Rhome is on U.S. Highway 287/81 twelve miles southeast of Decatur in southeastern Wise County. A community known as Prairie Point, located at the crossroads of two stagecoach lines near the site of present Rhome, was established in the late 1850s by a group of Missourians. One of these new settlers, Samuel Sheets, owned land near the crossroads and in 1858 began to lay out and sell town lots. In the same year a post office opened, and by the early 1860s Prairie Point, with a hotel, a school, and several businesses, was the second largest settlement in Wise County. During the Civil War, however, the area, defended only by a brigade of old men and boys, was left vulnerable to attacks by Indians and bandits. Also, several prominent citizens and former citizens of Prairie Point, among them the community's former physician, Dr. Alfred McCarty, were involved in the Peace Party Conspiracy of 1862 (see GREAT HANGING AT GAINESVILLE). After several midnight arrests and a trial in Decatur, five residents were hanged. By 1863 Prairie Point was virtually deserted. By 1882 the Fort Worth and Denver City Railway had laid tracks nearby, and by 1883 the new settlement was named Rhome, in honor of Col. Byron Crandall Rhome, a prominent local rancher who was credited with bringing the first Hereford cattle to Wise County. The Rhome post office was established in 1883, and by the early 1890s the town had 175 residents, a school, a church, and two flour mills. One of these mills was the first roller mill built in the county, and possibly the first in Texas. In operation by 1898, this more technologically sophisticated mill used rollers instead of stone burrs to grind wheat into flour. During the 1930s the mill, then owned by L. W. Renshaw, was paid $5,000 by General Mills for the rights to a flour brand name that Renshaw had been using for years-Gold Medal. In 1939 Highway 81 was built through Rhome, and by 1942 the town was incorporated. Between 1925 and 1980 its population level fluctuated between 400 and 600. By 1988 Rhome, by then a residential community for commuters to Fort Worth, had 634 residents served by fifteen businesses. In 1990 its population was 605. The population dropped to 551 in 2000.
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