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. 


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


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. 

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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. 


"Gulf: Company town provided most everything" From the Matagorda County History & Genealogy page 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.


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.  


Markham doctor’s fatal shooting covered statewide

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.  

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