|The former city
power plant. Today the city
TE photo, 2002
a Pecan Shell
Early settler John May received a land grant from the Mexican state
of Coahuila and Texas in 1835. There was very little history and no
community per se until after the Civil War when the area became a
gathering point for cattle drives. Longhorn
cattle drives became the one immediate source of cash for the devastated
Trail was the major route for cattle drives to Kansas from 1867
through 1884. Although cattle were herded from as far south as the
Rio Grande, Yoakum is considered the first town on the route. Cheaper
than shipping by rail, by the time barbed
wire stopped the drives in 1885, more than 5 million head of cattle
had been shipped out of Texas. A Post
Office Mural in Ogallala, Nebraska commemorates the town’s role as
the one-time terminus of the Chisholm Trail.)
Yoakum didn’t experience substantial growth until the arrival if the
San Antonio and Aransas Pass Railroad (the SAAP) in 1887. A townsite
was platted and General Manager of the railroad Benjamin F. Yoakum
was honored as the town’s namesake.
The community’s first store was opened that same year and a post office
The railroad maintained a large railroad yard and roundhouse in Yoakum.
By the mid 1890s Yoakum had a population of 3,000 – which was enormous
by 1890 standards. By 1914 it had more than doubled to 7,500.
The tanning industry began in 1919 when a man named Carl Welhausen
took over a small tanning company, and started to seriously produce
saddles and bridles for horses and belts and wallets for humans.
The population in 1940 was given as 4,733. The population is split
between its two counties and in 1984, 3,283 residents lived in Lavaca
County while 2,325 others lived in DeWitt County.
The population of 5,611 in 1990 has grown slightly – to 5,731 for
the 2000 census.
Yoakum remains as a division point for the railroad.
The former city power plant has been restored into the city
From The Sky by Murray Montgomery
One story appeared first in the Yoakum Times and the Halletsville
Herald printed it on July 16, 1903. This fascinating piece was about
a fellow named Benedict Manning who was witness to several strange
occurrences during his lifetime...
& Lavaca County TX
1907 postal map showing Yoakum (near county lines), and the San
Antonio and Aransas Pass Railroad
From Texas state map #2090
Texas General Land Office
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