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IAGO, TEXAS

Raising Cane in a town named after a villain

Wharton County, Central Texas S | Texas Gulf Coast

2915'59"N 9557'47"W (29.266512, -95.963005)

FM 1301 & FM 1096
12 miles E of Wharton
2 miles NW of Boling
73 miles SW of Houston via US 59
Zip Code 77420
Population: 161 (2010) 56 (1990)

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Iago Texas landscape
The green fields and blue skies of Iago
TE Photo 2000

History in a Pecan Shell

In the beginning was cane and it throve. The sugar-bearing variety was introduced and then came the plantations, although nothing on the scale of the Louisiana estates. Then came a blight and the Civil War and each threw a wet blanket on Iago's early days. It didn't bother too many people since there weren't many people living there to begin with.

The land was pretty much abandoned until the railroad came through about the turn of the century. Clarence D. Kemp had started a store in the 1880s and opened a post office there that ran from 1891 to 1900. He sold stamps and groceries to the few people who still lived in the area.

In 1911 Kemp sold some land to G.C. Mick who surveyed the land and laid out a town plat. A school came about in 1902 because who (besides Louisiana) wants a bunch of ignorant children running around a sugar cane field? The 20s were Iago's salad days (they diversified from sugar cane) with a blacksmith, drugstore, barber and several groceries and mercantile stores making an appearance.

We didn't mention churches in the last paragraph because there was just one. It might have been called the First Federated Church of Iago, for it was used by four different religious groups who would take turns using the building. They drilled an oil well in the churchyard, which must've really annoyed the sermon-givers, but the money was welcome and paid off the church.

Pumpjack in Iago Texas
Pumpjack in the lush landscape of Wharton County
TE Photo 2000

Iago, Texas Forum

  • Subject: Boling / Iago / New Gulf

    My mother grew up in the Texas Gulf Sulfur company town of New Gulf ca. 1928-1944 and graduated from Boling High School. Her father and numerous relatives worked with TGS. As I recall she spoke of her first job as a teen with a Brockmann's Drygoods Store in the town.

    My grandfather had a home in Iago for many years which is still standing on the main street parallel to the old railroad and current highway. Our family visited and even stayed there several stints in between venues from 1944-1955 in which I attended Iago Elementary for short times. We stayed in a homemade trailer house on the property among the pumpjacks and oil tanks. Granddad kept a milk cow which he stake-tied and grazed on the abundant grass along the tracks. One day tragedy hit when it got loose on the tracks and was hit by a train.

    The one store in the fifties was on the corner, building still standing. For a prolonged period there was a Red Ryder BB gun in the window that I coveted and dreamed of having every visit. I saved every penny I could gather and earn to buy it when we returned again with constant fear it would be sold. Fortunately, it or one like it was there when finally I bought it on one of the visits.

    I visited periodically Boling, Iago and the TGS ghost town and plant out of nostalgia over the years and recently retired back to the region. On Nov 23, 2015 on such a tour with a visiting relative we learned of the old Boling jail which I was unaware of over the many years and visited it. It was supposedly built in the pre-'20's and been recorded as a historic site. Hopefully it will be preserved as a Texas landmark eventually. It may be a worthwhile addition to your site on Boling. http://www.tinytexasjails.com/?page_id=618 - Wallace L. McKeehan, November 26, 2015


    Editor:
    We would enjoy hearing from any readers who have stories of syrup making, cane-raising, oil drilling, snakebites or any other stories relevant to growing up in Iago. Please email history@texasescapes.com



  • Take a road trip

    Texas Gulf Coast | Central Texas South

    Iago, Texas Nearby Towns:
    Wharton the county seat
    Boling
    Houston
    See Wharton County

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