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Ruben E. Ochoa

BIRY, TEXAS. Biry, also referred to as Biryville and as Briar Branch, is on Farm Road 173 and Briar Branch Creek, twelve miles southeast of Hondo in Medina County. The settlement was situated within empresario Henri Castro's original land grant and was established, under the name Briar Branch, around 1888 by the sons of Castro's initial European grantees. The first school was built there in 1892, and 1896 school records show thirty-nine students attending the Briar Branch School. The community had some 300 people in 1900. Forced to shorten the name to accommodate a new post office in 1907, community residents chose Biry in honor of Jacob Biry, pioneer settler and town founder. The post office, with Joseph Franger as its first postmaster, operated out of the Franger-Schmidt General Store. Also in 1907 a cotton gin was built to serve the community. The Franger-Schmidt business expanded to include a meat market, a cafe, and a saloon and dance hall, but by 1914 the store was out of business. The saloon and cafe ended operations during prohibition, but dancing continued in the hall well into the 1930s. The population of Biry had declined to twenty by 1948, and this decline continued after Highway 173 bypassed the community in the 1950s. The Biry school was closed in 1952, when it consolidated with the Devine school district. Soon after the highway was completed, Marvin Hass opened what was for a time the last store to operate in the community; the old store building was being used as an oil-well supply warehouse as late as 1983. By the early 1990s Biry was attracting new residents, many of whom commuted to work in San Antonio. Others in the community were engaged in farming, ranching, and the oil business; at this time the majority of the oil-producing wells in Medina County were within ten miles of Biry. Population statistics for Biry were not available in the 1980s and early 1990s.

Castro Colonies Heritage Association, The History of Medina County, Texas (Dallas: National Share Graphics, 1983). John J. Germann and Myron Janzen, Texas Post Offices by County (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, Ruben E. Ochoa, "BIRY, TX," accessed June 02, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hrb35.

Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
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