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MAGNET, TX

MAGNET, TEXAS. Magnet, east of State Highway 60 and twelve miles south of Wharton in southeastern Wharton County, was established about 1907 when the Taylor-Fowler Land Company of Oklahoma laid out and promoted a townsite on the Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe Railway. Frank D. Fowler and his brother Fred contracted 12,000 acres of land in the community in 1911. Sources conflict over whether the town's name was derived from the idea that the area's high-quality soil would attract settlers like a magnet or whether, because Bay City was dry, local saloons would do so. A post office was established at the community in 1911, and by 1912 J. W. Fraley's hotel, a schoolhouse, a lumberyard, a gristmill, a drugstore, and several grocery stores were in operation there. A rice grower went into business, and a Truck Growers Association, a canning factory, and a gin followed. By 1914 the community had a population of forty, two general stores, a blacksmith shop, and a garage. Oil activity began in the area about 1905, but the Magnet field was not developed until the early 1920s. In 1926 the Magnet school had three teachers and 130 white and five black pupils, and the 1936 county highway map indicated a second school in the community. In the 1930s the population fell to fifty and remained there until the end of World War II, despite the discovery of the Cockburn oilfields in 1937. Only one store, serving as a retail center and post office, existed at Magnet after 1943, and by 1949 its population had dropped to only twenty. The Magnet school was annexed to the Wharton Independent School District in 1947, and its post office was discontinued in 1954. Its population rose to forty-two in 1968, where it remained until 2000, when no businesses were reported. The 2003 county highway map indicated only a cemetery and scattered dwellings at the townsite.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

J. O. Graham, The Book of Wharton County, Texas (Wharton?: Philip Rich, 1926). Annie Lee Williams, A History of Wharton County (Austin: Von Boeckmann-Jones, 1964).

Claudia Hazlewood

Citation

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

Claudia Hazlewood, "MAGNET, TX," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hnm03), accessed December 25, 2014. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
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