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TOWASH, TX

Brian Hart

TOWASH, TEXAS. Towash was on Towash Creek fifteen miles west of Hillsboro in extreme west central Hill County. The area was originally settled by a band of Ioni Indians, who moved from Louisiana to the east bank of the Brazos River in 1835. Anglo-American traders and soldiers referred to the settlement as Towash Village, for the name of the Indians' leader. The arrival of substantial numbers of Anglo-American settlers in 1850 forced the Ioni to move again, this time to a site further upriver. The white pioneers apparently established a settlement, which they called Towash, at the site of the former Indian community. Prominent among the newly arrived settlers were brothers Simpson Cash Dyer and James Harrison Dyer, who in 1854 received permission from state authorities to construct a stone dam on the Brazos River at Towash to power a gristmill. In 1860 the Dyers added a wool-carding machine to their water-driven industrial plant. During the early years of the Civil War, women reportedly traveled from as far as 100 miles away to have wool carded at Towash for use in clothing and blankets for Confederate soldiers. A flood destroyed the dam in 1863, but it apparently was rebuilt and a cotton gin established by 1866, the year in which a local post office began operating. This post office closed in 1881, reopened in 1899, and closed permanently two years later. Between 1860 and 1870 Towash had a number of stores and wagonyards, a blacksmith shop, and a ferryboat system. The community began to decline during the late 1870s, however, as the growth of nearby Whitney drew away settlers and businesses. In 1905–06 the white school at Towash had sixty-five students and the black school, fifty. In 1908 a flood destroyed the dam, mill, and gin. The area was permanently inundated as a result of the construction of Lake Whitney in 1951.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 
Hill County Historical Commission, A History of Hill County, Texas, 1853–1980 (Waco: Texian, 1980).

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Citation

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, Brian Hart, "TOWASH, TX," accessed July 14, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hvt53.

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