Craft, formerly known as Independence, is on U.S. Highway 69 two miles south of Jacksonville in northern Cherokee County. The community was called Craft after a local post office was established in 1891 and named Craft for Thomas J. Craft, its first postmaster. The first railroad built through the area was Rusk Transportation, which in 1875 connected Rusk, southeast of Craft, with Jacksonville to the north. This line became the Kansas and Gulf Short Line in 1881 and was acquired by the St. Louis, Arkansas and Texas in 1887 and subsequently by the St. Louis Southwestern of Texas in 1891. The first carload of tomatoes ever shipped from Texas rolled out of Craft on June 14, 1897. Tomatoes and the railroad brought prosperity to the community for several decades. The local population, estimated at ten in 1896, was fifty by 1925. In its prime Craft had the post office, a depot, a church, a three-teacher school, two general stores, and two tomato-packing sheds. In 1929, however, its post office was discontinued. Increasing urbanization and the decline of agriculture in the area reduced Craft's population, which was estimated at twenty-one from 1972 through 2000. In the mid-1980s the community consisted of a church, a store, and a scattering of houses. A Texas Historical Commission marker was erected at the old townsite on U.S. 69 in 1985.

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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Independence is classified as a Town

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  • (Craft)

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