In the 1880s, the residents of this area west of De Leon, met at the general store owned by “Uncle Pet” Heathington to decide on
a name for their community to submit to the post office. After some discussion, one individual picked up a sheet of paper that was covered with dust. After shaking it off, he wrote the name Duster on the paper and that became the selected name. At least that is one version of how it got its name. Another says that Bill Mattox submitted the name Dusty to the post office following a terrible dust storm that was raging in the area at the time of the gathering. As there was already a Dusty, Texas, the name was accepted as Duster. Still a third version was told by J.R. Ruff, a one-time post master of Sipe Springs then living in Medford, Oregon. He stated that after two or three names had been rejected by postal officials, he submitted the name Duster after a sand storm blew over the ridge where the village was then located.
Located about 8 miles west of De Leon at the intersection of Farm Roads 587 and 679, the community was relocated twice after its founding. Initially, the village was located at Polecat Pond not far from its present location. The pond provided a source of water for the horses and teams when residents “came to town.”
In 1910, when the MKT Railroad built its branch from De Leon to Cross Plains, the community moved to the tracks about two miles north of the present location. Lots in the new community location were sold on December 20, 1910 after the rails had already been completed to Cross Plains. Col. Rufus J. Lackland auctioned the lots for H.J. Cureton and W.E. Spencer.
A depot was constructed and according to information in Patchwork of Memories, C.C. Mc Neely was the first station agent. It also indicates that there were two general stores, one owned by a Mr. Wortham and the second by W.L. Blair. A telephone exchange was operated by the Jones family and Frank Rhodes had the blacksmith shop.
In September 1919, during the Sipe Springs and Desdemona oil booms, the Baptist organized a church in Duster holding services in the Church of the Nazarene of Duster.
The community grew to about 750 people in the general area and the Duster school to as many as 200 students.
When the railroad abandoned the line in 1943 and the rails were taken up, the community returned to its first location. The original Duster Store, which was constructed of rock was built by Grady Coan, but was destroyed by fire. The later brick store which replaced it was built in the ‘20s and purchased in 1941 by Boss Johnson. He sold it to his brother, Ernest in 1947. Ernest operated it until his death in 1958. His wife Lorena, continued the business until December 1962 when it was purchased by Mr. and Mrs. Ernest Gober of San Saba.
F.M. 587 was constructed from De Leon to Duster about 1946 and extended to Sipe Springs and Rising Star several years later.
One of Duster’s native sons that went on to achieve note was Dr. Gaston Foote, who served as pastor of the First Methodist Church in Fort Worth for many years. At the time, it was the largest Methodist Church in the Central Texas Conference. He was born in Comanche County on September 6, 1902 to Charles and Ola Smith Foote. He was a graduate of SMU with a B.D. and an M.A. and received his ThD. from the Iliff School of Theology. He was married to Lucy Lee Young, was the author of eight books, and as as Religion Editor for the Fort Worth Star Telegram wrote a weekly column until two years before his death at age 86 on February 25, 1989.
Duster Post Office #52914, Parcel Post Unit #3234, 1 Rural Route, Money Orders
- Duster Post Masters–Appointment Date*
- Isaac J. Tinney 04-28-1891
- Wm. H. Maddux 01-29-1897
- John T. Crow 11-06-1897
- Wm. H. Maddux 11-28-1892
- Richard C. Maddux 07-26-1897
- William F. Heathington 01-15-1904
- Walter L. Blair 12-15-1905
- Lonnie F. Scott 02-03-1911
- Mrs. Ora Tomlin 04-27-1914
- Alice J. Wells 02-07-1921
- Coleta R. Dunns 02-28-1922
- Post Office Discontinued 09-09-1927
*The Handbook of Texas and Patchwork of Memories both state that Miss Belle Dukes was the first Post Master of Duster however no postal records have been located to confirm this. Some sources indicate the Post Office closed on September 9, but postal records also indicate September 30. Mail services were moved to Gorman.