PAWNEE, TEXAS. Pawnee is at the intersection of Farm roads 673 and 798, twenty-two miles northwest of Beeville in northwestern Bee County. It reportedly was named for a board inscribed "Pawnee" and nailed to a tree by travelers; apparently arrowheads found in nearby Sulphur Creek suggested that Pawnee Indians had once used the area. A Sullivan family purchased a large tract of land in the area before the establishment of the county in 1849. John E. Wilson bought the ranch from the Sullivans in 1877 and sold part of it to William A. Pettus in 1881. W. J. Lott entered a partnership with Pettus in 1889 and soon afterward became the sole owner of the land.
The earliest settlers of Pawnee included Fred Hoff and his family, who settled three miles southwest of the site of Pawnee on land bought from the Lott ranch in 1890. D. C. Benham, another early settler, arrived in 1900. The first one-teacher Pawnee school was built in 1910, when it enrolled thirteen pupils. About the same time, M. Carson opened up Pawnee's first store. The first of three cotton gins was erected in 1916 by J. Parker, and in 1925 Pawnee had four grocery stores, a doctor's office, a drugstore, a cafe and meat market, a garage, and a blacksmith's shop. Pawnee remained a small settlement until 1930, when oil was discovered nearby.
Pawnee had Church of Christ, Methodist, Swedish Lutheran, Baptist, German Lutheran, Catholic, and Pentecostal churches. In 1936, as the community grew, a new eleven-grade brick school was completed. In 1941–42 Pawnee attained a population of 300, which supported thirteen businesses and five churches. A post office opened in 1949–50, when Pawnee had a population of 225 and nine businesses. The population was 249 in 1970. Between 1962 and 1979 the businesses all closed. In 1989 Pawnee had a population of 249, two businesses, middle and high schools, and a post office. In 1990 the population was still reported as 249. By 2000 the population dropped to 201.
Grace Bauer, Bee County Centennial, 1858–1958 (Bee County Centennial, 1958). Grace Bauer (Lillian Grace Schoppe), The History of Bee County, Texas (M.A. thesis, University of Texas, 1939). Camp Ezell, Historical Story of Bee County, Texas (Beeville: Beeville Publishing, 1973).
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.Robert D. Crangle, Jr., "PAWNEE, TX," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hlp12), accessed December 20, 2014. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.