History

Wed
21
Sep

Charles Leroy Smith: A vision for new community

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After buying the land in 1910, Charles Leroy Smith and his two sons began to clear the land for farming and to build fences for cattle and other stock. A two-story, 10-room plantation home for John Fisher Smith and his family was built. The lumber for all of the barns, sheds, tenant houses and the plantation home came from a lumber mill in Louisiana.

   Charles Leroy Smith, son of Jesse and Sallie Smith, was born in Mississippi on Feb. 26, 1863.   
   The only information available about his childhood is that his parents died of some disease.   
   Charles Leroy and his sister were put on a boat and sent to Louisiana to a family that was willing and capable of caring for them.   
   There are no records showing who put them on the boat or who met them upon arrival. 
   Charles Leroy was a hard working young man with a lot of ambition which helped him later to become successful in the business world.   
   At a young age he went to work for a lumber company.  
   He was paid by script each week. He did not know what “script” was, but he saved these pieces of paper until finally, after two years, someone enlightened him by telling him that the script was “money.”   
   By this time, he had saved quite a bit of money. 

Wed
14
Sep

Matagorda County Survey Markers

   The Matagorda triangulation marker, left, now on the east-side playground at the Matagorda School, was placed in 1906 in the center of the cupola of the Bay View Hotel in Matagorda. 
   The building was the Matagorda County courthouse until the county seat was moved to Bay City in 1894.
  The Bay City Bench Marker  is in the south wall of the former Bay City Bank (Landmark) building at the northwest corner of Avenue F and Seventh Street below the historical marker.

From the Matagorda County History & Genealogy page

Wed
14
Sep

America celebrates U.S. Constitution Week

   WASHINGTON, DC – September 17, 2015, begins the national celebration of Constitution Week.  
      The weeklong commemoration of America’s most important document is one of our country’s least known official observances.  
   Our Constitution stands as a testament to the tenacity of Americans throughout history to maintain their liberties and freedom, and to ensure those inalienable rights to every American. 
   The tradition of celebrating the Constitution was started many years ago by the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR). In 1955, the Daughters petitioned Congress to set aside September 17-23 annually to be dedicated for the observance of Constitution Week.  
   The resolution was later adopted by the U.S. Congress and signed into Public Law #915 on August 2, 1956 by President Dwight D. Eisenhower. 

To read more, please log in or subscribe to our digital edition. 

Wed
14
Sep

10 facts to learn about what’s in the U.S. Constitution

   1. September 17 through 23 commemorates the signing of the Constitution of the United States of America. You might have even heard the phrase, “That’s unconstitutional” or “That’s my constitutional right!” Many times Americans believe that sayings and phrases are in our Constitution, but they really aren’t. Let us celebrate Constitution Week September 17-23 by resolving to be better-informed and responsible citizens. 

Thu
08
Sep

"Gulf: Company town provided most everything" From the Matagorda County History & Genealogy page rootsweb.ancestry.com/~txmatago/

rootsweb.ancestry.com/~txmatago
Molten sulphur was poured in blocks until it was shipped out by rail. The company owned a railroad and 2.5 miles of track. Sulphur also was shipped by barge.

   Gulf, now called Old Gulf, and formerly called Big Hill, is no more. 
   Big Hill was a dome-like land surface, about 60 feet high, east of Matagorda, along the Intracoastal Canal where it opens into East Matagorda Bay.
   In 1833, William Simpson received this land from the Mexican government. 
   It is so noted on the 1839 map of Matagorda County land grants. 
   In 1836, half of the league went to I.R. Lewis and, in 1846, Lewis’ part passed to a Mr. Bryan. 
   In 1847 Freudenthal became owner. 
   From 1848 to 1851, his taxes became delinquent, and the land was claimed by the state and then sold to a Mr. Shulter. 
   He also let the land become delinquent in taxes, and the state again claimed the land and sold it to an unknown purchaser. 
   In 1877, Christian Zipprian bought the land for $1,242 and sold half to his sister, Catherine Williams.

Wed
31
Aug

Shocking lightning stories from around county: From the Matagorda County History & Genealogy page

Coulterville Clatter 
    On Thursday, February 4th, about 2 o’clock, just after dinner was over and the family was gathered around a heating stove, lightning struck the house of Mr. Johnie Rugeley and their escape from instant death, at least some members of the family, seems to be nothing less than miraculous.  
   They were around the stove, Mr. and Mrs. Rugeley and baby and Walter Millican.  
   The lightning struck the upper part of the stove, following it down into the stove, tore several joints of the pipe all to pieces, overturned the stove, then followed along where the floor and ceiling met for a ways and tore a piece of weather boarding off from the sill, up for ten feet or more.  
   Shattering the weather boarding into splinters and throwing the splinters for some distance.  
   Broke several windows all to pieces and shattered every lamp shade in the house.  

Wed
24
Aug

Markham doctor’s fatal shooting covered statewide

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Byars drug store in Markham where the proprietor was accused of shooting and killing Markham physician Dr. Henry Yarbrough.

   Dr. Henry E. Yarbrough was born September 17, 1874 and died October 9, 1908 in Markham, Matagorda County, Texas. 
   He was buried at Greenwood Cemetery, Waco, McLennan County. 
   He was the son of Thomas Jackson “Jeff” Yarbrough (1840-1918) and Sarah Kite-Kight. 
   He graduated from the Maryland Medical College in Baltimore in 1903 and was a member of the State Medical Association of Texas.
   Yarbrough was shot and killed in front of Byars Drug Store in Markham in October 1908.
   The following are the headlines and stories from around the state on the physician’s death.  

To read more, please log in or subscribe to our digital edition. 

Wed
17
Aug

"Gaedcke-Norris Home: From eyesore to treasure" by: Mike Reddell

Bay City Sentinel photos/Mike Reddell
The 1928 Gaedcke-Norris House at 1320 Seventh St. was restored by Sherry Williams, who painstakingly revealed the charm of a classic Craftsmen-style residence. Willams celebrated her grand opening ribbon cutting ceremony Aug. 11.

   For Sherry Williams last week’s open house for her Bay City Realty was a convergence of business and a lifelong love for older homes.
   Her restoration of the Gaedcke-Norris House opened up another horizon for her – the challenges of bringing new life to an 87-year-old residence and using that experience in helping others considering an older house.
   The Gaedcke-Norris House had been unoccupied for 12 years at 1320 Seventh St.
   Its appearance struck a discordant note of a once-impressive structure that had become an eyesore for many.
   But Williams saw the potential for the distinctive American Craftsmen style-house that is found throughout Bay City – and America for that matter.
   Key people in the house’s history include prominent Bay City Dentist Dr. Henry Gaedcke, who built the house.

Thu
11
Aug

Camp Palomar was Texas’ 1st summer high school

rootsweb.ancestry.com/~txmatago
Above, the Junior Class at Camp Palomar in Palacios. At right, is an advertisement for the summer camp and, below, the BYPU Auditorium in the early 1920s

   In the spring of 1919 Dr. J. V. Brown, then President of San Marcos Baptist Academy, saw the need of a summer term of school in order for students to remove some of the deficiencies in their high school courses. 
   The problem was discussed from many angles with members of the Academy faculty, and the conclusion was reached that such opportunity for study in the summer must be offered. 
   It appeared feasible that a program of study and recreation should be set up in order that the enterprise would be interesting and attractive to pupils. 
   In considering the place to carry out such a combination of effort, it was found that the Baptist Encampment grounds at Palacios offered most excellent facilities. 
   Arrangements were made with the manager of the Encampment ground to that end.

Wed
03
Aug

Crowd turns out for Williams Building ceremony

Sentinel photo/Mike Reddell
On behalf of District 25 State Rep. Dennis Bonnen, Barbara Reece, district director for State Rep. Cindy Burkett, District 113, presents W.C. Williams Building owners Paul and Donna Christensen a Texas Flag that was flown over the Texas Capitol.

   The historic W.C. Williams Building, built in 1909, was recognized as a Recorded Texas Historic Landmark (RTHL) during a ceremony in Palacios that drew an impressive turnout Saturday. 
   Now owned by Paul and Donna Christensen, the building has been a cornerstone and anchor of the commercial and cultural life of Palacios and Matagorda County, Texas for 107 years. 
   The ceremony was sponsored by the Matagorda County Historical Commission (MCHC). 
   Attending the ceremony were members of the commission, including Ona Lea Pierce, Chairman and David Holubec, County Marker Chairman. Matagorda County Judge Nate McDonald, Palacios Mayor Glenn Smith, Pam Oliver, Executive Director of the Palacios Chamber of Commerce, David Kocurek, City Manager of Palacios and the Rev. Eric Young, Pastor of  Agape Family Outreach Church, also took part in the ceremony. 

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