...

Back on Texas 43, return to Tatum, take Texas 149 southeast to the settlement of Beckville ... more

Book Hotels:
Henderson Hotels | Longview Hotels
Tatum Texas -  Lumber & Hardware Store
Lumber & Hardware Store
Photo courtesy Gerald Massey, October 2010
Tatum Texas - Old Closed Stores
Photo courtesy Gerald Massey, October 2010
Tatum Texas - Trammel Trace Tribune
Trammel Trace Tribune, closed
Photo courtesy Gerald Massey, October 2010
Trammel's Trace Historical Marker
Trammel's Trace Historical Marker
Photo courtesy Gerald Massey, October 2010
Texas - Tatum Cemetery Historical Marker
Tatum Cemetery Historical Marker
Photo courtesy Gerald Massey, October 2010
More Texas Cemeteries
Historical Marker:
Tatum Cemetery
Begun as a burial ground for the family of pioneer settler Albert Tatum (1810-70), this land was the site of the rose garden near his plantation home. It was first used as a cemetery in 1862 for the interment of his son william. Also buried here is Tatum's son Paul (1848-1914), donor of the Tatum townsite. Known as "Uncle Fox," Paul Tatum deeded this site as a public burial ground in 1914. Still in use, the cemetery serves as a reminder of the pioneers and early community leaders who figured prominently in the town's development.

Nearby Destinations:

  • Martin Creek Lake State Park -
    9515 County Road 2181D Tatum, TX 75691-3425

  • Take a road trip

    Tatum, Texas Nearby Towns:
    Henderson the county seat
    Kilgore | Gilmer | Tyler | Marshall
    See Rusk County | East Texas

    Book Hotel Here:
    Henderson Hotels
    Kilgore Hotels | Tyler Hotels | More Hotels
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