Decatur, County Seat of Wise"
- gambling epithet
Wise County Seat,
Highways 287 and 380
27 miles SE of Bowie
27 miles W of Denton
40 miles NW of Fort
Population: 6,162 (2010) 5,201 (2000) 4,245 (1990)
in a Pecan Shell
Wise County was established in 1856 and named after Virginian Henry
A. Wise who supported Texas annexation.
The town was originally called Taylorsville after The Mexican
War Hero Gen. Zachary Taylor, but was changed in 1858 to honor Stephen
Decatur, Revolutionary War naval hero. The town was platted by early
settler Absalom Bishop who became a member of the Texas Legislature.
A post office was opened in 1857 and the first school was opened that
same year. Decatur was a stop on the Butterfield Overland Mail.
During the Civil War, 5 members of the Unionist Peace party were tried
and executed in Decatur in 1862.
The last Indian raids occurred around 1874 and by 1882 the Fort Worth
and Denver Railway laid tracks to town. The population tripled from
579 in 1880 to 1,746 in 1890.
Decatur's population high-water mark was in 1928 when 3,200 lived
there, but commuters from Fort
Worth have recently boosted the growth to where it now stands
at over 6,000.
Masonic Building and Water Tower
On the northwest corner of the square. This is one of two water towers
that're set behind the Masonic Building. - SF
courtesy Sam Fenstermacher, 2004
up in Decatur in the 1930s
Excerpts from "I
Was a Teen in the 1930s and Some More Stuff" by Harold
Nobody in the world, dead or alive, knew how long Miss Bell taught
the fourth grade in and around Decatur, Texas...
"You never know when somebody says something, or does
something, that it may have a big effect on you the rest of your
"She's very daring. They put her wire up to the very
tiptop of the tent thirty-five feet above the ground, and she does
exciting maneuvers without using a net."
Date with Mary
Mary was the cause of the most exciting week of my young life.
Books on Decatur, Texas
Two excellent books
of stories of growing up in Wise
County during the first half of the 20th century are:
Was A Teen in the 1930s by Harold Bell, 2002 - book review
Everything I Ever Needed to Know I Learned by Listening to Old Men
On My Paper Route in Decatur, Texas
What They Didn't Tell Me Was Supplemented By Selling Magazine Subscriptions
Around the Southern United States During the Great Depression.
B. Frantz on Small Towns
From the Foreword to Eighter from Decaur: Growing Up in North Texas
by Jim Tom Barton, Texas A&M University Press, 1980
- off US Highway 380 west of Decatur. On the West Fork Trinity
River in Jack and Wise counties.
Chamber of Commerce - (940) 627-3107
P.O. Box 474, 1200-C S. FM 51, Decatur, Texas 76234
of Decatur - http://www.decaturtx.org/
Hotel Here > Decatur
in its purpose to preserve historic, endangered and vanishing Texas,
asks that anyone wishing to share their local history and vintage/historic
photos, please contact