In 1910, the steam engine pulled trains of the Texas State Railroad were rumbling through the piney woods between Rusk and Palestine for the very first time in history.
This had happened thanks to Thomas Mitchell Campbell who used his position as governor to carry out the vision of his good friend, ex-governor James Stephen Hogg.
Campbell promoted the completion of the rail lines from Rusk to Palestine.
So grateful were the founders of the newly platted town, between Rusk and Palestine, that after a visit from the governor and his lovely daughter Maydelle, the town fathers decided to name their settlement venture, Maydelle.
Maydelle Campbell later attended the dedication in her honor and prehaps expressed her delight by singing for the townspeople.
Having been raised in a political atmosphere in the home of Texas’ 2nd native born governor, Maydelle was prepared to promote the political and military career of her new husband Roderick Random Allen.
Their marriage of 50 years was an exciting one, filled with family, society, military and politics.
Roderick became a Texas hero, a national hero and a Major General.
He and Maydelle, the beautiful lady for whom a town was named, are buried in Arlington National Cemetery.
The Allens had two daughters, Nancy Allen Friedhoff who resides in Mt. Airy, Maryland, and Gail Random Allen who is deceased.
It has been 100 years since the railroad was extended between Rusk and Palestine.
Just as the weighty wheels of the massive vintage steam engines have always knocked against every tie as they have rumbled through Maydelle, the screeching of the wheels and the belching of the engines seem to echo off the 100 year old town buildings, and call out to those who will listen.
They recall a time when the adventurous founders’ vision had been realized.
A time of famous people in its beginnings, a period of prosperity when the population reached 450.
There were churches, schools, a post office, a bank, two medical doctors, and businesses of every kind.
Some of those businesses included saw mills, grist mills, syrup mills, cotton gins, grocery stores, furniture, hardware and general merchandise stores, barber shops, cafes, a tomato shipping industry, and even a broom factory. And then the echoes recall a different time.
The onslaught of the Great Depression.
It was a time when many small Texas towns were shut down, but, because of the railroad and the tenacious descendants of the town’s fathers, Maydelle was able to survive.
On Saturday, September 11, 2010, the big steam engine and train will pull into town from Rusk!
The noise of the train will echo off the 100 year old buildings.
But this day will be different and a first, for the town of Maydelle, as it celebrates its 100th birthday!
The festivities will begin at nine in the morning when the arts and crafts and food vendors will open their booths.
There will be jumping houses, horse rides, miniature horse petting, remote cars and airplanes, a Boy Scout museum, an historial exhibit, children’s art contest, an antique tractor contest, the Palestine Auto Club, a wild west shoot out, a 5 mile maze with shuttle service, cloggers, the Jacksonville Jammers, a Miss Maydelle contest, karaoke, and an old-fashioned street dance with music from the Alligator Creek.
Maydelle is located on Highway 84, between Rusk and Palestine.