Slidell is on Hickory Creek twenty miles from Decatur in northeastern Wise County. The surrounding terrain, a treeless plain, is part of the Grand Prairie region of North Texas and is drained by the Elm Fork of the Trinity River. Although the land was surveyed and sold in 1854, Slidell was not established until thirty years later. Early settlers witnessed the depredations of horse thieves, warring bands of Comanche Indians, and outlaws such as Sam Bass, who frequently hid out two miles northwest of Slidell at Cove Hollow. Between 1867 and 1887 thousands of cattle moved slowly through the region following the Chisholm Trail northward to markets in Kansas. During the same period various small communities used the site of present Slidell, then called Hackberry Grove, as a meeting place for picnics and revivals. In 1884 a post office and several businesses operating within the area were moved to lots on Hickory Creek donated by local landowners. Since most of the original settlers were southerners they named their new community in honor of John Slidell, a Confederate diplomat. The town served as a supply and service center for neighboring farmers and ranchers; its population never exceeded 275 inhabitants. By the early twentieth century Slidell had a cotton gin, a local telephone exchange, and a weekly newspaper, the Courier. The Slidell school district expanded over the years to include rural communities in three counties. After 1911, when a fire destroyed two businesses, and the coming of the automobile, the town declined as a trading center. By 1944 even the barber had left. In 1985 the post office and 175 inhabitants remained. The population was reported as 175 in 1990 and 2000.
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