Church Community to Blossoming Suburb
Cottonwood is a small rural community that is a far southeastern suburb of Dallas, Texas, and is located in Kaufman County. The community is located on County Road 4084 about 47 miles from downtown Dallas and 11 miles from the city of Kaufman.
It is believed that the settlement was named after the abundance of cottonwood trees in the area and for nearby Cottonwood Creek. The beginning of the community can be traced back to the establishment of the Cottonwood Baptist Church in 1880. The first pastor and driving force in creating the church was Reverend A. M. K. Sowell. The church and surrounding area were enhanced in 1882 when a local settler, J. W. Swayze, donated land for a school, the creation of the Cottonwood Cemetery, and the use of the church. The first person to be buried at the cemetery was J. R. Swayze, the brother of J. W. Swayze.
A few years later, another settler named C. L. Tippett donated additional land for the church and community acreage. At that time, a log cabin served as the church and school. The small farming community continued to grow, and in 1903, the residents came together to construct a new and larger church and a separate school building. Local maps of the area show that these structures remained in use through the 1930s as well as numerous farms.
Over the next 40 years, the area remained largely agricultural but the school was closed with local children now attending school in neighboring towns. Between 1970 and 1980, the community had about ninety residents. During this time, the Cottonwood Cemetery and Cottonwood Baptist Church were recognized as historical places and received Texas Historical Markers.
In the mid-1980s, the town was officially incorporated with a mayor with a city council form of government. Although still a very small rural farming community, the town began to grow in the 1980s, and by 1990, the population had risen to about 156 people. This slow and steady growth continued and by the year 2000, the town had approximately 180 residents.
Today, Cottonwood is a rural community that covers 1.56 square miles with over 200 residents. The town is currently experiencing slow but sustained growth which is expected to continue and accelerate with the rural farming community being transformed into a developed suburb community.
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