San Perlita

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San Perlita is on Farm roads 2209 and 3142 nine miles northeast of Raymondville in east central Willacy County. It was named for Pyrle Johnson, the wife of the town developer. San Perlita is on land that was part of the San Juan de Carricitos land grant. It was portioned off in 1881 when Richard King and Mifflin Kenedy won a suit against the Cabazos heirs claiming that the land had not been permanently settled according to Spanish and Mexican law, thereby making the land grant null and the land the property of the state of Texas. This enabled the King Ranch to acquire the land. Henrietta King sold 23,000 acres of land at nine dollars an acre to the Gulf Coast Irrigation Company for developing. The area to become Willacy County then became known as the Gulf Coast Subdivision. The San Perlita Development Company was established to develop San Perlita. Charles Rene Johnson and W. G. Hecht planned and developed the town in 1926; Mrs. Johnson landscaped the area. A post office was established in 1929. The highway reached San Perlita in the late 1920s, and by 1930 the Missouri Pacific Railroad had arrived by way of Raymondville. In 1933 San Perlita had an estimated population of 150 and eighteen businesses. The number of businesses decreased to eight by 1939, when the estimated population was 200. In 1948 the community had two churches, two schools, seven businesses, a tourist camp, and numerous dwellings. The population was 348 in 1961 and 166 in 1969. It was 512 in 1990, and 680 in 2000. Businesses operating in San Perlita decreased to one by the early 1990s.

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Alicia A. Garza | © TSHA

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Adapted from the official Handbook of Texas, a state encyclopedia developed by Texas State Historical Association (TSHA). It is an authoritative source of trusted historical records.

Belongs to

San Perlita is part of or belongs to the following places:

Currently Exists


Place type

San Perlita is classified as a Town


Latitude: 26.50099400
Longitude: -97.63964800

Has Post Office


Is Incorporated


San Perlita by the Numbers

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Population Counts

San Perlita
Pop. Year Source
538 2020 United States Census Bureau
565 2019 Texas Demographic Center
573 2010 United States Census Bureau
680 2000 United States Census Bureau
512 1990 United States Census Bureau