History

Thu
13
Aug

The development of the rice industry in Matagorda County

   EDITOR’S NOTE: With the rice harvest under way, we wanted to look at rice farming’s origins in Matagorda County,
Continued from last week

   In 1900 for Franz Huebner discovered rice growing on the land of Captain William Dunovant near Eagle Lake and reasoned that the same thing could be done
and Matagorda County.  
   Huebner and an associate, Henry Rugeley, decided to travel around the state and to Louisiana to determine whether or not rice could be a profitable local crop. 
   When they returned they brought with them a Louisiana rice farmer, who could explain the process to local farmers, so they could duplicate his method.  
   From this small 600 acres in 1900, the rice acreage increased to 55,000 acres in 1973.  
   With the coming of rice, the system of canals and rice milling, which developed within the county, boosted the economy at the turn-of-the-century. 

Thu
06
Aug

The development of the rice industry in Matagorda County

Matagorda County TXGenWeb
Rice farming at Collegeport.

Matagorda County TXGenWeb

   EDITOR’S NOTE: With the rice harvest under way, we wanted to look at rice farming’s origins in Matagorda County,
   The rice industry and Matagorda County began in 1900, with an experimental crop financed by a few local citizens. This crop was immensely successful, and from that time forward the rice farming and processing industry expanded rapidly. Many miles of your engaging canals were constructed, huge pumping plants were installed on the Colorado River; and thousands of acres from year-to-year succeeded the original experimental patch of 1900. 
   The first man to break ground for planting rice and Matagorda County was A.P. Borden of Pierce, who began working his plows three miles from Bay City in November, 1899.  
   The Matagorda County Rice & Irrigation Company began work the following month. The acreage of both aggregated 600 acres in 1900. 

Thu
30
Jul

Matagorda newspaper items from 1906

Matagorda County TXGenWeb

Thu
23
Jul

Curtis Lynn Smith

Curtis Lynn Smith

December 7, 1945- July 12, 2020
   Curtis Lynn Smith passed peacefully on July 12, 2020 at the age of 74 following a 20+ year battle with Parkinson’s Disease.  Although the disease ultimately took him from us far too soon, it never defined him and he kept enjoying life with his family for as long as his body allowed.   
   He was many things to many people, a son, a brother, a father, a grandfather, a carpenter and coworker, but most importantly, in all aspects of his life, he was always loving and kind.  
   Curtis was a creative soul who loved building home projects, watching sports (especially his Longhorns, Astros & Cowboys), playing cards, listening to music, and dancing.   
   He always made the holidays a special time for his children and grandchildren.  
   Curtis was born on December 7, 1945 in Bay City, TX to James and Gloria Smith, graduated from Bay City High School in 1964; and from Wharton County Junior College in 1966. 

Thu
23
Jul

"Crusoe’s descendants have own islands" By Bess Hamilton Palacios Beacon, November 16, 1933

   The old adage, “History repeats itself,” again scores a mark in the story of the Selkirk family, direct descendants of Alexander Selkirk, known the world over as Robinson Crusoe.
   It was the lure of an island that brought William Selkirk, a prosperous New Yorker, to Matagorda County in the year 1824, where he was given the Spanish headright to three islands, which he named the Selkirk Islands.
A few months before, William Selkirk had befriended a sick, outcast sailor whose name, coincidently, was Robinson. 
   At Robinson’s death, the grateful mariner gave Selkirk the only thing he had, a map; and told him the story of his life. He had been, he said, a pirate on one of Jean LaFitte’s vessels. 
   One day, while sailing in the Gulf of Mexico, the hold of their boat laden with treasure, they found they were being pursued by the Spaniards. 

Thu
23
Jul

"Selkirk a ‘multifaceted personality’" By Zia Miller Matagorda County TXGenWeb

   A sanguine personality influenced diverse development in the town of Matagorda and set the course of economic and cultural growth. 
   With personal investment and sound judgment, municipal business and government entities emerged paving the way for regional commerce. 
   James Henry Selkirk, an astute scholar and leader, saw the potential and contributed to the growth of his community. 
   With Yankee ingenuity and fortitude, he epitomized the progressive leadership of Matagorda and the central Gulf Coast by establishing the avenues for a major shallow draft seaport and economic growth.   
   Born in Selkirk, Albany County, New York, on March 29, 1815, James Henry Selkirk was the only son of William Selkirk (1792-1830) and Matilda Hallenbake (1794-1820). 
   Prior to relocating to his father’s original Spanish grant-land in Matagorda County, James Henry was an apprentice employed by the Albany Coach Factory as an artist carriage painter.  

Thu
16
Jul

"Caney grew where several early roads crossed" By Mary Belle Ingram Matagorda County TXGenWeb

   Situated in the shadows of the Bay City Regional Airport, near the crossroads of FM 457 and FM 2540, is a small cemetery which was a part of the Caney community, and is now only a memory, except for the historical marker placed on the side during the Texas Centennial in 1936. 
   The marker reads: 
Site of Caney Post Office
Established about 1838
In its vicinity members of
Austin’s Colony established 
pioneer sugar plantations.
   During the days of the Republic of Texas – and earlier – the original Caney was once called Caney Crossing.  
   It received its name from the Caney Creek, thought to be an old bed of the Colorado River, which flowed through a dense cane break.  
   Caney Crossing was situated in one of the most historic areas of Matagorda County – the bottom lands of the Colorado River and Caney Creek.  

Thu
09
Jul

"Paul Brewer was 1st in several Matagorda County medical titles " By the Brewer Family Matagorda County TXGenWeb

Matagorda County TXGenWeb
H.C. Matthes, Paul Brewer, Hugh Mangum, and Charles Shoultz were the doctors associated with this clinic built in 1948, across from the old Matagorda General Hospital at 1100 Ave. G. The building served several different clinics and was demolished in late March 2019 to make for a senior living center.

   Paul L. Brewer, M. D., was born in Bronte, Texas, on January 26, 1912, to Mary Simpson Brewer and Robert Lee Brewer. 
   His family moved to Rogers, Arkansas, where Paul received his grade school education. 
   He received his B. S. degree from the University of Arkansas in 1935; he was valedictorian of his class and a member of Phi Beta Pi, a national honorary fraternity. 
   He received his medical degree from Arkansas in 1938. 
   Brewer served a twelve-month residency at Children’s Mercy Hospital, Kansas City, Missouri, in 1940, and he was supervisor of pediatric residents at Mercy Hospital for twenty-seven months until 1944. 
   He received his license to practice medicine in Arkansas on June 30, 1940, and his Texas license on November 15, 1944.
   While Brewer was supervisor of pediatric residents at Mercy Hospital, he met Quinta Nahrendorf, a nursing supervisor. 

Thu
09
Jul

"Rugeley men served county as legislators, soldiers, doctors" By the Brewer Family Matagorda County TXGenWeb

Dr. H.L. Rugeley

   The Rugeley family is one of the oldest in the county, and one of the most honored and prominent in all the affairs of the county since 1840 when John Rugeley came to Texas. 
   John Rugeley was a native of South Carolina, but moved in 1824 to Mobile, Alabama, where he was a member of the state legislature; and in 1840 came to Texas, settling on Caney and clearing away one of the dense cane-breaks on that stream to make way for his plantation. 
   He became interested in the public affairs of the then young Republic and was elected to Congress in 1843. 
   He soon acquired considerable wealth by means of successful planting, sugar and cotton being the main products of his large plantation, these products being shipped through the port of Matagorda. 
   He died in 1878 at the age of 84 years.
   The only son surviving him by his first wife married in Alabama, was Edward S. Rugeley, born in 1830 in Alabama. 

Thu
02
Jul

Palacios, Collegeport July 4th celebrations always big affairs

Matagorda County TXGenWeb
Fish Fry at Willow Dam

   Celebration A Big Success
Six to Eight Thousand People Attend the Giant Celebration at Palacios July Fourth.
   Probably the largest and most successful 4th of July celebration ever held in this section of the Gulf Coast, was celebrated when Palacios honored her Matagorda County heroes.
   The city was in gala attire, every business house was appropriately and lavishly decorated.  Juniper Pluvius took a day off and Old Sol shown forth in all his glory—casting sunshine into the hearts of the happy throng.
   Crowds began to arrive on the 3rd and by the time the excursion train steamed in from Bay City the city fairly hummed with activity.
   Prof. G. Martino’s band of 50 pieces, made up of Bay City and Palacios men, started the day off by playing a concert at the depot as the excursion train arrived. 
   Prof. Martino deserves a great deal of credit for the excellent band he gave us, considering the space of time for rehearsing.

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