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Texas Ghost Town
Wharton County, Texas Gulf Coast

29° 16' 12" N, 96° 8' 59" W (29.27, -96.149722)
Highway 59
4 miles W of Wharton the county seat
Population: Unknown

Mackay, Texas Area Hotels:
Wharton Hotels | Houston Hotels
McKay, Texas old photo - Onishi Family portrait
Onishi Family –
"In 1885 another railway depot was established in Mackay by the New York, Texas and Mexico Railroad and was named after the son-in-law of Colonel Hungerford. The Onishi family worked the rice fields in the Mackay area."
Photo courtesy Wharton County Historical Museum
See Wharton County Old Photos
History in a Pecan Shell

John W. Mackay, Nevada silver mining millionaire invested in the New York, Texas and Mexican Railway (The "Macaroni" Line) and had this station named after him in 1881. Telferner, Louise, and Inez were likewise named after family and investors - mostly family. The rails of the NYT and M railroad were taken up in the 1980s, although the former roadbed is still evident. Victoria, Texas has recently launched a "Macaroni Festival" to commemorate this short line railroad that didn't originate in New York and never came remotely close to Mexico.
Baron Morimura - McKay, Texas old photo
Baron Morimura – "Baron Ichizaemon Morimura IV was a banker who invested in the Japanese farms near Mackay. Baron Morimua IV, was the founder of Noritake Inc."
Photo courtesy Wharton County Historical Museum
See Wharton County Old Photos
The town of Mackay fell within boundaries of "Shanghai" Pierce's vast holdings and the land became part of A. P. Borden's property through inheritance since Borden was Pierce's nephew.
TE - Mackay Depot, Mackay Ranch families
Mackay Depot
Marie Borden with daughters of Mackay Ranch families 1920s

Photo courtesy Ruben R. Hernandez
A.P. Borden Estate statopmaru
A. P. Borden Estate stationery
Photo courtesy Ruben R. Hernandez
Cotton field, Mackay, Texas , 1930s
A 1930s cotton field in Mackay
Photo courtesy Ruben R. Hernandez

Russian and Chinese laborers were imported to work a Department of Agriculture experimental farm in 1907. The government agronomists had thought camphor trees would thrive in the coastal climate. Today two cemeteries of the workers are the only reminders of the experiment.

Gardening in Mackay
Family Life in Mackay
Seven vintage photos courtesy Ruben R. Hernandez

Borden built stores in both Pierce and Mackay. Houses were built for employees as well and many of these - although greatly altered from the original models - still stand today - covered in poison ivy. A school (1912) is the most distinctive ruin due to its orange tile roof.

AP and Marie Borden
Mrs. Marie Hough Borden - Vintage photos

A.P. and Marie Borden

Photo courtesy Ruben R. Hernandez

Mrs. Borden taught Sunday school in Pierce in a church that she had her husband build. Borden retired from the Pierce Ranch and started farming on his 5,000 acres.

After Borden died in 1934 the ranch and buildings were sold to oil wildcatter Johnny B. Ferguson. Mackay reported a population of 40 in 1940. Ferguson struck oil in 1949 and his Superior Drilling Company offices were housed in Mackay's former store.

After Ferguson died in 1978 the area reverted back to nature and by 1990 the houses, store and former school were abandoned to wild vines, tall grass and tallow trees.

Mackay, Texas
Mackay Today
Photos courtesy Ken Rudine
Class of 1927
Photo courtesy Ruben R. Hernandez
Mackay Manor House, Texas 1930s
Mackay Manor House, 1930s
Photo courtesy Ruben R. Hernandez
Flood in Mackay, Texas, 1930s
A flood in Mackay, circa 1930s
Photo courtesy Ruben R. Hernandez

Mackay, Texas Forum

  • Mrs. A.P. (Marie) Borden
    I spent many hours with Mrs. Borden and Theo O’Neal as a 10 year old boy... Here is an excerpt of the story I wrote that references Marie Borden. - John Polk, February 04, 2013

  • Mackay Photos and Mrs. Marie Hough Borden
    My extended family and I want to thank you for posting the Mackay pictures. Our ancestors live on through these photos and stories. Attached are a few more photos you may post if you find them of interest. - Respectfully. Ruben R. Hernandez, October 04, 2005

  • Mackay Pictures
    More pictures of life in Mackay, 1920s and 1030s. They involve family members, but they demonstrate the lifestyle in Mackay between 1920 and 1940 when we left to make our home in Houston. I feel good that they are being seen in public, as they should be, as part of a historical montage. - Ruben R. Hernandez, July 05, 2005

  • Mackay Class of 1927
    - Ruben R. Hernandez, June 21, 2005

  • Mackay Pictures
    Thank you so very much for your work. When I open up this site and there was our family home for some 34 years, from 1916 to 1940. I have shared your site address with my Hernandez cousins in our Hernandez Family website so that they too might enjoy the photos and comments about the place where their ancestors lived and worked and where some of them were born. Here are more Mackay pictures you may use. Please continue your "work in progress". - Ruben R. Hernandez, June 20, 2005

  • Mackay, Texas
    My mother was born in 1928 and her family was part of the Mexicans who work there. Her father Jesus Vasquez and Mother Solida Melendez were farm workers. Thanks. - Jane, June 16, 2005

  • Old Photos of Mackay
    My 6 siblings and I were all born in Mackay, TX between 1917 and 1934. My dad and mom, Candelario and Manuela Hernandez had a special relationship with A.P. and Marie Borden and often had them in our home for a Mexican dinner or morning coffee and "pan dulce".

    I have several pictures of the Bordens and of scenes around Mackay. I am also prepared to add some historical data and stories about life in Mackay in the 1930s and 1940s. For example
    (1), in addition to the Russian and Chinese immigrant workers, there were a large number of Mexican families working the Borden Ranch.
    (2). All my siblings and several uncles and cousins attended the elementary school on the ranch.
    (3) There was/is a cemetery solely for the Mexican families. It is located about half mile to the east of the main road leading from US 59 to what was the Borden Manor House. Our home was on this road on the banks of the Bosque Creek (Slough). - Ruben R. Hernandez, June 10, 2005

    Texas Escapes, in its purpose to preserve historic, endangered and vanishing Texas, asks that anyone wishing to share their local history, stories, landmarks and recent or vintage photos, please contact us.

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