Although the land was surveyed and sold in 1854, Slidell was not established
until thirty years later. Early settlers witnessed the depredations of horse
thieves, warring bands of Comanche Indians, and outlaws such as Sam Bass, who
frequently hid out two miles northwest of Slidell at Cove Hollow. Between 1867
and 1887 thousands of cattle moved slowly through the region following the
Chisholm Trail northward to markets in Kansas. During the same period various
small communities used the site of present Slidell, then called Hackberry Grove,
as a meeting place for picnics and revivals.
Slidell Cemetery & High School
In 1884 a post office and several businesses operating within the
area were moved to lots on Hickory Creek donated by local landowners.
Since most of the original settlers were southerners they named their
new community in honor of John Slidell, a Confederate diplomat. The town
served as a supply and service center for neighboring farmers and
ranchers; its population never exceeded 275 inhabitants. By the early
twentieth century Slidell had a cotton gin, a local telephone exchange,
and a weekly newspaper, the Courier. The Slidell school district
expanded over the years to include rural communities in three counties.
After 1911, when a fire destroyed two businesses, and the coming of the
automobile, the town declined as a trading center. By 1944 even the barber had
left. In 1985 the post office and 175 inhabitants remained.
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