by Barbara J. Wood
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WILSON COUNTY

WILSON COUNTY AREA UNDER THE RULE OF MEXICO AND TEXAS

Wilson County did not exist in the time period of 1821 -1837. The majority of the area of the county as it exists today was, at that time, a part of Bexar County. Almost all of the area 
land was devoted to ranching controlled and owned by persons of Spanish heritage, many of whom were descendants of the original 16 Canary Island families who came from Spain and established Villa de Bexar. 
 
One ranch which was very important to the Texas War of Independence in this time period was owned by Erasmo Seguin, father of Juan Seguin. Juan Seguin played an important role in the war. He was one of the last persons to leave the Alamo before its fall and then assisted Sam Houston in capturing Santa Anna at the Battle of San Jacinto. During this period of conflict, his father's ranch site was used as a supply point for horses, cattle, food, and other necessities to aide the Texas army. The ranch headquarters, called Casa Blanca, was also used as a meeting place to discuss strategy related to the war effort. Today, there 
is an historical marker located near the site of Casa Blanca. All that remains of the ranch site today, is the house foundation of Juan Seguin's home and a nearby, hand dug, water 
well.
 
An important transportation route traversed Wilson County during this period called the San Antonio - La Bahia Road. This road is designated as part of the national trail, El Camino 
Real de las Tejas. The road passed near Erasmo Seguin's home, Casa Blanca. This hacienda served as a refuge from Indians along the roadway or as a place for travelers to rest. 
The San Antonio - La Bahia Road served as the main route of travel between the missions and presidios of San Antonio and of La Bahia, which was renamed Goliad. It also served as an 
alternate route to the East Texas Missions. Many of the men involved in the Texas Revolution, both Texian and Mexican traveled this road between San Antonio and Goliad during the revolutionary period. Parts of this road still exist today in Wilson County as thoroughfares.
 
Some of the ranching families and their herdsmen, or vaqueros began to form communitiesin the Wilson County area. Americans from the United States and citizens from other countries migrated to the area. As time moved on, the communities grew and acquired the names we recognize today. 
 
One of these communities was Sutherland Springs. At that time it was an area of more than 100 springs feeding into the Cibolo Creek. These springs were known to Indians for years 
and they often camped near them to drink the sulphur water and to bathe in warm springs in hope of being cured of the maladies affecting them. This community was named for Dr. 
John Sutherland, who was with the defenders of the Alamo performing the duties of a medical doctor. He sustained a knee injury and could not stand. However, he was able to
ride a horse, and Colonel Travis used him as a messenger to deliver the message addressed to the "inhabitants of Texas", which he delivered to the Texas forces at Gonzales and Goliad. His knee injury saved him from martyrdom at the Alamo and after the revolution he returned to Sutherland Springs to establish a medical practice. His practice included using the water of the different springs for their curative aids. Sutherland Springs had a post office in 1851. It was Wilson County's first county seat.
 
Graytown was established by James Gray, an immigrant from Scotland. It was settled by Spanish families who all claimed direct ancestry from Spain. Graytown was a center of 
activity in trade and the social life for the surrounding ranches. St. James, a Catholic church named for James Gray, was completed in Graytown in 1854. It was later renamed, Our Lady of Guadalupe Church. It became the religious center for all Catholics within a thirty-mile radius.
 
Lodi, located near Floresville, was the second county seat in Wilson County. It was situated on the San Antonio - La Bahia Road next to the San Antonio River. It was south of the 
Seguin ranch and the Francisco Flores ranch, called Los Chayopines. A post office was located in Cook's store in Lodi in 1858. Lodi was a community of families whose livelihood 
was linked to working on the area ranches as herdsmen and vaqueros, but Lodi was also a community with an international flavor. People of different nationalities lived and worked in Lodi as craftsmen and tradesmen. 
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Compiled by Gene Maeckel and Maurine Liles from the archives of the Wilson County Historical Society, 
6/8/2007
 
Marker Photos COURTESY/ The Historical Marker Database
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Wilson County Centennial Association, Inc.

Sixty-two years ago this coming September...... these folks planned a great celebration for Wilson County Texas 100th year!  Are you a descendant of one of these fine folks? Are there old photos lying around in a drawer, in a box, album commemorating those days?  "Talk of Wilson County Tx Historic Towns" plans a pictorial collection .... please send identified old photo scans to: talkofwctowns@gmail.com
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Who is Wilson County Texas named after? 

James Charles Wilson was a Methodist minister and senator of Texas. Born in Yorkshire, England on August 24, 1818, he was the oldest son of John Kenilworth and Elizabeth Sterling Wilson. He was educated at Eaton and Oxford College and graduated with full honors at the age of 16 years. He worked as a public surveyor for the commons of England and had 
membership with the Queen's Guards. Spring 1836, his father 
informed James he arranged a marriage with their neighbor's 
daughter. When James explained he could not marrysomeone he had no affection for, his dad became enraged and struck James on the head with his cane. James left and went to London. 
 
James Wilson first arrived in New York with his brotherOscar. 
They traveled to Galveston, Texas in 1837, shortly after the battle of San Jacinto. His brother became ill and passed away. James found himself penniless and alone in a strange land. Working to load and unload cargo in Galveston, he was able to raise enough money to carry himself into the interior, where he arrived in Bailey's Prairie in Brazoria County. James taught school in the community for two sessions and studied law. Recognizing his ability to think and write, he was employed to edit a newspaper in Columbia. In 1842, Mr. Wilson joined Charles K. Reese's company for the Somervell Expedition. He became a private in Company E on the Mier Expedition under William S. Fisher. He was captured in Mier, Mexico, on December 26, 1842, and imprisoned in Castle Perote near the City of Mexico. As a prisoner of war, he was chained to a comrade and forced to break stone. He refused to claim British protection even to secure his release from prison. Mr. Wilson claimed he owed allegiance only to the Republic of Texas. Imprisoned for about a year, Mr. Wilson and several other prisoners escaped and headed for Texas. At Matamoros he boarded a ship for Galveston and went back to work at the paper in Columbia. 
 
Mr. Wilson was a gifted orator and gave a speech in favor of 
Texas annexation. In 1844 he was elected to the office of Clerk of the District Court of Brazoria County which held for one term and was reelected for the second term but did not fulfill the entire term. He was licensed to practice law some time in 1845 by the District Court of Brazoria County. He married Miss Amelia Weakley on February 4th 1846. They had nine children; six preceded him in death. He moved to Wharton to practice law with his partner, Judge George Quinan. He was elected to the Third Legislature of Texas 
and was a member of the Fourth Legislature. In 1856, he was appointed by the governor to the Office of Commissioner of the Court of Claims to adjust and quiet old claims for grants to land under the colonization laws of Spain and Mexico. 
 
James Wilson lived and worked in Austin until spring of 
1857 when he was compelled to resign from his duties due to an illness. The climate in Austin not agreeing with his health, he moved to Gonzales about five miles southwest from the town. In 1858 he entered the ministry of the Methodist Episcopal Church South and preached until his death on February 7th, 1861. Wilson County was established 
in 1860 and named after James Charles Wilson himself.
 
Researched by Melissa Koepp Beck . Credit should also be given to "James Charles Wilson A Sketch of His life".
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COURTESY/ Wilson County Sesquicentennial 1860-2010

Wilson County Texas 1939

.... "Where Diversification Pays Big Dividends" ....... interesting read.
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Researchers take steps to found Wilson County Historical Trail 2007

...  The proposed Wilson County Historical Trail combines the efforts of John and Shirley Grammer, Maurine Liles, Gene Maeckel, Jesse Perez and others to mark historic sites along a section of F.M. 539 and the Sutherland Springs-Lodi Road. The trail will begin at the Guadalupe-Wilson County line and end in the historic community of Lodi. The Grammers have been researching and marking sites on the north end of the trail. Liles, Maeckel, and Perez are researching and marking historic sites in the community of Lodi.
 
When the Shiloh Cemetery was discovered, located about halfway between Lodi and Sutherland Springs, the group came up with the slogan, "We shall meet at Shiloh."
 
At the trail's beginning is the proposed marker site for the old historic "San Antonio-Gonzales Road" being researched by Allen and Regina Kosub. A marker was erected for the historic Mueller Bridge in 2005. The Grammers and Milton Hild are researching Pleasant Hill School site No. 1. An application for historic designation on the Barker-Huebinger Rock Home is being prepared by the Grammers and Mr. and Mrs. Mike Huebinger. The Polley Cemetery received a marker in 2006 and the Linne Oil Field in 2007.
 
The Grammers are also collecting information on "Potash Hills," and Susan Richter is researching Pleasant Hill School site No. 2. Polley descendants would like to see a historical marker, containing the history of the Polley Mansion, erected on state property near the home. This would give tourists a more in-depth history of this early antebellum home, which received Recorded Texas Historic Landmark designation in 1965.
 
Tambria Read is researching several sites in "New Town" Sutherland Springs, including the Pat Higgins Buffel Grass Farm, the famous "Springs," the bank, and picture show. The Williams sisters are researching the Sutherland Springs Hotel.
 
The town of Sutherland Springs received a marker in 1966. There are a number of historical sites in Sutherland Springs, including the first county courthouse, the John Sutherland Home site, and the Tiner-Hendricks home.
 
Sharon Hays has begun research on the beautiful Sutherland Springs Cemetery. Application for historic designation of the Shiloh Cemetery was filed with the Texas Historical Commission this month.
 
There is a lot of history surrounding the "Grassy Pond," which is also on the list for a marker. Liles and Maeckel have done extensive research on the historic Sutherland Springs-Lodi Road and prospects are good for a historical marker.
 
The Canary Islander Cemetery in Floresville, also on this route, was designated as a historic site in 1967.
 
As the trail crosses U.S. 181 to follow the Sutherland Springs-Lodi Road to Business U.S. 181, the road is closed to traffic. In previous years, this dirt road led to a path that connected with present-day First Street. There, it turned left until it reached present-day Plum Street, turning right on Plum and approaching Goliad Road. This is the historic district of Lodi, which was the county seat of Wilson County in 1867, where a historical marker for the Lodi Ferry is situated. The De La Zerda Cemetery has been approved and is awaiting a marker.
 
Other sites on Goliad Road being researched are the former site of Gray's Blacksmith shop, the Lopez-Lepori cellar, the site of Pedro de la Zerda's house — once used as a courthouse when Lodi was the county seat, Cook's Store, and several other important sites.
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Courtesy /  Wilson County News August 01, 2007
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Texas Farm Bureau

The Texas Farm Bureau's mission is to be the "Voice of Texas Agriculture" since 1933. Wilson County Texas has been actively involved with this endeavor for years. Below are those serving on the Wilson County Board of Directors in 1961.
 
COURTESY / Wilson County News
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Wilson County letterhead, 1893

This is a LETTERHEAD from Wilson County in Floresville, Texas in the year 1893. The vignette at the top was done by the printers Clarke and Courts of Galveston, Texas.   In those days, they were the largest printing company in Texas.  
This letter is hand written and signed by E. D. Mayes, the county clerk.
 
Names listed at top right and top left:
 
A. D. Evans as County Judge
E. D. Meyers as County Clerk
A. R. Stevenson as County Attorney
M. J. Ximenes as Sheriff
R. R. Creech as tax collector
J. J. Cope as tax assessor
E. Y. Seale as county treasurer
W.T. Southerland as county surveyor
Thomas H. Spooner as district judge
John E. McMullen as district clerk
S.L. Green as district attorney
(Ebay)