"Pheasant Switch was a ‘neighborhood’ settlement" By Carol Ann Graff Colleen Claybourn Matagorda County TXGenWeb

   Pheasant, or Pheasant Switch, was a “neighborhood” settlement about six miles north of Palacios.    
   The area, informally platted as far as can be determined, was situated immediately east of the Southern Pacific Railway and just north of a country road in the N. Reed Survey.    
   The railroad was completed to Palacios in 1903.  
   The name “Pheasant” probably came from the northerners who settled the area.    
   They thought the prairie chickens in the area were pheasants.    
   The other part of the name, “Switch,” is a railroad term used for siding, setting cars into a siding or “switching” cars in the train.    
   The train would leave a boxcar at the Pheasant siding so farmers could fill it with sacked or barreled rice, and the boxcar would then be picked up by another train at a later date.    
   Pheasant definitely was a train stop between Palacios and Blessing where passengers and freight were loaded or unloaded.    
   To ride the train cost one or two cents per mile in the early days.  
   The station was on the west side of the road.    
   The station consisted of a one-room building with one bench inside; it did, however keep the rain off while waiting for the train, and it did serve as a place to keep cream cans or other freight until picked up by the train.    
   The train would stop if flagged.  
   It came to a full stop for freight.    
   So that the train would not have to come to a full stop for a passenger, Engineer Jake Wilkerson and Conductor Jim Walters would slow down, grab a hand, and pull the passenger onto the train.  
   The Palacios Beacon of April 7, 1911, speaks of boarding the train at “the beautiful little green spot named Pheasant.”  
   Cattle were driven to Pheasant to the cattle pens by truck, loaded into cattle cars, and shipped north.    
   A cattle dipping vat was situated there. Cattle exposed to tick fever were dipped into a chemical to cure them of the fever.  
   Sometimes prior to 1925, the Ohio Colony schoolhouse was moved to the east side of the road at Pheasant and served as a school and meeting place for years.    
   It was also used as a nondenominational church, which used any preacher the settlers could get to come and hold services.  
   Clara Schley taught school at Pheasant.  She caught the morning train in Palacios, got off at Pheasant, taught school, and then caught the return train at 2 p.m.   
   A Mrs. Beard from Blessing was one of the teachers during this period.    
   Josephine Callaway Milam also taught school there in 1926-1927.  She taught the Sifford and King children among others.    
   She boarded with the Franklin Jackson family (next to Pheasant on the north and east) until Mrs. Jackson had a stroke, after which she boarded with her sister in Palacios and rode to Pheasant to teach.    
   Dr. Hood’s wife also taught school at Pheasant and rode a horse from her home in Palacios.  
   This school was one of the many eventually consolidated into the Tidehaven Independent School District and children in the area now ride the bus to school elsewhere.  
   Texas Eastern Gas Pipeline Company began operations near Pheasant in May, 1958, and is still in operation.    
   There are to families living near Pheasant:  Mrs. Pete (Martha) Graff, age 83, who had lived there for about 60 years, and John and Bonnie Graff, who moved to the area twenty-three years ago and still reside at Pheasant with their children, Rick and Carol Ann.  

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