"Porter family provides gallery of Bay City photographs" by: Bobbie Gaspard

Bay City Texas 1919-1943 Public Gallery
2500 Avenue H, Bay City, Texas. Front row: Vance B. Porter. Back row L to R: Van Shaw Taylor, Bobbie Porter (Gaspard), Evelyn Johnston, Gene Porter.

   Vance Coralton Porter was born near Hillsboro, Laurence County, Alabama, on October 13, 1888. 
   He was the eldest son of Robert Lee Porter, Sr., and Rose Ella Le May Porter. 
   His early education was provided by tutors who lived in the homes of the several families whose children were taught. In 1906, he entered Alabama Polytechnic Institute (Auburn) at Auburn, Alabama, where he was graduated in 1910 as a certified electrical engineer. 
   In 1913, he made the decision to make Bay City his permanent home, and went to work for the electrical department of the Texas Public Service Company. 
   Until he moved his mother to Bay City from Alabama, he lived in the home of Mr. and Mrs. Marenus Moll. 
   In May, 1916, he entered the United States Army as a Second Lieutenant and served at the Mexican border under General Pershing’s command. 
   During World War I, he served in France, Belgium, and Germany. 


Badouh Bros. one of Bay City’s earliest businesses

Photo courtesy of Meyer Denn
Edward M. Badouh and Anton M. were in business together. They owned and operated the Badouh Bros. General Merchandise store on Seventh Street, lower left, as well as two other locations, also on Seventh Street. One location was the northeast corner of Seventh Street and Avenue G, the 2016 location of Wells Fargo Bank.

   Among the early businesses in Bay City during the first decade of the 1900s was Badouh Bros. 
   The Badouh brothers, Edward M. and Anton Michael had a storefront on a 7th Street corner whose sign read Badouh Bros. General Merchandise. 
   They were active in the business, social and religious communities in Bay City.
    Available census records indicate Edward Badouh immigrated to the United States in 1891.  
   Ellis Island immigration records include Antonio Badouh, a Syrian male age 18, occupation clerk, departed from LeHavre on the French ocean liner LaBourgogne bound New York City.  

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Gillespie kept up his ministry until death

   Following the 1946 car wreck (see related story) he had friends from Palacios who drove him to Collegeport each Sunday. 
   For many years, in the 1940s, Rev. Gillespie wrote the Thanksgiving message in the Palacios Beacon as well as Christmas messages and also one about the needy in the town.  
   He was often a guest writer or messenger for an organization. It wasn’t unusual to find his name on the front page of the newspaper in several different articles. 
   During his mid-seventies, his health began to fail. He entered the Bay View Hospital in November 1949 and remained there until his death on May 25, 1952.  
   He was a favorite of the staff and the nurses gave him a birthday party in 1950.  
   There was a cake, a gift, flowers and cards from his many friends. The newspaper article about the party included this tribute: 


Longtime Palacios, Collegeport preacher of the ‘auld sod’

Rev. George Gillespie

   For 28 years, the Presbyterian churches in Palacios and Collegeport were led by a “true son of the auld sod.”  
   George Frederic Gillespie, who had a true compassion for the people in his churches, also had a far-reaching influence on all residents of those communities. 
   His influence actually lasted until his death, 32 years after he arrived in Palacios. 
   George Frederic Gillespie was born in Down County, near Belfast, Northern Ireland on March 16, 1874. 
   He was the 10th child of the known 11 children born to James Gillespie and Margaret McBirney Gillespie. 
   Two of George’s aunts, Jane and Leticia Gillespie, immigrated to the United States and were employed as dressmakers from 1860 – 1872. 
   Leticia married in 1872 and lived the remainder of her life in Jo Daviess County, Illinois. 
   They were the only relatives George had in the United States and he visited them every year on his vacation. 


Bay City National Guard left for Mexico 100 years ago

Photo courtesy of Haskell Simon
Company G in 1916. Haskell Simon’s father, Sgt. Aaron Simon, was on the far right on the front row.

   The days of ’61 were recalled by the old Confederates who looked on the scene. Mr. D. A. Coston and wife were there to see their son Grover off. Capt. J. C. Jones, whose son C.R. is one of the company, and W. H. Pressley and Capt. Frank Rugeley formed a little group waiting for the start.  
   M. Pressley said “This reminds me of the start for the war in 1861, when I marched off with the first company from Leon county, the “Leon Hunters.” 
   Some people said ‘Oh it won’t last long,’ but it lasted four years, the last two I spent at Fort Delaware, where I was condemned as a spy and sentenced to be shot, but escaped by swimming the bay.” 


2016 marks Collegeport community’s 108th year

Photo courtesy of the Holsworth Family Archives
Collegeport “business district - E.A. and Helen Holsworth owned the two-story store in the center.

   All friends of Collegeport are invited to join the celebration of  Collegeport Day Saturday, May 28, at the Mopac House. 
   The traditional barbecue dinner will begin at noon. 
   Please bring side dishes and desserts to complete the meal.
Collegeport Day commemorates our community’s founding in 1908. 
   Each year since then, residents and friends have gathered to celebrate this occasion. 
   The annual barbecue began in 1945 when M.S. “Jack” Holsworth donated the beef for the celebration. 
   The Collegeport Day homecoming is celebrated the last Saturday in May.
   Barbecue preparations begin mid-afternoon on Friday and continue until dinnertime on Saturday.
   Come and experience this tradition as well!    
   Remaining barbecue will be sold at the pit after dinner.
   Volunteers who assist with set-up of tables and chairs on Saturday morning, and with clean-up after dinner, are greatly appreciated.


Holsworth family long, active part of Collegeport

Photo courtesy of the Holsworth Family Archives
Collegeport graduates. Margaret Holsworth, center, taught school in Collegeport for many years.

Around the turn of the last century, developers encouraged the colonization of the Texas Gulf Coast region. 
   Collegeport, established in 1908, was promoted as “The Town of Opportunity” by its developer, the Burton D. Hurd Land Company. 
   Numerous mid-western families were enticed to settle in this bustling new community, but economic reversals soon forced many of them to return to their former homes. 
   Mid-westerners, Edwin Arthur Holsworth and Helen Manners Pettigrew Holsworth came to Collegeport in 1910 from Joliet, Ill., to build a home and to enjoy retirement from their foundry business in Illinois. 
   They were among the earliest families to settle here, and quickly became involved in church and civic organizations, and also operated a store in the town. 
   Their descendants remained active in community affairs, in the First Presbyterian Church of Collegeport, and as farmers and ranchers. 


Bay City caught in fury of 1909 ‘Velasco’ hurricane

Courtesy of Matagorda County Museum
Wall collapse on the northwest corner of the Boney Building on the east side of the square.

Headlines from Houston Post over its news articles tied to 1909 hurricane impact in Matagorda County.
 Fifty Per Cent of Business and Residence Section Damaged and Loss Will Total $250,000
 Under Martial Law
 Army of Constables Sworn In to Protect Property
 But One Loss of Life
Infant of Mr. Calloway Was Crushed Under Falling Walls
 The Town is in Need of Help
Carpenters Are Needed to Rebuild Razed Structures—-City Is in Darkness and Water Supply Has Been Cut Off
   Bay City, Texas, July 23 — With martial law proclaimed, the city in darkness, cut off without water supply and a lack of help to clear away the ruins, Bay City tonight is slowly recovering from the storm of yesterday which spent the fury upon this vicinity. 
   But one life was claimed by the hurricane - that of an infant of Mr. Calloway - while others suffered more or less painful injuries by flying glass or falling debris. 


Civil War-era markers dedication

Ceremonies at Matagorda Cemetery included cannon and musket firings by re-enactors in honor of a marker recognizing the 22 Confederate survivors of the Matagorda Incident in December 1863 and for Matagorda’s yellow fever epidemic in 1862. For more, see History, Page 4.
Bay City Sentinel photo/Mike Reddell


Ceremony dedicates 2 Civil War-era markers

Bay City Sentinel Photo/Mike Reddell

   Two new state historical markers for the Matagorda Incident and the Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1862 were dedicated at Matagorda Cemetery - accented by Civil War-era cannon and muskets fired by Confederate re-enactors.
   About 55 people attended the ceremony that also marked the rededication of the white marble E.S. Rugeley Company D Monument to the 22 Confederates lost in Matagorda Bay trying to defend against a Union invasion.
   Three groups presented the ceremony – the Matagorda Cemetery Association, the Matagorda Historical Society and the Matagorda County Historical Commission.  


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