NAZARETH, TX

John Leffler

NAZARETH, TEXAS. Nazareth, a small farming community, is in east central Castro County at the intersection of State Highway 86 and Farm Road 168, fifty-eight miles south of Amarillo. The town was established through the efforts of a Catholic priest, Joseph Reisdorff, who moved to the site in 1902 with four farmers interested in purchasing land in the area. Father Reisdorff named his colony after the biblical Nazareth and advertised for settlers in several midwestern German Catholic newspapers. By September 1902 the first settlers had begun to arrive. A post office was established in 1903, and later that year the Catholic community finished building its first church. Nazareth had seventy-one residents by January 1904, and the town was platted latter that year. By 1905, in addition to the church, the settlement included a blacksmith shop, a store, and a school; when the community's cemetery was consecrated in 1906, it became the only Catholic cemetery in the area. For many years local church officials supplied what little government the community required. In 1914 Nazareth had an estimated 50 residents, and about 150 people were living there by 1927. During the 1930s the area was swept by huge dust storms that uprooted crops and made farming unprofitable; in 1933, the town was estimated to have only 50 residents. Agriculture in Castro county revived during the 1940s, however, and by 1941 about 200 people were living there. The population fluctuated during the 1950s and 1960, dropping to about 75 in 1955, then rising to an estimated 275 by 1964; the census found 274 people living in the town in 1970 and 299 in 1980. As late as the mid-1980s about 85 percent of the town's residents were Catholics, and church activities helped to bond the community together. In 1990 the population stood at 293. The population grew to 356 in 2000.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 
Castro County Historical Commission, Castro County, 1891–1981 (Dallas: Taylor, 1981).

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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 Leffler, "NAZARETH, TX," accessed September 15, 2019, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hln02.

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
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