|Motto: "Where Everybody Is Somebody"|
Location of Hico, Texas
|• Total||1.5 sq mi (3.8 km2)|
|• Land||1.5 sq mi (3.8 km2)|
|• Water||0.0 sq mi (0.0 km2)|
|Elevation||1,027 ft (313 m)|
|• Density||911.4/sq mi (351.9/km2)|
|Time zone||Central (CST) (UTC-6)|
|• Summer (DST)||CDT (UTC-5)|
|GNIS feature ID||1374058|
Hico was named by its founder for his unincorporated hometown in Calloway County in southwestern Kentucky near Murray, just north of the Tennessee state boundary. The original site was on Honey Creek, but when the Texas Central line part of the historic Katy Railroad was built nearby, the citizens moved two-and-a half miles to the rail line. Hico was incorporated in 1883 and became the Hamilton County shipping center. Over the years, it became a cattle and cotton market. Today ranching and tourism dominate the local economy.
"Brushy Bill" Roberts and Billy the Kid
Ollie P. Roberts, usually known as Ollie L. Roberts, "Brushy Bill" Roberts, or William Henry Roberts, a resident of Hico during the late 1940s, claimed to have been the outlaw Billy The Kid. Although his assertion has been largely discredited by historians, the Hico Chamber of Commerce has capitalized on his infamy by opening a small Billy The Kid Museum, where visitors can decide whether Brushy Bill was indeed William H. Bonney. Bonney was born in New York City, but Brushy Bill claimed to have been born in Buffalo Gap south of Abilene, Texas. The museum offers a taped video presentation of Sam Donaldson, a native Texan, narrating an ABC documentary about Brushy Bill's claim. There is also a replica of a 19th century jail in the museum and other artifacts of the period.
In the downtown is a marker devoted to Brushy Bill: "Ollie L. 'Brushy Bill' Roberts, alias Billy the Kid, died in Hico, Texas, December 27, 1950. He spent the last days of his life trying to prove to the world his true identity and obtain the pardon promised him by the governor of the state of New Mexico (Lew Wallace). We believe his story and pray to God for the forgiveness he solemnly asked for [sic]." Robert Stack did a segment on Roberts in the early 1990 on the NBC television series Unsolved Mysteries. That show also raised the possibility that history could be wrong.
According to Jan Canup of the Hico Chamber of Commerce, several relatives, including a son and grandson, of former Sheriff Patrick F. Garrett claim that their kinsman never killed The Kid. There were no reliable witnesses to what body was actually placed in the Kid's grave, according to this line of argument. The Garrett family contends that Garrett and the Kid may have even plotted to collect the $500 reward offered for The Kid. Roberts' grave has not been revealed, thus preventing DNA authentication of the remains.
Next to the Brushy Bill marker on North Pecan Street, is a large statue by the sculptor James Rice of Billy the Kid firing his gun. Downtown Hico, focused upon the Billy the Kid Museum on South Pecan Street, is a restored Western community with businesses appealing to tourists. There are, antique stores, gift shops, a Drink Shoppe, restaurants, and a gourmet popcorn shop. North and South Pecan are divided by Highway 6.
Hestal D. Hamrick moved to Hico in 1937 from the East Texas town of Gladewater, and he knew Mr. and Mrs. Roberts there. The two men renewed their friendship until Mr. Roberts passed away in 1951. Mr. Hamrick introduced his son to Mr. Roberts and the old man often regaled the young boy with tales of being a cowboy and of being a horse wrangler for western movies--never mentioning Billy the Kid. From time to time Mr. Roberts and Mr. Hamrick would talk about people they knew in common in East Texas. Mr. Hamrick dismissed the claims that Mr. Roberts was Billy the Kid for two reasons: Mr. Roberts never mentioned to him that he was Billy the Kid, and he did mention to Mr. Hamrick that he was born in Buffalo Gap, Texas. This latter point was reinforced when Mr. Hamrick asked Mr. Roberts if he meant "Indian Gap" and the old man said that it was "Buffalo Gap." Mr. Hamrick said that he thought that Mr. Roberts was just having fun with his Billy the Kid story. Within a day or so of Mr. Roberts' death Mr. Hamrick and his son were driving through town and passed by the spot where Mr. Roberts had collapsed. Several men were standing there talking and the Hamricks stopped and listened. The funeral home was immediately across the street and the man who had prepared Mr. Roberts' body for burial was answering questions. He said that Mr. Roberts did have a couple of scars that could have been bullet wounds. Mr. and Mrs. Roberts were very nice people.
The Hico community
Hico has a small diner with a regional reputation: the Koffee Kup Family Restaurant, located at the main town intersection of Highway 281 (north-south) and Texas State Highway 6 (east-west). From the outside the restaurant appears small, but it can seat 116 and is open for all three meals. Owned by Lynn E. Allen (born 1947), a former Hico School Board member, the Koffee Kup is known throughout the region, having been featured on Bob Phillips's Texas Country Reporter syndicated television series. The restaurant is particularly known for its chicken-fried steak, strawberry pie, and other custard pies. Adjacent to the Koffee Kup is the historical home of photographer Frank Rufus Wiseman (built 1903), which houses antiques and a chocolate company.
Each July Hico hosts Old Settlers Reunion at City Park. During the week the "Citizen of the Year" is recognized. Hico High School, which maintains a popular football team under Coach Keith Wood, holds its homecoming observance at the same time as Old Settlers Day. Hico claims that its Old Settlers gathering, which dates to 1882, is the oldest of its kind in Texas. It has been held each year since 1882, except during World War II.
Hico has maintained a post office since 1861, and the first mail was carried by horseback. An early Hico business was Hico Ice and Cold Storage, which began in 1905. In time, it developed a major shipping market for eggs, chickens, and turkeys. The weekly newspaper, released on Thursdays, is the Hico News Review, edited and published by Jerry E. McAdams (born 1951). The publication is a Texas Press Association Award winner.
Across Highway 281 from the Hico News Review is the First Baptist Church, one of several congregations in the community. The historic First United Methodist Church, also on Highway 281, was organized in 1881, with some twenty-five charter members. Six area churches later merged to become the Hico Methodist body. The current yellow brick sanctuary dates to 1903. The church is known for it support of both Boy Scouts and Girls Scouts.
Hico also hosts the Annual Texas Steak Cookoff in May. It boasts thousands of guests every year.
Hamilton County is a bellwether county, having voted for the statewide winner in Texas in all presidential elections since at least 1972. In 1964, Democratic President Lyndon B. Johnson, a native of the Hill Country, polled 2,048 votes (67 percent) in Hamilton County to Republican Barry M. Goldwater's 1,006 (33 percent). In 1968, the Republican nominee Richard M. Nixon won the county though the state narrowly supported Democratic Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey. Nixon polled 1,266 (44.7 percent) to Humphrey's 1,116 (39.4 percent), and 452 (15.9 percent) for the then American Independent Party candidate, former Governor George C. Wallace, Jr., of Alabama.
Nixon overwhelmed George S. McGovern in 1972, but Democratic Jimmy Carter, the last Democrat to have won the electoral votes of Texas, won in 1976, 1,981 (62.7 percent) to 1,176 (37.3 percent) for Nixon's presidential successor, Gerald R. Ford. Ronald Reagan barely defeated Carter in Hamilton County in 1980, 1,683 (52 percent) to 1,526 (47.1 percent), and 30 (less than 1 percent) votes for Independent John B. Anderson, a liberal U.S. representative from Illinois. Reagan overwhelmed Carter's former vice president, Walter F. Mondale of Minnesota in 1984, 2,116 (65.2 percent) to 1,130 (34.8 percent).
George Herbert Walker Bush and Robert J. Dole won Hamilton County in 1988, 1992, and 1996, respectively, over the Democrats Michael S. Dukakis and Bill Clinton. Bush defeated Dukakis by 363 votes and Clinton by 132 ballots. Dole bested Clinton by 293 votes in Hamilton County. In 1992, Dallas industrialist H. Ross Perot trailed Clinton by 179 votes. In 1996, Perot received 323 votes (10.7 percent). These totals do not distinguish Hico from Hamilton, the county seat.
Hico is located at (31.984410, -98.030508).
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 1.5 square miles (3.9 km2), all of it land.
As of the census of 2000, there were 1,341 people, 556 households, and 363 families residing in the city. The population density was 911.4 people per square mile (352.2/km²). There were 640 housing units at an average density of 435.0 per square mile (168.1/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 90.23% White, 0.82% Native American, 0.15% Pacific Islander, 7.53% from other races, and 1.27% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 11.26% of the population.
There were 556 households out of which 30.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 51.4% were married couples living together, 10.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 34.7% were non-families. 31.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 22.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.37 and the average family size was 2.99.
In the city the population was spread out with 26.2% under the age of 18, 6.9% from 18 to 24, 23.8% from 25 to 44, 20.5% from 45 to 64, and 22.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females there were 82.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 77.9 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $25,919, and the median income for a family was $34,688. Males had a median income of $27,404 versus $17,708 for females. The per capita income for the city was $14,122. About 13.6% of families and 19.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 27.2% of those under age 18 and 22.4% of those age 65 or over.
The City of Hico is served by the Hico Independent School District, home of the Hico Tigers and Lady Tigers.
The climate in this area is characterized by hot, humid summers and generally mild to cool winters. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Hico has a humid subtropical climate, abbreviated "Cfa" on climate maps.
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- Texas Department of Transportation, Texas State Travel Guide, 2008, pp. 200-201
- Jerry Hopkins of East Texas Baptist University, "Evangelist Mordecai F. Ham's West Texas Meetings, 1903-1940", paper at East Texas Historical Association and West Texas Historical Association joint meeting in Fort Worth, Texas, February 26, 2010
- Roberts historical marker, Hico, Texas
- Jan Canup, Hico Chamber of Commerce, operator of the Billy the Kid Museum
- Hico News Review, September 28, 1996
- Koffee Kup Family Restaurant - a Central Texas Landmark - Hico Texas
- Net Detective, People Search
- Bob Phillips, Texas Country Reporter, March 24, 2006
- Historical marker, downtown Hico, Texas
- Hico News Review, July 17, 2008
- Texas Historical Commission, First United Methodist Church, Hico, Texas
- World Almanac and Book of Facts, 1969, pp. 909-910
- World Almanac, 1973, pp. 65-66
- World Almanac, 1993, pp. 97-98; 1997, pp. 100-101
- "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
- Potential of Radar Imaging and Sounding Methods in Mapping Heavily Eroded Impact Craters: Mapping Some Structural Elements of the Hico Crater, TX (PDF), Lunar and Planetary Science XXXV (2004). Retrieved 2008-05-28
- Climate Summary for Hico, Texas
- Hico-TX.com, official web site