McMahan, once known as Wild Cat (Wildcat) and as Whizzerville, is at the intersection of Farm roads 713 and 3158, ten miles east of Lockhart in eastern Caldwell County. The land was part of a grant made to Ambrose Tinney in June 1832; other settlers began arriving in the early 1840s. Wildcat was an early store and saloon, and Whizzerville was associated with a saloon on the opposite side of Tinney Creek. The postal authorities granted a post office to the community in 1898, but rejected the name Whizzerville as being too long; residents then chose McMahan, in honor of Edward J. McMahan, who had built a store in the community in 1890. In 1914 the McMahan community had two general stores and seventy-five residents; much of the local economy was based on goats, cattle, sorghum, and cotton. The population was estimated at 200 in the late 1920s but fell to 100 during the Great Depression. In the 1940s the community had six businesses and 250 residents. The population fell to 150 in the late 1940s, and the McMahan schools were consolidated with the Lockhart Independent School District in 1949. In the early 1960s the McMahan post office was discontinued, and the population fell to 125. A flood-control project on Tinney Creek, completed in 1962, put an end to the flooding that had been a recurrent problem in McMahan. The Southwest Texas Sacred Harp Singing Convention (see SACRED HARP MUSIC) was organized at the Round Top school at McMahan on April 28, 1900, and became an annual event that attracted visitors from around the state. The convention was held on the weekend of the first fifth Sunday each spring, and the group was still active in the 1990s. The population of McMahan was reported at 125 through 2000.
Adapted from the official Handbook of Texas, a state encyclopedia developed by the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA). It is an authoritative source of trusted historical records.
Vivian Elizabeth Smyrl | © Texas State Historical Association
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McMahan by the Numbers
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