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HEDWIGS HILL, TX

HEDWIGS HILL, TEXAS. Hedwigs (Hedwig's, Hedwig) Hill, a dispersed rural community just off Interstate Highway 87 five miles south of Art in southern Mason County, is thought to be one of the oldest communities in the county. It was settled by the overflow of German settlers from nearby Fredericksburg, among them Christopher Voges and LouisMartinqv. Martin's mother and daughter were both named Hedwig, and the town is believed to have been named for them. One of the first post offices in the county opened at Hedwigs Hill in June 1858 with Louis Martin as postmaster; later his nephew, Charles Martin, became postmaster. In the late 1850s Charles Martin and his wife, Anna Henriette Mebus Martin, opened the community's first store. It was one of the best-stocked stores in the vicinity, and the Martins traded over a wide area, conducting a freighting business with San Antonio and Austin. The main shipments from Hedwigs Hill were cotton and livestock. The community store was also one of the first to begin selling barbed wire when the local ranchers began to fence the ranges in the late 1880s. A Methodist Episcopal church was established at Hedwigs Hill in 1870; at one time there were as many as three churches in the area. In the late 1800s and early 1900s the community also had a district school. With the establishment of better local roads, which facilitated travel to larger towns, Hedwigs Hill declined. Its post office closed in 1907, and its estimated population from the 1930s through the 1950s was only ten. The community had at least one store in the early 1960s, and by 1968 its reported population had grown to sixty-three. The last dwelling at the old Hedwigs Hill townsite, reportedly the home of Louis Martin, was moved to the Ranching Heritage Center in Lubbock at Texas Tech University in 1971. By 1974 the reported population of the Hedwigs Hill area had grown to eighty-five, but by 1990 it had dropped to ten. The population remained the same in 2000.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Margaret Bierschwale, "Mason County, Texas, 1845–1870," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 52 (April 1949). Kathryn Burford Eilers, A History of Mason County, Texas (M.A. thesis, University of Texas, 1939). Gillespie County Historical Society, Pioneers in God's Hills (2 vols., Austin: Von Boeckmann-Jones, 1960, 1974). J. Marvin Hunter, "Brief History of Mason County," Frontier Times, November, December 1928; January, February, March 1929. Mason County News, Centennial Edition, June 19, 1958. Stella Gipson Polk, Mason and Mason County: A History (Austin: Pemberton Press, 1966; rev. ed., Burnet, Texas: Eakin Press, 1980).

Delmar J. Hayter

Citation

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

Delmar J. Hayter, "HEDWIGS HILL, TX," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hnh16), accessed August 22, 2014. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
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