Powderly is located on U.S. Highway 271 nine miles (14 km) north of Paris in north central Lamar County. It was settled around the time of the Civil War and was originally known as Lenoir. When the St. Louis-San Francisco Railway was built through the area in the 1880s, the community was renamed Powderly in honor of Terence V. Powderly, a labor leader and later a commissioner of immigration in the McKinley administration.
A post office was established in 1888, and by 1890 the town had a general store, two cotton gins, a gristmill, a sawmill, a blacksmith, and an estimated population of thirty. In 1914 the town's population was 100. During the 1920s, however, the community declined; in the early 1930s Powderly had a church, a school, six rated businesses, and a reported sixty-three residents. Since that time the population has increased, reaching 120 in 1950 and 150 in 1965. In 1990 Powderly had a church, a school, a number of houses, and an estimated population of 185. The population remained the same in 2000.
Camp Maxey Texas Army National Guard training facility, eight miles north of Paris, is located in north-central Lamar County. The installation serves as a training center for the Texas National Guard, and most of the original buildings were demolished or sold and removed; in 1990 the camp sewage-treatment plant was used by the city of Paris.
Camp Maxey, a World War II infantry-training camp ten miles (16 km) north of Paris, was named in honor of Samuel Bell Maxey. It was activated on July 15, 1942, under command of Col. C. H. Palmer. The first division to be trained at the camp, the 102d Infantry Division, was organized and activated on September 15, 1942, under Gen. John B. Anderson. Col. Robert C. Annin succeeded Palmer as commander on March 25, 1943. In addition to the army ground forces trained at Camp Maxey, army service forces and army air forces played a role in the development of camp activities. The varied terrain provided facilities for working out problems of infantry training to meet modern battle conditions. An artillery range, obstacle course, infiltration course, and "German Village" were included in training maneuvers. Troop capacity was 44,931. The camp was put on an inactive status on October 1, 1945.
Most of Camp Maxey is centered on the Pat Mayse Lake Project, a popular recreational facility with activities such as swimming, boating, fishing and camping. When Pat Mayse Lake was constructed, parts of the northern edge of the base were inundated. Pat Mayse Lake is located in the Red River Basin in Lamar County. The damsite is on Sanders Creek (a tributary of the Red River) approximately one mile south of the town of Chicota, four miles (6 km) northwest of Powderly and twelve miles (19 km) north of Paris. Pat Mayse Lake is a 6,000-acre (24 km2) lake built and maintained by the US Army Corps of Engineers. Surrounded by 15,000 acres (61 km2) of wooded land, it offers excellent campgrounds with 200 sites providing water and electricity. The US Army Corps of Engineers operates four recreational areas at Pat Mayse Reservoir. Facilities in these areas include boat ramps, campsites, restrooms, swimming beaches, and trailer dump stations. Bank access is also available in the reservoir's tailrace area. A large number of personnel frequent the lake yearly.
Pat Mayse Lake provides excellent opportunities for fishing and hunting. Sport fish species in the lake include largemouth bass, white crappie, sunfish, striped bass, channel and flathead catfish, and other common fish species. These lands are managed for upland game and whitetail deer and are open as a public hunting area. The game species present include deer, fox squirrel, gray squirrel, bobwhite quail, morning dove, cottontail rabbit, raccoon, turkey and fox.
During the ordnance and explosives removal activities at the former Camp Maxey, extreme measures were taken to inform the public of the UXO removal operations in progress. A safety exclusion zone was established at 450 feet (140 m) around both areas. The exclusion zone was controlled during this removal action by the use of road barriers and signs. Pat Mayse Lake Staff was notified on a daily basis whenever barriers would block roads or road accesses. Numerous times, unauthorized personnel ignored the road barriers and entered the exclusion zone. Removal operations would cease for safety considerations in order to clear the exclusion zone.
The North Lamar Independent School District serves area students.
- U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Powderly, Texas
- Powderly Texas Website
- Powderly Texas information - Lamar County Station