Chatfield is eleven miles northeast of Corsicana in northeastern Navarro County. It is named for Champion Chatfield, a pioneer who in 1838 established a trading post in an oak grove six miles west of Porter's Bluff; this was the future townsite of Chatfield. The trading post was on the San Antonio and Shreveport Trail and drew settlers to the area before the Civil War. Robert Hodge arrived in the area in 1849 and was reported to own more than 1,280 acres and 100 slaves. Chatfield was a center for the cause of secession by the mid-1850s, when the community had a private school, a horse-powered gin, cotton and wool mills, a flour mill, a machine shop, a cemetery, and several churches—Disciples of Christ, Methodist, and Baptist. The community shipped cotton and grain. A Chatfield post office was established in 1867. The community's population reached 250 in 1885, and in 1887 its private school was replaced by a public school. The Elizabeth Institute, a preparatory and boarding school, was established there in 1896. By 1906 Chatfield had two public schools—one with two teachers and 105 White students and one with one teacher and 101 Black students. Chatfield reached its peak in the 1890s, when it had a population of 500 and a daily stage to Rice, six miles away. In 1939 the community had a population of 300 and seven businesses, but its population subsequently declined. The local public school closed in 1951. Chatfield's population fell from 100 in 1954 to forty in 1990, when the community had a post office, a store, a volunteer fire department, a water supply company, the Methodist church, and two cemeteries. The population remained the same in 2000.
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Chatfield by the Numbers
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