Hico, Texas

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Hico, Texas
Motto: "Where Everybody Is Somebody"
Location of Hico, Texas
Location of Hico, Texas
Hamilton County Hico.svg
Coordinates: 31°59′4″N 98°1′50″W / 31.98444°N 98.03056°W / 31.98444; -98.03056
Country United States
State Texas
County Hamilton
 • 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)
Population (2010)
 • Total 1,379
 • Density 911.4/sq mi (351.9/km2)
Time zone Central (CST) (UTC-6)
 • Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP code 76457
Area code(s) 254
FIPS code 48-33548[1]
GNIS feature ID 1374058[2]

Hico (/ˈhk/, HY-koh) is a small city located in Hamilton County in Central Texas. The population was 1,379 at the 2010 census. The town motto is "Where Everybody Is Somebody!"

Named for its founder's unincorporated hometown in Calloway County in southwestern Kentucky near Murray, just north of the Tennessee state boundary, Hico's original location was on Honey Creek. When the Texas Central line (part of the historic Katy Railroad) was built nearby, the citizens moved 2.5 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.[3]

In 1903, Kentucky-based evangelist Mordecai Ham held the first of his seventy-five Texas revival meetings in Hico. There were 150 professions of faith in Jesus Christ.[4]

"Brushy Bill" Roberts and Billy the Kid[edit]

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.[3]

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]."[5] 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.

Billy the Kid Museum.
Hico museum employee Jan Canup stands in front of a gold-plated cash register retrieved from an old barn.

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.[6] Roberts' grave has not been revealed, thus preventing DNA authentication of the remains.[7]

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.

The Hico community[edit]

Koffee Kup Kafe marquee

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.[8] Owned by Lynn E. Allen (born 1947),[9] 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.[10] 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.[11]

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.[12]

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.[13]

Ranch life, including horseback riding, hayrides, and camping, can be experienced at Timber Creek Ranch some ten miles southeast of Hico on Texas Highway 6.[3]

Hico also hosts the Annual Texas Steak Cookoff in May. It boasts thousands of guests every year.


Hico is located at 31°59′4″N 98°1′50″W / 31.98444°N 98.03056°W / 31.98444; -98.03056 (31.984410, -98.030508).[14]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 1.5 square miles (3.9 km2), all land.

Approximately 1.8 miles north of Hico are what appear to be the remains of an impact crater that was formed some time after the Cretaceous Period.[15]


Historical population
Census Pop.
1890 649
1900 1,480 128.0%
1910 1,437 −2.9%
1920 1,685 17.3%
1930 1,463 −13.2%
1940 1,242 −15.1%
1950 212 −82.9%
1960 10,201 4,711.8%
1970 975 −90.4%
1980 1,375 41.0%
1990 1,342 −2.4%
2000 1,341 −0.1%
2010 1,379 2.8%
Est. 2015 1,326 [16] −3.8%
U.S. Decennial Census[17]

As of the census[1] 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.[18]

Hico gallery[edit]

Hico, Texas: "Where Everybody Is Somebody" 
Historic district in Hico 
Koffee Kup Restaurant in Hico is particularly known for chicken-fried steak
The First National Bank of Hico (chartered 1890) 
The Midland Hotel of Hico, Texas 
Office of Hico News Review (founded 1895) 
First Baptist Church of Hico on U.S. Highway 281 South 
First United Methodist Church in Hico 
Hico, Texas Billy the Kid Museum, Hico, Texas. 
Photo-op mockup of Billy The Kid in the Chamber of Commerce, Hico, Texas April 1, 2010. 


  1. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  2. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  3. ^ a b c Texas Department of Transportation, Texas State Travel Guide, 2008, pp. 200-201
  4. ^ 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
  5. ^ Roberts historical marker, Hico, Texas
  6. ^ Jan Canup, Hico Chamber of Commerce, operator of the Billy the Kid Museum
  7. ^ Hico News Review, September 28, 1996
  8. ^ Koffee Kup Family Restaurant - a Central Texas Landmark - Hico Texas
  9. ^ Net Detective, People Search
  10. ^ Bob Phillips, Texas Country Reporter, March 24, 2006
  11. ^ Historical marker, downtown Hico, Texas
  12. ^ Hico News Review, July 17, 2008
  13. ^ Texas Historical Commission, First United Methodist Church, Hico, Texas
  14. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  15. ^ 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
  16. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2015". Retrieved July 2, 2016. 
  17. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Census.gov. Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  18. ^ Climate Summary for Hico, Texas

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 31°59′04″N 98°01′50″W / 31.98441°N 98.030508°W / 31.98441; -98.030508