Thrifty, Texas                    




Thrifty is on Farm Road 2492 six miles north of Bangs in northwestern Brown County. In 1858 the sons of Republic of Texas pioneer Isaac Mullins-Isaac, Jr., John C., and William-established the I C Ranch headquarters on the north side of Jim Ned Creek, seven miles east of Camp Colorado. Other members of the family followed, and by the end of the Civil War a sizeable settlement had developed in the area. The community was originally called Jim Ned, and a post office under this name operated there from 1875 to 1879; in 1880 the post office name was changed to Thrifty. Dr. G. W. Allen and other Allen family members moved to the community in 1875. In 1876 a school was established, and in 1877 it had sixteen pupils. John Mullins had previously opened a store, and in 1877 he and Dr. Allen established the Mullins-Allen Mercantile, a ranch supply center for surrounding counties. The partnership also operated a freight line and a cotton gin. For a time the town also had a saloon and a hotel. The gin was established, along with a flour mill, in 1880, when news arrived of the proposed extension of the Santa Fe line to nearby Brownwood. The railroad, however, caused Thrifty to lose businesses, and this, combined with a severe drought from 1885 to 1887, led to the closing of the store and Thrifty's end as a trade center. By 1892 Thrifty had an estimated population of 100. The number of residents had dropped to sixty by 1915 and remained at about that level through 1936, when Thrifty reported three businesses and a population of fifty-four. In 1977 the site had scattered residences. No population figures were available for Thrifty in 1990.

from the Handbook of Texas Online

1936 Map of Thrifty from General Highway Map of Brown County, 1936 View map legend
Map of Thrifty,
Map of Thrifty, USGS survey

Once a thriving agricultural area and regional trade center, the community of Thrifty was established after the U. S. Army relocated Camp Colorado, a frontier defense post, along nearby Jim Ned Creek in 1857. The first family to settle permanently in the area was that of Charles Mullins, whose three sons and one daughter and their families established ranches and homes in the Jim Ned Creek valley. Once federal troops were withdrawn from the area after Texas voters elected to secede from the Union in February 1861, settlers were on their own to provide for their defense, encountering many of the dangers of frontier life. Thrifty saw its greatest development in the period following the Civil War and Reconstruction, when a post office was established (first under the name Jim Ned, later named Thrifty). John Charles Mullins donated four acres of land for school and church purposes in 1881. At one time, Thrifty had a hotel, saloon, sawmill, sorghum press, cotton gin, blacksmith shop and physicians' offices. The mercantile store, operated by Dr. G. W. Allen and John Charles Mullins, served as a regional trading center for farmers and ranchers in the area. In 1886, the railroad bypassed Thrifty, and its life as a vital trade center diminished. This event, coupled with a severe drought between 1885 and 1888, triggered an exodus from the community, as residents sought viable employment elsewhere. The story of Thrifty remains as a lesson in the development of the Texas frontier and a part of Brown County's history.

Historical Marker Text, 2001

Marker Location: 10 miles northwest of Brownwood on SH 279, then 2.7 miles west on FM 2492 right-of-way at junction with county road 105