Tatum, Texas

This friendly little city is 21 miles northeast of Henderson on Hwy 79 at the Panola County line. It was settled in the 1840s by Albert and Mary Tatum. Their plantation was one of the largest at the time and their home was considered to be the grandest. When the railway made its way through Tatum in 1885, the town was divided into lots and a postoffice established. Much of the town was destroyed in 1904 by a tornado and a fire in 1905 almost completed the destruction. A local Historical Marker commemorates "Trammel's Trace".
Trammel Trace Tribune
April 7, 2005

Reprinted from TATUM ... A Place Called Home
By Cecil Williams, used with permission


Tatum became a booming town soon after the railroad was built in the late 1800's and by the early 1900's it had several businesses and professional people.  An article published in The Times-Clarion newspaper in Longview on September 12, 1907, boasted of the town's assets:

Facts about Tatum:"Our enterprising little town of 300 inhabitants has never been held up to the wide-awake "outside world", so perhaps a few do's will prove of interest to home seekers who are searching for some location suitable for those of limited means.  We invite them to come and see before going elsewhere, and we know they'll be convinced THIS is the place.  Land can be purchased on reasonable terms and at figures to suit all.We have an abundance of never-failing pure water, and an unlimited supply of woods of all kinds, adapted to all purposes, especially good fuel.

Tatum is situated on the Santa Fe railroad at about an equal distance from four county seats, I.E. Marshall in Harrison County, Longview in Gregg County, Henderson in Rusk County and Carthage in Panola County.  They are fine markets for the surplus products that Tatum cannot consume.  This is a fine country for truck farming, stock and poultry raising.  We have two cotton yards and the highest market price is paid for Cotton and all country produce.

There are numerous sawmills near Tatum and a sawmill and planer right in town, owned by J.R. Parish & Son.  They are kept running at full capacity daily to supply the demand for buildings here.  We have two cotton gins and a grist mill to provide for our comfort in the winder and furnish us the "staff of life", so we won't suffer the pangs of hunger.  There is the "song of the anvil" as the brawny smith fashions the shapeless iron into something useful to all.

We have a State National Bank organized, and the brick building in which will be its home is nearing completion.  Then the good people will have a safe place in which to keep their surplus cash.

Our enterprising citizens have now a move on foot to have a city park situated in the suburbs of the town where there are many places suitable for that purpose, nature having furnished beautiful evergreens and "monarchs of the forest"."The Oaks" would not necessitate very much labor or expense to soon have an ideal park in which young and old could while away the time pleasantly when tired of the daily toil.  Go ahead, Messrs. Menefee and Beason and carry the plan out.  We know all the wide-awake citizens will cooperate with you, as it will be a find advertisement to our town.

Our educational facilities are as fine as is in the state.  Professor Beason and his excellent wife are adept in training our children in paths of knowledge and wisdom. There is always a large attendance and numerous pupils from adjacent towns and the country.  We have two up-to-date drug stores, at which we have the prescriptions filled that are given us by any of our three good physicians warranted to kill or cure.  We have the W.O.W. (Woodmen of the World) and Circle, the K & L of the H. Maccabees and the Masonic Order to care for our loved ones should we not recover from the effects of the above drugs.

Our principle welfare is looked after by the Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian and the Christian churches.  We have a barber shop with up-to-date equipment for the pleasure and beautifying of our sterner sex; a first class millinery parlor for the weaker sex.  We are soon to have a café and short order house, the building for that purpose is now nearing completion, being erected by that enterprising merchant, J.A. Waldron.

Our legal affairs are scrupulously looked after by the Hon. W. K. Menefee and R. P. West.

We have two undertaker's establishments to prepare our dear ones for their last resting place after they have crossed the River of Death.

We have Mssrs. W.S. McNaughton, Menefee Bros., J.A. Waldron & Co., Welsh, Steve Jones, Gladney & Crow and Holzclaw & Co. as general merchants, a hotel at which transients and drummers can find accommodations and we have a first class livery stable where up-to-date rigs are held in readiness for those who wish to drive over well-kept roads through the most beautiful and fertile farming country in the Southland.

We invite everyone to come and see for themselves the truth of our assertion that this is a fine locality for manufactories of all kinds.

We must not fail to mention the old ex-slave, familiarly known as "Old Hum", ever will and ready to do chores "for de white fokes."

Now, Mr. Editor, if we survive the effort we have made in writing this eulogy of our little town, the growing metropolis of East Texas, we will, in the near future, furnish some personal and social items for your readers.

Oh, yes!  We forgot to state in the proper space the excellent hunting and sighing territory around us.  We are quite near several lakes, the Bayou and Sabine River, all of which abound in fine fish.  The forests surrounding them are filled with small game.

While our town is "dry", there is a "Klondyke" across the river just a few miles from Tatum, where "Snake Medicine" can be procured to use in case of accidents, as "Klondyke" is located in a "wet" county.

Cemeteries located nearby
Friendship Memorial Gardens
Grant Cemetery
Tatum Cemetery
Vinson Cemetery
Zion Hill Cemetery