What happened to historic Polly, Texas? How did it get its name?

Polly is no longer on the map, but has a fascinating history

POLLY, TEXAS – Nestled in eastern Bandera County, the remains of the once thriving community of Polly is not on any map, nor does it sit along any major roads.  But, it does have quite a history to tell and much it can be found in its name.

"Jose' Policarpio 'Polly' Rodriguez,” said Rudi Rodriquez, speaking of the town’s namesake.

Rudi Rodriguez heads up the Polly Texas Pioneer Association and is also Polly’s great-great nephew.  While many may have not heard the name, Polly's resume’ is storied.

"If you're talking about a frontiersman, a Texas frontiersman, and you compare him to the guy from Tennessee who killed 10 bears… well, he killed almost that many on his trip to the valley here,” said Rodriguez.

A well-known Tejano, Polly called San Antonio home for many years before moving to Bandera County.  He was also a famous surveyor, road developer, Texas Ranger, justice of the peace, and converted Methodist preacher.  Eventually, he would opt to settle along the peaceful Privilege Creek.

“He came here for the first time as a scout with the military looking for the lost camels,” said Rodriguez.

Those camels were the famed camels of Camp Verde.

Polly, Texas would grow and flourish into a diverse community in the 1800s, complete with a chapel and schoolhouse, both of which still stand today. One of the more fascinating pieces of history in Polly is the homestead, built by Polly himself in 1856.  He built it to protect himself and those who lived there from Indian raids.

Polly died in 1914, shortly after taking an iconic picture in front of his home.  Afterward, the community would disband and disappear from the map.

"You know, history has moved on... we're talking almost 150 years,” said Rodriguez.

While time has moved on, those who care about Polly’s impact, including Rodriguez, have not.  The Polly Texas Pioneer Association is making sure of that.

“Generation after generation saw a need and were inspired and urged to collectively get together and preserve it,” said Rodriguez.

The chapel remains open for special events and is a popular spot for weddings.  The schoolhouse is in the process of being restored and preserved.

About the Author:

Justin Horne is a meteorologist and reporter for KSAT 12 News. When severe weather rolls through, Justin will hop in the KSAT 12 Storm Chaser to safely bring you the latest weather conditions from across South Texas. On top of delivering an accurate forecast, Justin often reports on one of his favorite topics: Texas history.