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BELCHERVILLE, TX

BELCHERVILLE, TEXAS. Belcherville is at the intersection of U.S. Highway 82 and Farm Road 1816, fifteen miles northwest of Montague in northwestern Montague County. The settlement was first called Belcher, after John and Alex Belcher, area ranchers and landowners, but was renamed Belcherville by 1858. The community, however, was nothing more than the headquarters of the Belcher Ranch until 1887, when, anticipating the extension through the area of the tracks of the Gainesville, Henrietta and Western Railway, the Belchers purchased 27,000 acres of land and plotted a townsite. A post office was opened that year. The rail connection, combined with the almost complete destruction by tornado of nearby Red River Station in 1890, contributed to Belcherville's growth and development as an area cattle and cotton shipping point. By 1893 it had been incorporated, and more than twenty businesses operated there. By 1900 Belcherville had 305 residents, thirty businesses, and two schools.

During the twentieth century the community declined, and residents voted to repeal the act of incorporation in 1908. Just after World War I two fires destroyed much of the local business district, and many merchants apparently moved to nearby Nocona. Belcherville had a population of 192 in the mid-1920s and eighty-five in the mid-1930s, when five businesses were in operation there. The post office closed sometime after 1930. Belcherville's population subsequently fluctuated, rising to ninety-four by the mid-1940s, declining to thirty-one by the mid-1950s, and rising to ninety by the late 1960s, when no businesses were reported. The community may have incorporated again in the first half of the twentieth century, since it was reported to be the smallest incorporated town in the United States in 1958. From the 1960s to 2000 Belcherville reported a population of thirty-four.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

T. Lindsay Baker, Ghost Towns of Texas (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1986). Bowie News, July 24, 1958. John Clements, Flying the Colors: Texas, a Comprehensive Look at Texas Today, County by County (Dallas: Clements Research, 1984). Guy Renfro Donnell, The History of Montague County, Texas (M.A. thesis, University of Texas, 1940). Jeff S. Henderson, ed., One Hundred Years in Montague County, Texas (St. Jo, Texas: Ipta Printer, 1978).

Brian Hart

Citation

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

Brian Hart, "BELCHERVILLE, TX," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hnb21), accessed April 25, 2014. Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.