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  Texas : Towns A-Z / Gulf Coast :

MATHIS, TEXAS

San Patricio County, Gulf Coast / South Texas
FM 359 just off Interstate Highway 37
37 miles NW of Corpus Christi
24 miles S of Beeville
31 miles NE of Alice

Population: 5,034 (2000)

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Mathis Texas Streetscape
Mathis street scene
TE photo, February 2006
History in a Pecan Shell

In 1887 when the San Antonio and Aransas Pass Railroad was laying tracks across San Patricio County, Thomas H. Mathis got naming rights when he donated 300 acres for a townsite and school. Mathis could well afford 300 acres since he and his brother J. M. Mathis, held 37,000 acres in the vicinity. The brothers had dropped out of the Coleman, Mathis, Fulton Cattle Company in 1879. Thomas Mathis owned an additional 60,000 acres around Mathis and built a fence enclosing the town. As late as 1906 Mathis was enclosed and arriving and departing trains had to be let in and let out.

Mathis' success was partially fueled by residents of Lagarto moving to be near the railroad. The Mathis post office opened in 1890 and the towns first school was held in a private residence in 1893. Two years later a one-room school built and in 1913 a second railroad (The San Antonio, Uvalde and Gulf Pacific) arrived.

Cotton and corn crops were grown and ranching was an important part of the economy. During the 30s, winter vegetable crops were grown and both railroads maintained shipping sheds. Mathis incorporated in 1939.
Icehouse
TE photo, February 2006
Mathis Texas building
Mathis Texas water tower
Mathis water tower

TE photo, February 2006
More Water Towers
Old neon in Mathis Texas
Old neon

TE photo, February 2006
More Old Neons
In the early 1950s 7,000 acres of land two miles north of town were developed for vegetable crops - complete with irrigation and deep water wells. Cotton, corn and sorghum replaced vegetables in the 60s.

In the 1930s the Nueces River was dammed and Lake Mathis (since renamed Lake Corpus Christi) was formed. Construction of the Wesley Seale Dam in the late 50s raised the level of the lake to where it became desirable for weekend homes.

In 1988 Mathis had a population of 5,910 which has since decreased to 5,034.

Mathis Stories:

Great Aunt Jane's Pair of Scares by Maggie Van Ostrand
"It's 1944 and supper is finished, dishes washed, and anticipation high, for we are all sitting on the floor in front of a carefully stoked fire waiting for the evening's storytelling to begin. Miss Ruth Dodson of Mathis is about to relay the two scariest things that happened to her great Aunt, as they had been relayed to her. It might go something like this..."

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