Cartwright is on Farm Road 1643 seven miles northeast of Quitman in north central Wood County. The Cartwright area, which probably had settlers as early as 1851, was first called the Barrens because of its isolation and the danger from wolves. Around 1874 a log school was constructed at the community. Cartwright was probably named for Matthew Cartwright, whose family in 1882 donated land for a school. By 1894 Cartwright had its first store and a post office. Around that time a Baptist church was organized. In 1895 the Cartwright school burned and was replaced with a two-room building; the next year the community's public school reported ninety-two White students. That same year Cartwright had at least eight businesses, including two carpenters, two music teachers, a barber, and a gin and mill. In 1905 the community's three-teacher school served 149 students. In 1907 the post office closed. In the 1930s Cartwright had a population of 100, two schools, a seasonal industry, and a number of dwellings. By 1945 the population had fallen to seventy-five, where it remained until the mid-1960s. Sometime after 1960 Cartwright lost its school. The population fell to sixty-one in 1968 and was still reported at that level through 2000. In 1988 highway maps showed two businesses, a church, and a community hall.
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