Museum Notes 9-27-2019

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In honor of our Spanish speaking residents, the River Valley Pioneer Museum celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month. I combed through the 1900, 1910, and 1920 Hemphill County Census records to research the early Hispanic families living here.

In 1900, there are not any Mexican immigrants listed. The only immigrants documented were of European descent. There are not any Hispanic names listed either. So, either the Enumerator did not document the Hispanic community or the Hispanic community moved to Hemphill County after 1900.

In 1910, there were 91 Mexican immigrants out of 3,170 residents living in Hemphill County. Of those 91 Mexican immigrants, 61 were men working for the railroad. The remaining 30 were women and children.

In 1920, there were 150 Mexican immigrants out of 4,280 residents living in Hemphill County. Of those 150 Mexican immigrants, 79 were men working for the railroad and 2 were men working for the Harvey House. The remaining 69 were women and children. Unfortunately, that’s about as much as we know about these Hispanic residents. Much of their history is not documented. They came here to work and appear they moved on when they found different or better employment. I can find only two of the names listed in the 1920 census that are buried here, Lopez and Martinez.

So why the increase in Mexican immigrants in Hemphill County between 1900 and 1920? Because of the Mexican Revolution. It is estimated that roughly 200,000 Mexicans fled from their country due to the decade long armed conflict. The Mexican Revolution broke out in 1910 and resulted in perhaps 1.5 million people killed. These families moved to the United States seeking a safer environment and a chance to find work in the strong U.S. economy.

If anyone has additional information about their Hispanic ancestors, please come by and visit. We would love to learn more.



Tickets are on sale now for the Canadian Arts Alliance’s dinner theater. Stop by the museum to purchase your seats or call Kim McKinney at 806-282-8681.


It’s almost that time of year again, Fall Foliage! Our annual Quilt Show is one of our most popular events. If you have a quilt hidden away in a trunk or closet, give it some love and put it on display! For more information, contact me at 806-323-6548.


The Gallery Room is available to rent for functions. We also have tables, chairs, and a large outdoor tent available to rent as well. Call us at 806-323-6548 for reservations.


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