McDade, Texas is a small town with just under 700 people and is located about eight miles southeast of Elgin. McDade was established in 1869 in anticipation of the arrival of the Houston and Texas Central Railroad. Two years later the first train arrived and the town was platted and named after James W McDade who lived in Brenham. In the early days McDade was also known as Tie Town or Tie City.
The first business was a tent saloon where a tin cup of whiskey sold for 10 cents. By 1879 it was a thriving depot town of 150 people. Following the Civil War, McDade had become a stronghold for a group of outlaws called the notch cutters.
According to Texas State Historical Association, in 1875 local citizens took law into their own hands and hung two suspected outlaws. This provoked retaliation with the murder of two vigilantes and the subsequent hanging of another outlaw. Early in 1876 , two men were found with a skinned cow. The skin showed the Olive brand and the two men were shot on the spot.
Five months later, the Olive Ranch was attacked by 15 men, believed to be led by a son of one of the men shot. Two men were killed and a ranch house burned. Hangings and murders continued to include the “McDade Christmas Hangings” in 1883. This lead to a gunfight in front of the McDade Saloon on Christmas Day that left three dead. This ended vigilante justice, but violence and gunfights continued until 1912.
McDade was home to a thriving broom factory in 1881 and was also the home of well know McDade Pottery until after World War II. The town has always been an agricultural center particularly noted for the melons produced in the sandy soils.
McDade Watermelon Festival
2nd Saturday in July
(July 9, 2016)
-Street Dance ( Friday July 8, 2016. 8pm-midnight)
-Grand Parade (July 9, 2016. 10:30am)
-Car Show (July 9, 2016. 2pm)
-Various Vendor booths
-Food & Drink
-Activities For The Kids
-Prize Melon Auction
Sherwood Forest Faire
-Over 40 Stage Acts
-Over 130 Merchant Shops
-Various Food & Drink
-Rides & Games