Tundra Community

Van Zandt County

Taken from Van Zandt County Texas Biographies 1848-1991 Vol. II. Thanks to Kitty Wheeler for the original information and for permission to use it on the web site. The information that is included in this document is transcribed portions of information that appear in the above referenced book. Additions, corrections, comments, complaints and compliments concerning this page should be submitted to Betty Miller and Patsy Vinson.

Tundra or "Pull Tight", Texas

The name "Pull Tight" was once given to this community traditionally because of the difficulty of pulling wagons into and out of the gin owned by Rev. John r. Martin. The reverend, born 29 May 1834, was the son of George and Mary Martin. John R. married Mary (Polly) Jinnings in Warren County, Tennessee.

In 1857, John r. along with his father George and the rest of his family came by wagon train to Texas, settling in Van Zandt County near Martins Mill. In 1874, John R. a Primitive Baptist minister, moved to Tundra where he helped to organize and build a Primitive Baptist Church. Rev. Martin served as its first pastor. This church was named Cool springs, and stood about one-fourth mile east of where the present church is still active. A cemetery, by the same name, is located near the church, and is where many of the descendants of this man are buried.

Rev. Martin owned a cotton gin in Tundra and that is where he had the misfortune of getting his hand and arm in the press, crushing it so badly that he bled to death 15 Dec 1882. He is buried beside his wife, she following him in death 28 Dec 1893, at Old Bethel Cemetery.

John W. Martin was the fourth child of John r. Martin and Polly Jinnings. John R., born in 1874, married Margret F. Burns 27 Mar 1881, in Van Zandt Co. His second marriage was to Inez Ansley 27 Sep 1893. On 1 Feb 1899, John R. entered into his fourth marriage with Miss Ella Goodman.

At the time the post office was established Wade J. fisher owned a general merchandising store at Tundra.

A drugstore at Tundra was owned by postmaster John Martin. The following was an advertisement for his drugstore: "DRUGS, DRUGS. DRUGS. Tundra is in the center of a large community and located 7 miles south of Canton. We have good land and prosperous farmers. We have two daily mails and in many ways enjoy advantages. I am in the Drug Business. I carry a full line of Drug Sundries, Medicines, and Toilet Articles. We also carry Crockery and Queensware. Our prices are as low as is consistent with sound business. I give the business my personal attention. I keep Fresh Goods and do my own compounding. My services may be had at all hours--day or night. J. W. Martin, Tundra, Texas."

Another businessman in tundra was John William (Bud) Fugate, born 7 Dec 1861, in Van Zandt County, third son of William and Mary Fugate. William was born 1835, in Georgia, and Mary was born in 1837, in Kentucky. In 1855, William and Mary came to Texas settling in Van Zandt County where he became known as a most successful farmer. But Fugate's education was such as the county afforded. On 20 Mar 1884, he married Miss Callie Foster, a niece of Judge Foster of Canton. Around 1893, after farming in the Big rock Community, Bud moved his family to Tundra. Bo 1904, Bud owned 360 acres of fine land with good improvements. At that time he maintained that his land was worth $15 an acre. He was also a member of the firm of Fugate and Johnson, and they owned and operated one of the best gins and mill outfits in the county. Mr. Fugate was Baptist, a W. O. W. member and a member of the Farmers' Union. He believed that with good roads and established markets, the value of that section of the county would be equal to the best to be found anywhere in the county.

The co-owner in the Fugate & Johnson gin and mill was Joseph Edward Johnson, born 9 Nov 1866, in North Carolina, son of a German man, William Johnson. When Joseph was seven years old, he came along with his family to Texas and settled in Van Zandt County. He attended public schools and was taught in the practical lessons in agriculture on the farm. On 18 Aug 1893, Joseph Johnson married Miss Cora Evans, and they lived on their farm one mile west of Tundra.

Joseph was considered a popular man in the community with a pleasant personality that enabled him to deal well with the public in all matters of business. He was a Cumberland, a W.O.W., and had a most progressive spirit. He could be depended on for his share of the expenses of anything that was for the public good.

A physician that ministered to the residents of Tundra was Dr. Julius Caesar Davis. Dr. Davis born 10 Apr 1873, in North Carolina, was the son of Frank Davis, a Welshman. Julius was reared on a farm and attended school in North Carolina. Deciding at an early (sic) to enter the field of medicine much of his education was brought to bear in that direction. He attended two sessions at the University of North Carolina, then entered Vanderbilt in 1898, graduating in april 1899. He came to Texas in March 1900, and first located at Jackson. In 1903, he moved to Tundra. These towns being only about three miles apart, Dr. Davis had a wide practice.

Dr. Davis was a Cumberland Presbyterian, a W.O.W. and a Mason. He stood for the best side of life and was an advocate of religion and morality. Probably no man in the country had more friends and admirers than Dr. Davis.

In December 1904, the school at Tundra was on a boom. There were 95 enrolled and they seemed to take a delight in going. they had a corps of teachers who were striving to build up the school and community.

Also that fall, J. W. fugate built a new business house in the place of the Fisher store, and M. E. Bown had sold out his interest of merchandise to his partner, W. H. Gilliam and had gone into business for himself. At that time, Tundra had four good business houses and were soon to get two more.

One of the early settlers of Van Zandt and a farmer in the Tundra community was M. C. Cole born 3 Aug 1855, in Choctaw County, alabama. He moved to Texas and Van Zandt December 1869, settling in the Mt. Pisgah Community six miles southeast of Canton. He lived there until 1901, when he moved to a farm he purchased near Tundra. He married Miss Mary E. Thompson 3 Oct 1881, and to them were born nine children, four boys and five girls.

Mr. Cole served several years as county commissioner and gave satisfaction to the people he served. He was considered an hones, upright man and a credit to the citizenship of the county.

The village of Tundra is gone now and left in its place is the church where some of the descendants still worship.

Photographs of interest pertaining to this page.


John William (Bud) Fugate - for more information on him go to the Biographies Board at the top of the VZCo Home Page.


Prof. Oscar N. Newburn - more information is available on the Biographies Board at the top of the VZCo Home Page.

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