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Lisa C. Maxwell

ARGYLE, TEXAS. Argyle is on U.S. Highway 377 and the Missouri Pacific Railroad six miles southwest of Denton in southwestern Denton County. Between 1850 and 1867 fourteen families settled in the area under the auspices of the Peters colony, and in the 1850s twenty-nine families settled on vacant or unclaimed land in the area. At that time the place was known as Pilot Knob or Waintown. Early settlers raised cattle on the open ranges nearby. The first post office in the area was near Pilot Knob, where Emily Wilson was appointed postmistress in 1878. She had the post office in her log cabin, two miles east of the site of future Argyle, where a stagecoach delivered the mail. The first school in the area was in Graham, one-half mile to the north, in 1875. In 1876, the Graham Baptist Church, the first formal church in the area, was organized in the school. Previously, a ten-day revival had been held every fall at John Wells Campground, two miles west of Argyle.

The Texas and Pacific built its track through the area in 1881. Argyle was founded on November 7, 1881, when James Morrill was given the authority to build and maintain a depot, switches, and side tracks there. The community was named Argyle by a railroad surveyor, after a garden in France. In 1881 the post office was moved from Pilot Knob to Argyle. Mail was delivered by the railroad four times daily. By the late 1880s Argyle had two rural mail routes, each thirty miles long, which took a full day to ride. New cash crops, such as wheat and oats, were grown to ship on the railroad, and hogs and sheep were raised. In 1888 the Argyle State Bank was established. By 1890 Argyle had a population of 148 and several businesses, including two steam gristmills, a cotton gin, two general stores, a hotel, and a hardware store. In 1895 a fire started in a dry goods store and destroyed the entire business section, but it was rebuilt by the early twentieth century.

Denton County was divided into seventy-three school districts in 1884, and Argyle received its own district. It had nine grades; any student wishing more education had to attend school in Denton. In 1885 Argyle built a two-story brick school, and by 1891 the Argyle district was the fifth largest in the county, with 107 students. The town reached a population of 238 and five businesses in 1930. By the mid-1930s Argyle had electric service, and telephones were available from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday through a switchboard operator. The cotton gin burned in 1930 and was never rebuilt, and area farmers started growing peanuts instead of cotton.

After the population peaked in the 1930s, the community began to decline. It reached a low of ninety in 1950. Local soils were depleted. As opportunities to work in Dallas-Fort Worth industries and war factories increased during World War II, young farmers moved from the country to the city. By the 1960s the population rose slightly, to 125. Argyle voted to incorporate on September 19, 1960, and did so in 1962. M. H. Wilson was elected the first mayor. The next year the Argyle Volunteer Fire Department was founded. Argyle's newspaper, the Quad Town News, was published that decade. In the 1970s more businesses were located in Argyle, including two grocery stores, several service stations and garages, beauty shops, a leather and shoe-repair shop, and a cafe and bakery. The railroad depot was moved in the 1970s, when the old section house was being used for Sunday school classes, but the railroad was still shipping agricultural products and manufactured goods. In the next two decades Argyle grew considerably as big-city residents moved to a country atmosphere. In 1990 it had a population of 1,575, which grew to 2,365 in 2000. That year Argyle's one manufacturing establishment made wooden cabinets.

Yvonne Allen Jenkins, History of the Argyle Community in Southwest Denton County (Argyle, Texas, Bicentennial Committee, 1976).

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

Handbook of Texas Online, Lisa C. Maxwell, "ARGYLE, TX," accessed August 06, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hja12.

Uploaded on June 9, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
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