Colfax is eight miles southeast of Canton on Farm Road 16, at the headsprings of the Neches River in southeast Van Zandt County. The original community center was a log house used for religious services known as Cold Water. The name was changed to Tunnell's Chapel when Elisha Tunnell put up a church that also served as a school in the late 1870s. A local post office established after 1870 was maintained in private homes. The name Colfax, probably first used for the post office in the early 1880s, honored Schuyler Colfax, United States vice president from Indiana. Colfax was still a church community when the Methodist and Cumberland Presbyterian churches established a brush arbor on a nearby tract of land in 1885 and erected a tabernacle and bungalows for church services and camp meetings. Postal service was discontinued in 1905, and mail was delivered from Canton. A population recorded at thirty between 1885 and 1895 grew to 100 by 1933. At the community's zenith local residents raised fruits and vegetables, and Colfax had a brick schoolhouse, three churches, a cemetery, several businesses, and numerous residences. School enrollment reached 122 in 1906, and the Grange and Masonic lodge, revivals, and Sunday school met in the new school building. When the Van oilfield opened in 1929 and Van residents set up a school system, the new district absorbed Colfax, and the town's schoolhouse was torn down. The population of Colfax fell to twenty-eight by 1968 and was last recorded at thirty-five in 1974. The population remained the same in 2000.
Adapted from the official Handbook of Texas, a state encyclopedia developed by the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA). It is an authoritative source of trusted historical records.
Diana J. Kleiner | © Texas State Historical Association
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Colfax is classified as a Town
- (Cold Water)
- (Tunnell's Camp)
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