Rayburn is on Farm Road 787 seventy miles northwest of Beaumont in northern Liberty County. The town, named for county judge M. D. Rayburn, was established on the recently completed Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe Railway during a time of wholesale expansion by the lumber industry into the forests of the Big Thicket. The first townsite plat, designed by J. H. Ellis and J. T. Taylor, was filed in late 1901. The post office opened the following year. A tram railroad tied the community to the thick forests of northern Liberty and southern San Jacinto counties. Although original plans reserved land for a projected college, Rayburn failed to meet the expectations of its founders. Subsequent townsite additions also failed to generate large-scale immigration to the community, and the 1920s found Rayburn with a population of some twenty-five. During the 1940s the number of residents increased to 100, but the figure had returned to about thirty by the early 1950s. Scattered buildings and residences remain. In 2000 the population was reported as thirty.
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.
Robert Wooster | © Texas State Historical Association
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