History

Thu
15
Oct

First Rice Festival in 1901 celebrated ‘Golden Harvest’

   To celebrate the “Golden Rice Harvest,” the first Bay City Rice Carnival, was held Aug. 28, 1901, and entertained over 5,000 people.  
   Bay City’s population was  1,000 at the time.   
   This also celebrated the arrival of our first railroad - The Cane Belt Railroad in July of that year.  
   Special excursion trains were scheduled that brought in many visitors from other areas.  
   Six tables, each more than a block long, were set up with white cotton tablecloths.  
   Thirty head of cattle, 20 sheep and a dozen hogs were barbequed on hand-dug, block-long pits.  
   That evening a big dance was held in the newly completed 13,000-square-foot rice warehouse. 
   The Rice Carnival evolved over time, but was halted with the advent of World War I.  
   In October of 1941, it was revived as the Rice Festival by the Bay City Lion’s Club, and Aubin Cox was chosen as the first Rice Festival “Queen”. 

Thu
15
Oct

Rice farming long a crucial Matagorda County industry

http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~txmatago/
Cardiff Family Rice Farming at Collegeport.

   The Rice Industry of Matagorda County saw its beginnings with A.P. Borden of Pierce, Texas, breaking out the first land for rice cultivation about three miles north of Bay City in November of 1899. 
   The next month, the Matagorda Rice and Irrigation Company began preparations to plant rice the coming year.
   The success of this first years‘ planting of 600 acres of rice in 1900 enticed others to plant rice the next season. 
   One story tells of Franz Huebner, while on a cattle drive, discovering rice being grown near Eagle Lake on lands of Captain William Dunovant. 
   Huebner and his associate, Henry Rugeley, then traveled around the state and into Louisiana to learn more about rice cultivation, and its potential to be grown profitably in Matagorda County. 
   They brought a Louisiana rice farmer back with them to explain the process to Matagorda County farmers who, then, developed the rice culture here.

Thu
08
Oct

Hawley marker to recognize legendary Heffelfinger

http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~txmatago/
This image is one of many trading cards of Pudge.

   EDITOR’S NOTE: The following story about football great Pudge Heffelfinger is the marker narrative by Carol Sue Gibbs for the state historical marker that will recognize this extraordinary man.
   Baseball is considered, “America’s Pastime,” but fall Friday nights in Texas and around the country have traditionally been reserved for high school football. 
   Entire communities turn out to cheer their teams on to victory and community rivalries have continued for decades.  
   College football games dominate the Saturdays in the fall and professional games are played on weekends and Monday nights. America loves football. 
   European Rugby made its way across the Atlantic and was played in the United States in the 1800s - primarily in the Ivy League schools.   

Thu
08
Oct

VVISD marker dedication

Sentinel photos/Mike Reddell
There were more than 100 present for the dedication ceremonies for a Texas historical marker for Van Vleck Independent School District Friday, Oct. 2. Above, former Van Vleck students gather around the marker whose text reflects the history of the school district. At right, a floral tribute was made by students from Van Vleck Elementary School, E. Rudd Intermediate School - where the dedication ceremonies were held - O.H. Herman Middle School and Van Vleck High School. Matagorda County Historical Commission marker chairman David Holubec read the marker’s text. Holubec was the author of the text.

Thu
01
Oct

Hasima also grew from railroad

   A townsite was laid off about five miles east of Allenhurst on the SLB&M in 1905, when the rail line was established. 
   The townsite on the Matagorda-Brazoria county line was given the unusual name of Hasima. Ha for Harry, Si for Simon and Ma for Marion which were the names of the three sons of the contractor who cleared the townsite. 
   The town never developed, but through the years a community developed along the road which today is called the "Hasima Road."
   A post office was ordered established at Hasima on August 1, 1908, and Wesley Hunefelt appointed postmaster. the order, however, was rescinded September 2, 1908.
   Seven grades were taught at the Hasima school in the 1920s. 
   Families by the name of Richardson, Sewell and Norman live along the Hasima Road.

Thu
01
Oct

Historical marker observes Van Vleck school history

Matagorda County genweb: www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~txmatago/
Above, a 1901 photo of the Van Vleck school, while the photo below was a 1914 view of the Van Vleck school.

   Please join us in honoring Van Vleck ISD as we dedicate a Registered Texas Historical Subject Marker recognizing the history of the second oldest school district in Matagorda County.
   Education was a priority to the earliest residents of Matagorda County. 
   School was held early in the settlement of most of the communities - usually under less than acceptable circumstances and with few materials. 
   During the 1800s, private schools were the primary avenues for educating Matagorda County students. 
   Many plantation owners employed private tutors for their children. 
   By late 1899, a small railroad had made its way into Matagorda County and pushed its way through the old Hardeman Post Office area now known as Van Vleck. 
   The area continued to grow and gained its name from one of its prominent residents, Southern Pacific Railroad Superintendent, W.G. Van Vleck (1857 – 1914). 

Thu
13
Aug

Bay City’s history colorful, successful

http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~txmatago/
Children in early Bay City would have enjoyed many parades. This parade entry is decorated with palmettos or palm bracnhes. This picture gives a good view of the first county courthouse at Bay City.

 Bay City, the county seat of Matagorda County, is an incorporated city at the junction of Texas 35 and Texas 60, in the north central portion of the county 90 miles southwest of Houston. 
   The community is named for its location on Bay Prairie, between the richly productive bottomlands of the Colorado River and Caney Creek.  
   It was established in 1894, when David Swickheimer, a Colorado mining millionaire and participant in a promotional organization called the Enterprise Land and Colonizing Company, formed the Bay City Town Company in partnership with G.M. Magill, N.M. Vogelsang, and Nicholas King.  
   Planning that Bay City would one-day supplant Matagorda as county seat, the men selected two cow pastures on Bay Prairie as the site for a new community. 
   The company bought 320 acres from D.P. Moore and another 320 acres from the Mensing brothers of Galveston.  
Thu
30
Jul

Harry Clapp: Literary light for Collegeport, county

   Describing Harry Austin Clapp as a remarkable person may seem a reach considering all of the noteworthy people who have transcended Matagorda County history pages.
   But Clapp, who died at the age of 79 at his Palacios home in 1937, was an incredible column writer - not to mention Collegeport’s No. 1 booster in that community’s difficult early decades.
   During his life, Clapp was a traveller, explorer, engineer, writer, philosopher, real estate man and widely respected Holstein dairy cow breeder and seller.
   He pleaded with the state highway department to build a causeway linking Collegeport and Palacios - three miles apart on Tres Palacios Bay, but 35 miles on extremely rough roads overland - particularly since the state and federal governments were looking for projects to put people to work during the Great Depression.
Thu
23
Jul

The forgotten settlements of Illinois, Iowa, Ohio colonies

   Illinois Colony, Iowa Colony, and Ohio Colony were “neighborhood” settlements northwest of Palacios.  
   They were named, obviously, for the persons who settled in their immediate areas, most of them coming south during the migrations from 1900 to 1920.  
   These settlements were never formalized and could not be found on maps; however, anyone at that period of time could give directions to them.  
   Items concerning the little communities could be found in the Palacios Beacon, giving news of births, deaths, illnesses, travels, social events, weather, school events, church services, and the like.
Thu
23
Jul

Austin Wyche family: A long Matagorda County history

   Austin Wyche, a blacksmith born in Virginia in 1827, came to Texas in 1863 with his wife, Emma. 
   Their son Joshua Wyche was born in Texas in 1866.
   In 1885, Joshua married Julia Stewart. 
   The minister was Orange Doss. They lived on their farm in the Live Oak Community, and he made his living as a farmer and a camp cook. 
  Their seven children were born at Live Oak, Matagorda County. Their children were: Hattie, Sessia, Suddie, Ira, Molly Bell, Jake “J.D.,” and Joshua.
   Sessia Wyche was born on Oct. 18, 1888, in the Live Oak Community and, at the age of 27, he married Nona Lue Dale, the daughter of John Lewis and Pinkie Yancy Dale. 
   Sessia became a farmer and a camp cook like his father before him. 
   He had his own farm, and he began cooking for the Poole Cattle Company as a side job in 1912. 

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