Nixon, Texas

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Nixon, Texas
Nixon-Rancho-Clear Fork, Texas area in 1873.jpg
Nixon-area, listed as "Rancho" and "Clear Fork" c. 1873. "Riddleville" is now Karnes City. 20th-century Baptist-architecture of Nixon shown above
Coordinates: 29°16′14″N 97°45′45″W / 29.27056°N 97.76250°W / 29.27056; -97.76250Coordinates: 29°16′14″N 97°45′45″W / 29.27056°N 97.76250°W / 29.27056; -97.76250
CountryUnited States
CountiesGonzales, Wilson
Settled1849 (Rancho)
Founded1852 (R.T. Nixon Plantation)
Incorporated1906 (John T. Nixon Tract)
 • Total1.57 sq mi (4.06 km2)
 • Land1.56 sq mi (4.05 km2)
 • Water0.01 sq mi (0.01 km2)
390 ft (119 m)
 • Total2,341
 • Density1,626.36/sq mi (627.94/km2)
Time zoneUTC-6 (Central (CST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC-5 (CDT)
ZIP code
Area code830
FIPS code48-51588[2]
GNIS feature ID1363917[3]

Nixon is a city, self-described as a "compact neighborhood,"[4] at US 87 and the junction of Karnes, Gonzales and Wilson counties; alongside the Clear Fork Creek in the Juan J. Tejada League,[5] in the U.S. state of Texas. Approaching 100 city blocks,[6] the Nixon urban-area is defined by its schools at its north-end in the neighborhood of Rancho; with the southwest boundary hosting its industrial park and meat packing facilities, upon the 87-corridor towards Pandora and the county seat of Floresville.[7]

The population was 2,341 at the 2020 census.[8] Nixon is located primarily within Gonzales County; however, most of its major employers and assets are alongside the eastern Wilson County line.[9] The city has a total area of 1.6 square miles (4.1 km2), all land.[10] The Wilson County portion of Nixon is part of the San Antonio Metropolitan Statistical Area.

Nixon was formed across the landholdings of the Nixon family through the end of the 19th century, beginning as a 14,000 acre plantation south of Luling and north of Belmont. In the early 20th century through the present day, Nixon continually consolidated southward at John T. Nixon's land closer to the original settlements of Cuero, Goliad and Indianola, once acting as a rail station; this confluence once having the original name of "Rancho," so named for its free-range cattle industry.

The city is served primarily by employers that include a publicly-traded oil refinery, a chicken slaughterhouse, and its municipal services, especially the Nixon-Smiley Consolidated Independent School District. In 2018, the aggregate income of urban Nixon was an estimated $58,035,500.[11] In 2019 according to the Texas Department of Transportation, the aggregate annual-average-daily-traffic (AADT) of urban Nixon was rated at 22,928 vehicles.[12]


Blue Dolphin[edit]

Blue Dolphin Energy Company is a publicly traded Delaware corporation, headquartered in Houston, primarily engaged in the refining and marketing of petroleum products to be used as jet fuel, or as "a light sweet crude."[13]

The company also provides tolling and storage terminaling services. 60 acres of assets, which are located in Nixon, Wilson County, Texas primarily include a 15,000 bbl/d (2,400 m3/d)[14] crude distillation tower and more than 1.0 million barrels of petroleum storage tanks (collectively the “Nixon Facility”). Pipeline transportation and oil and gas operations are no longer active.[15][16]

Since 2006 through 2014, according to the chief executive regarding this facility, in-kind with his other similar facility at the time, “...there were some issues with the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) that we were not made aware of, and those issues have yet to be resolved.”[17]

As of 2014, 45 workers were employed at this facility.[18]

Holmes Foods[edit]

In 1925, near the Wilson County line of Nixon, Holmes Foods began as an ice plant that processed and slaughtered chickens across the street, in what is now-presently the 44,000+ square-foot facility's parking lot. Eventually expanding to turkeys, "heavy hens," broilers and ducks.

As of 2010, ranking 30th out of 37 national "poultry integrators," the facility slaughtered 700,000 broiler chickens per week at an average of 4 pounds each. During this time, 310 out of the "400+" facility employees processed these chickens into an "eight-piece cut," a major portion of the service offered by the facility.

This facility produces 50% of the local wastewater which is stored in 3 lagoons, later sprayed over half-a-mile of hay meadows for cattle ranching.[19][20]

Recreational vehicle parks[edit]

The majority of the city's major arteries are zoned as "recreational vehicle parks," under a city-managed licensing program.[21][6]


The history of Nixon is defined by the dissolution and struggle of some of its major institutions.

Old Nixon[edit]

Fannie Andrews Nixon, wife of Old Nixon, Texas founder, Robert Thomas Nixon (1879); one of the first schoolteachers of the area

In 1852, Robert T. Nixon at the northern Gonzales—Guadalupe County line founded the original settlement of Nixon, now known as the ghost town "Old Nixon;" a former 14,000 acre plantation between Belmont-Luling.[22]

The Old Nixon facility, despite being fenced at 14,000 acres at its precipice, began at an original capitalization of $800 for 400 acres of land; with no original "free land" grants of early Texas. During Juneteenth 1865, the plantation was not affected by the abolishment of slavery, as the plantation had no slaves. Cattle and horse-breeding were the primary occupations of this enterprise, the latter being featured in The Quarter Horse journal of July 1947; featuring the early 1900s, when the Old Nixon plantation under Dr. J.W. Nixon, hosted the first "Joe Bailey" Quarter Horse, a foremost founding sire of the breed.[23][24][25]

In 1899, Old Nixon at Guadalupe County had a cotton gin (Nixon-family owned), two schools, a church, a blacksmith, several residences; alongside "Wagner's Store" and "Nixon and Stephens: Dealers in Dry Goods, Notions, Fine Groceries and General Merchandise." The latter was owned by W.H. Stephens and Sam Nixon. Robert T. Nixon's brother John T. Nixon lived at Rancho near what is now northern Nixon in southern Gonzales County. The name of Nixon was later taken from the former town and applied to the new town formed on John T. Nixon's land.

The only remaining establishment of the original Old Nixon settlement is its cemetery.[26][27][28]


While Old Nixon was being founded, the settlement of Rancho grew at the northern boundary of present-Nixon and the country store of Paul Murray, on land he purchased in 1849. His store was located at the intersection of roads that led to the important settlements of San Antonio, Gonzales, Seguin, Cuero, Goliad and Indianola. Murray had come to Texas from Mississippi and was soon followed by many of his Mississippi neighbors. They came in search of farm land, but soon abandoned the plow to adopt the cowboy culture of the area, as unbranded range cattle were everywhere and free for the taking.

The name "Rancho" was the first name given to the developing Nixon settlement as a ranching culture developed. Some of the earliest open range branding codes in Texas originated here in 1866, as local stockmen were gathering cattle herds to be driven to northern markets by Rancho cowboys. These codes facilitated the system of marking and tracking the cattle that mingled together in open, unfenced ranges. A post office was officially established in 1855, and Rancho grew to have several businesses, as well as a school and two churches.

Rancho began a rapid decline in population when the Galveston, Harrisburg and San Antonio Railroad bypassed the town in 1906, and many residents relocated to the new railroad town of Nixon, two miles to the south. The post office closed in 1911, and by that time, many of Rancho's buildings had been moved to Nixon and most of Rancho's residents had relocated to the new town. Although virtually no visible evidence of the town of Rancho remains, the town's short existence stands as a reminder of the hundreds of similar towns that fell prey to the railroads that crossed Texas during the late 19th century.[29]


Near the Wilson County—portion of Nixon, the town of Union or "Union Valley" had its postal services moved to Nixon in 1915. Settled before the American Civil War, the town had a population as high as 300 and several stores before its general consolidation into the Nixon community alongside FM 1681.

In 1947, the Union area had a nominal population of 50, with 22 reported in 1990 through 2000.[30]

Urban Nixon[edit]

Nixon as an urban development began in 1869, at the site of its First Baptist Church within its 100-block grid on Texas Avenue, near Wilson County. The San Antonio Baptist Association established a local mission here under Reverend T. Christmas and Reverend J.F. Hines.

The congregation had established a sanctuary one-mile north in Rancho, and consolidated it into the Nixon congregation upon the city's incorporation in 1907. In 1921, they began to partner with the congregation in Leakey, Texas, west of San Antonio.

The Nixon First Baptist Church is considered an original cultural founder of the community.[31]

Nixon News[edit]

In the early 20th century, Nixon had a local newspaper titled Nixon News. It was forced to cease publication in September 1921. The editor cited reasons ranging from a lack of advertisement in the paper, lack of support from local businesses and apathy from the general community. The Daily Advocate newspaper of Victoria, Texas, during this period, suggested that the downscaling of another significant Texan paper was a related trend.[32]

The trade-name of the paper returned as early as 1980 through 1986, serving as an executive over three annual city festivals; celebrating Nixon's overall production of a broad-range of poultry products and byproducts, purportedly the highest in the State of Texas at that time. At present Nixon News is, again, no longer published but was considered award-winning in "Community Service" by the Texas Press Association in 1980.[33]

Through 2013 until 2017, the trade-named resumed its most recent operation as an online newspaper titled “The Nixon News” with publications on local politics. This third-iteration of the publication is no longer published as well.[34]

Nixon intersection[edit]

Since approximately 2015, the Nixon intersection of U.S. Highway 87 and Texas State Highway 80 has been marked by the Texas Department of Transportation having to hire and replace multiple contractors, after continual delay to install traffic signals over three-and-a-half years; an installation that would normally be a "routine upgrade." The Nixon City Manager hypothesized the delays began with a first contractor "not working in a timely manner." After a first contractor, time was consumed by an initial six-month delay, another set of construction bids and years of replacement of prior work.[35]


In late March 2020, the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in Gonzales County was discovered in Nixon.[36]


Historical population
Census Pop.
U.S. Decennial Census[37]
Nixon racial composition as of 2020[38]
(NH = Non-Hispanic)[a]
Race Number Percentage
White (NH) 326 13.93%
Black or African American (NH) 55 2.35%
Asian (NH) 9 0.38%
Some Other Race (NH) 6 0.26%
Mixed/Multi-Racial (NH) 31 1.32%
Hispanic or Latino 1,914 81.76%
Total 2,341

As of the 2020 United States census, there were 2,341 people, 764 households, and 484 families residing in the city.

As of the census[2] of 2000, there were 2,186 people, 686 households, and 506 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,928.1 people per square mile (746.9/km2). There were 803 housing units at an average density of 708.3 per square mile (274.4/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 69.99% White, 2.84% African American, 0.91% Native American, 0.09% Asian, 24.15% from other races, and 2.01% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 61.57% of the population.

There were 686 households, out of which 42.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.0% were married couples living together, 17.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 26.2% were non-families. 24.1% of all households were made up of individuals, and 13.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.02 and the average family size was 3.53.

In the city, the population was spread out, with 31.5% under the age of 18, 10.8% from 18 to 24, 26.7% from 25 to 44, 16.2% from 45 to 64, and 14.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 31 years. For every 100 females, there were 94.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 89.5 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $22,104, and the median income for a family was $25,139. Males had a median income of $21,250 versus $15,491 for females. The per capita income for the city was $10,135. About 22.3% of families and 27.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 37.7% of those under age 18 and 25.0% of those age 65 or over.


The Nixon area is primarily served by the journals of record Wilson County News newspaper of Floresville, Texas and The Gonzales Inquirer newspaper of Gonzales, Texas.


In 2013, Kenneth Johnson of Nixon confessed to sexually assaulting two girls, ages 13 and 14, after a witness told Nixon police he saw Johnson rape an intoxicated teenager at a Nixon residence.[41]

In 2018, 15-foot-long bleachers were stolen from the Nixon Little League baseball field; they were taken by truck in an act lasting 3 minutes.[42]

In 2019, Nixon experienced significant acts of burglary and car theft,[43] as well as issues of drugs and child-abuse being described as "most distinguishable."[44]

Operation Torch[edit]

In early 2020, the Texas Department of Public Safety Criminal Investigations Division and the Nixon Police Department targeted the sale of crystal meth in the GonzalesWilson County area, under the name Operation Torch. A significant number of arrest warrants were served in the Nixon-Pandora-Stockdale-Smiley municipal-area. The investigation began with analysis of the local impact of meth distribution in Nixon, eventually uncovering a "drug network of distributors." Five of the targeted subjects, fifteen in total, were from the Nixon area. During this time period, eleven arrests were made, with four remaining at-large.[45]

Texas Sheltered Care[edit]

In 2007, a former private facility in Nixon, "Texas Sheltered Care", that held children caught illegally crossing the US-Mexico border, was ordered closed due to allegations of sexual abuse. It operated under contract of the federal government's Department of Health and Human Services. Its 72 residents were sent to other shelters outside of Nixon, due to a lack of confidence of being able to reopen in the city. Immigration lawyers were forced to abandon their Nixon practices that served the detainees in the facility.[46] The FBI and local authorities investigated the alleged incidents, with an accused staff member fired.[47] The accused was later criminally charged and sentenced to prison.[48]

Notable people[edit]

Manuel Zepeda[edit]

In 2018, former Nixon city manager and local substitute teacher, Manuel Zepeda,[49] was charged with 11 sexual felonies against children.[50]

Auvye Trammel[edit]

In 2011, former Nixon councilman Auvye Trammel, having once served 21 years on the city council through two terms,[51] was sentenced to 18 months in federal prison for connections with drug trafficking marijuana from Mexico; Trammel had posted bail for a known trafficker. He had also been prior charged for a chase involving the trafficker.[52]

The then-current Nixon police chief was fired during the trafficking investigation just prior to Trammel's arrest; the former chief cites reasons of retaliation for investigating the then-councilman, while the city claims he failed to meet occupational standards.[53]


  1. ^ "2019 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved August 7, 2020.
  2. ^ a b "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  3. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  4. ^ A compact neighborhood of around 2,385 people, the people and council of Nixon...
  5. ^ "Library of Congress; Gonzales County, Texas". Library of Congress. Retrieved 5 September 2018.
  6. ^ a b BEFCO Engineering, Inc. "Official Recreational Vehicle Park Map" (PDF). Zoning Map, City of Nixon. City of Nixon.
  7. ^ "Nixon, Texas". OpenStreetMap. OpenStreetMap Foundation. Retrieved 6 September 2020.
  8. ^ "Population and Housing Unit Counts, 2010 Census of Population and Housing" (PDF). Texas: 2010. Retrieved 2017-01-06.
  9. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
  10. ^ "Boundary Map of Nixon, Texas". MapTechnica. Retrieved 2017-01-06.
  11. ^ "AGGREGATE INCOME IN THE PAST 12 MONTHS (IN 2018 INFLATION-ADJUSTED DOLLARS)". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 15 August 2020.
  12. ^ "District Traffic and Urban Saturation Web Maps (2019)". Transportation Planning Maps. Texas Department of Transportation. Retrieved 23 August 2020.
  13. ^ "Blue Dolphin Energy Company Announces Contract Awarded to Operator, Pivot to Exploring Renewable Energy Opportunities". Yahoo Finance. Retrieved 15 April 2021.
  14. ^ Vaughan, Vicki (January 24, 2013). "Nixon refinery benefits from Eagle Ford crude". Retrieved September 22, 2019.
  15. ^ "Blue Dolphin Energy Company". Reuters. Retrieved 29 June 2020.
  16. ^ "Blue Dolphin Energy Company Profile (BDCO OTC)". OTC Markets. Retrieved February 6, 2019.
  17. ^ Vaughan, Vicki. "Refinery owners battle in court". San Antonio Express News. Retrieved 29 June 2020.
  18. ^ "Lazarus Energy, a subsidiary of Lazarus Energy Holdings and Blue Dolphin, is headquartered in Houston and employs about 60 workers, including 45 in Nixon". OSHA. United States Department of Labor. Retrieved 29 June 2020.
  19. ^ Sbanotto, Pete. "Goal Not To Be the Biggest – Just the Best". The Poultry Site. Cobb Focus, Global Ag Media. Retrieved 30 June 2020.
  20. ^ "Holmes Foods Inc". Bloomberg. Retrieved 30 June 2020.
  21. ^ City Council, City of Nixon. "Recreational Vehicle Park Ordinance" (PDF). RV Parks Ordinance and Amendment, City of Nixon. City of Nixon. Retrieved 24 March 2021.
  22. ^ "Nixon Photographs & Biographical Materials". UT Health San Antonio. UT Health Science Center Library. Retrieved 14 May 2020.
  23. ^ Bateman, Ed (July 1947). "Nixon Horse In Many Top Quarter Pedigrees". The Quarter Horse. 2 (4): 0.
  24. ^ "Gonzales Joe Bailey moved to park". The Gonzales Inquirer. Retrieved 26 July 2020.
  25. ^ Nixon M.D., Pat (1956). The Early Nixons of Texas. University of Wisconsin: Carl Hertzog, El Paso, Texas.
  26. ^ Bond, Mary (1982). "First Old Nixon settler arrived in 1852". The Seguin Gazette-Enterprise. Retrieved 14 May 2020.
  27. ^ Nixon M.D., Pat (1956). The Early Nixons of Texas. El Paso: Herzog.
  28. ^ Limmer, Jessica. "Nixon became 'Old' with birth of nearby town by same name". The Seguin Gazette. Retrieved 14 May 2020. Nixon — later known as Old Nixon — was founded by Robert Nixon, who in 1852 settled in far eastern Guadalupe County between Belmont and Luling...Robert was known to host Methodist circuit preachers at his home, who would then minister to the community during their stay..."When there wasn't a circuit preacher visiting, they would have to get up before dawn to get to church in Belmont,"...The railroad...pulled Old Nixon residents to Luling...
  29. ^ "Rancho - Texas Historical Markers". The State of Texas. Retrieved 24 May 2020.Public Domain This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  30. ^ Hazlewood, Claudia. "UNION, TX (WILSON COUNTY)". Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved 4 June 2020.
  31. ^ First Baptist Church of Nixon. Texas Historical Commission.
  32. ^ Nixon News is Forced to Quit Its Publication; text: "We have on our desk the final copy of the Nixon News, edited and owned by Riley Webb at Nixon, Texas. Editor Webb gives as his reason for suspending publication "the lack of advertising and support from the business men and the indifference shown toward the paper by the citizenship as a whole." Within the last few days we have also learned of the changing of one of the larger daily newspapers of the State, published in what is considered one of the best towns in the state, to a weekly publication. More than likely the same reasons prompted the owner of the big daily as prompted Riley Webb of the News..."
  33. ^ "The History of Nixon Feather Fest". Gonzales County, Texas Archives. August 30, 1986. Retrieved 25 June 2020.
  34. ^ "The Nixon News". Archived from the original on 1 June 2013. Retrieved 22 August 2020.
  35. ^ Lights Finally Live!; text: "After years of delays, the traffic signal at the intersection of U.S. Highway 87 and State Highway 80 in Nixon is finally live and operational. What should have been a routine two-step upgrade, ended up taking around three and a half years to complete and featured multiple contractors..."
  36. ^ Confirmed CoVid-19 Case Identified in Gonzales County; text: "Gonzales County is reporting its first confirmed case of COVID-19 in the Nixon area. Communications have been ongoing between county and city officials, the local healthcare facility and Gonzales County Emergency Management since the report was confirmed. These local leaders are working closely with the Texas Department of State Health Services while they determine who the person has been in contact with over the last 14 days, so those persons may be isolated and monitored for symptoms...."
  37. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  38. ^ "Explore Census Data". Retrieved 2022-05-24.
  39. ^[not specific enough to verify]
  40. ^ "About the Hispanic Population and its Origin". Retrieved 18 May 2022.
  41. ^ Nixon man confesses to sexually assaulting two teen girls
  42. ^ Bleachers stolen from Nixon Little League
  43. ^ ...the recent burglary and car thefts in the city...
  44. ^ ...Among the crime-related issues facing Nixon, drugs and child abuse are distinguishable above all else...
  45. ^ "Operation Torch results in 11 drug arrests". Gonzales Inquirer. June 26, 2020. Retrieved 27 June 2020. ...In January 2020, the Nixon Police Department along with the Texas Department of Public Safety Criminal Investigations Division (CID) initiated Operation Torch. This long-term investigation targeted the sale and distribution activities of crystal methamphetamine in the local and greater Gonzales and Wilson county areas...This investigation began as a local impact investigation targeting methamphetamine distributors in Nixon. The initial investigation quickly evolved into a long-term drug network of distributors...
  46. ^ Immigrant youth shelter ordered closed
  47. ^ Children Removed From Immigrant Shelter;
  48. ^ United States District Court – Western District of Texas – San Antonio Division...; text: "The Nixon facility is owned and operated by Defendant Away From Home, Inc. doing business as Southwest Initiative Inc., a for-profit corporation also doing business as 'Texas Sheltered Care.'"...]
  49. ^ "Police chief accuses city manager of retaliation". The Nixon News. Archived from the original on 2016-02-06. Retrieved 22 August 2020.
  50. ^ Medina, Mariah (2018-06-12). "Former Nixon city manager indicted on 11 child sex crimes". KSAT. Retrieved 2019-01-22.
  51. ^ Nixon alderman arrested on federal drug trafficking charge
  52. ^ Nixon's Trammell sentenced to 18 months in federal prison
  53. ^ Candidate for Bexar County sheriff defends firing from Nixon PD 7 years ago
  1. ^ Note: the US Census treats Hispanic/Latino as an ethnic category. This table excludes Latinos from the racial categories and assigns them to a separate category. Hispanics/Latinos can be of any race.[39][40]

External links[edit]