Java was just south of the confluence of Tails Creek and One Arm Creek, eleven miles west of Rusk in central Cherokee County. The area was first settled in the late 1840s and early 1850s by settlers from Alabama and Tennessee, but a community did not grow up until the 1890s, when prison crews from the Texas State Penitentiary in Rusk (see RUSK PENITENTIARY) came to mine coal to fuel the state-owned iron furnace. A small trading post consisting of a general store and sawmill grew up at the site, and a post office was opened there in 1895. The settlement is said to have been named for a petticoat lost at a dance; the garment had been made from an old coffee sack and still bore the name Java. In 1906, after the Texas State Railroad was constructed from Rusk to Palestine, the Java post office was closed. Within a short time most of the merchants and residents had moved to the newly founded town of Maydelle, on the railroad. By 1910 Java was a ghost town. In the early 1990s only a few scattered dwellings remained in the area.
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