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STOWELL, TX

STOWELL, TEXAS. Stowell is at the intersection of State Highway 124 and Farm Road 65, twenty-six miles southwest of Beaumont in eastern Chambers County. It was named for railroad engineer H. C. Stowell and organized in the mid-1890s as a townsite on the newly built Gulf and Interstate Railway. Its first settlers included W. W. Gregory and his family, who established a homestead in 1894. The post office was opened in 1900, by which time Stowell had become the largest community in the county, with a population of 176. The Farmers Canal Company established its headquarters at Stowell, further encouraging local development. Growing a variety of fruits as well as the rice staple, area farmers, many of whom were recent immigrants, did well until a series of disasters-the 1915 hurricane, a severe freeze, low prices, and the encroachment of salt water into canals and waterways-caused severe hardships. By 1920 the population in Stowell had fallen to forty-six. Slow recovery began soon thereafter, with the arrival of a German seismographic team in 1926, a precursor of the region's future oil boom. The Stowell oilfield was discovered in 1941, with noted wildcatter Glenn McCarthy taking an active role in the rush that followed and establishing a large gas plant east of Stowell's larger neighbor, Winnie. Agricultural stability was provided when the Devers Canal Company assumed most of the operations of the defunct Farmers Canal Company. Subsequent oil and gas explorations fostered additional growth. By the late 1970s Stowell had a population of 1,500. Along with Winnie, Stowell is the site of the Texas Rice Festival, held annually since 1970. In 1990 Stowell had a population of 1,419. The population was 1,572 in 2000.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Jewel Horace Harry, A History of Chambers County (M.A. thesis, University of Texas, 1940; rpt., Dallas: Taylor, 1981).

Robert Wooster

Citation

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Robert Wooster, "STOWELL, TX," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hjs28), accessed November 28, 2014. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
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