A Fictional History of a Fictional Town
Wheaton Creek seems an unlikely place to have gained fame as a preserve for artists and the arts, yet that is precisely what the small town nestled among the gentle green undulations of the Texas Hill Country has become. First of all, it is in a remote location, accessed by a state highway that narrows to a county road miles before entering the town. The town spreads in a two-mile-long swath along the banks of Wheaton Creek, which everyone presumes was named for some 19th Century settler who either landed there because he could go no further when his wagon broke down, or because the aesthetics of the place appealed to him. Certainly, it had not been chosen with an eye to farming for, aside from the vineyards that have sprung up in recent decades, the land offers little arable promise. At some point, ranchers began to move in, allowing their goats and hardy longhorn cattle to graze what vegetation was to be found between the oaks and honey locusts and building small dams along the creek to provide pools of water for their livestock.
The attraction for artists came in more recent years when an esteemed painter, a highly regarded sculptor, and the author of some of the country’s most lauded western novels moved into the area. Their houses, each one situated on vast acreage, form the points of a triangle that surround the town. Soon, the population of Wheaton Creek was increased by the arrival of writers and artists of every ilk, some quite talented, others less so. Then other folks arrived to create new businesses, most of which are aimed at the tourists who flock to the area despite its remote location. It is a success story unrivaled in the history of Texas’s small towns.
Wheaton Creek also, despite idyllic appearances, harbors more than its share of wickedness.