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Hico (pronounced "high-coe") is a small city in Hamilton Countymarker, Texasmarker, United Statesmarker. The population was 1,341 at the 2000 census. The town motto is "Where Everybody Is Somebody!." The county seat is Hamiltonmarker some twenty miles to the south on United States Highway 281.

Hico was named by its founder for his unincorporated hometown in Calloway Countymarker in southwestern Kentuckymarker near Murraymarker, just north of the Tennesseemarker state boundary. The original site was on Honey Creek, but when the Texas Central Railroad was built nearby, the citizens moved two-and-a half miles to the rail line. Hico was incorporated in 1883 and became the Hamilton County shipping center. Over the years, it became a cattle and cotton market. Today ranching and tourism dominate.

"Brushy Bill" Roberts and Billy the Kid

Ollie P. Roberts, usually known as Ollie L. Roberts, "Brushy Bill" Roberts, or William Henry Roberts, a resident of Hico during the late 1940s, claimed to have been the outlaw Billy The Kid. Although his assertion has been largely discredited by historians, the Hico Chamber of Commerce has capitalized on his infamy by opening a small Billy The Kid Museummarker, where visitors can decide whether Brushy Bill was indeed William H. Bonney. Bonney was born in New York Citymarker, but Brushy Bill claimed to have been born in Buffalo Gapmarker south of Abilenemarker, Texas. The museum offers a taped video presentation of Sam Donaldson, a native Texanmarker, narrating an ABC documentary about Brushy Bill's claim. There is also a replica of a 19th century jail in the museum and other artifact of the period.

In the downtown is a marker devoted to Brushy Bill: "Ollie L. 'Brushy Bill' Roberts, alias Billy the Kid, died in Hico, Texas, December 27, 1950. He spent the last days of his life trying to prove to the world his true identity and obtain the pardon promised him by the governor of the state of New Mexicomarker (William Mabry). We believe his story and pray to God for the forgiveness he solemnly asked for [sic]." Robert Stack did a segment on Roberts in the early 1990 on the NBC television series Unsolved Mysteries. That show also raised the possibility that history could be wrong.

Billy the Kid Museum operated by the Hico Chamber of Commerce

According to Jan Canup of the Hico Chamber of Commerce, several relatives, including a son and grandson, of former Sheriff Patrick F. Garrett claim that their kinsman never killed The Kid. There were no reliable witnesses to what body was actually placed in the Kid's grave, according to this line of argument. The Garrett family contends that Garrett and the Kid may have even plotted to collect the $500 reward offered for The Kid.

Next to the Brushy Bill marker on North Pecan Street, is a large statue by the sculptor James Rice of Billy the Kid firing his gun. Downtown Hico, focused upon the Billy the Kid Museum on South Pecan Street, is a restored Western community with businesses appealing to tourists. There is an artist studio, antique stores, restaurants, and a leather shop. On Saturday evenings, free musical entertainment is offered downtown, and the Jersey Lilly Restaurant provides free horse-drawn buggy rides. The Midland Hotel (built 1896) on South Pecan Street has a gift shop on the lower floor, but the upper level is no longer used. North and South Pecan are divided by Highway 6.

The Hico community

Koffee Kup Kafe marquee
Hico has a small diner with a regional reputation: the Koffee Kup Family Restaurant, located at the main town intersection of Highway 281 (north-south) and Texas State Highway 6 (east-west). From the outside the restaurant appears small, but it can seat 116 and is open for all three meals. Owned by Lynn E. Allen (born 1947), a former Hico School Board member, the Koffe Kup is known throughout the region, having been featured on Bob Phillips's Texas Country Reporter syndicated television series. The restaurant is particularly known for its chicken-fried steak, strawberry pie, and other custard pies.Adjacent to the Koffee Kup is the historical home of photographer Frank Rufus Wiseman (built 1903), which houses antiques and a chocolate company.

Each July Hico hosts Old Settlers Reunion at City Park. During the week the "Citizen of the Year" is recognized. Hico High School, which maintains a popular football team under Coach Keith Wood, holds its homecoming observance at the same time as Old Settlers Day. Hico claims that its Old Settlers gathering, which dates to 1882, is the oldest of its kind in Texas. It has been held each years since except during World War II.

Hico has maintained a post office since 1861, and the first mail was carried by horseback. An early Hico business was Hico Ice and Cold Storage, which began in 1905. In time, it developed a major shipping market for eggs, chickens, and turkeysmarker. The weekly newspaper, released on Thursdays, is the Hico News Review, edited and published by Jerry E. McAdams (born 1951). The publication is a Texas Press Association Award winner.

Across Highway 281 from the Hico News Review is the First Baptist Church, pastored by Christopher Irvin (born ca. 1962), one of two major congregations in the community. The historic First United Methodist Church, also on Highway 281, was organized in 1881, with some twenty-five charter members. Six area churches later merged to become the Hico Methodist body. The current yellow brick sanctuary dates to 1903. The church is known for it support of both Boy Scouts and Girls Scouts.

Hico establishments also sell Dublin Dr Pepper, made from Imperial Sugar, rather than high fructose corn syrup. Dublin Dr. Pepper costs about twice as much for half as much drink as regular Dr Pepper. The "Dublin" refers to the bottling company in Dublinmarker. Dr Pepper was first developed east of Hico in Wacomarker.

Smooth Water Ranch is a lake with an unusual name located six miles north of Hico on Texas State Highway 220. It provides opportunities for water skiing and camping, including facilities for recreational vehicles. There are outdoor festivals during spring, summer, and autumn with performances by Texas musicians.

Ranch life, including horseback riding, hayrides, and camping, can be experienced at Timber Creek Ranch some ten miles southeast of Hico on Texas Highway 6.

Voting behavior

Hamilton County is a bellwether county, having voted for the statewide winner in Texas in all presidential elections since at least 1972. In 1964, Democratic President Lyndon B. Johnson, a native of the Hill Country, polled 2,048 votes (67 percent) in Hamilton County to Republican Barry M. Goldwater's 1,006 (33 percent). In 1968, the Republican nominee Richard M. Nixon won the county though the state narrowly supported Democratic Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey. Nixon polled 1,266 (44.7 percent) to Humphrey's 1,116 (39.4 percent), and 452 (15.9 percent) for the then American Independent Party candidate, former Governor George C. Wallace, Jr., of Alabamamarker.

Nixon overwhelmed George S. McGovern in 1972, but Democratic Jimmy Carter, the last Democrat to have won the electoral votes of Texas, won in 1976, 1,981 (62.7 percent) to 1,176 (37.3 percent) for Nixon's presidential successor, Gerald R. Ford. Ronald Reagan barely defeated Carter in Hamilton County in 1980, 1,683 (52 percent) to 1,526 (47.1 percent), and 30 (less than 1 percent) votes for Independent John B. Anderson, a liberal U.S. representative from Illinoismarker. Reagan overwhelmed Carter's former vice president, Walter F. Mondale of Minnesotamarker in 1984, 2,116 (65.2 percent) to 1,130 (34.8 percent).

George Herbert Walker Bush and Robert J. Dole won Hamilton County in 1988, 1992, and 1996, respectively, over the Democrats Michael S. Dukakis and Bill Clinton. Bush defeated Dukakis by 363 votes and Clinton by 132 ballots. Dole bested Clinton by 293 votes in Hamilton County. In 1992, Dallasmarker industrialist H. Ross Perot trailed Clinton by 179 votes. In 1996, Perot received 323 votes (10.7 percent). These totals do not distinguish Hico from Hamilton, the county seat.

Hico also hosts the Texas steak cookoff. It boasts thousands of guests every year.


Hico is located at (31.984410, -98.030508) .

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 1.5 square miles (3.8 km²), all of it land.

Approximately 1.8 miles north of Hico are what appear to be the remains of an impact crater that was formed some time after the Cretaceous Period.


As of the census of 2000, there were 1,341 people, 556 households, and 363 families residing in the city. The population density was 911.4 people per square mile (352.2/km²). There were 640 housing units at an average density of 435.0/sq mi (168.1/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 90.23% White, 0.82% Native American, 0.15% Pacific Islander, 7.53% from other races, and 1.27% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 11.26% of the population.

There were 556 households out of which 30.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 51.4% were married couples living together, 10.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 34.7% were non-families. 31.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 22.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.37 and the average family size was 2.99.

In the city the population was spread out with 26.2% under the age of 18, 6.9% from 18 to 24, 23.8% from 25 to 44, 20.5% from 45 to 64, and 22.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females there were 82.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 77.9 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $25,919, and the median income for a family was $34,688. Males had a median income of $27,404 versus $17,708 for females. The per capita income for the city was $14,122. About 13.6% of families and 19.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 27.2% of those under age 18 and 22.4% of those age 65 or over.


The City of Hico is served by the Hico Independent School District, home of the Hico Tigers and Lady Tigers.

Hico gallery

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Hico, Texas: "Where Everybody Is Somebody"

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Historic district in Hico

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Billy the Kid equestrian statue in Hico

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Koffee Kup Restaurant in Hico is particularly known for chicken-fried steak.

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The First National Bank of Hico (chartered 1890)

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The Midland Hotel of Hico, Texas

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Western mural in Hico, Texas

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Office of Hico News Review (founded 1895)

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First Baptist Church of Hico on U.S.
Highway 281 South

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First United Methodist Church in Hico


  1. Texas Department of Transportation, Texas State Travel Guide, 2008, pp. 200-201
  2. Roberts historical marker, Hico, Texas
  3. Jan Canup, Hico Chamber of Commerce, operator of the Billy the Kid Museum
  4. Koffee Kup Family Restaurant - a Central Texas Landmark - Hico Texas
  5. Net Detective, People Search
  6. Bob Phillips, Texas Country Reporter, March 24, 2006
  7. Historical marker, downtown Hico, Texas
  8. Hico News Review, July 17, 2008
  9. Texas Historical Commission, First United Methodist Church, Hico, Texas
  10. World Almanac and Book of Facts, 1969, pp. 909-910
  11. World Almanac, 1973, pp. 65-66
  12. World Almanac, 1993, pp. 97-98; 1997, pp. 100-101
  13. Potential of Radar Imaging and Sounding Methods in Mapping Heavily Eroded Impact Craters: Mapping Some Structural Elements of the Hico Crater, TX (PDF), Lunar and Planetary Science XXXV (2004). Retrieved 2008-05-28

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