Colorado House place to stay in Matagorda

This is a view of Matagorda's main street, Fisher Street, as depicted in a lithograph created in the 1850s by Helmuth Holtz, a German artist who visited Matagorda. After returning to Germany, he created the lithograph from memory. Galen Hodges decided to use the lithograph as stationery for the Colorado House even though it is labeled as the "Colonado" House in the lithograph. The Hodges home was next door to the hotel and it appears from viewing the photo below that the Colorado House was actually the building on the corner and the home was labeled as the hotel. The Matagorda Post Office now stands on the corner depicted in the lithograph.

 Walking down the streets of Matagorda today, it is hard for one to imagine that this small town was once a thriving seaport and summer resort area.  
   Stanley’s grocery store now stands on the block where a hotel, the “Fashionable” Colorado House, once stood. 
   This hotel was located on the main street in the middle of town. 
    The owner and proprietor of the hotel, Galen Hodges, had acquired the block on which the hotel stood; and on this block he also owned a private home, a mercantile store, and a drug store. 
   Slave quarters were located in the back of the block. 
   Hodges was born in Providence, Rhode Island, on Sept. 18, 1812, where he taught high school as a young man.  
   He then moved to Georgia in 1834 and on to Alabama, Florida and New Orleans.  
   In New Orleans he learned of Texas’ struggle for independence and how men were being recruited for the Texas army.  


Luther Hotel has deep roots in Palacios history

An early photo of the Luther Hotel, called the Palacios Hotel then courtesy of Bobbi Gaspard.

   The Luther Hotel is a Palacios institution that has its roots in the town’s early development. 
   With the arrival of the railroad, the first decade of the 20th century was a time of new settlements across Matagorda County. 
   Between 1901 and 1905, the small towns of Blessing, Buckeye, Markham, Van Vleck, Big Hill, Midfield, Cortes and Palacios sprang up on the prairie.
   The Texas Rice Development Company reserved Block C, between Cary and Duson Avenues, on East Trespalacios Bay for a hotel. 
   The Palacios Townsite Company, a subsidiary of the TRDC, commissioned Victoria architect Jules Leffland to design the hotel, and D.D. Rittenhouse was the contractor/builder. 
   Building materials were shipped from Louisiana via the Southern Pacific Railroad that came to Palacios in 1903. 


Deadly outlaw captured at Markham

   EDITOR’S NOTE: It was big news in Texas in 1903 when Jim Moody was captured by a host of lawmen near Markham.
   The following article from the Houston Post details the pursuit of the man who lead the Black Jack Gang and once was a member of the Dalton Gang.
   Our thanks to local historian Carol Sue Gibbs who researched this story and brought it to our attention.


John Logan: Cowboy, cattleman, adventurer

With the Logan Building featured prominently,this photo was taken during a buggy race in 1913 down Blessing’s main street.

  EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is an obituary of John L. Logan that ran at the time of his death in 1928.
   Rather than change it up to become more biographical, it was left in the obituary form to show the style of writing the final words on someone back in the day.
   John L. Logan, 92 years and nine months of age, a pioneer stockman of this county and within two years of being a native Texan, died at the home of his son-in-law, T.J. Poole, Jr., last night, and was laid to rest in Cedarvale cemetery this afternoon, under the auspices of the Masonic lodge of which he was at the time of his death, perhaps, the oldest South Texas member.
Six children, two sons and four daughters, survive him. 
   They are James H., of Blessing; Mrs. Kate Wheeler of Beaumont; Mrs. Louise Dixon of Brownsville; Mrs. T. J. Poole, Jr., of this city and John Logan of Houston. 
   There are also, 25 grandchildren and 18 great-grandchildren.


LeTulle’s legacy long-remembered in Bay City

Victor Lawrence LeTulle was buried in 1944 at Cedarvale Cemetery. His marker, below, at Cedarvale.

   Victor Lawrence LeTulle, Bay City businessman, farmer, rancher and philanthropist, was born in Columbus, Texas, on July 5, 1864. 
   His surname was derived from the family’s place of origin, Tulle, France.
   He was the son of Victor D. LeTulle (November 25, 1832 - November 5, 1914), who was born in Guyandotte, Cabell County, West Virginia, and was buried in Cedarvale Cemetery in Bay City, and his first wife, Helen Maria Webb (February 28, 1832 - September 3, 1970), daughter of Henry L. Webb and granddaughter of Samuel Blanchley Webb of Revolutionary War fame. 
   She was born in Caledonia, Illinois, and died in Oakland, Texas.
   Victor Lawrence “V. L.” LeTulle was educated in the public schools of Colorado County and was engaged in farming there until 1890, when he came to Matagorda County. 
   Here he acquired land and began his farming and ranching activities. 


Collinsworth-lead attack surprised Mexican garrison at Goliad

   EDITOR’S NOTE: The following article about George Morse Collinsworth victory at the first battle of Goliad in October 1835, was from a website recognizing the role of Irish, or Celt, Texians in the Texas Revolution.
   While the Texans who gathered in Gonzales were heading toward San Antonio, another group, from the Matagorda area of the lower Colorado, Lavaca, and Navidad Rivers, elected George Morse Collinsworth to be their leader. 
   Collinsworth was a Celt and one of the founders of Richmond. 
   Acting under a plan said to be devised by West Point trained Colonel James W. Fannin. 
   These men set out to attack the fort at Goliad. The plan was to cut the Mexican line of supply from Copano to Cós at Béxar, and to deny Cós the use of the supplies and men at Goliad. 
   During the night, as they made their way to the old settlement at La Bahía, now called Goliad, Collinsworth stopped to allow the stragglers to catch up.  


Collinsworth lead victory at 1st battle at Goliad

Texas Historical Marker for George Morse Collinsworth at Matagorda Cemetery.

   George Morse Collinsworth (Collingsworth), soldier, planter, and civil servant, was born in Mississippi in 1810. 
   He was living in Brazoria, in 1832, when he participated in the battle of Velasco.  
   In July of that year he was serving as secretary of the Brazoria Committee of Vigilance. 
   In early October 1835 he raised a company of infantry from among the planters around the lower Colorado for service in the Texas army.  
   With Benjamin Rush Milam, who had just returned to Texas after escaping from prison in Mexico, these men, numbering about fifty, captured the Mexican garrison at Goliad on October 9, 1835. 
   Their victory cut off communication between San Antonio, then in possession of Mexican forces, and the Gulf of Mexico and secured valuable arms and supplies. 


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”. 


Rice farming long a crucial Matagorda County industry

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.


Hawley marker to recognize legendary Heffelfinger

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.   


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