a Pecan Shell
Belcher, after local ranchers John and Alex Belcher, it became
known as Belcherville in the late 1850s even though there was no populace
other than the cowboys on the Belcher Ranch. In 1887, the Gainesville,
Henrietta and Western Railroad was expanding its routes and the
Belchers platted a townsite on 27,000 acres they had purchased for
the purpose. The town was granted a post office the same year the
roadroad arrived. In 1890, nearby Red
River Station was hit by a tornado, and the population abandoned
that place in favor of Belcherville. The town incorporated three years
later. There were just over 300 people living in Belcherville in 1900,
supported by thirty businesses.
The town's incorporation was voided in a 1908 vote. Already in decline,
Belcherville suffered two fires just after WWI,
causing the population to move to greener pastures in Nocona,
just as the residents of Red
River Station had moved to Belcherville. The town still had 192
people in the mid-1920s, but declined to less than 100 a decade later.
The post office closed in the 30s and by the mid 1950s it had reached
a rock-bottom population of 31 people.
By the late 1960s, it had somehow risen to 90, only to decline again
to the current 34 - the same estimate used for the last 40 years.
The Belcherville cemetery is just west of town north of Hwy
| From Old
West fires often impossible to tame
by Delbert Trew
...A strange but true story with fire as the villain happened in the
Texas ghost town of Belcherville. Established in 1886, the
town lived until 1954. Being an "end-of-track" town, it prospered
until the railroad extended on through to other towns. This started
the decline of the settlement and fostered dissension between two
factions living on opposite sides of the track.
According to legend, one side of town burned and was believed to be
started by the opposite side residents. The residents of the burned-out
side retaliated by setting fire to the remaining side. These two incidents
jinxed the town for newcomers and the burned areas were never rebuilt
with Belcherville becoming a ghost town.
Could this be termed "the town that committed suicide?"
© Delbert Trew
"It's All Trew" November
12, 2007 Column
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