Who Was the Hill Country’s Legendary Hondo Crouch?

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Tony Maples Photography


With a name like Hondo, he must have established the town of Hondo, Texas, right? Wrong. Hondo Crouch is the guy who made Luckenbach, Texas famous enough for a songwriter to write about the town. Hondo didn’t launch the tiny Luckenbach. A few Germans did that back in the 1800’s, but Hondo Crouch branded it.

Hondo Crouch 1Photo: Facebook/Hondo Crouch

Remember the theme from the TV sitcom “Cheers”? Cheers was the bar “where everyone knows your name.” Hondo Crouch trademarked Luckenbach with similar buzzwords. Years before the TV sitcom became popular, Hondo claimed Luckenbach as the place “where everybody is somebody.” Similar to Will Rogers’ philosophic ways, Hondo extolled a humble way of living. He poked fun at a complicated life to all who would listen. And then people began to sing about it.

Waylon and WilliePhoto: Facebook/Big Country 99.5



In 1977, Waylon Jennings sang about simple living in “Luckenbach, Texas (Back to the Basics of Love).” The lyrics echoed Hondo Crouch’s philosophy. Although the songwriters had never been to Luckenbach, they had the gist of the place. A relaxed existence.

Let’s go to Luckenbach Texas with Waylon and Willie and the boys
This successful life we’re livin’ got us feuding like the Hatfield and McCoys”

Crouch, unfortunately, didn’t live to hear Waylon’s song. He’d died the year before.

hondo crouch at barPhoto: Facebook/Hondo Crouch

John Russell (Hondo) Crouch came into the world on December 4, 1916, and departed it in 1976. He left an indelible mark in those sixty years. So, how did he get the nickname name Hondo? He was born in Hondo, Texas but later moved north to the Kerrville and Comfort, Texas areas.

The talented Crouch wrote columns for the Comfort News. He used a pen name for his satires on politics and everyday life. Like Will Rogers, he was a humorist, but he was also an athlete—an All-American swimmer at the University of Texas. He stayed married to the same woman for 30 years and fathered four kids. While Will Rogers famously twirled a rope, Hondo Crouch carved wood.

And he owned a town. Crouch bought Luckenbach, Texas for $30,000 in 1971 and gave himself another title: Mayor. Luckenbach’s population consisted of three people.

Hondo in LuckenbachPhoto: Facebook/Luckenbach Texas

Luckenbach is a ghost town today, but a general store remains. So does the reputation of Hondo Crouch.


Hondo Crouch: Legendary Texan

Hondo’s on Main

Wikipedia/Luckenbach, Texas

Wikipedia/Luckenbach, Texas (Back to the Basics of Love)