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Special Collections & University Archives: John H. Shary

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John H. Shary Research Guide

John H. Shary Research Guide

Background: John H. Shary

“The Father of the Texas Citrus Industry” 

"John H. Shary was a man of vision…when he came to the Rio Grande Valley in 1912, he looked at brush land and he saw opportunity. When he looked at empty acreage, he saw productive family farms. When he looked at small backyard orchards, he saw an industry. But most of all, when he looked at the Valley, he saw a place he wanted to call home.” 
–Dr. Miguel A. Navárez, University of Texas Pan American, President 

John Harry Shary (1872-1945) first came to the Rio Grande Valley in 1912. As a prominent land developer in Texas, Shary immediately saw the agricultural and land potential that the Valley had to offer. He quickly began to buy acreage in the city of McAllen and Pharr area. His most notable purchase was a large parcel of land to the east of the city of Mission, he called Sharyland.   

In Sharyland, Shary planted the first large scale citrus crop in the Valley. This action began the citrus industry in Texas. He also purchased the United Irrigation Company in order to furnish water to his land. While developing Sharyland, he also began to bring and attract northern investors and farmers to the Valley. During these excursion parties, Shary would take them on a tour of Sharyland and show the different options of land he offered.  

Shary donated property and founded the Sharyland Independent School District as the population of Sharyland began to increase. The district was established on March 10, 1921 and Shary was elected president of the school board, a position he would hold until 1939.  

John H. Shary invested his time, knowledge, and resources to help make his vision of building a citrus empire in the Rio Grande Valley possible. Although, he primarily focused on developing the Sharyland and Mission area, he was instrumental in demonstrating the valuable agricultural potential of the Valley.  

John H. Shary Timeline

Sample of Digitized Material from the John H. Shary Collection

Portal of Texas History

Research Compiled by Deandra Cavazos

Deandra Cavazos, a Certified Archivist with the ACA (Academy of Certified Archivists), earned a Master of Science in Information Technology at UTRGV. She holds a Master of Education in Secondary Education with a concentration in History and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Anthropology. During her eight years working at Special Collections and Archives, Ms. Cavazos worked extensively on multiple collections including the John H. Shary Collection, Eligio (Kika) de la Garza Congressional Papers, and the Ruben Hinojosa Congressional Papers.


The research guides compiled by UTRGV staff and students are intended to assist patrons who are embarking upon new research endeavors. Our goal is to expand their knowledge of the types of resources available on a given topic, including books, archival materials, and websites. In so doing, our compilers have taken care to include collections, digital items, and resources that may be accessed not only through UTRGV but also via other institutions, repositories, and websites.

We wholeheartedly respect the research interests of others. Therefore, please contact us if you wish to submit a resource for consideration, or if you have a question about or an issue with a specific cited resource.

Books in Our Catalog

More John H. Shary Materials

John H. Shary Outside the Valley

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