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HEBBRONVILLE, TEXAS. Hebbronville, the county seat of Jim Hogg County, is at the junction of State highways 16, 285, and 359, at the northern edge of the county. The town was established in 1883, when the Texas-Mexican Railway Company built through that area. Francisco P. Peña, operator of Peña Station on that route, refused to sell land for a townsite to the Texas-Mexican. The company then approached James R. Hebbron, a local rancher, who arranged for the sale of land for a new townsite, near Peña. The old train station at Peña was then loaded on a flatcar, moved 1½ miles west, and named Hebbronville. In 1887 a school, the Colegio Altamirano, was established in the community with Rosendo Barrera as instructor. It was funded by prominent Mexican-American families who wanted their children to learn Spanish and Mexican culture and traditions. Between 1913 and 1921 several small private schools were conducted on ranches surrounding the town. A post office was established in 1895, and by 1896 the community had a general store and a population of 150. The first church, the Iglesia Católica Mexicana, was organized in October 1899 and served by an itinerant priest. The First Baptist Church was organized in August 1909, and the First Methodist Church organized a mission in Hebbronville as part of the Alice mission in December 1912. The Hebbronville Gin Company was established in 1912.
In 1913 Hebbronville became part of the newly established Jim Hogg County. An election that spring made the town the county seat by a unanimous vote of 176. The courthouse, school system, and Hebbronville State Bank were all organized in 1913. A theater was opened by Patricio Cruz in 1914 and the Viggo Hotel in 1915 by Viggo Kohler. In 1915 Hebbronville had an estimated population of 400, a bank, eight grocery stores, a drugstore, and thirteen cattle breeders. The Hebbronville school district was organized in April 1921. In 1926 a newspaper, the Jim Hogg County Enterprise, was established by M. Luther Dale. That same year Scotus College, a Franciscan seminary, moved to Hebbronville from Mexico to escape persecution. It could accommodate up to twenty students preparing for the priesthood. The estimated population of Hebbronville was 1,800 in 1927.
In 1931 the Volunteer Fire Department was organized, Little Flower School, a primary school, was founded, and the town's population was estimated at 2,000. In 1933 the Mexican Methodist Church-Iglesia Metodista Mexicana-was organized. The Hebbronville school district voted in 1947 to become a countywide school district, and in that year the community had a population estimated at 2,600 and eighty-two businesses. In 1948 the Methodist Day School opened. In 1958 the Hebbronville Chamber of Commerce was organized and the Colegio Altamirano closed. That year the town had a population estimated at 4,302 and seventy-three businesses. Hebbronville Auction and Commission Company was organized in 1960 to handle the large number of cattle raised and sold in the area. A hospital opened in 1961. In 1963 Hebbronville had a bank, three cemeteries, a courthouse, several schools, eight churches, and 105 businesses. In 1980 the town had a population of 4,050 and eighty-eight businesses. In the 1990s it remained a small, predominantly Mexican-American community, with an estimated population of 4,465 and fifty-four businesses. In 2000 the population was 4,498 with 180 businesses. Although there were no more seminarians, Scotus College still served the community and continued to be affiliated with the Archdiocese of Guadalajara.
BIBLIOGRAPHY:Hebbronville Chamber of Commerce, Fiftieth Anniversary, Jim Hogg County (Hebbronville, Texas, 1963). Jim Hogg County Enterprise, Silver Anniversary and Historical Edition, March 9, 1939.
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The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.Handbook of Texas Online, Alicia A. Garza, "Hebbronville, TX," accessed April 25, 2017, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hgh05.
Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.