Monday, May 9, 2011


above:  downtown Itasca, Texas
below:  Itasca Cemetery

Itasca is a small railroad town in Hill County, Texas that was settled in the 1880's.  Its growth was fueled by the surrounding fertile soil which was perfect for growing cotton, and cotton was the main attraction for the many families of Itawamba County who left Mississippi for Texas and the promise of new prosperity.   It is really amazing the number of my ancestral families who were part of that migration to Hill County, and neighboring Johnson County - Robinson, Evans, Young,  Bishop, Emerson and others. 

When the cotton mill closed in 1962 after sixty years of operation, the town of Itasca began its decline, and today has a population of around 1,500 people.    

Itasca Cemetery, located across the railroad tracks, has over 4,000 graves, and its markers contain names of former citizens of Itawamba County, as well as Marion and Lamar counties of Alabama.  Many thanks and much appreciation to my husband for his patience while I explored this cemetery searching for familiar names.
Cindy Lou's Homecookin' Cafe is well worth the ten mile drive from Interstate 35, and while in Itasca you can drop by to say howdy and lay some flowers on the graves of some Itawamba connections in the cemetery.   Be sure to take a lot of flowers though!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Mona, do you have any idea when your ancestors left MS for TX? Next question - how did they travel? by horse/wagon, train, or I've heard that some went to New Orleans and went by boat to Galveston and then up to Itasca either on a train or after buying a wagon and horsees.

It was an innocent discussion between my mother and our two older boys as we returned from a visit with a cousin's family stationed at Ft. Hood in 1959 - quite a while before I-35 was completed! and we were driving up US 81 when I overheared mother telling the boys, "I lived in this town when I was a young girl." I can put a tenative time frame after I got copies of when her father bought the Cody farm down on Friendship Rd. in sw Marion County. He first bought it in Aug. 1904 (mother was born in Dec. 1901)and I believe the property was either sold in 1905/6 or deeded as a promise to pay for a loan he got to make the trip to Itasca, TX. I found that he got the second papers on this property in about 1908. By the time I thought about asking any of mothers siblings about this journey to Texas, most were dead and were too young to know if it were so or not! This Marion County farm is where the "Cody/Gilliland/Wright logcabin that can be found on the old Amory Hospital grounds was located ca 1964 and restored by Judge Fred Wright and his wife Brynda.

Granddaddy Dyer was "a jack of all trades" in his younger years - blacksmithing, owned a lumber/planning mill, cotton gin, farmed and maybe other ventures that I haven't knowledge of.

Mother told Mikey & Rob that her daddy played "semi-pro" baseball during their stay in Itasca and rode the Interurban train in to Dallas to play on Sundays. I have spoken at length with a man known as Historian of Hill County about the ball team. He checked and they did have a ball team although it wasn't semi-pro! (maybe it was a form of gambling by waging on the team), but the Interurban didn't start until ca 1910/12. The deeds signed by Arthur Dyer were dated long before that time.

Anyone else out there have any information about Itasca, Hill Co., TX, let us hear from you. bettye