Clemville is a rural farming community located on
1908, the community was first known as Hardy,
J. Hardy, an oil enthusiast and W. C. Moore began to seek oil near a gas
seepage on what was later called the Clemville Field. This area is now
called the Markham Oil Field. Their first well, a 3,500-barrel gusher
came in at a depth of 1365 feet.
this project, the Hardy Oil Company was formed. The community was first
named "Hardy" after F. J. Hardy the oil enthusiast and
adventurer in the oil business.
F. J. Clemenger, another oil enthusiast and businessman settled in
Hardy. He helped to develop oil fields in the area. Hardy sold his
holdings to Clemenger. Clemenger and R. H. Danner organized small
companies to drill on leases obtained from the F. J. Hardy Oil Company.
The operations continued to grow. The oil boom, farming and cattle
ranching enhanced the community to become a rich thriving area. From
Clemenger's involvement, the name of the community was changed from
"Hardy" to "Clemville."
in the early 1800's the area was probably a bare, over grown prairie
that was roamed by Indians, and other wild animals. It is not legally
claimed or inhabited by persons coming to
Parker, an early colonist, received League Number 68 in the Clemville
was the first recorded owner of the 4428 acres in the area. Today, Mrs.
Annie P. Sparks says that the name Henry Parker appears on her abstract
title to her property located in the Clemville area.
1880 to 1884, Joe Vanham was the owner of the 4428 acres and in 1885
Augusta Kountz became the owner. From 1891 to 1894, the Texas Land &
Cattle Company became the owner of the 4,428 acres.
has not been done on the genealogy of Henry Parker, Joe Vanham, Augusta
Kountz or the Texas Land & Cattle Company, but since the 4,428 acres
in the league possessed by Parker have been passed down to three other
owners, it seems as though there was possibly an heirship or business
connection among the owners of the property.
was the owner or part owner of the Texas Land & Cattle Company. In
1910, C. T. Kountz and Z. L. Kountz acquired land from the
area began to develop grazing land for cattle ranching. In 1902, the
Texas Land & Cattle Company began to sell acreage out of the 4,428
acres. Its total ownership was 2,940 acres.
1905, W. H. Gainer owned 171 acres of the original 4,428 acres and the
Northern Irrigation Company owned another 1,008.
the Texas Land & Cattle Company, and the Northern Irrigation Company
maintained the above acreage from 1833 to 1903 of the original 4,428
to the 1900s, more and more people began to settle in the area. Some
were squatters, some were farmers, some became owners of the land, and
some were simply workers looking for work.
Northern Irrigation Company began to build water ways, canals, and
ditches. The Texas Land & Cattle Company raised more cattle in the
ranching business, and farming and other industries began to spring up.
"shot gun" houses, stores, boarding houses, saloons,
teamsters, and a mail route comprised some of the businesses and
carrying on in the community.
even lived in "shot gun" houses and tents up and down the
worked for and in various businesses in Clemville and some bought and
farmed land of their own. Some worked as tenants in farming and other
1907, the Texas Land & Cattle Company was conducting an exploration
for oil in the Northwestern part of the county. Three wells were
drilled. None produced more than a trace of oil.
1911, F. J. Hardy owned 64 acres out of the holdings of the Texas Land
& Cattle Company. As previously stated, the Hardy Oil Company formed
by Hardy and W. C. Moore became successful in the oil business. From
their gusher, Hardy or Clemville became an "oil boom" town.
bought out Hardy's holdings and he and R. H. Danner further developed
the oil industry in and around Clemville.
1911, Clemville established its first post office.
the post office was established, mail had to be brought to Clemville by
horse and wagon. A Mr. Ricks brought the mail from
getting their first established post office, on
post office building was located a block or so off FM 1468 behind the
plowed ground that faces the old store/cafe. The old cafe building still
stands in the area on the east side of FM 1468. Mrs. D. Cowger was the
last owner of the business.
1939, Clemville became a rural route area. Residents received their mail
in rural route mailboxes delivered by a rural route mail carrier. The
mailboxes are now located on FM 1468 in front of the residences or on
the mail route off FM 1468.
of the early settlers beside Henry Parker, J. Vanham, A. Kountz, F. J.
Hardy, F. J. Clemenger, W. C. Moore, R. H. Danner and W. H. Gainer were
William Taylor; Murphy; Carl & Lillian Hiltpold;
Posey Sparks and her family lived out from
homes of Mrs. Sparks and another resident are the only two left in
Clemville. Mrs. Sparks house is adjacent to the old church building. The
other resident lives near the ditch or Tres Palacios as one travels
north through the community.
of the early settlers, but
of the people were primarily farmers. The Hiltpold land was sold to the
Texas Salt Brine Pipeline Company. Adjacent to the Pipeline Company's
marker can be seen the old homestead of Carl & Lillian Hiltpold.
Trees, shrubbery and green grass can still be seen where the house
stood. The Hiltpolds had two sons.
1914, the community had a general store, two hotels, two machinists, a
dairy farm, a telephone connection, a post office, a barber shop, a
church, two schools and a population of about 200. In the 1930s, the
community still had about 200 residents, a church, two stores, a cafe, a
service station, a post office, a school for black students and a school
for white students.
school for the white children was located in the south part of Clemville
west of the Daughters store and boarding house. To find the location,
immediately after crossing the Tres Palacios Creek going west, to the
left is a road. To the left are an old barn and plowed ground. Passing
the plowed ground and the barn, a few blocks away was the area of the
first school for white children.
African-American children attended school in a one-room building which
was farther down that road and across from the Larsen farm. The second
school for the white children was a three-room building adjacent to the
of the first school buildings was one room and was possibly built by
Larsen who was a carpenter. He also built the first pews used in the
of the African-American children who went to the school were from
families who lived along the Tres Palacios Creek on the Frick and Larsen
Farms and on the LeTulle Ranch and rice farm. Today, this area is FM
2431 and highway 111.
of the teachers in the white school were: Dorotha Green, Fred M.
Thompson, Anna Jones, Nellie Harris, and Mayme Glass. In the black
school were: Maud Hilliard Baines and others. The teachers lived in a
building called the teachery.
county schools were divided into districts with a county superintendent
over all the schools in the rural areas. Clemville was located in
1932, the white children were bussed to
the three-room building which was the second school for white children
in Clemville was moved to
owners of businesses in Clemville were the Daughters, Ms. Suladie C.
Hathaway, Ms. Lynch and others. Ms. Lynch also had a small grocery store
in her building.
R. Burke, who has studied the history of oil development in
J. Clemenger managed and R. H. Danner was the driller on the Hardy
Number 1. Danner drilled one well and sold his holdings to George R.
Burke just before the Clemville well blew a big gusher.
and Burke continued operations for several years and saw the operations
grow by the arrival of Pay Streak Oil controlled by Ed Simms,
company brought in a productive well with its first attempt. Hamill's
supervision brought the company a large production and later the
Swastika Oil Company.
Hamill, M. Thompson, R. O. Middlebrook, and Andrew Anderson were among
men who helped to develop the oil boom in Clemville,
the rush to get to Clemville and the oil fields. In the thirty years of
the development of the Clemville Field, the one who did more for the
development and operation was C. G. Hamill. Later, Hamill & Hamill
organized the company with his sons, Claude and P. R. Hamill.
the 1930s the oil field seemed to be exhausted. But Ellis Hamill sank a
"poor boy" hole which proved to the successful. This
revitalized the Clemville Field. The "poor boy" method meant
the workers accepted stock as pay for their labor.
the early 50s and 70s, progress in the Clemville Field began to dwindle.
People began to move away. The cafe was the last business to close. The
than the two residents, The Texas Salt Brine Pipeline Company, a few
storage tanks for oil, other oil related businesses, a few oil pumps
that still pump and the farming and cattle community, Clemville is
almost like a ghost town.
is quite heavy on FM 1468. The road is used as a by pass from El Campo
in Wharton County and Highway 71 to Markham and Highway 35 to Bay City
to travel to the South Texas Nuclear Project on FM 521, Celanese
Chemical Plant on the Celanese road south of Bay City and the Equistar
Chemical Plant also south of Bay City on Highway 60.
history was generated in Clemville and especially with the oil boom as a
similar Spindletop in
Markham Community has a replica of an oil derrick in its community park
area as a reminder of the oil discovered in the fields around Markham
one thinks that Clemville is a forgotten community and can't imagine it
as a bustling community, Mrs. Sparks invites that person to drive
through the area at night. She says that it is just like a city because
of the illumination of lights from the various plants and businesses.
can we forget our history, a landmark? We canít. Even if Clemville
looks like a ghost town during the day, there is something here that
intrigues the beauty and causes one to remember the past.
dedication of the Official Texas Historical Marker for the Clemville
Community was held
Copyright 2004 -
Present by Carol Sue Gibbs
Jan. 14, 2005
Nov. 24, 2007