Tilden, Texas

Tilden, Texas

Photo of the McMullen Courthouse in Tilden, the seat of McMullen County, Texas Photograph by Larry D. Moore.

Tilden, the county seat of McMullen County, is at the intersection of State highways 16 and 72 in the north central part of the county. The town was probably named for Samuel J. (Whispering Sammy) Tilden, the unsuccessful Democratic presidential candidate in the election of 1876. It was one of the first two settlements in McMullen County when it was founded in 1858 at the mouth of Leoncita Creek on the Frio River. The settlement was called Rio Frio and had eight to ten crude dwellings that housed about thirty people by the fall of that year. Soon afterward the townspeople built a road connecting their settlement to the old San Antonio-Laredo road, which lay to the west. In the early 1860s the town grew slowly. In 1862 Levi J. Edwards built its first general store, and shortly after he added a saloon. About that time, too, the town built its first school. The settlement acted as a home-guard post for the Twenty-ninth Brigade of the Texas Confederate Militia during the Civil War. During the early 1860s Rio Frio became known as Dog Town. One explanation of this name holds that drunken cowboys on a shooting spree left about fifteen dead dogs on the street.

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.

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Tilden is part of or belongs to the following places.

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The Texas Almanac's Land Rush program lets you adopt the town or county of your choice and share your message with the world. 100% of the proceeds benefit education in Texas.

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Adoption Status: ⭐
This place has been adopted and will not be available until August 5, 2023
Adopted by:
Anne Evelyn Swenson
Dedication Message:
In memory of my mom, Francis Evelyn Wheeler Swenson, and my amazing maternal grandparents, Nora and James Clifton Wheeler. I learned a lot from them and my other Wheeler relatives about the importance of family, community and water. Rainfall (or the lack thereof) was a subject in every conversation.

Currently Exists


Place type

Tilden is classified as a Town

Associated Names

  • (Colfax)
  • (Dog Town)
  • (Rio Frio)


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Tilden by the Numbers

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Population Counts

Pop. Year Source
288 2019 Texas Demographic Center
261 2010 Texas Demographic Center
450 2000 Texas Demographic Center
500 1990 Texas Demographic Center
500 1980 Texas Demographic Center
416 1970 Texas Demographic Center
380 1960 Texas Demographic Center
380 1950 Texas Demographic Center
500 1940 Texas Demographic Center
250 1920 Texas Demographic Center
506 1900 Texas Demographic Center
506 1890 Texas Demographic Center