Dial is on Farm Road 824 twenty-five miles southeast of Bonham in southeastern Fannin County. The settlement was first called Bethel, when in 1837 the one-room Bethel school was established a mile from Fort Lyday. This nearby fort was named for Isaac Lyday, one of the first settlers in the area and the recipient of an original land grant from the Republic of Texas. The Dial Presbyterian Church (originally the Bethel Society) was founded in the mid-1840s and met in the log-cabin building of the Bethel school. The community was later called Lane, after Robert W. Lane, a teacher from Tennessee who founded Lane's Academy, the second school in the area. The Central National Road of the Republic of Texas passed through the settlement. When the post office opened in May 1880, the community was named Dial after another prominent citizen, James Dial. By 1890 the town had an estimated population of seventy-five. From 1903 to 1905 Sam Rayburn, the future speaker of the United States House of Representatives, taught in the Dial public school system. The community's post office closed in 1905. From 1900 through 1990 Dial's reported population never exceeded 100. In the 1930s it fell to twenty-nine but from the mid-1970s through 2000 was reported at seventy-six.
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