Goree is at the junction of U.S. Highway 277 and Farm Road 266, eighty-four miles north of Abilene in the southeastern corner of Knox County. Settlers began moving to the area about 1886, and by 1887 a settlement was centered around a store and post office built by Bill Benedict. The post office was originally named Riley Springs, then Goree, after Robert D. Goree, a Confederate veteran and Knox County pioneer. J. W. McLendon purchased Benedict's store in 1890 and moved it with its post office to a new site. A school was built near the relocated store in 1901. The site was known as North Goree until 1904, when Graves Cayce established a post office and the name of the community was changed to Hefner. In 1905 it was found that a railroad would be built through the present site of Goree. Plans were made to establish a town, and the citizens began raising funds to attract the Wichita Valley Railroad. The track was completed in 1906, the same year Goree was incorporated. That year the Goree school was moved to the new townsite and renamed Chigger Hill School. Also in 1906 J. L. Norris and Red Price built their gin at Goree. The gin burned in 1917 but was rebuilt and operated by Orb Coffman and his father from 1922 to 1964, when it was purchased by Producers Co-op of Goree. Another citizen, Floyd W. Burgess, built a gin in 1920. He also established a mercantile. Goree had a population of 614 in 1920 and only 425 in 1940, when it had thirty-five businesses. Although by 1950 the town had lost ten businesses, the United States census listed 640 people. Afterward, Goree declined in both businesses and population. The town, which is centered in a productive farming area raising chiefly cotton, maize, and wheat, had six businesses and a population of 524 in 1980 and 412 in 1990. The population dropped to 321 in 2000.
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.
Edloe A. Jenkins | © Texas State Historical Association
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