a Pecan Shell
The community is
thought to be founded sometime around 1877 with the arrival of the
East Line and Red River Railroad. A post office opened that year and
was named Lassater Station after Joe Lassater, an early resident.
The word “station” was dropped in 1881.
The mid 1880s showed a population of around 75 – most of them cotton
farmers or working at one of the two gins in town.
The 1890 population had increased to 125 residents and the town could
boast a hotel as well a church and school.
The town underwent a change of name in 1902 when they decided to honor
Dr. W. J. Pyland, local druggist. By 1909 it had reverted back to
By 1904 Lassater’s population had declined to 103, and by 1925 it
was down to just 98. In 1933 – the worst year of the Great Depression
– it was a mere 50 people.
Today the community has two churches and the Pyland Cemetery – just
north of town. The 1960 census reported 60 residents – not far from
the 48 reported in 2000.
The Story of Lassater
An interview with longtime resident Virgil Webster
Webster, long time resident and store building owner
Photo courtesy Gerald
notes from an interview with longtime resident Virgil Webster
"A railroad still runs through Lassater. It’s the L & A Railroad
but, it’s o ne of the many smaller lines that make up the better-known
Kansas City Southern Railroad.
There is a “pass” there, as well as a siding, and a small “team track”
there. Many high-speed freights run through here daily hauling freight
to and from the Dallas-Ft.
Worth Metroplex. They also haul much coal to the AEP Swepco Electric
Power Plant located a short distance away at Cason, Texas. That coal
comes from the rich coal country of the Powder River Basin in Eastern
During my visit to Lassater in June of 2010, I was fortunate to talk
with life-long resident Virgil Webster. Mr. Webster has become the
local historian for Lassater since he’s been a part of the community
for 75 years.
Mr. Webster stated that about the only existing building of old Lassater
besides the rock church is the red wooden building that was originally
a store. He remembers working there after school and on Saturdays
for .15 a day. He now owns the building.
He once attended a school built of native stone, much like the church.
It offered classes through the sixth grade. According to Mr. Webster,
the community also had a Methodist Church (across the railroad tracks)
and another store.
Across the existing highway near site of the former school was a doctor’s
office and the Law Office of Judge McCalthin. There was another store
down highway 49 near Patilo Road. At one time tiny Lassater had as
many as five stores." - Gerald
Massey, June 17, 2010
store, one of the two oldest building in Lassater
Photo courtesy Gerald
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