Voices from small places
Murvaul Creek Area, TX

Murvaul Creek Area, TX


Located in southwestern/southern Panola County and southeastern/far-eastern Rusk County, the Murvaul Creek area was settled throughout the 1850s and 1860s. The following communities are included in the Murvaul Creek Area: Brachfield, Texas; Byfield, Texas; Corinth, Texas; Dotson, Texas; Jumbo, Texas; Long Branch, Texas; Mt. Bethel, Texas; Patrick, Texas; and Pinehill, Texas.

The communities built their own schools in the late-nineteenth century, however, during the 1940s and 1950s, the schools consolidated with Gary, Carthage, and Henderson School Districts.

These communities’ populations declined throughout the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s, with most of the communities dispersed by the 1990s. By 2000, Brachfield, Long Branch, Dotson, Mt. Bethel, Patrick, and Pinehill were the only communities to retain residents.


PhotoVoice is a method that combines photography with journaling. In this project, volunteers are given cameras and asked to take pictures of places in their community that are important to them in their personal history and hold value for them.

As they take their photographs, volunteers explain in a journal why they took the pictures they did, creating both a written and photographic record of personal remembrances all directly tied to place.

The following short video presentation includes some of the photographs and journal entries provided by volunteers. These long time residents of the Murvaul Creek area have seen their community change over the course of time.

Oral Histories

Oral histories are an important means of recording stories and experiences of the past.
These interviews provide information about persons and places no longer with us as well as how larger historic events such as the Great Depression and World War II affected the lives of those living in the Murvaul Creek area.

Considered primary sources, oral histories are best used in conjunction with additional research and other oral interviews to ensure their veracity when individuals recount events oftentimes decades in the past.

The following are the oral histories’ transcripts and links to the audio hosted by the East Texas Research Center.

Site Survey

The link below will take you to the Murvaul Creek Area, TX site survey located on the HRC Historic Resources Survey Website! The site lists many rural resources representing the rich history of Arcadia. Researchers can search by location, type of resource, architectural style, age, etc. A historic resource survey is done to record all above ground structures such as houses, barns, sheds, etc. Each resource, regardless of age, is recorded photographically as well as by using a survey form. All documentation was done from the public right-of-way unless we had owner permission to enter the property.


According to the State of Texas, a cemetery is any human burial site whether an individual or a thousand named or unnamed. One goal of this project is to document and research these cemeteries. This research will then be used to apply to the Texas Historical Commission to have both designated as Historic Texas Cemeteries. There are also other cemeteries in the area which have been documented by the historic resources survey.

Digital Collections & Resources

Members of the community were asked to loan materials to create a digital collection. Both documents and objects were digitized, helping to preserve the history of the community and make it available to the public.
The East Texas Research Center has digitized numerous items from Arcadian organizations and individuals. These items are included in the ETRC’s digital repository in the Voices from Small Places Collection. The originals have been returned to their owners. Use this link to search the collection. As always, the project welcomes the addition of other historic sources.

For further information on Murvaul Creek Area, please consult the following sources:

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