Hedwigs Hill

HEDWIGS HILL, TEXAS . Hedwigs (Hedwig's, Hedwig) Hill, a dispersed rural community just off Interstate Highway 87 five miles south of Art in southern Mason County, is thought to be one of the oldest communities in the county. It was settled by the overflow of German settlers from nearby Fredericksburg, among them Christopher Voges and LouisMartin qv . Martin's mother and daughter were both named Hedwig, and the town is believed to have been named for them. One of the first post offices in the county opened at Hedwigs Hill in June 1858 with Louis Martin as postmaster; later his nephew, Charles Martin, became postmaster. In the late 1850s Charles Martin and his wife, Anna Henriette Mebus Martin , opened the community's first store. It was one of the best-stocked stores in the vicinity, and the Martins traded over a wide area, conducting a freighting business with San Antonio and Austin. The main shipments from Hedwigs Hill were cotton and livestock. The community store was also one of the first to begin selling barbed wire when the local ranchers began to fence the ranges in the late 1880s. A Methodist Episcopal church was established at Hedwigs Hill in 1870; at one time there were as many as three churches in the area. In the late 1800s and early 1900s the community also had a district school. With the establishment of better local roads, which facilitated travel to larger towns, Hedwigs Hill declined. Its post office closed in 1907, and its estimated population from the 1930s through the 1950s was only ten. The community had at least one store in the early 1960s, and by 1968 its reported population had grown to sixty-three. The last dwelling at the old Hedwigs Hill townsite, reportedly the home of Louis Martin, was moved to the Ranching Heritage Center in Lubbock at Texas Tech University in 1971. By 1974 the reported population of the Hedwigs Hill area had grown to eighty-five, but by 1990 it had dropped to ten. The population remained the same in 2000.

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