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Bonus, Texas
Country United States
State Texas
County Wharton
Elevation
148 ft (45 m)
Time zone UTC-6 (Central (CST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-5 (CDT)
ZIP code
77434
Area code(s) 979
GNIS feature ID 1378031

Bonus is an unincorporated community in northern Wharton County, Texas, United States located about 15 miles (24 km) north of Wharton near the intersection of Farm to Market Road 102 and Farm to Market Road 2614.

History

Bonus began in the mid-1890s. The construction of the Cane Belt Railroad ended at the a Wharton County plantation site owned by W. L. Dunovant and William Thomas Eldridge, who were among the people who chartered the railroad. In 1896 the community applied for a post office and requested the name "Alamo." That name was not approved. The Handbook of Texas states that Bonus became the name "reportedly" since the owners of the railroad were promised a bonus if they built into the area. The Bonus post office opened in 1896. Dunovant and Eldridge brought African American families to grow cotton, corn, rice, and sugar cane. In its early history Bonus had relatively few White American residents. The Dunovant-Eldridge partnership included land in various communities, including Bonus. In the early 1900s a prison camp opened in Bonus, and prisoners worked the land and performed agricultural jobs while under contract. In 1901 the partnership ended and Eldridge took the Bonus plantation while Dunovant took another plantation. In 1902 Eldridge shot Dunovant to death.

In 1936 Bonus had fifty residents and two residents. Throughout its history the community received a low volume of mail. The post office was discontinued three times before the final closing in 1940; since then residents received mail in Eagle Lake and Egypt. In 1940 the Eldridge to Bonus rail link ended. The rail bed became a county road. In the 1980s the community had 42 residents and no reported businesses. In 1992 the Cane Belt service ended. This led to the removal of the gravel bed, ties, and tracks. In 2000 Bonus had 42 residents.

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