A. G. Hilliard: Son of slaves becomes educator of his people

A.G. Hilliard

EDITOR’S NOTE: The following profile of A.G. Hilliard was written by Rockette Woolridge, Junior Historian, McAllister Junior High and published first July 2, 1976.
   The halls are deserted and an ominous silence hangs over the area. there are rusted hinges and hanging cobwebs in some of the rooms. 
   Parts of the main building are being used as storage places for old broken desks and castoff chairs. Other buildings in the complex are boarded up and forgotten. 
   This is the former A.G. Hilliard High School today. 
   Though desolate and empty, the campus is still pervaded with an atmosphere of dignity, poise, and integrity, an atmosphere given it by the great Negro educator who made it all possible—Asa Grant Hilliard I.
This man, who in later life was to gain undying eminence in both the fields of education and improved race relations, was born in Atlanta, Georgia on September 13, 1863 - the son of slaves. 


Confederate Defenses at the Mouth of Caney Creek

Historical marker for Confederate Defenses at mouth of Caney Creek

By John G. Forister and Hershel R. Horton


San Jacinto veteran returned home to serve Matagorda County

Beadle. shown on this 1940s Matagorda County map, was on the St. Louis, Brownsville and Mexico Railway 12 miles southwest of Bay City in southwestern Matagorda County. The settlement was established in the early 1900s as an irrigated farm project managed by Levi E. Beadle. In 1910 it secured a post office with Beadle as postmaster. That year the Ashby Mill and Warehouse Company operated a store, and the population was 50. By 1914 the community had a telephone connection, but population estimates remained unchanged. The post office ceased operation in 1918, and by 1920 the Ashby Company had closed its store.

   Daniel D. D. Baker (1806–1843), San Jacinto soldier and Texas legislator, was born in Massachusetts in 1806 and moved to Texas in February 1831. 
   In May 1831 he was granted a quarter league in Stephen F. Austin’s second colony in what is now Wharton County. 
   At the outbreak of the Texas Revolution he was elected a second lieutenant in Capt. T.L.F. Parrott’s artillery company. 
   He took part in the siege of Bexar but was discharged on November 23 before the city fell. 
   After reenlisting on March 18, 1836, he was elected captain of artillery, but at the battle of San Jacinto he was attached to Capt. Moseley Baker’s company. 
   After San Jacinto, Gen. Thomas Jefferson Rusk detached him to fortify and take command of the defenses at Cavallo Pass. 


Jamison served as postmaster at Caney, Sugar Land

   Thomas Jamison, one of Stephen F. Austin’s Old Three Hundredcolonists, was probably born in Tennessee in 1792 or 1796. 
   He was in Texas as early as August 16, 1823, when he voted in the election that made James Cummins alcalde. 
   As one of the Old Three Hundred, Jamison, with partner Thomas Tone, received title to a sitio now in Matagorda and Brazoria counties on July 24, 1824. 
   The census of 1826 listed Jamison as a single farmer and stock raiser.
   In July 1826, with a crop planted and his house almost completed, he wrote Austin about the division of the land with Tone. 
   In 1825 or 1826 a Thomas Jamison, probably the same man, went with James Musick, Andrew Scott, and one of several contemporary John Browns on a trading expedition to the Indians of the upper Brazos River, and in 1832 a Thomas Jamison served in Aylett C. Buckner’s company at the battle of Velasco.


Sexton a widely dispersed rural community in in early 1900s

  Sexton Community was a widely dispersed rural school community just east of the Colorado River and seven miles southwest of Bay City in central Matagorda County. 
   The area reportedly was settled in the early 1800s and sometime before 1896 had a one-room school, located near Big Boggy Creek and called the Franz school, probably after local settler Conrad Franz. 
   The school was also used for church services and was eventually destroyed by a hurricane. 
   After Manley Sexton in 1896 deeded land to build a new school, local inhabitants constructed a two-room building, a water well, and an open shed for picnics. 
   The Sexton school served children from a wide area, including the nearby Savage Ranch, and hosted church services about once a month by preachers of many different denominations. 
   In 1904 the Sexton school reported eighteen white students. 


Holt’s extensive acreage sold for $11.11

   Samuel Hoit, early colonist, was born in Chester, New Hampshire, on February 10, 1781, the son of Zabez and Abigail (Hasseltine) Hoit. 
   Before moving to Texas in 1830, he was a justice of the peace and postmaster in Port Gibson, Mississippi. 
   Hoit had three daughters and a son with his first wife, Betsy Blish; she died in 1823. 
   One of his daughters married Joseph W. E. Wallace. 
   On November 15, 1830, Hoit was granted title to a league of land on Matagorda Bay under Stephen F. Austin’s fourth empresario contract. In the Convention of 1832 Hoit represented Mina (Bastrop). He married Mary Raney in Brazoria County on April 10, 1834. 
   He died November 8, 1835, leaving one son, John Quincy Adams Hoyt, and two grandsons, William Hazelton Wallace and Edward Dorsey. 
   In 1849, 3,704 acres of his original league in Matagorda County were sold by the tax collector for $11.11.



Freed slave Ino Hudgins founded settlement named for him

  Hudgins (Hudgins Settlement) is near the site of the Robert H. Williams plantation in a section of the rich Caney Creek bottomlands once known as plantation row, a mile north of Farm Road 457 and eight miles east of Bay City in east central Matagorda County. 
   The largely black community grew up around land purchased by Ino Hudgins, a freed slave originally from Virginia, who bought the land at twenty-five dollars an acre in 1874. 
   A local history reports that the site may once have been a stop on the Hawkinsville Tap of the New York, Texas and Mexican Railway, which built through the area between 1901 and 1903 and was closed by 1932. 
   By 1952 the Hudgins cemetery, the nearby Pleasant Green cemetery, and a number of widely scattered dwellings remained in the area on an unpaved road. 
   In 1990 the Hudgins settlement still had a number of houses and the cemeteries.


Photos from early 1900s of snow, ice in Bay City, Palacios

Matagorda County Museum
Snow covered everything in this early scene around the courthouse square in Bay City. What the snow didn’t cover, the ice did as shown by the icicles on the telephone lines.


Texas Historical Commission honors Ona Lea Pierce

Texas Historical Commission recently announced Ona Lea Pierce of Blessing as the 2017 John Ben Shepperd County Historical Commission Leadership Award. She joined the THC in 1967. She also served as chairman of the Matagorda County Historical Commission for 16 years, from 200 to 2016. Pierce has been an important part of the county’s historical marker program and in preserving the county’s historical landmarks.
Contributed photo


Caney Creek once widely traveled waterway

From the Handbook of Texas Online


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