Matt Pierce led several excursions from Kansas to Collegeport

    EDITOR’S NOTE: Matt Pierce worked with Burton D. Hurd and brought in alot of excursions from the Midwest to Collegeport, beginning around 1910. 
   The family eventually moved here  and later moved to Hidalgo County after the deaths of their children and the Collegeport “bust!” 
   They are buried there.

Matthew & Frances
Smaha Pierce
   Matthew Pierce was born April 20, 1871 in Ohio to Hiram Pierce and his wife, according to available records.
   Frances “Fannie” Smaha was born December 15, 1881 in Nebraska City, Nebraska to George (1851 - 1920) and Frances Bartos Smaha (1856-1914).  
   Her siblings were George M., Frank Jack, Joseph C., Emma Helen, Fred Harold and Sophia Lucile. By 1900, the family was living in Red Oak, Montgomery, Iowa. 
   By 1910, Matt was working with land developer Burton D. Hurd, founder of Collegeport. 
   He conducted excursions to Collegeport for Hurd to entice northern residents to move to the sunny south. 
   On February 27, 1912, Matt and Fannie were married in Kansas City, Jackson County, Missouri and he continued the excursions until 1913.  
   The couple was often in Collegeport during the excursions and were active in local activities. 
   They began staying in Collegeport longer on each visit and moved to Collegeport in late 1913. Because of their times spent in Collegeport, they were able to easily assimilate into the community and Matt continued his real estate business.
   Their son, Matt Doyle Pierce, was born June 17, 1914, and daughter, Frances Margaret Pierce, was born March 26, 1916, both in Collegeport. 
   Sadly, both children died in Collegeport and were buried at the Collegeport Cemetery. Frances died on November 8, 1920 and Matt on March 4, 1923. 
   They were the only children born to Matt and Frances. Their graves are marked with unusual shell-crete markers with Roman numerals. 
   The Collegeport Cemetery Association made and placed the markers to designate graves that had no identification.
   Go with us on our next excursion trip, Tuesday, June 21, and see what our Red Oak People are doing in the Gulf Coast country of Texas. Matt Pierce— Red Oak Express, Red Oak, Iowa, June 10, 1910.

 

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