Zip Code:


Latitude / Longitude:

32°3’31″N 95°19’29″W



Time Zone:

Central (CST) (UTC-6)


Larissa is a rural community and abandoned townsite in northwestern Cherokee County, Texas, United States. Larissa lies west of US Hiway 69, off Farm Road 855 and approximately halfway between Jacksonville and Bullard. Larissa is about 20 miles (32 km) northwest of the county seat of Rusk.


Larissa was originally settled by the Killough, Wood, and Williams families. Larissa was the scene of the Killough Massacre, possibly the worst single Indian incident in the history of east Texas. The settlers had moved there from Talladega County, Alabama, in 1837. Unaware, apparently, that the land made available to them was hotly disputed by the Cherokee Indians who lived in the area, Isaac Killough and his homesteaders began building homes and clearing land for crops. Only a year before, however, the area surrounding their settlement had been set aside to the Cherokee under a treaty negotiated and signed by Sam Houston and John Forbes. When the Senate of the Republic of Texas refused to ratify the treaty and then in fact nullified it, the Cherokee, who already thought they had conceded enough, became extremely agitated.





Current Status:

The Civil War sapped much of the vitality of the community and decimated enrollment at Larissa College, forcing it to close for the duration. Reconstruction took its toll as well. The college resumed operations after the war, but lacking students and faculty, it never recovered. By 1866 the Presbyterian Synod had withdrawn financial support, consolidating its efforts at Trinity University, which opened at Tehuacana in 1869.


As of 1990, little remained at the town-site to suggest Larissa had ever been there, much less of the promise it seemed to offer. There is an historical marker at the site of the college, placed there in 1936 on the occasion of the Texas Centennial. Another monument stands at the site of the Killough Massacre, and there are three cemeteries where are interred many founders of the town, including members of the Killough and McKee families. Otherwise, the homes and outbuildings of a typical farming community dot the landscape, all having little connection with what was once there.