MAYDELLE, TEXAS. Maydelle, also known as Camp Wright, is at the junction of U.S. Highway 84 and Farm Road 2138, nine miles west of Rusk in west central Cherokee County. The area was first settled during the 1840s, but a town did not begin to develop until 1906, when the Texas State Railroad was being constructed through the area. A branch prison, known as Camp Wright, was built at the site to house convicts assigned to cut wood for charcoal for the prison iron foundry at Rusk. In 1910 C. D. Jarrarr and N. A. Slover from Dialville and a local man, J. S. Sherman, purchased several hundred acres surrounding Camp Wright and platted a new townsite. They named the new town Maydelle in honor of the daughter of Governor Thomas Mitchell Campbell, who had been instrumental in extending the State Railroad from Camp Wright to Palestine. Maydelle Campbell sang at the opening of the townsite. Within a short time most of the merchants and residents from the surrounding communities of Gent, Java, Mount Comfort, and Pine Town had moved to the new town, and by 1914 Maydelle had Baptist and Christian churches, four general stores, a bank, a cotton gin, a drugstore, and a reported population of 150. The town flourished during the early twentieth century, reaching a peak population of 450 in 1929. With the onset of the Great Depression in the early 1930s, the population dwindled to 150. After World War II it rebounded, and by the early 1990s the town reported 250 inhabitants and six businesses. At that time thousands visited the community each year to ride the restored Texas State Railroad. The population remained at 250 in 2000.
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Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.