a Pecan Shell
The town was named
for one of the original Spanish settlers - Jose Antonio Chireno. Perhaps
Chireno's most famous resident was dancer/ movie star Ann Miller who
used to spend summers on her grandparent's farm.
of significant historic events in Chireno
1790: The Spanish
government granted land to settlers
1837: John Newton Fall, of Georgia (the first Anglo settler) bought
land from JosÚ Chirino.
That same year Samuel Flournoy, built a large two-story house that
served as the town's first post office.
1839: Chireno got it's first public school.
1846: the Flournoy house became a stagecoarch stop.
The Civil War:
The men of fighting age in Chireno left the area to serve defending
the Texas coast. Others operated a tannery supplying boots, saddles,
harnesses and reins for the Southern cause.
The Freedmen's Bureau opened an office nearby in Nacogdoches,
and black soldiers were sent to Chireno as election monitors. The
Ku Klux Klan organized locally to prevent black voting. Eventually
1866: one of the first oil wells in Texas. was drilled.
1912: the Angelina
and Neches River Railroad came to Chireno from Lufkin.
1990: The population of Chireno was 415.
in the Pineywoods by Archie
P. McDonald, PhD
War II was different. Captured Germans or Japanese could not be
allowed to "go home" or our G.I.'s would be fighting them
again soon. So it was decided that they be detained in America until
repatriated at the end of the war. Texas hosted 29 such camps, including
a major depot located in Huntsville.
Work brought the German prisoners to Deep East Texas. Faced with a
labor shortage during the war and a devastating ice storm that made
rapid harvest of damaged timber imperative, Ernest L. Kurth, founder
of the Southland Paper Mill in Lufkin,
convinced the government to "loan" him some of Huntsville's
German prisoners of war.
The prisoners were willing to work, a better alternative than the
tedium of incarceration. Their arrival in camp in Chireno raised the
anxiety level of native East Texans at first, but in time the system
worked well. Amid war-time rationing, some East Texans resented the
good chow -- including ice cream! -- enjoyed in the camp, but mostly
they were just curious about these strangers from the Rhine country..."
Escapes, in its purpose to preserve historic, endangered and vanishing
Texas, asks that anyone wishing to share their local history, stories,
landmarks and recent or vintage photos, please contact