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.
Even 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.
"Heart of Texas
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
See 1907 Mills County Postal
Settled 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.
City Cemetery since 1874
"Beneath Every Tombstone Lies a Story"
Photo courtesy Barclay
City Cemetery historical marker
Photo courtesy Barclay
The 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 settlers.
| 1907 Texas postal
map showing Center City in eastern Mills
near Hamilton County
state map #2090
Courtesy Texas General Land Office
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
featuring Center City, Texas
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