Bula is in Bailey County in far West Texas. Baily County is about halfway down Texas’ long straight-line border with New Mexico. In 1980, Bula’s population was 105, but had dropped to around 35 in 2000. Bailey County’s population stood at 7,165 by the 2010 federal census.
There are two keys to any kind of success in West Texas: oil or ground water. Bula had the second, with water available at 20 to 40 feet.
The Handbook of Texas says: “Bula, on Farm Road 54 in southeastern Bailey County, was established in 1924 and named Newsome, for W. B. Newsome. The Newsome Ranch of W. B. and Tom Newsome was sold and subdivided into farms of 177.7 acres in 1924–25. Since the name Newsome duplicated another post office name, the name Bula was chosen in 1925, in honor of either Bula Maude Oakes, daughter of Methodist preacher Roma A. Oakes, or Bula Thorn, wife of William H. Thorn, the first postmaster. In 1925 Bula also opened a school and in 1929 a cotton gin. Its school later moved and was closed in 1975. Bula remained a farming community with a population of 105 in 1980 and 1990, when it still had its post office.”
Lots of towns, when you go looking for why they’re named that, the story is, “Well, it might have been this way, or it might have been some other way.” So, Bula Maude Oakes or Bula Thorn, you have a town in West Texas named after you.
Here is a link to a site that has more information and a picture of what remains of the Bula School: https://lost-texas.com/tag/bula/
Here is a link to a bigger picture of the school: https://www.flickr.com/photos/courthouselover/1435458133
And the old cotton gin: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Bula_Cotton_Gin,_Bailey_County,_Texas,_2011.jpg