McDade, Texas is located in northern Bastrop County off of US 290 and was founded in 1869 by railroad lawyer James W. McDade. The town has a history of violence that peaked with the bloody Christmas of 1883.
Old Highway 20
Before US 290, there was Texas Highway 20 which basically connected Hempstead to Fredericksburg. A good chunk of the old highway between Paige and Austin still exists in pieces today because US 290 originally went south through Bastrop at Paige as it continued west towards Austin.
There are a couple things to note, in case you decide to drive what's left of the old highway. First, it's discontiguous and Highway 20 only exists on a map today in the El Paso area. Second, sections of the remaining road segments are no longer paved and/or are in poor condition.
McDade, Established 1869
Named after a railroad lawyer, McDade was established in anticipation of the railroad coming to the area in hopes of becoming a depot town. The bet paid off and locals frequently referred to the town as Tie City or Tie Town. From the end of the Civil War until 1912 McDade was known for lawlessness, violence and vigilante justice.
Today McDade is just a town that US 290 curves around. The train tracks are still there but it appears that they haven't been in service for quite some time.
Outlaws called themselves the Notch Cutters
This railroad town was wrought by vigilante justice, it has been claimed that from 1875-1884 there were more assignations, lynchings, shootings and stabbings in McDade than in both Tombstone and Deadwood combined. The Notch Cutters started off preying on the weak and defenseless but later refocused their efforts on ranchers and the respected citizens of McDade. Law enforcement was largely inept and ineffective so the townspeople took it upon themselves to handle the Notch Cutters.
This led to a very bloody Christmas in 1883 that is credited as being the end of the vigilante justice movement in town, however the violence in McDade continued on.
McDade, Texas was founded in 1869 by railroad lawyer James W. McDade in hopes of creating a new depot town. It's been claimed that from 1875-1884 there were more assignations, lynchings, shootings and stabbings in McDade than in both Tombstone and Deadwood combined. This was largely due to vigilantes fighting off outlaws called the Notch Cutters which ultimately led to a very bloody Christmas in 1883. Today the main highway US 290 goes around the town and it's history of violence.
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