Gilliland is on Farm Road 1756 some seventy miles southwest of Wichita Falls in north central Knox County. The first settlers, who began arriving in 1871, called the community Coyote. Over the years the area gained more settlers, including several Norwegian families from Bosque County, who arrived in 1890. The Gilliland school district was established on May 1, 1892, and school began in 1895 with Miss Oma Acker as the first teacher. When a post office was established in 1907, it was named Gilliland, after district judge W. A. Gilliland. Over the years several schools were consolidated with the Gilliland district, but in 1948 its high school was transferred to Munday, leaving Gilliland with only a grade school. In 1910 Luther Burgess, Jake Cure, and W. A. Cure built a cotton gin just outside of Gilliland. The gin was modernized in 1936 and proved to be highly productive. Leading settlers included O. M. Olson, who operated a post office in his home in 1907; F. B. McGuire, owner of McGuire's General Store; and longtime postmaster J. S. Cook, owner of three businesses between 1926 and 1934. Gilliland had an estimated population of fifty in 1925. By 1947 it reported 120 residents and four businesses. In 1971 it had three businesses, and from 1971 to 1990 its population was reported as 103. By 2000 the population had dropped to twenty-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.
Edloe A. Jenkins | © Texas State Historical Association
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