Putnam, Texas

History

Putnam, on U.S. Highway 80/20 ten miles east of Baird in eastern Callahan County, was established with the construction of the Texas and Pacific Railway in 1880. The community was called Catclaw until the first post office opened in 1882, when it was possibly named for Gen. Israel Putnam, a hero of the American Revolution. A company organized in 1910 planned to make Putnam a health resort to exploit local mineral water, but promoters could not compete with the well-established resort town of Mineral Wells. Fruit raising and oil production proved more capable of sustaining the town. The population was 250 in 1890 and 487 in 1940 but declined to 116 by 1980. A resident, J. H. Burkett, discovered the original papershell pecan tree east of Putnam. In 1990 the population was 103. The population was eighty-eight in 2000. Source: Handbook of Texas Online.

Schools

The Putnam High School closed in the 1970s, when the school enrollment dropped to 48. Students attend Baird ISD. The old schoolhouse is still a community landmark.

Cemeteries

Putnam Cemetery >>

More

American Writer and Playwrite Larry L. King, most noted for The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas was born in Putnam in 1929.