An American Journey
The Genealogy of the Curbow-Montoya Family
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History of Premont, Jim Wells County, Texas
PREMONT, TEXAS. Premont is on U.S. Highway 281 twenty-six miles south of Alice in south central Jim Wells County. The site was part of the Los Olmos y Loma Blanca land grant issued to Ignacio de la Peña on December 9, 1831. Peña and his heirs occupied the land for the next thirty years. In 1908 Premont was founded by Charles Premont, for whom it was named, and Andrés Canales, who established a general store there. Premont donated the funds for building Santa Theresa Catholic Church. In 1909 a post office was opened at Premont. Between 1910 and 1912 the community was advertised as a highly productive agricultural region and attracted a large number of new settlers. In 1912 it had an estimated population of 800 and ten businesses, three churches, a school, and the post office. The population had increased to 1,000 by 1914, the year the San Antonio and Aransas Pass Railway built a stop at Premont. The Premont Independent School District was established in 1921 and became the largest school district in Jim Wells County. The area did not fulfill its developers' claims, however, and the town's population decreased to 600 by 1925. In 1927 John W. Duerksen established a Mennonite church at Premont. On May 12, 1933, Premont's first producing oil well was drilled. Oil production and dairy farming helped to revitalize the area's economy. The town was incorporated in 1939. By 1941 it had an estimated population of 1,080. The population remained constant through the rest of the 1940s, and in 1952 Premont had an estimated 2,538 residents and fifty-two businesses. In 1955 American Legion Post No. 297 was dedicated in the town. By 1963 Premont had seven schools, seven churches, forty-three businesses, and an estimated population of 3,049. The community continued to prosper throughout the 1970s and 1980s with a population between 2,795 and 3,250. In 1990 Premont had a population of 2,914. The population dropped to 2,772 in 2000.
BIBLIOGRAPHY: Guide to Spanish and Mexican Land Grants in South Texas (Austin: Texas General Land Office, 1988). Neva Virginia Pollard, The History of Jim Wells County (M.A. thesis, Texas A&I University, 1945). Railroad Commission of Texas, Annual Report of the Oil and Gas Division, 1984.
Citation: Alicia A. Garza, "PREMONT, TX," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hgp13), accessed January 28, 2012. Published by the Texas State Historical Association