Buckeye began as irrigation farm in 1909

Matagorda County TXGenWeb
The Buckeye plaza included the park and this picture shows the first buildings built at Buckeye. The tracks for the St. Louis, Brownsville and Mexico Railway are in the foreground of the picture.

   Dr. Ambrose A. Plotner and John W. Stoddard purchased the land known as “Kuykendall Pasture” from Wylie M. Kuykendall [1839-1920] and wife, Susan E. Kuykendall [1841-1920] and from R. G. Kuykendall [1870-1906] and wife, Maggie M. Kuykendall [1871-1950] on July 5, 1902. 
   Neither Plotner nor Stoddard intended to live at Buckeye, their main objective was to improve the land for resale.
   The Plotner-Stoddard Irrigation Canal, platted in 1902, was designed to water approximately thirty thousand acres. The head gate for the canal and the pumping station were situated on the west bank of the Colorado River.
   A headquarters was established at Buckeye with Charles F. Chillson as general manager. A boarding house and company store were installed at the headquarters.
   The St. Louis, Brownsville & Mexico Railway was granted a right-of-way through Buckeye in 1903. 


"Zipprian’s Corner long a favorite of children" By Kathleen Tatum Matagorda County TXGenWeb

Zipprian’s Corner

   Zipprian’s Corner was the site of a general merchandise store at the crossroads of State Highway 60 and the road leading from Gulf to the old iron bridge crossing the Colorado River (now Selkirk Island road).  
   The store was in operations from about 1927 until the 1950’s.  
   Named for the owner of the store, Charles Wellington Zipprian, and his wife, Fannie, the Corner was a meeting place for families and young people living in the area.  
   It was “the place” to go for cold drinks, gum, cookies, and the like, as the Zipprian were so wonderful to the younger generation.  
   Having no children of their own, they looked forward to the children and especially to the end of each school year.  
    Travis “Shorty” Thompson, for many years the school bus driver from Wadsworth, would stop and buy all the kids soda water to celebrate, and the Zipprians would join in with homemade cookies.
   The Zipprians married April 14, 1926.  


Pioneer traildriver Wylie Kuykendall was punching cattle at age 10

Wylie Martin Kuykendall on horseback.

   Wylie Martin Kuykendall, pioneer traildriver, was born in Fort Bend County, Texas, on October 22, 1839, to Robert H. (Gill) and Electra (Shannon) Kuykendall.  
   He was the grandson of Robert H. Kuykendall, Sr., one ofStephen F. Austin's Old Three Hundred.  
   He was named after a family friend and prominent colonist, Wyly Martin. His mother died shortly thereafter, and in 1846 his father was presumed killed by Indians.  
   In 1849 Kuykendall left his home in Fort Bend County, riding on a mule behind his black servant, Lark, who eventually left him in Matagorda, where he lived for a while with his grandmother, Susan K. Tone.  
   He got a job punching cattle at the age of ten, and at twelve he was trailing cattle to Missouri for Bill Hurnden, who paid him twenty-five dollars a month.  
   At the age of fifteen Kuykendall assisted on a drive from Matagorda County to Weberville, Missouri.  


Elias, Mary Sherwood Wightman make mark in early Texas

   Elias R. Wightman, one of the founders of Matagorda and a Stephen F. Austin Old Three Hundred colonist, was born early in 1792 in Herkimer County, New York, one of eleven children of Esther (Randall) and Baptist minister Benjamin Wightman. 
   Wightman taught school in New York, eventually marrying one of his students, Mary Sherwood, whose book, Scraps of Early Texas History (1884), includes gleanings from her husband’s surveying field notes. 
   Wightman was in Texas as early as 1824, and by July 1825 he had been appointed by Stephen F. Austin as one of the appraisers of goods damaged on the schooner, Lady of the Lake. 
      In August 1826 Wightman and several other persons petitioned Austin for the establishment of the town of Matagorda, and Wightman himself petitioned for a league of land on the east side of the Colorado River. 


Elias Wightman’s parents were Matagorda’s first settlers

   Benjamin Wightman, the son of Abraham and Susanna (Stark) Wightman, was born on August 31, 1755, in Norwich, Connecticut. 
   He was the fourth generation of the Wightman family in America. He married Esther Randall, the daughter of Rufus and Margaret (Wightman) Randall. 
   She was born in Cochester, Connecticut, on December 4, 1758.
   The Wightmans emigrated from Montville, Connecticut, to Herkimer County, New York, where the settlement became known as Whitmantown. 
   Benjamin was a Baptist minister, and both he and his wife were lineally descended from colonial clergymen; among those were Valentine Wightman, Obadiah Holmes, and Roger Williams, first governor of Rhode Island.
During the American Revolution, Benjamin Wightman served as a private in Colonel Willet’s Tryon County Rangers of New York. 
   Benjamin Wightman is the only known Revolutionary War veteran buried in Matagorda County.


"Railroad promoter laid out, subdivided Midfield" By Violet M. Brhlik Matagorda County TXGenWeb

   Midfield was so named because it was in the midst of open fields practically equal distance from Ganado to the west, El Campo to the north, Bay City to the east, and Palacios to the south. 
   The townsite was laid out and subdivided by Curley C. Duson, Sr., of El Campo in 1903. 
   Duson was one of the promoters of the Southern Pacific Railway from Wharton to Palacios; the train made its first run July I, 1903. 
   For many years the postal department called the town "Midfields," but they were finally persuaded to drop the plural and call it "Midfield" to agree with the original name and the name used by the railroad company. 
   The main public road from Bay City to Palacios was through Midfield and was an all-dirt road for many years.
   The first hotel was built and owned by Duson and opened for business in 1903. It was managed by Ben Kuykendall and his sister, "Miss Emma," both oldtime residents of the Tres Palacios community. 


Gladys Air Dome Theatre in Palacios: Once common in America

Contributed photo

                 Gladys Theatres  
   In July 1912, Clifton McCoy Rhea and his family moved to Palacios. Rhea & Son first opened a moving picture show in the Clement building which was on Commerce Street.  
   After seeking approval from the City Council to build on Commerce Street, Mr. Rhea opened The Gladys Air Dome Theatre in 1913.    
   Mr. Rhea owned the theatre and named it after his daughter, Gladys. Popular silent motion pictures were shown.   
   The family lived in Palacios for a few years until they moved to San Antonio in 1915.   
   Unfortunately, the building is no longer standing.   
   It was possibly located between 5th and 6th Street on Commerce next to the Outrigger location.  
   The air dome theatres were common across the country during that era.   
   They were either under a tent similar to a circus tent or open air.   
   They were precursors to drive-in theaters.   


Collinsworth fought in Battle of Velasco, raised troops for Goliad

   George Morse Collinsworth (Collingsworth), soldier, planter, and civil servant, was born in Mississippi in 1810. 
   He was living in Brazoria, Texas, in 1832, when he participated in the battle of Velasco. 
   In July of that year he was serving as secretary of the Brazoria Committee of Vigilance. 
   In early October 1835 he raised a company of infantry from among the planters around the lower Colorado for service in the Texas army. 
   With Benjamin Rush Milam, who had just returned to Texas after escaping from prison in Mexico, these men, numbering about fifty, captured the Mexican garrison at Goliad on October 9, 1835. 
   Their victory cut off communication between San Antonio, then in possession of Mexican forces, and the Gulf of Mexico and secured valuable arms and supplies. 


Contest changed name of ‘At Last’ to Gainesmore

   Gainesmore, also known as At Last, was on Farm Road 457 seventeen miles south of Bay City in eastern Matagorda County. 
   The community was founded on the banks of Caney Creek sometime between June 1901 and February 1, 1903, when the Hawkinsville branch of the New York, Texas and Mexican Railway was completed to the area.  
   Reportedly, travel over the Hawkinsville Tap, as it was known, was so difficult that grateful passengers dubbed the end of the line “At Last.” 
   The Caney Valley Development Company held a contest to come up with a more appropriate name, and E.E. Fry’s winning entry - out of 1,000 names submitted - combined the surnames of J. W. Gaines and Colonel Moore, two officers of the development company. 
   A post office operated at the community from 1912 to 1918 and from 1920 to 1938. 


James Atwell an editor, publisher in Matagorda

Handbook of Texas Online


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