Craft History 1934. The first station established on the Kansas and Gulf Short Line Railroad south of Jacksonville in the early ’80s [1880s] was originally called Independence, the name the early settlers in the section had given their community. Thomas Craft opened the first store and, in his honor, the name was soon changed. Among other pioneers were the Thompsons, Taylors, Rosses, Rudes, Felps, Dicks, Meadors, Caseys, Jarratts, Goodsons, Aults, and Walkers. C. A. Walker cleared the first farm in the community. Craft merchants included P. H. Morton, Will Lunsford, C. Haws, and W. S. Ault. The Ault store, occupying the old frame schoolhouse, now has the business field to itself. The Baptist Church and a modern brick school building complete the “town.”
In 1889 the alleged discovery of gold by two transients claiming to be old miners created wild excitement among Craft citizens. One farmer is said to have refused five hundred dollars an acre for his land before geologists punctured the bubble. The miners slipped away.
The next decade, however, brought real gold in the form of fruit. In 1897 the first car of tomatoes ever shipped from Texas went from Craft. For the next few years it was the state’s chief tomato center. – A History of Cherokee County, 1934 by Hattie Joplin Roach