Will Branch

PLEDGER, TEXAS. Pledger is at the junction of Farm roads 1301 and 1728, nineteen miles north of Bay City in the northern corner of Matagorda County. The area's first settlers were brought by Stephen F. Austin, who granted titles to the land between 1824 and 1827. The rich bottomland on Caney Creek yielded crops of sugarcane, cotton, and corn. A post office was established in 1880 with John Walton Brown as postmaster. He named the post office Pledger after the family of his deceased wife, Narcissa Pledger. In 1885 Pledger had two churches, a district school, two general stores, two cotton gins, a steam gristmill, and a population of seventy-five. By 1890 the population had grown to 200, and by 1892 Pledger had three gristmills, four gins, two livestock concerns, three general stores, a constable, and a population of 360. The railroad reached Pledger by 1900, when a branch of the New York, Texas and Mexican Railway was built from Wharton to Van Vleck. In 1902 the townsite was platted and filed. In 1914 fifty people lived in Pledger. The Grove Hill church, located near the Brown Plantation, was used as a schoolhouse by slaves from the local plantations and their descendants. In 1938 Pledger had two schools, one with three teachers and fifty-nine white students and one with four teachers and 134 black students. In 1947 the Pledger area public schools were consolidated with the Boling school district. The Boling oil boom of the late 1920s and early 1930s, followed by the opening of sulfur mines at New Gulf, bolstered the area's economy during the Great Depression. By 1925 Pledger had a population of 250, and in 1936 it had six businesses. During the 1920s a pipeline was completed from the Damon oilfields to Pledger. Oil-loading racks were built along the railroad sidings, where oil was loaded and shipped to nearby refineries. Pledger had 150 residents and four businesses in 1948. In 1989 the population was 159, and the town had three churches and five businesses. Through 2000 the population was still reported at 159. During most of its history Pledger was primarily an agricultural community. Pecans, turf grass, grains, soy beans, hay, livestock, and cotton were all grown in the area. More recently, however, it became a bedroom community for Houston, Wharton, West Columbia, Bay City, Old Ocean, Freeport, and the South Texas Nuclear Project.

Matagorda County Historical Commission, Historic Matagorda County (3 vols., Houston: Armstrong, 1986).

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The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, Will Branch, "PLEDGER, TX," accessed December 05, 2019,

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
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