Attracted by the State of Texas' offer of free land to railroad developers, a charter for the New York, Texas & Mexican Railroad was secured in 1880. Its major investor, John W. Mackay, made his fortune in the Nevada silver mines. His brother-in-law, count Joseph Telfener of Lombardy, Italy, arranged for the construction. Work began in 1880 on the 91-mile stretch of railroad track between Rosenberg and Victoria. The pasta diet of many of the Italian laborers lent itself to the railroad's nickname, the "Macaroni Line. "
Telfener and Mackay established six stations along the line--Inez, Louise, Edna, Hungerford, Telfener, and Mackay and named them for themselves and family members. The community of Hungerford was named for their father-in-law Daniel E. Hungerford, who served as vice-president of the New York, Texas & Mexican Railroad. Not the successful business venture they had envisioned, the company was sold to Southern Pacific Railway in 1885.
With an economy based on farming and ranching, the community of Hungerford has continued to flourish over the years. Its origin is a reflection of the varied history of the railroad in Texas.