Hitchcock in Galveston County, Texas — The American South (West South Central)
Erected 1992 by Texas Historical Commission.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African Americans • Horticulture & Forestry. A significant historical year for this entry is 1883.
Location. 29° 20.941′ N, 95° 1.062′ W. Marker is in Hitchcock, Texas, in Galveston County. Marker is on State Highway 6 west of Main Street (State Highway 519), on the right when traveling west. Located 30 miles SE of Houston and 14 miles NW of Galveston Island. Coined the “Promised Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 7902 Hwy 6, Hitchcock TX 77563, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 4 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. City of Hitchcock (approx. one mile away); Galilee Missionary Baptist Church (approx. 1.4 miles away); Camp Wallace (approx. 1.7 miles away); U.S. Naval Air Station (approx. 1.7 miles away); Frank Bell Jr. (approx. 3.1 miles away); Hitchcock Depot (approx. 3.3 miles away); La Marque (approx. 3.3 miles away); Settlement Community (approx. 3.4 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Hitchcock.
More about this marker. Located in the center of town, Stringfellow Orchards is a beautiful place to see. The home sits on 9.5 acres and the drive is lined with big oaks and tall pine trees.
Regarding Stringfellow Orchards. Mr. Stringfellow was the first to plant Satsuma oranges (Citrus unshiu marcovitch) from Japan on the Gulf Coast. He started the citrus industry on the Gulf Coast. During the 1880s & 1890s African-American men were making fifty cents per day in the area. Mr. Stringfellow was paying his African American workers one dollar per day. He had the most successful orchard in the area. This allowed him to pay well and retain the top talent. He was paying what he felt was a fair wage, before there was any social pressure to do so.
Also see . . . Galveston County sites on the National Register of Historic Places(Submitted on May 6, 2020, by Jim Evans of Houston, Texas.)
1. Stringfellow Orchards
The property was in very bad shape when we found it. As you can see from the photos we have come a very long way. This property has now been saved and we encourage others to be involved in your local preservation organizations. A once forgotten treasure is now the center of community activities.
Mr. Stringfellow was a very successful man during his lifetime. Leslie Stringfellow (1866–1886) was the only son of Henry & Alice Stringfellow. After Leslie’s death in 1886, Alice was so grieved that she refused to get out of bed. She eventually tried having seances to contact Leslie. Mr. & Mrs. Stringfellow would meet every night in the upstairs parlor at 7 pm for the seances. They collected over 4000 letters of what they said were communications with their son. I believe Mr. Stringfellow wrote these letters to help his wife deal with the grief of losing their only child. I do not believe he ever told his wife the truth. When he died communication with Leslie stopped. Mr. & Mrs. Stringfellow were well educated people. They came from very wealthy families and left their mark on Hitchcock.
2. Economic impact on African American community
Stringfellow Orchards was a very successful business in the 1880’s and 1890’s. Because of this success, Mr. Stringfellow was able to pay his workers one dollar a day (when the going wages were only fifty cents per day). This allowed these men the opportunity to better take care of their families. It also allowed them the opportunity to buy land. In his book, The New Horticulture (1896) Mr. Stringfellow mentions the name of one of these men, Frank Bell. The Bell family of Texas City is very well known in the area. Frank Bell, Jr. (1893–1963) was a very successful businessman in the area.
The connection between Stringfellow Orchards and the Bell family was a great discovery. It shows that after slavery there were some people that were willing to pay fair wages to Black workers. Just as poverty cycles over and over, if given the opportunity to break the poverty cycle, some will make the most of it. Frank Bell used his extra money to buy land for his family and encourage his children to go further. The impact of which is still being felt by the community today.
— Submitted January 19, 2008, by Samuel Collins III of Hitchcock, Texas.
3. An Outstanding Effort!
I have had the opportunity to visit Stringfellow Orchards during one of the community Juneteenth celebrations held there. The owners, Doris and Sam Collins, have done an amazing job of restoring this property and implementing a vision that is a benefit to the entire community. I look forward to celebrating Juneteenth and other historically-significant occassions at Stringfellow. Further, I would love to see the horticultural history of Stringfellow continued through education and demonstration of innovative and natural gardening practices.
— Submitted January 20, 2008, by S. Gillins of Galveston, Texas.
4. If Walls Could Talk
Just saw the house featured on If Walls Could Talk. What good folks the Collins' are for bringing this special piece of history back to life. Very neat!
— Submitted July 16, 2009, by Amy Vance of Friendswood, Texas.
5. Beautiful property
Stringfellow Orchards is Beautiful. You should make every effort to come out and see it. The sunsets are amazing through the large oaks. Sam Collins is about the nicest man and his families dedication to this project is amazing.
Credits. This page was last revised on May 9, 2021. It was originally submitted on January 18, 2008, by Samuel Collins III of Hitchcock, Texas. This page has been viewed 5,882 times since then and 120 times this year. Last updated on May 6, 2020, by Jim Evans of Houston, Texas. Photos: 1. submitted on January 18, 2008, by Samuel Collins III of Hitchcock, Texas. 2. submitted on May 6, 2020, by Jim Evans of Houston, Texas. 3. submitted on September 19, 2010, by Gregory Walker of La Grange, Texas. 4, 5. submitted on January 18, 2008, by Samuel Collins III of Hitchcock, Texas. 6. submitted on February 12, 2012, by Jim Evans of Houston, Texas. 7, 8, 9, 10. submitted on January 18, 2008, by Samuel Collins III of Hitchcock, Texas. 11. submitted on February 14, 2008, by Samuel Collins III of Hitchcock, Texas. 12, 13. submitted on May 26, 2013, by Jim Evans of Houston, Texas. 14. submitted on September 15, 2014, by Samuel Collins III of Hitchcock, Texas. 15. submitted on September 21, 2014, by Samuel Collins III of Hitchcock, Texas. • J. Makali Bruton was the editor who published this page.