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HUNGERFORD, TX

HUNGERFORD, TEXAS. Hungerford is on U.S. Highway 59 and State Highway 60, six miles from Wharton in northeastern Wharton County. By the early 1870s a farming and cattle-raising community named Quinan, after George E. Quinan, had developed at the site in the Alexander Jacksonqv league near West Bernard Creek. A community post office was established in 1874 in the general store of John C. Habermacher, who served as first postmaster and was appointed the first trustee of the Quinan school in 1877. Habermacher's wife was a granddaughter of Alexander Jackson. Habermacher also formed the Quinan Literary Club; he had formerly been a member of the actor Edwin Booth's troupe. In 1880 area residents established a Methodist church. In 1882, when the New York, Texas and Mexican Railway passed a quarter mile east of Quinan, most of the town's businesses moved to be next to the railroad. A townsite was surveyed in the George W. Singleton league and named Hungerford, after Daniel E. Hungerford, an executive of the railroad syndicate. In 1883 the post office was moved from Quinan to Hungerford, and William McKinney became the postmaster. By 1885 Hungerford had a school, several churches, a steam cotton gin, a gristmill, and a population of 200.

By 1926 the community had three large general stores and ten other businesses. It also included one white-congregation church and several black-congregation churches and five area schools for white and black children; the schools reported 189 white students, 259 black students, and thirteen teachers. The 1927 poll-tax roll listed sixty-four blacks registered and eighty-five whites. By 1961 Hungerford had a population of 450 and eighteen businesses, but by that time the train no longer stopped there. In 1973 the Hungerford school district disbanded and was absorbed by the four nearby school districts. At the time of the division, the Hungerford Independent School District had the largest territory in a single district in Wharton County. By the 1980s the population of the community had increased to almost 500. Most of the businesses at that time were seasonal: pecans, grain, cotton, and hunting. Since 1908 Hungerford has been the headquarters for the J. D. Hudgins Ranch, Incorporated, and since 1926 it has been the headquarters for Strouhal's Tire and Recapping Company, the largest such business on the Gulf Coast. In 1980 the Teen Challenge of South Texas New Life Rehabilitation Center purchased the old black school campus and located its headquarters there. It began with a campus population of 150, but by 1990 it had increased to some 250 residents, and the center had purchased additional land to accommodate its growth. During the late 1980s, U.S. Highway 59 was rerouted to bypass Hungerford. In 1986 four Texas Historical Commission markers were placed at the community: for Post West Bernard Station, for the J. D. Hudgins Ranch, for the New York, Texas and Mexican Railway, and for the communities of Hungerford and Quinan. In 2000 Hungerford had a population of 645 with 23 reported businesses.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Annie Lee Williams, A History of Wharton County (Austin: Von Boeckmann-Jones, 1964).

Merle R. Hudgins

Citation

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

Merle R. Hudgins, "HUNGERFORD, TX," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hlh56), accessed December 19, 2014. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
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