Harper, TX

By: Ola Mae Hopf

Type: General Entry

Published: 1952

Updated: February 1, 1995

Harper is on U.S. Highway 290 twenty-three miles west of Fredericksburg in far western Gillespie County. It is in the heart of the Hill Country and has an ideal climate. The site was first settled by the Matthew Taylor and Eli McDonald families in 1863. A historical marker shows the site of the McDonald massacre of August 1864, in which two members of the McDonald family were killed by Kiowa Indians, a young mother and four children were captured, and the elderly Aunt Hannah escaped. The first post office was established in 1883 by George Franklin Harper, for whom the town was named. Harper celebrated its centennial in 1963, and more than 15,000 visitors attended the festivities. In 1985 the town served a large ranching area and had six churches, a fire department and ambulance service, a public school, and growing residential subdivisions. As of 1982 Harper had the oldest bank still operating in Gillespie County. The population was 383 in 1982 and 1990. By 2000, however, it had grown to 1,006.

Kathleen E. and Clifton R. St. Clair, eds., Little Towns of Texas (Jacksonville, Texas: Jayroe Graphic Arts, 1982).
  • Communities

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

Ola Mae Hopf, “Harper, TX,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 22, 2022, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/harper-tx.

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

February 1, 1995

Currently Exists
Place Type
Town Fields
  • Has post office: Yes
  • Is Incorporated: No
Belongs to
  • Gillespie County
  • Latitude: 30.29991950°
  • Longitude: -99.24421440°
Population Counts
People Year
1,006 2000
1,192 2010
1,346 2019