IAGO, TEXAS. Iago is at the intersection of Farm roads 1301 and 1096, two miles northwest of Boling and twelve miles east of Wharton in southeastern Wharton County. The local Caney Creek was originally named Canebrake Creek for the large primeval forest of what Texans call "cane," a native bamboo, Arundinaria, growing to heights of twenty feet. The first settlers burned off the large tracts of canebrake, built large plantations, and grew sugarcane and cotton. The results of the Civil War and the sugarcane blight ended the large plantations, and the area was generally abandoned until 1899, when the New York, Texas and Mexican Railway ran a branch from Wharton to Van Vleck in Matagorda County. This opened up the area to small farming interests.
Clarence D. Kemp owned three and one-sixth leagues of land where he set up a mercantile store in the late 1880s. The nearest settlements were Waterville, five miles west, and Preston, three miles west. A post office operated in Iago from 1891 until 1900 with Kemp as postmaster. Kemp was sheriff of Wharton County from 1914 to 1921. G. C. Mick surveyed and laid out the township of Iago in 1911, from 1,000 acres that he bought from Kemp. The area had been part of the Seth Ingram league and was next to the railroad. The name Iago was chosen by M. D. Taylor and C. W. Kemp, after the villain in Shakespeare's Othello. The first school was organized in 1902; it became part of the Boling school district in 1941. By 1920 Iago had two gins, a syrup mill, a blacksmith, several mercantile and grocery stores, a drugstore and doctor, a barbershop, saloons, a church, and a population of 200. The 1927 Wharton County poll tax roll lists 134 white registrants, seven of whom were women, and fifty-three black registrants, three of whom were women.
The church was a federation of Presbyterians, Baptists, Methodists, and Disciples of Christ. Each group was responsible for services one Sunday each month, and any fifth Sunday was open to other denominations. Summer revivals were sponsored by the groups in alphabetical order. An oil well was drilled in the front yard of the church in 1945, and the mineral royalty financed the building program on the original lot given by William Stafford.
In 1958 the population was 300, but it dropped to 150 by 1964. The Iago Federated Church was still active in 1991. The school served as a Boling junior high. In 1990 a few businesses still operated in the area, and several outlying farms and oil and gas wells were still productive. A cemetery behind the school campus was neglected and overgrown. In 1990 Iago had a population of fifty-six.
Matagorda County Historical Commission, Historic Matagorda County (3 vols., Houston: Armstrong, 1986). Frank X. Tolbert, "Tolbert's Texas" Scrapbook, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin. Del Weniger, The Explorers' Texas (Austin: Eakin Press, 1984). Annie Lee Williams, A History of Wharton County (Austin: Von Boeckmann-Jones, 1964).
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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, Merle R. Hudgins, "Iago, TX," accessed February 12, 2016, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hni01.
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