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John M. Howison

BOGATA, TEXAS. Bogata, at the junction of U.S. Highway 271, State Highway 37, and Farm Road 909 in southwestern Red River County, serves a farming and ranching area and houses employees of firms in Paris, Clarksville, and Mount Pleasant. Oil and gas are produced in the vicinity but not in bonanza quantities. The town's population, which grew slowly through the decades when most of the area was losing ground, reached 1,508 in 1980, when Bogata had a 154-bed nursing home, medical and dental clinics, a locally owned bank, and thirty business establishments.

William and Mary McGill Humphries settled near springs on Little Mustang Creek in 1836 and called the settlement that grew up around them Maple Springs. Humphries had come to the area as a teenager in 1818 with the Nathaniel Robbins party. After his father's death in 1821 he accompanied his mother "back east" but eventually returned to Texas with his young family on learning of Sam Houston's victory at San Jacinto. Mary Humphries's life was a paradigm of the westward movement. She was born in Carolina in 1809 and was four times moved to new frontiers—as an infant to Tennessee, as a child to Alabama, as a young woman to Mississippi, and finally to Texas, where she lived until 1899.

By 1844 the Maple Springs community comprised enough families to support a school. A post office followed in 1851. Commercial development began after the Civil War with the opening of a store selling goods freighted from Jefferson. In 1880 the settlement divided, apparently as a result of increasing growth. The old Maple Springs post office adopted the name of Rosalie, and in 1881 a second post office opened a few miles to the west, slightly north of the site of present Bogata. When the United States government refused to accept Maple Springs as the new post office's name, postmaster James E. Horner submitted an alternative. Horner, who had a romantic enthusiasm for Latin-American republican revolutions against Spanish rule, suggested the name Bogotá, after the Colombian capital, which was the scene of his hero Simón Bolívar's victory in 1814. The suggestion was accepted, but, perhaps owing to Horner's penmanship, the name was misspelled Bogata. The town inhabitants accepted the official spelling but pronounce the name "Buh-góh-ta."

During the 1880s both communities sent their children to a school taught by Sorg Scales; among Scales's students was future vice president John Nance Garner. By 1885 Bogata had two churches, four cotton gins, six gristmills, and a population of 400. In 1910 the town's second newspaper, the News, replaced its predecessor, the Reformer. The Paris and Mount Pleasant Railway arrived in 1910, causing the town to move its commercial establishments to a new main street nearer the railroad tracks. Train service was discontinued in 1956. In 1990 the population was 1,421, and in 2000 it was 1,396.

Travis Hale, The History of Bogata (MS, Archives, East Texas State University, 1950). Iva Lassiter Hooker, History of Bogata (1982). Red River County Historical Association Files, Red River County Public Library, Clarksville, Texas. Jack Rogers, History of Bogata (MS, Archives, East Texas State University, 1930). Kathleen E. and Clifton R. St. Clair, eds., Little Towns of Texas (Jacksonville, Texas: Jayroe Graphic Arts, 1982). Rex W. Strickland, "Miller County, Arkansas Territory," Chronicles of Oklahoma 18 (March 1940).

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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, John M. Howison, "BOGATA, TX," accessed July 09, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hjb11.

Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
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