Texas History, Genealogy, Old Photos, Postcards, Maps, and Information.

Kaufman County History 1940

Kaufman County has an area of 834 square miles, a population of 40,905 (1930) and lies at an altitude of 350 to 500 feet. The rainfall averages about 42 inches annually, and is heaviest in April and May. Of its 533,760 acres land area, 453,010 acres are in farms, and more than half the land in farms is in cultivation.

Kaufman County has the distinction of having the first agricultural demonstration farm in the United States, marking the inception of the agricultural extension work which is now universal. In 1906 Walter C. Porter of Terrell conducted his farming operations under the direction of Dr. Seaman A. Knapp, under a cash guarantee by Terrell business interests that he would take no loss. The farm is still operated by Porter's sons, and is frequently the scene of gatherings to commemorate its part in the new agriculture.

Terrell is the site of a state hospital for the insane (established 1885), with a staff of 365 and an enrollment of some 3,000 patients. Texas Military College (established 1915) ranks high in its field, and has an enrollment of about 125.

At the last census (1930) Terrell had a population of 8,795 and Kaufman of 2,279. They are now estimated at about 9,100 and 2,500, respectively. Other towns are: Forney, 1,216; Mabank, 963; Kemp, 900; Crandall, 600; Elmo, 410 ; Scurry, 400. Ola and Prairieville, away from railroads, are smaller than formerly.

Two paved U. S. Highways, Nos. 80 and 175, cross the county, and they are connected by Stateway 34, also paved from Kaufman via Terrell to the northern border of the county. Graded and otherwise improved roads serve all parts of the county.

In Terrell, Texas is the site of the College Mound Methodist Church ground. "In 1844 A. J. Beck, Henry Beck, Wilson Fogelman, A. H. Henry, W. T. Patton, Ed. King settled in this vicinity; a Methodist Church was organized in 1845 with Rev. J. W. Fields as Pastor, A. H. Henry, Ed. King, Stewards, A. H. Henry, Sunday School Superintendent. In 1865 a frame building replaced the Log Church; in 1897 the present building was constructed. The land for the Church was donated by W. T. Patton."

David S. Kaufman—This brilliant advocate and eloquent orator was congressman for the East Texas district when the county was created and named for him. Born at Boiling Springs, Pennsylvania, in December, 1812, he was twenty-five years of age when he came to Texas in 1837 and located at Nacogdoches. He graduated from Princeton College in 1833, and removed to Natchez, Mississippi, where he studied law and was admitted to the bar. He began the practice of his profession in Natchitoches, Louisiana. One could not live in Natchez or Natchitoches in those days without hearing a great deal about Texas, and young Kaufman followed the trail of hundreds who had preceded him to the glamorous country west of the Sabine. Young, and. without a political history behind him, such as won instant recognition in the new country for many others, Kaufman must have impressed his compatriots by sheer ability, for he was elected to the lower house of the Texas Congress a year after his arrival. He served as speaker of the house, and afterward in the Senate, until annexation. In 1845 he was appointed chargé d'affaires at Washington, and moved from Nacogdoches to Lowe's Ferry on the Sabine in the same year. He had crossed swords with Sam Houston on the Cherokee land bill, presenting the opposition's cause with conspicuous ability, and winning the majority to his stand.

At the first election after statehood, he was chosen to represent the East Texas district, and, twice re-elected, held that position until his death, January 31, 1851. His part in the debates on the Compromise of 1850 won him additional laurels, and his services in the national forum redounded to the great benefit of Texas in securing the substantial recognition of her rights by a cash payment for the territory taken away on the western border.

East Texas : its history and its makers. c1940, by T. C. Richardson.