Waxahachie, the county seat of Ellis County, is on Interstate Highway 35E and U.S. Highway 287, thirty miles south of Dallas in the central part of the county. The name comes from an Indian word meaning "cow" or "buffalo" and is also the name of a local creek. Waxahachie was established as the seat of the new county in August 1850 on land donated by Emory W. Rogers, a pioneer settler. Rogers, J. D. Templeton, W. H. Getzendaner, B. F. Hawkins, and J. H. Spalding were among the first settlers in the community, which began with just over 100 residents and grew rapidly from the start. In 1850 the first county courthouse was built, and a general store and the post office opened. Other businesses and residences soon followed. Local residents had organized a Methodist church in the spring of 1849 at Rogers's home. The first church building was constructed in 1851 on land owned by Rogers. Before the Civil War four churches-Methodist, Baptist, Cumberland Presbyterian, and "Old School" Presbyterian-existed in Waxahachie. The community's first school of any consequence, the Waxahachie Academy, was established in 1860 and operated for thirty-seven years. A system of free public schools soon developed. The community's first bank, owned by J. W. Ferris and W. H. Getzendaner, began operation on July 1, 1868. The first newspaper, the Waxahachie Argus, began publication in 1870. The town has continued to support at least one newspaper since that time. Waxahachie was incorporated on April 28, 1871, and adopted a mayor-alderman form of government. Four years later the state legislature granted a corporate charter to the investors in the Waxahachie Tap Railroad to construct and operate a rail line to Garrett, twelve miles east. Ground was broken for the line on June 14, 1875; construction was completed, and the line was in operation in September 1879. Within one year of its completion the road transported over 5,000 bales of cotton from Waxahachie and carried over 140 carloads of lumber into the community. The arrival of additional rail lines during succeeding decades combined with the county's growing agricultural production to accelerate prosperity and rapid growth. The Civil War and Reconstruction seemed to have little effect on the development of Waxahachie.
Waxahachie at a Glance
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Waxahachie by the Numbers
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|41,140||2020||United States Census Bureau|
|38,643||2019||Texas Demographic Center|
|29,621||2010||United States Census Bureau|
|21,426||2000||United States Census Bureau|
|17,984||1990||United States Census Bureau|
|14,624||1980||United States Census Bureau|
|13,452||1970||United States Census Bureau|
|12,749||1960||United States Census Bureau|
|11,204||1950||United States Census Bureau|
|8,655||1940||United States Census Bureau|
|8,042||1930||United States Census Bureau|
|7,958||1920||United States Census Bureau|
|6,205||1910||United States Census Bureau|
|4,215||1900||United States Census Bureau|
|3,076||1890||United States Census Bureau|
|1,354||1880||United States Census Bureau|