replica of the first Atascosa County Courthouse (c.1856) at Amphion. Photo Courtesy
Jeanson, October 2004|
in a Pecan Shell|
The listing for Amphion in the Handbook of
Texas states that "Some have claimed that Amphion was the first county seat [of
Atascosa County]. The courthouse above is a replica of the county's 1856 courthouse
that now occupies a place across the street from the current Atascosa
County courthouse in Jourdanton.
Although a post office was opened in 1881 (closed 1916), no one seems to remember
the origin of the town's name. The town had two cotton gins and a store by 1887
and by the mid 1890s, the number of residents was around 100 and town businesses
included a hotel. Amphion had both a school and Masonic lodge prior to 1900. The
school had 72 students taught by two teachers by 1904 and Amphion's future looked
rosy. But when the Artesian Belt Railroad bypassed the town in 1909, the writing
was on the wall. The population remained at 100 for a few years, but as businesses
moved to Jourdanton, the decline became evident.
Enrollement shrank and the town settled into a long decline. The town managed
to keep the school open through the Great Depression but after WWII
and school consolidation, Amphion was labeled a ghost town by the mid-1950s.
and Amphion Cemetery Amphion
traces its beginning to the establishment of Atascosa County's first courthouse
which is believed to have been constructed near this site at the county seat of
Navatasco in 1857. Amphion, thought to have been named after a figure in Greek
mythology, was located within the 17,000-acre ranch of Jose Antonio Navarro, a
prominent local rancher and signer of the Texas Declaration of Independence.
was at one time a thriving community with several general stores, a hotel, post
office, blacksmith shop, cotton gin, tannery, churches, fraternal lodges and a
school. Amphion Cemetery was established about 1870 at this site on land donated
by Roy Jenkins and Frank Lozano. Although the earliest recorded gravesite is that
of Laura Underwood (d.1891) there is a gravestone with the year 1800 inscribed
on its surface that local tradition claims marks the grave of a young boy killed
by indians. This cemetery contains the graves of at least two veterans of the
American Civil War.
When railroad lines were built through Atascosa County
in 1907 and 1927 along routes that bypassed Amphion, business activity declined
and the community eventually dissolved. Virtually all that remains of the former
town of Amphion is this cemetery.
| Although there is
no cemetery marked Amphion on the Atascosa County map, the name Amphion appears
surrounded by four nearby cemeteries (Rodriquez, Alvarado, Herrera and Willborn).|
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