MACKAY,TEXAS


This page transcribed by Janet Barrett Hobizal May 2007,

From a photo copy found at the Wharton County Historical Museum


HISTORY OF MACKAY,TEXAS


Mackay, Texas is located in central Wharton County, four miles west of Wharton. It was established in 1881 as a station on the New York, Texas and Mexican Railroad, and named after one of the investors, John W. Mackay. Mackay made his fortune from mining silver in Nevada. many of the investors were related by marriage and they chose to name all the stations on the 91- mile railway after them selves.

This station site fell within the confines of the A.H. "Shanghai" Piece holdings on the west side of the Colorado River. The area was later known as the A.P. Borden farm. Mr. Borden was Pierce's nephew and general manager for the Pierce Ranch.

In 1907, the United States Department of Agriculture established an experimental farm in this area; planting oriental tea and camphor trees. The area was supplied with water from the pumping plant built on the Colorado by the Pierce Ranch. Russian and Chinese laborers were brought in to work the experimental farm sections. Mr. Borden, a highly successful rancher and rice farmer built a mercantile store for his employees, as well as homes for them across the road from the store. Borden also built a school for the children in 1912 and later gave it to the county for a common school district. The Wharton Independent School District annexed the school in 1953. Mrs. Borden and her husband built a church for the employees and she taught Sunday School, heath, and hygiene classes. After Mr. Borden's death in 1934, the farm and all of the structures comprising the Mackay community were sold to Johnny B. Ferguson, "wildcatter".

Oil was discovered on the farm and Ferguson moved his Superior Drilling Company into the former mercantile store. Mr. Ferguson's famous racing quarter horses, Go-Man-Go and Top Deck, put Mackay, Texas "back on the map". In March of 1990, these two horses and Mr. Ferguson were inducted into the Quarter Horse Hall Of Fame.

After Ferguson's death in 1978, the area declined and currently all of the structures are abandoned or gone. In 1967 the City of Wharton purchased 89 acres to build a public airstrip, Wharton Municipal Airport, approximately one half mile west of Mackay, from Ferguson. The airstrip increased it's holdings in 1980 to 120 acres.

Mackay qualified for a post office in January of 1885, but six month later it was discontinued. In 1922 A.P. Borden retired from the Pierce Ranch and built a large home at Mackay. Here he ran his 5,000 acres ranch and mail service was resumed April 12, 1921, with Borden as postmaster. It was discontinued again in July of 1937.

Population figures would have to be based on employees that lived on the farm, and they varied according to the farming operations. The 1940 census lists Mackay's population as 20. No other population figures have ever been listed in the U.S. census.

Two small cemeteries are in the area, created for the deceased of the Chinese and Russian workers.


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