closed gas station in Belcherville|
Photo courtesy Barclay
Gibson, February 2007
in a Pecan Shell
Originally named Belcher, after local ranchers
John and Alex Belcher, it became known as Belcherville in the late 1850s even
though there was no populace other than the cowboys on the Belcher Ranch. In 1887,
the Gainesville, Henrietta and Western Railroad was expanding its routes
and the Belchers platted a townsite on 27,000 acres they had purchased for the
purpose. The town was granted a post office the same year the roadroad arrived.
In 1890, nearby Red River Station was
hit by a tornado, and the population abandoned that place in favor of Belcherville.
The town incorporated three years later. There were just over 300 people living
in Belcherville in 1900, supported by thirty businesses.
town's incorporation was voided in a 1908 vote. Already in decline, Belcherville
suffered two fires just after WWI,
causing the population to move to greener pastures in Nocona,
just as the residents of Red River Station
had moved to Belcherville. The town still had 192 people in the mid-1920s, but
declined to less than 100 a decade later. The post office closed in the 30s and
by the mid 1950s it had reached a rock-bottom population of 31 people.
the late 1960s, it had somehow risen to 90, only to decline again to the current
34 - the same estimate used for the last 40 years.
cemetery is just west of town north of Hwy 82.
fires often impossible to tame by Delbert Trew |
but true story with fire as the villain happened in the Texas ghost town of Belcherville.
Established in 1886, the town lived until 1954. Being an "end-of-track" town,
it prospered until the railroad extended on through to other towns. This started
the decline of the settlement and fostered dissension between two factions living
on opposite sides of the track.
According to legend, one side of town
burned and was believed to be started by the opposite side residents. The residents
of the burned-out side retaliated by setting fire to the remaining side. These
two incidents jinxed the town for newcomers and the burned areas were never rebuilt
with Belcherville becoming a ghost town.
Could this be termed "the town
that committed suicide?"
© Delbert Trew
"It's All Trew" November
12, 2007 Column
Related Topics: Texas
Towns | Texas Ghost Towns | Texas
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