Palo Alto College

San Antonio, Texas


Russell Stavinoha Fall 2001
History 1302 Hines


Tobacco Can sign The town named after a can of Tobacco

If you should go to this German town ask some of the older residents if it is "Das Leben Schön und Suöss," which, interpreted from German to English, means: "In Fashing life is pretty and sweet."

Click on map to see larger view.

Fashing is at the junction of Farm Road 2924 and Farm Road 99, 29 miles southeast of Jourdanton in southeastern corner of Atascosa County. The entire area lies in a transitional belt, where the black land prairie of Texas blends with the South Texas Plain, or Brush Country of Texas. The surface of the land, with its level to rolling topography, broken only on the north by the Tordilla Hills, with its dense cover of grass and brush, and its black, waxy soil, exhibits characteristics of both geographical areas. Fashing Community comprises an area of 40 square miles.



The original inhabitants of the Fashing area were roving bands of Indians, principally Coahuiltecans, Apaches, and Comanches. Spanish Conquistadors and Padres were the first white men to travel the area. Cattle from the nearby Rancho de la Mora and Rancho de las Cabras, 18th century Spanish ranches belonging respectively to the Mission San Antonio de Valero and Mission San Francisco de la Espada, grazed the rich grasslands of the Fashing area. These same cattle figured in the winning of the American Revolution


The secularization of the missions of San Antonio in 1793 and the bad times that fell upon Texas as a result of the Texas counter-part to the Mexican Revolution, 1811-1813, deterred settlement or activity in the Fashing area until 1830, when Irish settlers of the San Patricio Colony beat out a road directly from the town of San Patricio to San Antonio. The road fell into disuse after the country was depopulated, again, by the Texas Revolution. The San Patricio Trail, was reopened by General Zachary Taylor during the War with Mexico in order for his troops along the lower Nueces to receive supplies from San Antonio. Among other notables who traveled the road and wrote a description of the country was Captain U.S. Grant, who gained fame later during the Civil War. Traces of the Old San Patricio trail may still be found in the Fashing area.


Historical Marker

In 1915, there was a 5,500-acre Hickok Ranch, which had been subdivided by Warnecke and Stieren Land Company, and transformed into farms. The town first called Hickok was surveyed and platted. The surrounding areas had been settled, as early as the 1850's by ranching families along the San Patricio Trail. O.F.C. Henke from Hobson, Texas, in 1916 was the first to purchase a small tract of land along with a few other hardy farmers from the Hobson area of Karnes County moved to Fashing and established farms. A public well was drilled on the square. Otto Warnecke built a small, wood-framed building, styled lightheartedly as the "Warnecke Hotel, " The place jokingly characterized by a popular jingle among the people of the area: "Hickok City, Henke Street, Warnecke Hotel, and Nothing to Eat!"


A few settlers did come to farm. Albert Schoreder who kept supplies of food, and goods for the new residents built a small store in Hickok. After World War I and the drought of 1918, Warnecke and Stieren, undisturbed, advertised for more settlers from the Bracken-New Braunfels area. A number of new families responded, and moved here to take up their new livelihood on this farmer's frontier. Settlement was soon sufficient for the area residents to petition for a post office, for up to this time the mail had been brought out from Karnes City by Model T truck and by motorcycle. The name of Hickok was submitted. But because of the close similarity of the town of Hitchcock, Texas, the first proposed name of Hickok was turned down by the Post Office Department. A second name Hindenburg was then submitted. In the meantime, World War I was just getting underway in Europe, and one of the top German generals happened to be named General Paul Von Hindenburg. Because of the heavy anti-German feeling that prevailed around the country, the Post Office Department Disapproved that name, also, and instructed that yet another name be submitted.


Tobacco Can sign

By this time, Albert Schroeder, store operator at Hickok who was slated to become first postmaster, was stumped, but thought that there surely must be something in his store from which he could borrow a name for a post office. He came upon a can of "Fashion" brand cut plug tobacco. He liked the name and submitted it. The petition came back from Washington, approved, but for some unknown reason the spelling was changed to Fashing and it has been Fashing ever since. This is how the small place of Fashing acquired its name, from a can of tobacco. Quite appropriately, Albert Schroeder became its first postmaster in 1921. The Post office has been discontinued since 1988.


Cows in the pasture


In the 1920's the Fashing community slowly but steadily developed, and new farm families continued to arrive, mostly people of German ancestry from the New Braunfels area. The first schoolhouse was built in 1917 at the site of the former Hickok School, and replaced by a second one in 1921. This school building was enlarged and remodeled a number of times, before it was replaced by the present brick school in 1952. In 1930 a separate school for Hispanic children was constructed and used until the two schools were combined in 1947. The Fashing Community School District later consolidated with the Karnes City Independent School District in 1958. After 1980 the seventh and eighth grades were bused to Karnes City. Grades one through six remained in Fashing until the school was closed in 1988. Now all children of the Fashing community go to Karnes City School for all grades.

Methodist Church      Catholic Church      Martin Luther Lutheran Church/Civic Center


As the community developed, along came the churches. The Fashing Methodist church, organized in 1922, erected its house of worship in 1925, with lumber from the dismantled Bastrop Methodist Church. In 1934 the St. Elizabeth's Catholic Church was built from locally quarried stone on land donated by the local Henke family. This church was built with the help of volunteers in the Fashing community. The Martin Luther Lutheran Church was later erected in 1948. The church later became the Fashing-Peggy Civic center.


Transportation and communication presented quite a problem to the people of Fashing. "Before roads were paved in 1947," remembered George Weigang, an early settler, "there was only one mud hole between Fashing and Karnes City-and that was the whole way." Model T, horse, and mule provided the surest method of transportation before paved roads. Sometimes during exceptionally wet winters, the mud road between Fashing and Karnes City (17 miles) was impassable.


Oil Well

Telephone lines were put up from Karnes City to Fashing in the late 1930's, and the Karnes Electric Cooperative, Inc., in the mid-1940, supplied electrical power. At the center for mineral development, the first local oil production was from the Weigang Field, discovered in 1946. After further petroleum strikes in the Fashing Edwards Limestone Field, gas and sulphur plants were built by the Lone Star Producing Company, Warren Petroleum Corporation, Elcor Chemical Co., and the Atlantic-Richfield Company.



Uranium Mine - left view      Uranium Mine - center view       Uranium Mine - right view
Tordilla Hill, famed geographical landmark five miles due north of Fashing was the site of the first major uranium discovery in Texas, in 1954. Currently, the largest commercial uranium operation in Texas is near here. The economy of Fashing community is primarily agricultural, and the principal crops raised in the area include flax, maize, wheat, corn, and cotton.


View of farm land


In the 1880's the old San Patricio Trail that ran from San Antonio to San Patricio was an important freight and stage road; from the time of the War with Mexico until the completion of the I&GN Railroad from San Antonio to Laredo, and the SA&AP Railroad from San Antonio to Corpus Christi.

Much of the early history of the area occurred in connection with the old San Patricio Trail, a main thoroughfare through Atascosa County for over 50 years. First beaten out and used by the Irish settlers of the San Patricio Colony along the lower Nueces River in the 1930's, the road fell into disuse during the Texas Revolution and the years of the Texas Republic. At the outset of the Mexican War, General Zachary Taylor, Commander of the Army of Occupation stationed at Corpus Christi, ordered the old road reestablished in 1845 as a direct supply route from San Antonio to his army.

During the Civil War, this road was commonly called the "Cotton Road," which was one of the major lifelines of the South, for it was the principal road over which most of the Confederate cotton was shipped enroute to Matamoras, Mexico, in exchange for gold, money, and military supplies; arms, ammunition, medical supplies, provisions. After the war, it continued to be the main road in south Texas from San Antonio to Corpus Christi and Brownsville until the railroads from San Antonio reached the Gulf Coast and the Rio Grande in the mid-1880's In the nearby vicinity of Fashing were the stage stops of Rock spring, Belle Branch, Tordilla, and Roundtree's, where passengers and horses could be watered and refreshed. There are few remains at any of these sites today.


During the later half of the nineteenth century, the unique "Cattle Kingdom" of South Texas developed in and around the Fashing area. Land use was devoted to the raising of cattle and sheep, and this area generally comprised parts of the Butler, Hickok, Tom and Roundtree Ranches.


Butler Ranch

Most of the residents of this farming community have been of German descent and have maintained many German traditions. Oil, gas, and uranium have added to the economy. In the 1930s Fashing had a population of 25 and five businesses. From 1939 until 1964 it had 125 residents and four businesses. In 1968 it had 90 residents and no businesses. From 1970 to 1990 the population reached an all time high of 150 people, today's population of as of 1998 census is 35 residents. In 1972 Fashing was proclaimed the "Grand Champion Rual Community of Texas" For its efforts in community improvement. But the most important, is the fact that this involvement has produced a greater community spirit-a cooperative spirit that the Fashing folks are noted for all over South Texas.


Since the realization of the Fashing Water Supply System in 1969, and the conversion of the old Lutheran Church building into the Fashing Civic Center in 1971, Fashing has been able to maintain it's small town feel. The Civic Center is often now used for community meetings, family reunions, parties, and any other special events that may come up. Fashing now has all the essentials for rural living at its best. With good natural resources, a favorable climate, good paved roads, electric power, telephone service, a public water system, a civic center, two churches, and a very fine group of people as one could find in the state of Texas, who wouldn't agree that Fashing is a nice place to live?



Fashing Texas has come a long way since the early 1900's. The community excelled and became prosperous in the 1940 - 1970's, at its peak economic status. As the children of Fashing grew up, the community began to decline. The children left the farms to go to college and work. It has also become harder for people to make a living on the farm. Because of the high cost of today's equipment and technology, many of the farmers today, have other jobs, where they work an eight-hour day, and farm in the evenings and weekends. Because of this many farmers today work 16-hour days so they can farm the land and work their job. Older people own most of the land, which is leased to younger people who are still interested in farming. This provides a small source of income for the older people of the Fashing community. The community population has risen to about 150 in the mid 1900's and throughout the years, till today (2001), declined to about 35 people mostly elderly widows.


The friendly folks of Fashing really mean it when they say: "In Fashing its Das Leben Schön und Suöss," which, interpreted from German to English, means: "In Fashing life is pretty and sweet."



The first interview is of Sharron Krueger. She has presently lived in Fashing Texas for the past fifteen years. She moved here when she married her husband and they now have two beautiful daughters the catch the bus to Karnes City for School every morning. She works at one of the local gas plants in Fashing. If you were to ask Sharron how life is in Fashing Texas, she would tell you how much she loves it here, how peaceful the country living is, and she would surly gloat about how great the community is. For her children it is an indispensible experience to be around the animals of their small farm. Not to mention the quality time she gets to spend with her children and loving mother-in-law.


The second interview is withAlfred William Krueger. He has lived in Fashing all his 85 years, born in a nearby town and raised as one of the residents of Fashing. His father came over from Germany in 1891 when he was three and his parents were one of the first settlers to come from Gonzalez to settle here in the early 1900's. To this day Alfred can still speaks German, English, and Spanish fluently, and only has a third grade education. Farming is Alfred's love, and he is a man with nine successful children and a loving wife, to whom he has been married to for the past 61 years. He loves Fashing and would not ever fathom the idea of leaving these wonderful people, and breathtaking landscape. He loves raising cattle, and farming the land growing maize, milo, corn, wheat, coastal and oats. He said that if you took me away from the land "I wouldn't know what to do with myself!"


The third interview is withMary Ellen Henke. She has lived in Fashing for 62 years She came from the town of Linz and a family of 10 brothers and sisters when she married her husband. Together they have four children: one boy and three girls, now all between the ages of 51 and 61 years of age. Her son still lives in the Fashing area and works at the Karnes city school. Her daughters have moved elsewhere in Texas but not completely out of touch. Every so often, all the children come home to see and visit each other, and home in Fashing is the meeting place that keeps the family very tight. Mary Henke still farms a little, but mostly ranching cattle is their main source of income. She also sells eggs from her 120 laying hens to Cambellton stores to make money, the business and the people have been very good throughout the years. She enjoys everyone she comes in contact with and all these actions keep here very busy and interactive with the community. Mrs. Henke also has one of her relatives nearby, her brother, who is 94 and still drives a tractor - farming the land doing what he loves to do! The farmers of Fashing used to pick cotton but since the drought in 1963 and 1964 people have stopped picking cotton and have been growing other crops in the area. There is a lot of pride at the Henke's house, the family built their own house and later they added rooms on to suit the growing needs of the family. This was very common in Fashing at this time, families building their own houses in farming communities such as this one. To Mary Henke: The family environment here in Fashing is great and very close, every person here is very nice and everyone knows everyone. Today there is probably about 50 people in the Fashing area.


The fourth interview is with Matilda Krueger. She married Alfred Krueger in 1940, and moved to Fashing from the nearby town of Campbellton, and has lived here for the past 61 years. Together they have nine children in all. Five of the children loved farming as children and have continued farming till today, doing more than growing crops. They have grown into business people, using their farms to make part of their living. Some have dairy farms; specialized calf sales, ranching, and of course, raise crops. Krueger said that one of the hardest times of her life was during the 1950's drought. When sheand her seven children farmed the land while her husband went off to Port Lavaca as a carpenter to make extra money for his family to survive the drought. "Please keep in mind that we had no phone, and could hardly wait to see my husband Alfred," she said. "Some people of this time period moved away because of the extreme dry conditions, but we toughed it out. Because we love it here, we like the people and they like us. Come and visit for a while, and you will see how nice it is here. And if you don't like it, you can go back to you city. But I'm sure you will love it here just as much as we do. Today we still grow corn, wheat, maze, milo, and for our cattle hay grazers such as oats, and coastal hay."



Atascosa History Committee. Atascosa County History. Pleasanton, TX: Taylor publishing Co. 1984.

This is a very good source. It gave the history in detail for the past 165 years. This source had the most credible and accurate history. I wish there would have been a later edition of this type of publication to account for the past twenty years. This source did provide examples of maps and specific Documents.

Ramos, Mary G., ed. Texas Almanac 2000-2001. Dallas: The Dallas Morning News, 1999.

I used this source to give the latest population count for my community of Fashing.

Henke, Elroy. Henke Family. [Texas]: n.p., 2001.

This was a very good source. It provided me with the entire history of the Henke family. In here it gave stories of history all over the south. Mainly, the particulars of Fashing and the Henke's contributions to this community.

The Internet was very useful in finding pictures about the local landmarks. I liked this source because it gave me good digital pictures. I would have liked to see more pictures of the previous town setup many years ago. I would have liked to have been able to receive much more information about Fashing Texas. There is very little information on the internet about this small Texas town.

Handbook of Texas Online, Atascosa County History. Barker Texas History Center, University of Texas at Austin. "n. pag." The New Handbook of Texas. On- line. Internet. July 23, 2001. 20 Sept. 2001

This is a multidisciplinary encyclopedia of Texas history, geography, and culture and was a good source due to describing exactly where the town is located by street and geographical location. It told about the people, and the population's of the past.

These sources gave me a very nice picture of South Central Texas City's in whole view. I liked this because it gave me birds eye view of where Fashing was located in conjunction to surrounding cities, and gave a many great colorful picture to use for the website. This source did not give much written information though, and I wished it would have.

Thonhoff, Robert H. Welcome to Fashing-Peggy. [Texas]: n.p., 1972.

This source gave an accurate and Brief history of the past 155 years of Fashing. The Author is a former teacher, and principal of the high school of Fashing about 25 years ago. I received this source from the Author himself through the mail. This gave a great, easy to read format along with maps and pictures to relate to the towns history.

Map locator. "Fashing TX" On-line internet. 2001. 18 Oct. 2001

This source gave a great map of where in this great state of Texas, Fashing may be found. I really like this web sight because you can get mapping directions on how to get to Fashing with incredible accuracy. You can also zoom in and out to get a great birds eye-view of south Texas.

Krueger, Alfred W. Personal interview. 16 Sept. 2001.

This was one of my best sources, he is my grandfather and is eighty-five years old and still farming. He told me more about Fashing than I could have ever written down. He new this town like the back of his hand he knew the land and who owned it before, and now. When I was younger if we ever went somewhere he knew everyone. And every time including the day of the interview we went to the see his cattle. In this short trip every day I learned more and more about the people of Fashing and the way of life here. I always love going to his house, the hospitality and peacefulness is forever so rewarding.

Henke, Mary. Personal interview. 22 Sept. 2001.

This is also one of my best sources, because she has lived in the community most of her life. Mary understands the good times and the bad times like no other. Here in Fashing she has made a lot of friends, she has not learned the history of this great community, she has "lived it." She was very helpful in the interview and I could not have asked her too many questions. She is part of the family that first settled here in Fashing and as you can see the legend lives on. She loves the community and like any American works hard to make a living.

Krueger, Sharon. Personal interview. 30 Sept. 2001.

This is a great source because she is much younger than the other interviews. I think it is great to know how the younger people of the community like it here in Fashing. As you can tell in the interview she loves the community and the benefit it may provide for her children. After talking with Sharon I gathered that family values here are very high. Although she did not know the entire history of Fashing, it was excellent to get the younger generations perspective on the lifestyle of this community.

Krueger, Matilda. Personal interview. 7 Oct 2001.

This is another great interview, and just so happens to be my grandmother. She has lived the history of Fashing since she was a young lady. Not only does she know the history of Fashing, she knows all the people and some of there history also. There are many older people of this community but please don't underestimate their abilities. Farming and ranching is not an easy job and family values are very important here. From what I have learned every holiday such as Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas are always celebrated here at grandma's house. Here in Fashing 60 miles south of San Antonio and then 15 miles from any major highway is the meeting place for forty two grandchildren. So there must be something special about the Fashing community.

Return to Small Town Research Projects Index