TALLADEGA, TEXAS. Talladega was an early settlement off Farm Road 855 twenty miles northwest of Rusk in northeastern Cherokee County. The area was first settled by Isaac Killough, his wife, and the families of his four sons and two daughters, who moved there from Talladega County, Alabama, in 1837. The following year, fearing attack because of unrest among the Cherokees living in the vicinity, Killough and his relatives fled to Nacogdoches. The Indians assured them that it would be safe to harvest their crops in the fall, but when they returned a war party attacked the settlement, and most of the inhabitants were killed or carried off. Few new settlers arrived until 1846, when a group of immigrants from Tennessee led by Thomas H. McKee moved to the area. According to some sources a small settlement grew up, named in honor of Killough's home county. Within a short time, however, McKee's son, a Presbyterian minister, platted a rival town, Larissa, a few miles to the south, reportedly because Talladega had a saloon. Other sources claim that Talladega was established because the McKees refused to sell a lot for a saloon in Larissa. According to local tradition, Jesse Duren, a land speculator who promoted Talladega, offered lots to anyone who would build there. During the early 1850s Talladega had the saloon and several stores; the town's life was said to have revolved around the saloon, a gambling hall, and a racetrack. The population grew rapidly, but the community's unsavory character caused most of the merchants to move to Larissa, and by 1852 Talladega had been abandoned. In the early 1990s only a few scattered houses remained in the vicinity.
T. Lindsay Baker, Ghost Towns of Texas (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1986). Cherokee County History (Jacksonville, Texas: Cherokee County Historical Commission, 1986). Fred Hugo Ford and J. L. Browne, Larissa (1930?; rev. ed., Jacksonville, Texas: McFarland, 1951). Hattie Joplin Roach, A History of Cherokee County (Dallas: Southwest, 1934).