Sunshine Hill at
Photo courtesy Dustin
Martin, September 2017
a Pecan Shell
Named after a topographic
feature (1,208 feet above sea level). The school at Sunshine Hill
(established in 1889) was consolidated with the Electra
District in 1947.
The town experienced a minor boom in the 1920s but quickly reverted
back to a peaceful village. In 1936 the Wichita County map showed
a dispersed community and today the Handbook of Texas reports
that major structures had disappered from Sunshine Hill by the 1980s.
Our thanks to Gaylon White of Wichita
Falls who suggested a town page for Sunshine Hill. He wrote:
"This western part of Wichita
County is a mix of oil fields and prairie dogs. Several prairie
dog towns can be seen in this area. I have roamed this region all
of my life and like the sparsly settled country. It is also Waggoner
Ranch Country and Sunshine Hill is reportedly the highest elevation
in Wichita County."
Photo courtesy Keith Vaughn, March 20, 2011
"Sunshine Hill, TX fell victim to a grassfire on March 22, 2011.
I visited the site of the Sunshine School building, a few miles NE
of Electra, Texas, on
March 20th, and took the attached photos...When I heard that the fire
had destroyed the structure, I was saddened, and went back to the
school to see if it was true. It was.
Here are both before and after pictures, only 2 days from the other...
A part of North
Texas history is gone." - Keith Vaughn, Wichita Falls, March
courtesy Keith Vaughn, March 22, 2011
School - Before the fire
Photo courtesy Keith Vaughn, March 20, 2011
courtesy Keith Vaughn, March 20, 2011
|After the fire
Photo courtesy Keith Vaughn, March 22, 2011
|"L to R
Rear, my mother, Winnie Jeanne Hester, unknown lady, Evaline McNeill"
"L to R Front, Frances Ione Hester, Mary Frances Martin McNeill
(sitting) holding John Cornelius (J.C.) Hester, unknown, and unknown"
- Kay T. White
Photo circa 1920 courtesy Kay T. White
Hill, Texas Forum
photos & life in oil boom days
My mother is no longer living, and I cannot confirm the location of
either of these photographs or even of all of the people in them.
My sister, Paula Ruder, and I are guessing on the dates and on the
locations. Either photograph could have been taken anywhere, as there
is nothing that would identify a location in or around Sunshine
Hill. We think the year could have been 1920 to 1923 on either
My grandfather, William Reed Hester, married Gertrude Smoot of Gail,
Texas, and they had three children: W.J. Hester, Winnie Jeanne (my
mother), and Pauline. Gertrude died in the 1918 flu epidemic. He married
Evaline McNeill from Henrietta. They had five children, two of whom
were born in Sunshine Hill, Frances Ione and John Cornelius. Frances
Ione was named after Evaís mother Mary Frances Martin McNeill. I (Kay
Frances Taylor White) was named after my Aunt Ione.
I donít know a lot about my grandfather, except that he was a mule
skinner, and seemed to follow the oil boom, and particularly the North
Texas oil boom. My mother did tell us a few things about living in
Hill, and Electra. My
Uncle Roy Hester told me that he remembers his dad working for Magnolia
at one time. My Uncle Roy remembered a job that his dad had in Crane
putting in a road and hauling sand in a fresno (if I understood the
word correctly) pulled by mules. My mother used to tell us that my
grandfather was a very skilled mule skinner and was in much demand,
and my Uncle Roy confirms that. My Uncle Roy told me that my grandfather
and Uncle W.J. Hester owned a team of mules when they lived in Wink
in 1935, but they sold the mules to the Younger Brothers before they
became truckers. - Yours truly, Kay T. White, May 06, 2005
Subject: Sunshine Hill
My Aunt Euna and Uncle Walter Beck lived at Sunshine Hill when he
worked for Mr. Witcher who was in the oil business. My two sisters
went to school at the one room school house that was behind my Aunt's
house. My family lived somewhere in Sunshine Hill but I was too young
to remember where.
We visited the site about 12 years ago and the school house was still
there but I don't know about the house my Aunt and Uncle lived in.
We spent many wonderful days there and have so many good memories.
My sisters and I graduated from Iowa Park High School. My oldest in
1950, the second on 1953 and I in 1954.
Thank you for the information I was able to get from your magazine.
- Sincerely, Beverly Talley Jackson, August 21, 2010
Escapes, in its purpose to preserve historic, endangered and vanishing
Texas, asks that anyone wishing to share their local history
and vintage/historic photos, please contact