“TARKINGTON PRAIRIE, TEXAS. Tarkington Prairie was founded by Burton B. Tarkington in 1822 near the old Nacogdoches-Lynchburg trail in northern Liberty County. The surrounding land was well suited for crop and cattle raising, and the group of settlers soon grew to become a thriving rural community. By the 1860s there was a store-trading center, a blacksmith shop, a steam mill and gin, a combination Baptist church-Masonic lodge, and a post office. Immediately after the Civil War many veterans settled in the community, and trail drivers and shippers of goods made Tarkington Prairie a stop along this major route to the coast. The post office was abandoned because of the proximity of the larger post office at Cleveland. In 1976 the old trading center still stood, but the original cattle trail was covered by pavement.”
BIBLIOGRAPHY: Cleveland Advocate, November 26, 1936.
Mrs. Ben E. Pickett
– The Handbook of Texas
“Burton B. Tarkington (1790-1861) and his wife Sarah Berry Tarkington migrated with their family from Indiana in the mid-1820s to the Mexican State of Coahuila. They settled west of the Trinity River in present Northwest Liberty County, and began ranching and raising crops. The area around their farm became known as Tarkington's Prairie, and a creek in the area is called Tarkington Bayou. According to family legend, the Tarkingtons and other early settlers had to vacate their property in 1836 when Santa Anna's forces advanced prior to the Battle of San Jacinto.
Apparently Tarkington did not have a land grant from the Mexican Government for the land he claimed, but when Texas gained independence from Mexico in 1836 he received a headright land grant of one league and one labor (4,605 acres). The grant was patented in 1847 by the new state of Texas and became known as the Tarkington Survey.
Tarkington became a leader in the community. He served in the Texas Militia in 1842, and was elected Liberty County Commissioner for three terms beginning in 1854. He received recognition for his service from Governor H.R. Runnels. Tarkington died Feb 2, 1861, and is buried in the McGinnis Cemetary (.25 Miles West).”
<gallery> Image:Tarkington_prairie1.jpg|Burton B. Tarkington Historical Marker Image:Tarkington_prairie2.jpg|Rural Shade Baptist Church Image:Tarkington_prairie3.jpg|Field on Carter Loop Image:Tarkington_prairie4.jpg|Justice of the Peace's Office across from the Fire Station Image:Tarkington_prairie6.jpg|Tarkington Water Tower, taken by NanaRee2006 </gallery>
The closest that there seems to come to “offical” boundaries for Tarkington Prairie is that of the Tarkington Independent School District, which is illustrated on the maps as follows:
*North Boundary: Liberty County Line *East Boundary: Trinity River *West Boundary: Tarkington Bayou (on Hwy 321/105) *South Boundary: Luce Bayou