Cottonwood, on Farm Road 880 eight miles northwest of Cross Plains in southeastern Callahan County, was originally settled by J. W. Love in 1875 or 1876 and named for cottonwood trees growing in the area. Dr. H. O. Broadnax built the first store, and the region's agricultural prospects appealed to farmers who migrated from East Texas. A post office was established in 1882, and for some years Cottonwood was the area's trading center. The population was 350 in 1890, when a weekly newspaper, the Prodigal, edited by C. J. Wilson, was published. The town was remarkable in its early days for violence, including a couple of main-street shootouts with fatal results. Pioneers included Jim Champion, Dan Robinson, John Breeding, and Green and Henry Robinson. Early merchants included Bill Orr, Fred Griffin, Elias Norton, and J. F. Coffey. A fruit and vegetable cannery opened in 1903. Cottonwood faded with the advent of the automobile era and a shift of agricultural emphasis from fruit and vegetable farming to ranching. The population was reduced to 300 by 1915 and 120 in 1940. From 1980 through 2000 the population was sixty-five.

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.

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Cottonwood by the Numbers

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Pop. Year Source
55 2009 Local Officials