John Leffler

TURKEY, TEXAS. Turkey is at the intersection of State Highways 86 and 70, on the Burlington Northern line in the southwestern corner of Hall County. The community, probably first settled in the early 1890s, was initially called Turkey Roost, for the wild turkey roosts once found on nearby Turkey Creek. In 1892 a Methodist Episcopal congregation was organized at the home of W. M. Cooper. The town name was changed to Turkey in 1893, when a post office was established there in the dugout of Alfred P. Hall, the first postmaster. Later John M. Gist became the postmaster and served until 1895, when the post office was discontinued. In 1900 the Turkey post office was reopened, and by 1906 a school district had been established and a chapter of the Woodmen of the World had been organized. A town plat was officially recorded in 1907. By 1914 about 250 people were living in Turkey, which included a bank, a hotel, a general store, and two groceries. A newspaper, the Turkey Gobbler, began publishing in 1919. When Turkey incorporated in 1926, Jess Jenkin became the first mayor, and G. Katzkie and J. B. Miller were elected as aldermen. By 1927 the town had an estimated 600 residents, and that year a Missionary Baptist church was constructed. A fire department was organized in February 1928, after a disastrous fire destroyed most of the business district. The Fort Worth and Denver Railway built through the town later that year, and on November 20, the townspeople celebrated the arrival of the first locomotive. With the railroad, Turkey became an important shipping point for area farmers and ranchers, and by 1929 the town had two banks and about 1,000 residents. An Assembly of God church was built the next year. The Great Depression slowed growth during the 1930s. One bank closed in 1933, and the other in 1940; meanwhile, the population declined to about 975 by 1931 and to 930 by 1941. During the late 1940s or early 1950s the local economy revived, and by 1950 Turkey included fifty businesses and 998 residents. By 1955 about 1,005 people were living there, but the town began to decline again in the late 1950s. By 1958 only thirty-eight businesses were reported, and by 1961 the population of Turkey had dropped to 813. Only twenty businesses were operating in Turkey in 1972, when its population had fallen to 680. A 1981 map showed two schools and five churches in Turkey; in 1982 the town reported twenty-three businesses and 644 residents. By 1990, however, Turkey had only twelve businesses and 507 residents. In 2000 the population was 494.


Inez Baker, Yesterday in Hall County (Memphis, Texas, 1940). Lubbok Morning Avalanche, November 21, 1928.

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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, "TURKEY, TX," accessed February 28, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hlt36.

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Modified on March 13, 2019. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
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