Alba, also known as Simpkins Prairie and Albia, is at the intersection of U.S. Highway 69 and Farm Road 17, south of Lake Fork Reservoir and ten miles west of Quitman on the western border of Wood County. Probably the first to settle in the area was gunsmith Joseph Simpkins, who arrived with his family from Missouri around 1843. Next came W. W. Dale, who settled on Dale's (now Dale) Creek near the site of Alba. In 1881 the Missouri, Kansas and Texas Railroad came through Alba. One of the earliest shipments to the community was a telegraph office, and among the first telegraphs received was one telling of the assassination of President James Garfield (d. September 19, 1881). Late in 1881 Alba received a post office, which closed briefly early in 1882, then reopened later that year. For a time the railroad station and school may have been known as Albia. According to one story the town got its name because it was intended for White settlers only; another says it was named for the son of a railroad official. By 1882 the townsite had been laid out and several stores were opened to serve the influx of railroad-tie cutters. By 1884 the population of fifty was served by a church and a school. The population reached 300 by 1896, when the community had at least fifteen businesses, as well as Methodist, Baptist, and Christian churches and a school with 134 students.
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.
Rachel Jenkins | © Texas State Historical Association
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