Frank Hufsmith

Frank Hufsmith is commemorated in Harris County for his years of work as the superintendent of the area railroad.

Frank Hufsmith was born in Prussia, Germany in 1853 as Frank Hufschmidt. He moved to the United States with his parents as a young boy, first settling in Missouri, according to "Welcome to Tomball, a History of Tomball Texas," by Lessie Upchurch.

Hufsmith began working with the International Great Northern railroad in Arkansas. By 1887, he was stationed in Palestine, Texas, with the railroad as general superintendent.

In early 1900s, a small unincorporated town in eastern Harris County was named Hufsmith. Hufsmith, off Farm Road 2978, is north of Tomball.

"They named the town to honor Frank Hufsmith's work on the railroad, just like they named Tomball because Tom Ball brought the railroad through town," Upchurch said. "We started out as a railroad town. None of the Hufsmith family is around now. They're all gone. But it still exists."

The International Great Northern railroad built a line from Spring to Navasota in 1902 and soon a depot was built in between, according to "Welcome to Tomball."

The railroad officials decided to name the depot Hufsmith after his work and dedication to the rail line.

"The railroad was a great help to the area," said Jean Alexander, director of the Tomball Museum. "That's when Tomball really became a town. People on the farms around certainly welcomed the railroad because they could get produce off that way and also get items by ordering them. That was helpful particularly back in the horse-and-buggy days when it was a two day trip to go to Houston to do shopping."

The town named its first post office the Hufsmith Post Office. Mail was first received and dispensed from there June 26, 1902.

In 1914, Hufsmith had a population of 150, four general stores and a cotton gin, according to the Texas State Historical Association. By 1936, the town grew to include a school, two churches and a sawmill. The population grew to 250 residents by 1940.

The population in 2000 was still at about 250 residents, although the only buildings still there include scattered dwellings and a cemetery. Hufsmith died on Feb. 3, 1927.