Blog Catalog

History Blogs - Blog Catalog Blog Directory


Monday, September 16, 2013


Trumball circa 1968

You probably blow right past Trumbull on I-45 and don't think much about it. Well honestly, there really isn't a lot there. A Quiet community with maybe two or three businesses where chickens roam the neighborhood.The People who live there are pretty much considered to be in Ferris. Trumbull has always had a Ferris connection. In 1872 it became a switch on the Houston and Central railroad. In fact, the Engineer's referred to the town as "The Switch." Which means it really didn't have a name. Since the late 1800's Trumbull had gone by a few names. Three Mexican section hands(some say ranch hands) were killed on the tracks and buried on the near by Smith's property on the west side of the tracks. The graves were marked with steel rails. After this the town became known as "Ghost Hill." The Engineer , Mr Valley, would hang a red lantern out out of respect for the dead when he came through town.The town would go through two more names, "Mackie" and "Clemma", until It was finally named Trumbull in honor of J. A. Trumbull, a railroad official.

  In early 1900's a resident recalled that 16 coal burning passenger trains per day would come though Trumbull. Pretty good traffic and this allowed for businesses to thrive. Grocery stores, a saloon, a bank, and a doctor's office. In the early 1900's, the stores were in wooden buildings over by the railroad track. There were three groceries - one operated by L. N. Lee, who also had a small saloon inside. Another grocery store, owned by Jim Davis, had a soda fountain, and sold clothes, shoes and bolts of material. He was also a druggist, owned the first gas station in Trumbull, and a lumber yard on the other side of the tracks. Next to the grocery store was a restaurant, a barber shop (owned by Eli Whitley) and a doctor's office. The Texas Electric Railway came through about 1913 and you get your tickets at Mr. Perkin's store. The interurban station was a three-sided building. In 1954 there was the Trumbull Implement Co., Perkins Grocery store, a filling station, store and market, and a gin run by Larry Smith. The Trumbull Implement factory was owned by John Toal. It was said that he had an ingenious way of making plows. Some say that they were so well built that he put himself out of business because they lasted so long. The sons carried on the business until 1983.

 Originally the town had a log cabin school in 1912 east of town but eventually they built a fine two story brick school. I believe maybe in the late 1910's. I noticed many brick building were erected in this time period around Ellis county. A long time resident, Burnie L. Bailey, believes that the bricks for the school were delivered by train from Malakoff. The school was located just south of the main town. The aerial photograph above is taken from the west and the school would have been in a field to the right out of frame. The school taught up to the tenth grade. In 1945 the children were transferred to Ferris schools. Starting in 1945 Mexican cotton pickers up to 125 used the school building for living quarters. It eventually became abandoned and vandalized. I visited there in the late 1980's or early 1990's and saw the inside. Of course it was vandalized but we could still get up stairs. If my memory serves me right it had an auditorium up stairs. We were really surprised that it seemed like a very fine school for such a small town. In 1999 somebody burned it down and it was bulldozed. Now there is just a field for feeder corn  probably owned by investors that will sale it to the highest bidding gas station one day.
Thanks to Shanon Simpson from the Ellis County Museum for the pics

Monday, July 22, 2013

Ellis County North Western boundary 1878 - I-GN Railroad map

Internet searching about The International-Great Northern Railroad I found this map of 1878. Still shows Ellis County in it's original North west county line. The IGN Railroad would make some tracks in the west and southern parts of Ellis County in 1902.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Waxahachie City Marshal John Henry Spalding deserves a Historical Marker

Yesterday driving down 342 I saw a large gathering of Lancaster police vehicles at 342 and old red oak road. I thought something had gone terribly wrong until I noticed cameras and smiling police officers. It appears the tragedy happened years ago to one of their own. City Marshal P.M. Solomon was struck down by an interurban train he was trying to flag down. There was a station called valley view at this spot on Nov 2, 1912. The City Marshal had got on the south bound train because the driver had alerted him to a drunk on the train. After they got the drunk into custody Marshall tried to flag down the north bound train back to Lancaster but was struck and killed.

 Makes me think that John Henry Spalding deserves a monument to where his death occurred in Waxahahcie, Tx. I believe the location of his murder is on Smokey Lane where Oldham's branch intersects. He was killed by the intoxicated Chas Smith while the Marshall was trying to apprehend him during a shootout. J H Spalding was an original pioneer of Waxahachie and served six years a s City Marshal until his death on December 17, 1882. Director Robert Benton is the Great Grandfather. Benton based the movie Places In The Heart loosely on the shooting death of his Great Grandfather. Dallas County Sheriff Assistant Deputy (Ret.) Terry Baker has researched and brought back respect to many forgotten fallen officers. Guys like him could probably get an historical marker put up for Marshal Spalding. Sheriff Baker actually has left his research in the Sims Library resources department.