Herreth Home historical marker presentation Sunday

Sentinel File Photo
The Sargent Rugeley Herreth Home was built in 1905.

The Sargent Rugeley Herreth Home receives it's second historical marker with a reception a 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 23 at 3224 Ave. K, Bay City..

Built in 1905, the house currently has one marker from the Bay City Historical Commission and is now receiving another from the state.

The state marker has been a work in progress for two years.


Elias Wightman petitioned Austin to establish Matagorda

Elias Wightman

Elias R. Wightman, one of the founders of Matagorda and aStephen F. Austin Old Three Hundred colonist, was born early in 1792 in Herkimer County, New York, one of 11 children of Esther (Randall) and Baptist minister Benjamin Wightman. 
   Wightman taught school in New York, eventually marrying one of his students, Mary Sherwood (see related story), 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. 


Mary Wightman’s writing revealed early Texas life

Mary Helm

   Mary Helm, pioneer teacher, the daughter of John Hutchinson and Janet (Henderson) Sherwood, was born on July 3, 1807, in Herkimer County, New York.  
   She began teaching at the age of 16 and was teaching in a district school when she became reacquainted with her former teacher, Elias R. Wightman, who had recently returned from working as a surveyor for Stephen F. Austin and Green DeWitt in Texas.  
   After a short courtship the two were married, on October 26, 1828.  
   The Wightmans gathered a group of approximately 50 to 60 colonists, a majority from New York, and on November 2, 1828, set out for Texas.  
   They traveled by wagon to the Allegheny River and from there down the Ohio and Mississippi rivers to New Orleans.  
   There they chartered the schooner Little Zoe and set out on December 26; bad weather and difficulty in sailing through Matagorda pass kept them from landing at Matagorda until January 27, 1829.  


Ira Ingram wrote 1st Texas Declaration of Independece, part of 1835 capture of Goliad

Matagorda Cemetery has two markers for early settler and Matagorda leader Ira Ingram - 1936 Centennial Marker (shown) and his Masonic Marker, from Matagorda Lodge AF&AM No. 7

   Ira Ingram, son of Phillip and Rachel (Burton) Ingram, was born August 18, 1788, in Brookfield, Vermont. 
   A veteran of the War of 1812, he had been severely wounded by a bayonet at the Battle of Lundy’s Lane and suffered its effects the rest of his life. 
   He married Emily Polish Hoit in New Orleans, and they had one child, Mary Elizabeth. Both died in 1824.
In August, 1826, Ira Ingram came to Texas to be near his brother, Seth, who had secured for him title to a labor of land and a building lot in present Waller County, thereby making Ingram one of Austin’s “Old Three Hundred” colonists. 
   His letter of introduction to Austin was written by Governor H. Johnson of Louisiana on February 15, 1825.

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


Stephen F. Austin hired Seth Ingram to survey, plat town of San Felipe de Austin

Seth Ingram’s marker at Matagorda Cemetery. He’s buried next to his brother, Ira Ingram.

   Seth Ingram, surveyor, merchant, and public official, was born in Vermont on June 19, 1790. 
   During the War of 1812 he served as a sergeant in the Eleventh Regiment, United States Infantry. 
   On April 26, 1822, he and his brother Ira Ingram, a Nashville, Tennessee, bookstore proprietor, became co-owners of a single share of stock in the newly organized Texas Association. 
   That same year Seth arrived in Texas with letters of introduction and recommendation as a surveyor from Joseph H. Hawkins of New Orleans. 
   He was engaged by Stephen F. Austin as a surveyor for his colony in August 1823 and platted the town of San Felipe de Austin in late 1823 and early 1824. 
   For such work he was paid at the rate of five dollars a mile in property or three dollars a mile in cash. 
   Ingram took part in colony elections in August and December of 1823 and 
April of 1824. 


Chalmers once a town, then a refinery - now just farm land

Little remains of the Shelly Refinery at Chalmers, or the town.

   From Handbook of Texas Online


J.K. Paulk: Soldier, Texas Ranger, Palacios merchant

J.K. Paulk

James Knox Paulk
March 11, 1850 Ozark, 
Dale County, Alabama
March 20, 1932 Palacios, 
Matagorda County, Texas
Buried Palacios Cemetery, Palacios, Matagorda County, Texas


Bay City, Camp Hulen part of German POW system

   When the United States went to war in 1941, what to do with enemy prisoners of war was among the last considerations of a country reeling from a Japanese attack and preparing for war in Europe. 
   The nation had never held large numbers of foreign prisoners and was unprepared for the many tasks involved, which included registration, food, clothing, housing, entertainment, and even reeducation.  
   But prepared or not, the country suddenly found itself on the receiving end of massive waves of German and Italian prisoners of war.  
   More than 150,000 men arrived after the surrender of Gen. Erwin Rommel's Afrika Korps in April 1943, followed by an average of 20,000 new POWs a month.  
   From the Normandy invasion in June 1944 through December 30,000 prisoners a month arrived; for the last few months of the war 60,000 were arriving each month.  


Local headlines detail chronology of POW camp here

   EDITOR’S NOTE: The following articles are from the Daily Tribune during late 1943 and 1944 when Bay City and Camp Hulen began accepting German POWs.


Charles Leroy Smith: A vision for new community

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. 


Subscribe to RSS - History