While our physical offices are closed until further notice in accordance with Austin's COVID-19 "stay home-work safe" order, the Handbook of Texas will remain available at no-cost for you, your fellow history enthusiasts, and all Texas students currently mandated to study from home. If you have the capacity to help us maintain our online Texas history resources during these uncertain times, please consider making a 100% tax-deductible contribution today. Thank you for your support of TSHA and Texas history. Donate Today »


William R. Hunt

COLEMAN, TEXAS. Coleman, the county seat of Coleman County, is at the junction of U.S. highways 84 and 283 and Farm Road 53 in the central part of the county. It had its origin in 1876 when R. J. Clow donated a 160-acre site on Hords Creek for a county seat. J. F. Gordon and R. S. Bowen surveyed the land, and town lots were sold. With its location on the Western Trail, Coleman boomed as a supply and recreation center for trail drivers bound for Dodge City, Kansas. The town was named after the county, which was named for Sam Houston's aide Robert M. Coleman. Soon after the county was organized it had a courthouse in Coleman, built of lumber taken from elms found along Jim Ned Creek. The courthouse also housed bachelor quarters and a general store and was used for religious services and community gatherings. A second general store was moved to Coleman from Echo by a man named King. A cowboy shootout in front of this store led to a fatality and the first use of the town cemetery. In 1879 a private school was established with Anna Miles as teacher, and three years later a public school opened. A printer started the short-lived Coleman Telegram in 1877. In 1881 J. J. Callan published the Coleman Voice, which competed with the Coleman Democrat, published by Will Hubert, from 1897 until the papers merged as the Democrat-Voice in 1906. The population grew from 1,362 in 1904 to over 3,000 in 1912. The town prospered as school lands were sold to ranchers. The Santa Fe Railroad missed the town by five miles, but a spur line was built to it by 1886. After 1900 the economy shifted to cotton raising. The Great Depression years hit county farmers hard, and many left their land to live in town. Coleman subsequently became been a meat-processing and wool center and a thriving manufacturing center producing brick and clay tile, clothing, leather goods, office supplies, and furniture. The population was 6,530 in 1954, 6,371 in 1960, and 5,608 in 1972, when the town had 138 businesses. Annual events include a stock show in January, a rattlesnake hunt and antique show in March, and a rodeo in July. In the city park is a replica of Camp Colorado. The population was 5,410 in 1990, but dropped to 5,127 in 2000.


Leona Bruce, They Came in Peace to Coleman County (Fort Worth: Branch-Smith, 1970). James T. Padgitt, "Early Day Coleman," West Texas Historical Association Year Book 28 (1952). Kathleen E. and Clifton R. St. Clair, eds., Little Towns of Texas (Jacksonville, Texas: Jayroe Graphic Arts, 1982).

Image Use Disclaimer

All copyrighted materials included within the Handbook of Texas Online are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 related to Copyright and “Fair Use” for Non-Profit educational institutions, which permits the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), to utilize copyrighted materials to further scholarship, education, and inform the public. The TSHA makes every effort to conform to the principles of fair use and to comply with copyright law.

For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.


The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, William R. Hunt, "COLEMAN, TX," accessed July 12, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hfc10.

Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Modified on January 8, 2020. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
Texas AlmanacFor more information about towns and counties including physical features, statistics, weather, maps and much more, visit the Town Database on TexasAlmanac.com!
visit the mytsha forums to participate

View these posts and more when you register your free MyTSHA account.

Call for Papers: Texas Center for Working-Class Studies Events, Symposia, and Workshops
Hi all! You may be interested in this call for papers I received from the Texas Center for Working-Class Studies at Collin College...

Katy Jennings' Ride Scholarly Research Request
I'm doing research on Catherine Jennings Lockwood, specifically the incident known as "Katy Jennings' Ride." Her father was Gordon C. Jennings, the oldest man to die at the Alamo...

Texas Constitution of 1836 Co-Author- Elisha Pease? Ask a Historian
The TSHA profile of Elisha Marshall Pease states that he wrote part of the Texas Constitution although he was only a 24 year-old assistant secretary (not elected). I cannot find any other mention of this authorship work by Pease in other credible research about the credited Constution authors...