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Robert Wooster

TURTLE BAYOU, TEXAS. Turtle Bayou is a community on the stream by that name and Farm Road 563, forty miles southwest of Beaumont in northern Chambers County. James Taylor White settled in the lower reaches of Turtle Bayou in 1827. Five years later, the Turtle Bayou Resolutions were signed nearby, and by the 1840s a number of farms were located along the stream. A post office known as John's Post Office operated in the area from 1847 to 1859. A settlement known as New Boston was advertised in 1848 by Thomas B. Chubb as "handsomely situated at the mouth of Turtle Bayou," but New Boston seems to have failed quickly. The Turtle Bayou precinct may have rivaled in size that at Anahuac during the 1850s. Several shipwrecks discovered near the site of the first Turtle Bayou ferry, which carried most of the traffic to Anahuac, indicate shipping was at one time significant there. The Turtle Bayou post office was opened in 1879, and the community grew steadily, its population increasing from twenty-nine in 1880 to 127 in 1900. The growth tapered off, however, and the post office was discontinued in 1914. The discovery of oil at the Turtle Bay field in 1935 rekindled interest in the area, and a small oil company camp was set up. A smaller oilfield, known as Turtle Bayou, was found in 1952. The J. F. Simon sawmill was opened in Turtle Bayou in 1939, when the community had about 100 residents. By 1970 the population had fallen to forty-two. A cluster of buildings around the junction of Farm Road 563 and the Turtle Bayou watercourse marked the locale in 1974. White's Park, a popular county-owned park, pavilion, and arena, takes in much of the original Turtle Bayou townsite. In 2000 the population was forty-two.

Jewel Horace Harry, A History of Chambers County (M.A. thesis, University of Texas, 1940; rpt., Dallas: Taylor, 1981). 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, Robert Wooster, "TURTLE BAYOU, TX," accessed July 10, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hnt37.

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