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History of White Oak

The information we have been able to track down on White Oak so far has been sketchy. City Hall at White Oak considers it to be more of a community than a town. It has a population of 5,136 residents and is located on a major highway between Gladewater and Longview. They have no main street, only a few major businesses, no real drawing cards for visitors. It is a quiet little community, only about 2 miles from Longview, with a nice school and several fast food stops for the kids.

In the early 1800's, the area was the home of the Cherokee and the Caddo Indians, who dominated this wooded East Texas territory. The Cherokees traveled a path through the area, from Nacogodoches to their summer hunting grounds at White River, Arkansas. This historic path is known as the Cherokee Trace.

In the late 1800's, White Oak was a small farming community with 3 large sawmills located on what was once thickly wooded land. By 1884 there were 12-15 families living in the area, most who had come to work in the sawmills or the rich soil. A small school (60x40) was built for the families' children, near Hawkins Creek, and it doubled as a church. Sadly, that school burned to the ground in 1885.

Local land owners, Andrew J. Tuttle, and Tuttle's father-in-law, John Bumpus, gathered a group of men in the area with the idea of building a new school. Mr. Tuttle's uncle, Pleas Harris, and Kaleb Bumpus donated ground near a spring between two White Oak saplings on which to build the school. Andrew Tuttle and John Bumpus donated the lumber. Everyone in the community worked together to erect the new school building.

Upon completion, John Bumpus noticed the two White Oak trees on either side of the building. It was decided then and there that the name of the community would be White Oak. The town of White Oak was officially incorporated in September of 1957.
 

 

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