Dallam became Matagorda publisher, lawyer

James Dallam’s grave marker at Matagorda Cemetery.

    James Wilmer Dallam, legal scholar, newspaper publisher, and author, the son of Francis Johnson and Sarah (Wilmer) Dallam, was born in Baltimore, Maryland, on Sept. 24, 1818. 
   Following his graduation in 1837 from Brown University, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, he studied law in Baltimore in the office of Reverdy Johnson. 
   In 1839 Dallam moved to Matagorda, Texas, where he quickly made a place for himself in the frontier community. 
   In 1844 he went to Washington, D.C., to compile A Digest of the Laws of Texas: Containing a Full and Complete Compilation of the Land Laws; Together with the Opinions of the Supreme Court. 
   Published in Baltimore by John D. Troy in 1845, Dallam’s Digest, as the work is familiarly known, has been called the “lawyer’s Bible” and has gone through several printings: 1881, 1883, and 1904. 


Bethlehem Church centerpiece of Cedar Lake history

The state historical marker for Bethlehem Christian Church, above, refers to the church building, above right, built in 1951, that was replaced by the present church today.

   Cedar Lake,on Farm Road 2611 just west of the Brazoria county line in southeastern Matagorda County, was named for a cedar brake surrounding a nearby lake. 
   A post office operated there from 1848 until 1855. 
   In September 1854 the name was changed to Dura, and in November, to Duroc. 
   The Ewing Plantation was in the area of Cedar Lake by 1860. 
   When Roberta Ewing died, she was buried in the Cedar Lake Church cemetery, but the grave has no marker.
   In 1870, there were 28 families in the Cedar Lake area.
   The Bethlehem Christian Church began in 1872 with the Rev. Henry Woodard as pastor.
   Freedmen worshipped there and were buried in the cemetery.
   A post office known as Roweville operated from 1890 until 1893, when the community changed the name to Cedar Lake. 
   A large store was built on the banks of Cedar Lake.


Lacy Cemetery

Lacy Cemetery is one of Matagorda County’s oldest.

  At one time this cemetery was also known as Trespalacios Creek Cemetery.  
   It is on the east bank of the creek and is one of the oldest burial grounds in the area. 
   The graves were originally marked by wooden markers and logs, but supposedly railroad workers used them for fire wood. Mrs. Mamie Pierce Withers, a granddaughter of Sarah Bright and William D. Lacy, erected a monument and fenced the cemetery.  
   There is some confusion as to the burials in the cemetery. William D. Lacy’s name appears on the marker, but he died and is buried in Kentucky. 


Partain Cemetery

Partain Cemetery is near Hawley and includes the grave marker of Robert Abner Partain, a well-known pastor who was called “Uncle Robert.”

   This cemetery is located on private property near Hawley Cemetery in the Blessing area and has been adopted by the Hawley Cemetery Association. 
   The cemetery is about 30’ X 60’ with small trees growing in it. 
   Tombstone and family information was provided by Lester Wallace and appeared in the Matagorda County Genealogical Society publication, Oak Leaves, May 1994



St. Peter’s Catholic Church

Since its dedication on April 20, 1915, St. Peter’s Catholic Church has been a religious influence on the town of Blessing, Texas. 
   Throughout the years, the parishioners of St. Peter’s Catholic Church have not only evangelized the word of God, but have been a positive presence in Blessing. 
   St. Peter’s Catholic Church has always been the largest church in Blessing.  
   It remains so today. In 1915, the ladies of the church organized the St. Peter’s Altar Society.  

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Hawley Cemetery

   Hawley Cemetery, first known as Deming’s Bridge Cemetery, was established in 1854. It is located on Tres Palacios River, two miles east of Blessing, in the Thomas Jamison League of Matagorda County, Texas.  
   The name Deming’s Bridge originated from the cemetery’s proximity to Deming’s Bridge and was in the churchyard of Tres Palacios Baptist Church.  
   The original two acres were donated by Emelius and Norman Savage to Tres Palacios Baptist Church which was founded in 1852.  
   An additional 1 ½ acres were donated by Jonathan Edwards Pierce in 1893.  
   The cemetery association purchased an additional 3 ½ acres along the south side of the cemetery and the south fence was moved to enclose the new acreage.  
   The names of the community and post office were changed from Deming’s Bridge to Hawley by Jonathan Edwards Pierce in 1899.  


Naval shelling of Lavaca

While the Bay City Sentinel history page normally concerns itself with Matagorda County history, a recent trip to Port Lavaca turned up something interesting.
The 10-foot Lavaca artillery battery silhouette, at the city’s Bayfront Peninsula Park, left, was commissioned by the Calhoun County Historical Commission with help from The Trull Foundation.
The silhouette, which was placed in Bayfront Peninsula Park in October 2014, depicts a Lavaca artillery battery defending the town with cannon fire Oct. 31-Nov. 1, 1862.
During those two days, two Union Navy ships bombarded Lavaca firing about 252 rounds into the town.
But Lavaca did not surrender, and the gunboats withdrew.
However, Lavaca and Indianola were occupied by Union forces - for the remainder of the war - in December 1863 as part of the Union’s push up the Texas coast, under the command of Maj. Gen. N.P. Banks..
That same push did involve Matagorda County in its two main Civil War encounters with the Union
First was the calamitous Matagorda Incident on New Year’s Eve 1863 when Confederates stationed at Matagorda took three boats to defend against against Union forces on Matagorda Bay.
But the mission met disaster when a powerful norther pounded the bay, sinking two of the Matagorda men’s boats and 22 soldiers perished.
Union forces continue to probe Matagorda Peninsula Confederate defenses and in January bombarded the sand fortress that about 4,000 Conferates defended at the mouth of Caney Creek, under the command of Maj. Gen. John McGruder.
Union forces bombarded the Caney earthworks in January and February 1863 and landed 2,500 soldiers but those troops moved away from the Caney fort.
The Union removed its forces from Matagorda Peninsula and redeployed them in Louisiana.
Bay City Sentinel/Mike Reddell


Sweet water spring on bay a big plus

NBC engineers await the "go ahead" from New York on the "Army Hour" broadcast Feb. 15, 1943. The show included a display of anti-aircraft fire from Well Point.

   Well Point, situated in southwest Matagorda County on Turtle Bay, received its name from the fresh water spring situated in this area.   
   Due to the erosion of the coastline, the spring is now in the bay.    
   This area was a favorite camping ground of the Karankawa (Carancahua) Indians.  
   Judge Silas Dinsmore, an early settler in the area, was friendly with the Karankawa Indians and did a lot of trading with them and one day, puzzled as to where these Indians were getting their water, he offered to trade a rifle to one of the Karankawas if they would disclose their source of fresh water.   
   That was supposedly the first rifle they had ever received.    
   Pleased with the trade they immediately took Mr. Dinsmore to a place in the Trespalacios bottoms.   
   On three sides were salt water and into the middle of that he waded out to where the Indian pointed, stooped down among the weeds and found the sweet water.   


Moore House built for a prominent leader

The D.P. and Louise Moore House at 2404 Ave. E, was built two years before Bay City was officially incorporated in 1894. This is the state historical marker for the house that was dedicated in 1993.

   The D.P. and Louise Moore home was built on block 60 in 1902 by builders Hatchett and Large. 
   The land was purchased from David Swickheimer on Nov. 20, 1894. 
   Lots 4 - 9 - 2404 Ave. E - were for the homesite, and the other half was used for pasture. 
   It is a late Victorian two-story, four-bay wood-frame residence, with columned and ballustraded front porch and gallery, projecting gable roofed section with bay, and small Palladian window in gable. 
   The house has two fireplaces, grill work inside the music and dining rooms, drop ceilings downstairs, front and back stairs, porches up and down. 
   Also, leaded glass windows in the living room, frosted and etched glass front door. 
   Downstairs are a bed, living music, dining and breakfast rooms, two kitchens, and a bath. 
   Upstairs are five bedrooms, parlor and a bath. 
   A closed stairway leads to the attic, with a ladder extending to the “widow’s walk.” 


Huebner cattle drive

The Huebner cattle drive, a tradition dating to 1919 came to life again Tuesday afternoon, when cowhands drove the herd of about 500 cattle across the Colorado River near its mouth at the LCRA Matagorda Bay Nature Park. It took some encouragement to move the herd off Matagorda Peninsula, where the animals spend winter grazing, across the river. One reluctant member of the herd, below, required some individualized cowboy handling to join the rest. The hands helping the drive didn’t swim their horses across and left the water herding to seveal boats.
Bay City Sentinel photo/Mike Reddell


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