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Keith Guthrie

SINTON, TEXAS. Sinton, the county seat of San Patricio County, is at the intersection of the Southern Pacific and Missouri Pacific railroads and U.S. highways 77 and 181, near the center of the county. Soon after the San Antonio and Aransas Pass Railway built through the county in 1886, Col. George W. Fulton, founder of the Coleman-Fulton Pasture Company, received approval from the board of directors to give 640 acres for the townsite of Sinton on the south bank of Chiltipin Creek. The town was named for David Sinton, majority stockholder in Coleman-Fulton. The company built cattle-loading pens immediately, and a post office in the section house was granted in 1888, with Margaret Camp as postmistress. By 1892 the post office had been discontinued. The charter for the Sinton Town Company was granted in 1894 for 1,000 acres. The organizers proved to be the leading citizens in the new town: George W. Fulton, Jr., John J. Welder, David Odem, Darius Rachal, Sidney G. Borden, William J. Scofield, L. N. Scofield, S. W. McCall, and S. D. Scudder. An election made Sinton county seat on June 23, 1894, and on June 28 the commissioners' court met in Sinton. The St. Louis, Brownsville and Mexican Railway arrived in 1907. Growth was slow, and the population, reported as seventy-five in 1908, began to grow only after homeseeker trains began arriving in San Patricio County from the Midwest and from northern and central Texas. Several blocks of land were offered for sale to farmers. By 1910 the town had a number of businesses, a bank, a hotel, and a newspaper. Sinton developed as a shipping point for locally grown vegetables after J. W. Benson arrived in the county shortly before 1908 and set up packing sheds. Cattle continued to be shipped out by rail in large numbers. A four-alarm fire destroyed a block of business buildings in 1912. The city was incorporated in 1916, and W. E. Haisley was elected mayor. A home rule charter and a council-manager form of government were approved in 1966. A building boom transformed the main street into modern brick buildings shortly after World War I. The discovery of oil near Sinton on Easter Sunday, 1935, by the Plymouth Oil Company changed the face of the town. Plymouth set up headquarters in Sinton and sponsored a baseball team, the Plymouth Oilers, who in 1957 became the first Texas team to win the national semiprofessional baseball crown. A few wells drilled during this period were still in production in 1988. After World War II the city grew; a number of new businesses and several residential developments were constructed. The economy remained tied to the land. Vegetable-packing sheds operated in Sinton until the mid-1960s, when sorghum, cotton, and, to a lesser degree, corn took over as the leading crops. Ranching also continued to be important in the north and west part of the county. A school system started in Sinton in 1893, when Miss Drew Moore presided over the one-room school. The town now has a modern system that was swelled by a rash of school consolidations in the decade following World War II. By the 1970s Sinton was a center for farming, petroleum, and petrochemical industries. In the 1980s the Rural Electrification Administration maintained a regional headquarters in Sinton, and the town was the site of a Dr Pepper plant. A large grain elevator served the town. The population in the late 1980s was estimated at 6,500. Sinton is the site of the annual San Patricio County Agricultural and Homemakers Show, an October Old Fiddlers Parade, and the county Youth Rodeo. It is also noted for its Rob and Bessie Welder Wildlife Park, a 3,000-acre recreation area belonging to the city. In 1990 the population was 5,549. The population was 5,676 in 2000.


Keith Guthrie, History of San Patricio County (Austin: Nortex, 1986). Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.

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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, Keith Guthrie, "SINTON, TX," accessed August 05, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hfs08.

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Modified on March 8, 2019. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
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