History of Hallsville

What is now the City of Hallsville began as a remote settlement known as Fort Crawford.  Fort Crawford was built in the 1840’s by Squire W. C. Crawford, holder of the Crawford-Headright, a tract of land 4.444 acres in area.  The purpose of the fort was for protection against Indians.  The Fort property was composed of a group of log cabins arranged in a square.  These were unoccupied when the Indians were peaceful, but when the report circulated that the Indians were on the warpath, the cabins were immediately filled.  The method of fortification was very temporary.  Pine saplings from six to eight inches in diameter were cut and placed on end in a ditch about 4 feet deep leaving about 10 feet above the ground.  Dirt was tamped around these so that they could not be pushed down.  The cracks were chinked with mud to reinforce the wall.  Holes were then bored in the saplings at the proper height for shooting.  The defenders fired through these holes.  When the raid was over the wall was taken down and life resumed as usual.  This place was used as a stopping place by scouts and travelers.

Fort Crawford played an integral part in the development of Hallsville.  In 1869 the railroad had a terminal at the present location of Hallsville.  This line was not completed to Longview until 1871 thus leaving Hallsville the major railroad hub in the area for a period of two years.  This line had to come a few miles out of its way to reach Hallsville.  The railroad was an important factor in the development of Hallsville.  Had it not been for Fort Crawford there would have been no Hallsville.  Most of the founding families of Hallsville moved to this area because of the protection afforded by Fort Crawford.

The main reason for the shift from the site of Fort Crawford to Hallsville was the existence of the railroad shops.  From 1869 to 1871 the railroad shops were located in Hallsville.  The railroad was built by Irishmen and the dirt was hauled away in wheelbarrows.  The country surrounding Hallsville was sparsely settled, and the inhabitants were plain and unassuming in their ways.  The railroad shops employed a large number of men. Hallsville was enjoying a boom in population growth and real estate development. Two hotels were built to accommodate the people.  Two saloons were also built in Hallsville.  Various businesses opened to meet the needs of the new workers arriving in town.

Several years later, the decision was made to move the railroad shops to Marshall.  That decision led to a drastic change in life in Hallsville.  Farming became the dominant force in the economy replacing railroad jobs. The people that remained here took over the businesses and adapted to the new agricultural economy.   The farming industry increased; houses were built; and the railway was used to ship cotton and farm products.  The building went on, and churches and schools were organized.