a Pecan Shell|
Brothers Levi, Israel, Riley and Billy Harkey are credited with founding the town
in 1856 along Wallace Creek. With their parents and four sisters, the initial
population was just one short of the current population. In time the family bought
the land on which the town now sits. Harkeyville once challenged San
Saba for the role of county seat but was defeated. It’s proximity to San
Saba was the town’s curse.
The town once had all essential business
and even a racetrack. The first school opened in 1879. A fire destroyed the town’s
gin in 1920 and the racetrack was put out of business by a rival in San
Saba. The school merged with San Saba in
1929 but the town somehow managed to keep operating through the Great Depression.
The town was dealt the last blow in the early 50s when it was bypassed
by Highway 190. The population of the community was only 40 in 1949 and it declined
from there to 12 (1968-2000). The town received a historical marker in 1974.
Harkeyville historical marker|
Photo courtesy Ernie
Historical Marker Text|
site once famous for its horses and racetrack. Riley Harkey (1832-1920) and Israel
Harkey (1835-1914) were Indian scouts in Texas in 1850-53. In 1855 they led their
parents, Mathias and Catherine Harkey, to move here from Arkansas with other adult
sons, daughters, in-laws and grandchildren. The families ranched, and Mathias
Harkey ran a country store for many years.
Riley Harkey brought to Texas
a fine, fleet footed mare, who with her racing progeny drew crowds of enthusiasts
to this site for half a century. Other sons and grandsons of Mathias Harkey also
joined in the breeding, training, and racing of horses. Stores, blacksmith shop,
and other businesses all faced east on a single street overlooking the flat with
its racetrack and baseball diamond. There was no post office, but the village
was so well known that mail addressed to Harkeyville promptly arrived here.
On Nov. 26, 1873, George W. Barnett (1823-1885) gave land for the first school;
the schoolhouse was used also for church services and public meetings.
The racetrack closed in 1907; the cotton gin burned in 1920, and was not rebuilt;
school consolidated in 1929 with San Saba. The
last store closed in 1954. A community hall, built 1973, marks site of the town.
Escapes, in its purpose to preserve historic, endangered and vanishing
Texas, asks that anyone wishing to share their local history, stories, and vintage/historic
photos of their town, please contact
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