William R. Hunt

STRAWN, TEXAS. Strawn, on State highways 16 and 108, Farm Road 2372, and the Missouri Pacific Railroad in southwestern Palo Pinto County, was one of several towns developed about 1880 when the Texas and Pacific Railway began service. The site, known earlier as North Fork for its location on Palo Pinto Creek, was laid out on the land of two early ranchers, Stephen Bethel Strawn and James N. Stuart. Stuart built the area's first house in 1875. A community to the west, Russell's Pocket, and one to the east, Davidsonville, were merged to form Strawn. The population was 400 in 1891. The first Palo Pinto County oil was discovered near Strawn in 1895, but development awaited the interest of the Strawn Coal Mining Company and the Texas and Pacific Coal and Oil Company in 1915. Twenty wells were producing near Strawn before the end of the year. The Strawn field is made up of three separate pools extending over an area six miles long and two miles wide. The Strawn Oil Company drilled its first natural gas well in the area in 1924. In 1903 the Johnson brothers sank the Mount Marian coal shaft at Strawn. They sold the mine to Fort Worth interests that opened the Strawn Coal Mining Company; this company merged with another mine at Lyre, three miles north of Strawn, in 1914. By 1920 the payrolls of the two mines totalled $75,000 a month, and the mines produced 1.6 million tons between 1910 and 1920, most of which was sold to railroads. When the railroads converted to diesel, production fell drastically, although the Strawn mine survived until 1946. In 1940 Strawn was incorporated and had a bank, a post office, many businesses, and a population of 1,107. The population was down to 817 in 1960, 786 in 1970, and 694 in 1980. The town is a center for local farmers and oilfield activity. In 1990 the population was 709. The population was 739 in 2000.

J. C. Koen, A Social and Economic History of Palo Pinto County (M.A. thesis, Hardin-Simmons University, 1949).

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Handbook of Texas Online, William R. Hunt, "STRAWN, TX," accessed August 21, 2019,

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