|Welcome to Rusk County, Texas|
|Texas Genealogy Trails|
This Rusk County Website
is available for adoption.
Our goal is to help you track your ancestors through time by transcribing genealogical and historical data and placing it online for the free use of all researchers.
If you have a love for history, a desire to help others, and basic web-authoring skills, consider joining us! If hosting isn't for you, we can use your help in other ways. Get the details on our Volunteer Page.
[A desire to transcribe data and knowledge of how to make a basic webpage is required.]
We regret that we are unable to perform personal research for folks.
All data we come across will be added to this site. We thank you for visiting and hope you'll come back again to view the updates we make to this site.
* * * NEW DATA ADDED CONSTANTLY * * * . . . CHECK BACK OFTEN . . .
Rusk County Texas
After Texas independence the territory was originally a part of Nacogdoches County. Rusk County was formed on January 16, 1843, and was named for Thomas Jefferson Rusk, who had been secretary of war under President Sam Houston. The county seat was established as near the center of the county as possible by the five commissioners appointed to acquire land for the purpose. Gen. James Smith donated the original townsite of 65.5 acres, and he later sold 69.5 acres more to the town. Later, William B. Ochiltree donated five acres north of the town square and in the deed named the town for his friend James Pinckney Henderson.
Settlers continued to pour into the area during the late 1840s, and by 1850 Rusk County had a population of 8,148, the second largest county population in the state, surpassed only by Harrison County. The majority of the residents were farmers, with merchants, lawyers, and carpenters the most common other occupations. More than one-fourth of the inhabitants (2,136) were slaves, a reflection of the flourishing plantation economy that had already begun to develop. The 1850 census listed seventeen plantations of 10,000 acres or more; James Smith, owner of 53,000 acres, was the largest landowner. A number of noted plantations were located around Henderson, including those of John Graham, Richard B. Tutt, Milton M. Boggess, and William Wright Morris. Numerous new communities sprang up during the late 1840s and early 1850s, and by 1857 twenty-two localities had post offices, the largest of them being Henderson, Camden, Harmony Hill, Millville, Mount Enterprise, New Salem, and Pine Hill. The "Wire Road," so called because in the early 1850s it was flanked by one of the earliest Texas telegraph lines strung on brackets nailed to trees, was a busy thoroughfare with regular stagecoach lines carrying passengers and freight from Marshall and Jefferson to Crockett and points south and west.
The end of the Civil War brought disaster to the county's economy. For many of Rusk County's white residents, the abolition of slavery meant devastating economic loss. Before the Civil War slaves had constituted nearly half of all taxable property in the county, and their loss, coupled with a sharp decline in property values, caused a profound disruption for most planters. Residents of the northern part of the county petitioned to be separated to form their own county and in 1874, the legislature approved the request to form Gregg County. The 1870s brought a slow recovery to the area, with the first railroad brought in, opening access to new markets.
The discovery of the East Texas Oilfield in 1930 brought prosperity to the area and swelled the population of the county.
Oil remains the leading industry of the county.
[Extracted from: Virginia Knapp and Megan Biesele, "RUSK COUNTY," Handbook of Texas Online; Published by the Texas State Historical Association.]
CITIES, TOWNS, AND POPULATED PLACES
* Easton (mostly in Gregg County) * Henderson (County Seat) * Kilgore (mostly in Gregg County) * Mount Enterprise * New London * Overton (partly in Smith County) * Reklaw (mostly in Cherokee County) * Tatum (partly in Panola County)
Big Springs * Concord * Elderville * Joinerville * Laird Hill * Laneville * Leverett's Chapel *
Minden * Price * Selman City * Turnertown *
Check your attics!
Dust off your family scrapbooks!
We're looking for DATA for this site!!!
If you are interested in adding your families' information to this website, Email Us.
We'll be happy to help your families' obituaries, news items and other historical data find a home here at Texas Genealogy Trails, where it will remain free for all to view.
Online Data Biographies Birth Records Cemeteries Census Church Records County Records Death Records
County History Marriage Records Military Records Miscellaneous Data Newspaper Gleanings Obituaries and Death Notices School Records Wills/Probate Records
- Website Updates:
Mar 2015: Death News: BOOTY, FORMAN, WALLER, WARD; Sick List News; BATON; Married News; KELLY, HENDRICKS, WOODALL, MCFARLAND, BOYNTON, CLINTON; Crime News: Community News: CURRY, THORNTON, MEYER, SMITH, WILLIAMS, CAMP
Dec 2014: Mil: Vietnam War Casualties; Korean War Casualties; Bio: BIRDWELL
Sept 2014: Mil: WW2 Honor Roll; 1914 County Description
June 2014: Bio: JOWELL - Transcribed by Sandra Stutzman; Bio: OBERTHIER - Transcribed by Vicki Bryan
Jan 2014: 1883 PENSIONERS LIST, COUNTY HISTORY - THOMAS J. RUSK; obits for BOGGESS JR., ELKINS, KILGORE, LEATH, MARCH, MORRIS, SHEDD, STONE, WOOLEY; bios for BOWDEN, CHILDRESS, ELLIOTT, FREDDELL, GARVIN, GIBSON, HOLLINGSWORTH, KILGORE, LASSETER, LINDSAY, MAYFIELD, MCKAY, MILLER, MORRIS, PARKER, WORNEL, WYNNE; news of THE RIOT IN RUSK COUNTY, CROP CONDITIONS, TREASURY/OUT OF DEBT, GIN-HOUSE FIRES, RUSK COUNTY'S POLITICAL POT, DIED FROM FEVER, EASTERN TEXAS INCENDIARISM, THE HENDERSON FIRE, DWELLING BURNED AT HENDERSON, TWO VICTIMS DIE, ASSASSIN DOES HIS WORK, A GREAT CROWD, INJURED IN RAILWAY ACCIDENT, ATTENDING SISTER'S FUNERAL, DISASTROUS CONFLAGRATION AT MALAKOFF, SOCIAL NEWS FROM THE JEWISH MONITOR
SEARCH OUR SITES
Submit an Obituary to Us
for any of our county sites.
If you would like to be kept informed of our state and county website updates, subscribe to any or all of our mailing lists
Texas is covered under our "Southwestern States" mailing list.
VISIT OUR PINEY WOODS REGION PAGE
OR VISIT OUR TEXAS STATE PAGE
OR VISIT OUR NATIONAL SITE
Copyright ©Genealogy Trails
All data on this website is Copyright by Genealogy Trails with full rights reserved for original submitters.