Wylie is on State Highway 89, or Buffalo Gap Road, five miles southwest of Abilene in north central Taylor County. It bears the name of J. J. Wylie, a pioneer of the area who moved to Texas from Tishomingo, Mississippi, in the mid-nineteenth century and to Taylor County in 1880. Though early residents had farmed in the Wylie area from the time that patents were first issued in 1881, community development did not begin until 1902, when John H. Vance arrived from Austin, purchased land to the southwest of Abilene, and built the first general store, with a residence attached at the back for his family, on the southwest corner of what is now the intersection of Buffalo Gap Road and Antilley Road. The same year residents expressed a need for a school and a church, so Mary V. Wylie, widow of J. J. Wylie, donated land across the road to the north of the Vance store. While early records show that a Wylie school district was designated as early as 1888, none can be found to indicate that a school ever operated until 1902. Three prominent citizens contributed $120 apiece for the purchase of materials, and residents pooled their talents to erect a twenty-by-thirty-foot wooden building for use as both a school and a church. The community remained nameless until 1904, when John Vance installed a post office in his store and named it Sambo, for "Brother Sam," his good friend and neighbor Sam Little. The Sambo post office operated from December 1904 until February 1912, when Abilene began rural postal delivery. By 1915 the Sambo school was inadequate to house the increased student population. When Mrs. Wylie donated two acres across the road to the east she stipulated that the name of the school be changed to Wylie, in honor of her late husband. The land and the stipulation were accepted, and after citizens voted a $3,000 bond issue, a two-story plank building was constructed in 1916 and named Wylie. The Wylie community experienced tremendous growth while most rural communities declined. Between 1950 and 1986 its population more than tripled, and in the 1980s land development caused property valuations to increase more than tenfold. Wylie is a thriving suburb of Abilene.
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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