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.


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 the order, however, was rescinded September 2, 1908.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.


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). 


Bay City’s history colorful, successful

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.  

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.

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.

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. 

Hotel among Leffland’s surviving structures

Jules Leffland

   Of the 17 structures that noted Danish architect Jule Leffland designed in Matagorda County from 1900-1910, Hotel Blessing is one of the eight that remain today. 
   Jules Carl Leffland (1854-1924) was a Danish immigrant who was trained in architecture at the University of Copenhagen and immigrated to Texas in 1886.
   His first work involved moving homes from Indianola inland to Cuero after the devastating hurricane of 1886.
   From an office in Victoria, Leffland designed and supervised the construction of hundreds of structures.
   He designed churches, schools, banks, city halls, hotels and residences in an area from Wharton to Kingsville between 1888 and 1910.
   Blessing has two Leffland buildings —the hotel and Blessing Bank.
   In Palacios, only two Leffland buildings survive - the Luther Hotel and the Price-Farwell House.

Hotel Blessing icon from town’s beginning

The side view of Hotel Blessing as it was under construction in 1906.

   Hotel Blessing is one of the oldest buildings remaining in Blessing and for many years has provided the community with a unique landmark because of its location adjoining the town square and on well-traveled FM 616, west of Texas 35.
   The hotel was built in 1906 by Jonathan Edwards Pierce. 
   The original blueprints drawn and signed by Jules Leffland were discovered in the attic of the historic Pierce home in Blessing in 2005. 
   In Leffland’s daybook it is listed as Plan No. 1082. 
   It was designed in an unusual expression of the Mission Revival style using an entirely wood facade instead adobe or plaster over brick.
   About 1906 the Blessing townsite was platted and subdivided.
   Thereafter, the hotel that Pierce built provided lodging for land seekers settling the region and traveling salesmen.

Hotel fundraiser will be Saturday

   The annual Blessing Hotel Fundraiser will start at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, July 18.
   This year’s goal is to raise enough money to renovate the flooring in the dining room.
   “Every year we have a fundraiser to help with the upkeep of the hotel,” said Blessing Hotel coffee shop owner Helen Feldhousen.
   “The floor is weak in some spots all over and by the stoves.”
   One man doing repairs on a ceiling fan fell through the floor, she says.
   “Every day is a new adventure at the Blessing Hotel,” said Feldhousen.
   The fundraiser will have an auction, raffle and many more activities.
   Live entertainment will be provided by The Lazy Farmers Band.
   Food will be served from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and feature a hamburger, chips and drink for only $8.
   “They’re going to pull up the floor and put new braces and beams underneath,” said Feldhousen.


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