Tatum, twenty-one miles northeast of Henderson on the Rusk-Panola county line, was settled in the 1840s by Albert and Mary C. Tatum, for whom it was named. In 1848 the Tatums built a plantation in the area; it was so large that the boundaries were said to be "out of gunshot sound of the mansion." The plantation house was very grand, with a long hall for dances, where over the years thousands of guests wrote their names on one wall. When the Santa Fe line built through the region in 1885, a townsite was divided into lots. Paul (Uncle Fox) Tatum laid out the streets, and, when a post office was established in 1886, became postmaster. In 1896 or 1897 the Old Miller School was opened six miles northwest of Tatum. A bank was established in 1903. In 1904, when a population of 154 was reported there, part of the town was destroyed by a tornado, and in 1905 a fire razed nearly all of its north side. By 1925, however, the population had risen to 428. The eleven-grade Tatum school was the most modern in the area by 1929, and that year it was consolidated with the school of nearby Stewart. In 1954 Tatum reported 599 residents. A marker was placed near Tatum in 1976 to commemorate Trammel's Trace, an early trade route, part of which forms the boundary between Rusk and Panola counties. By 1984 Tatum had a population of 1,339, and by 1988, 1,531, with sixteen businesses. Tatum has been a farming, dairying, and lumbering center for most of its history. In 1990 it had an estimated 1,289 residents. The population reached 1,175 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.
Megan Biesele | © Texas State Historical Association
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Tatum by the Numbers
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|1,342||2020||United States Census Bureau|
|1,455||2019||Texas Demographic Center|
|1,385||2010||United States Census Bureau|
|1,175||2000||United States Census Bureau|
|1,289||1990||United States Census Bureau|