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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