AUSTWELL, TEXAS. Austwell is on Farm Road 774 near Hynes Bay in northeastern Refugio County. It was founded by Preston R. Austin in 1911; the community name combines the first syllable of Austin's name and the last syllable of that of his partner, Jesse C. McDowell. The farsighted Austin installed a water system with large cypress mains in every street and a fire plug on almost every corner. The community served as the terminus of the Austwell branch of the St. Louis, Brownsville and Mexico Railway. In 1912 Austwell acquired its own post office and erected a small wharf, but the bay was too shallow for any except lighter navigation. Austwell was incorporated by an election held on September 10, 1914. Around that time a town newspaper, the Austwell Dispatch, was established. On December 7, 1914, local Masons chartered the Lieuen M. Rogers lodge. The town was badly damaged by a storm in 1919 and almost destroyed by another on August 31, 1942. The population had dwindled to 300 in 1944. In 1988 Austwell listed a population of 280. In 1990 the population was 189. By 2000 the population was 192.
Hobart Huson, Refugio: A Comprehensive History of Refugio County from Aboriginal Times to 1953 (2 vols., Woodsboro, Texas: Rooke Foundation, 1953, 1955).