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BATSON, TEXAS. Batson is on State Highway 105 and Farm Road 770 in southwestern Hardin County. It had a post office from 1891 to 1898 called Otto, for settler R. Otto Middlebrook. The community was settled before 1840 by the Batson brothers and others, who lived in mud houses. They later built a church that also served as a school. Two schools known as Batson Prairie operated in the area in 1897 with twenty-four and forty-four students, respectively. With the discovery of an oilfield a half mile north of Otto in October 1903, the town and post office were moved to a site just south of the oilfield, and a city of 10,000 sprang up overnight. This new community was named for pioneer Eli Batson. Four hotels, ten saloons, general merchandise stores, a livery, and a blacksmith were soon in operation. By 1906 Batson had three schools, five teachers, and 252 students, and by 1914 it had three churches and a bank. The population declined to 600 by 1927 as oil production decreased, but another oilfield, New Batson, was discovered in March 1935. State highway maps in 1936 showed two churches, two stores, a school, and the post office in the community. The population rose to 1,000 and the number of businesses to fifteen in the 1930s. From 1950 until 1970 Batson declined to a population of 200 and eight businesses. In the 1980s two churches, multiple businesses, and nearby Jordan Cemetery remained. In 1990 and 2000 the population was 140.
BIBLIOGRAPHY:L. I. Adams, Jr., Time and Shadows (Waco: Davis Brothers, 1971). Hardin County Historical Commission, The History of Hardin County, Texas (Dallas: Curtis, 1991). Miriam Partlow, Liberty, Liberty County, and the Atascosito District (Austin: Pemberton, 1974).
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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, Diana J. Kleiner, "BATSON, TX," accessed November 15, 2018, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hlb13.
Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.