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Chickenfeather, Texas: How a dark crime gave this town its weird name

Although the town no longer exists, former residents still gather each year to remember this strangely-named community.

TEXAS, USA — What do you get when you cross a preacher, young boys and chickens? A town, or what used to be a town, with a really weird name: Chickenfeather.

“There’s just nothing out there now but fields and a cemetery,” said local resident and historian John Dulin.

Dulin wrote the book on Chickenfeather. Actually he only wrote an article.

In that article, Dulin says the community was originally called New Hope, until a sinister crime was committed in the dark of night.

“Around 1910, some young men in the neighborhood were out coon hunting at night,” Dulin said.

After hunting for hours, those boys came up empty. Starving, they did something devious.

“They were hungry, it was getting late at night, so they stole some farmer’s chickens,” said Dulin.

The boys didn’t steal from just any farmer. This farmer was also the preacher.

“If it was a pastor, then they committed a sin.”

The boys killed the chickens, skinned ‘em and ate ‘em.

To hide the evidence of their sinful stealing, they tossed the chicken feathers, and the guts, into the well. It was the same well where the schoolchildren and families got their water.

“After that day it’s been referred to as Chickenfeather,” Dulin said.

The well had to be emptied, cleaned and sanitized to make the water potable again.

In the 1980s, every church, house and building in Chickenfeather was sold to a mining company and demolished. Today, all that remains is a cemetery right where the heart of the town used to be.

Although the town is gone, it’s not forgotten. Every summer, former residents and other people with ties to Chickenfeather gather outside the cemetery to have a picnic and share stories from what used to be one of the strangest named towns in Texas.