by Barbara J. Wood
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"Wilson Escappe Still at Large"

WILSON COUNTY TEXAS' JAIL... security was somewhat inferior 68 years ago compared to the metal cells of 2019 .... (San Antonio Express 28 Dec 1951)

Wilson County Post Card Campaign 2002 by Hank White

WILSON COUNTY TEXAS.........POST CARD CAMPAIGN 2002  photographed by Hank White. A note from Mr. White, " In conjunction with the Floresville CC (when I was a Member) and Signal Graphics of SA....... I selected a choice of Landscape and Action Pics from my Portfolio to depict Wilson County at large and downtown Courthouse Square for their beauty alone !!!.......I will forever thank all Merchants around Wilson County who liked the idea and put these on their counter-tops during that special year of 2002 !!!!........Love n Miss Yaz.....Hank White, Master Photographer around Wilson County Texas,  AA Photo Major, San Antonio College, 1980."

El Rancho de San Francisco part of first land grant

Wilson County News
April 2, 2003

El Rancho de San Francisco was part of the first land grant issued in Texas for a private ranch. It is one of the oldest and largest on record in the Spanish Archives of the General Land Office in Austin. The ranch was located in El Rincon, a fertile, grassy wedge of land between the San Antonio River and the Cibolo Creek. It was situated in present-day Wilson and Karnes counties.

El Rancho de San Francisco consisted of 11 leagues and 2 labores, of which one-fourth (12,730 acres) was in Karnes County and three-fourths (36,377 acres) were in Wilson County.

El Rancho de Francisco was part of a compromise grant issued to Andres Hernandez and Luis Menchaca on April 12, 1758. This old grant consisted of 15 leagues and 7 labores located in El Rincon and called San Bartolome. It was first issued to Francisco Hernandez, father of Andres Hernandez, by the provincial governor, Don Carlos de Franquis, in March 1737. Francisco Hernandez had been a soldier in the Alarcon expedition.

Luis Menchaca, whose father also had been in the Alarcon expedition, had land in the same area and he brought suit to have San Bartolome’s lands included in his ranch. The court proceedings were taken to Mexico City where a special judge ruled against Hernandez. There was a compromise agreement on April 12, 1758. Hernandez’s land would lie along the west bank of the Cibolo Creek and would consist of almost 20,000 acres partly in present-day Wilson County and partly in Karnes County. Menchaca’s land was to consist of 11 leagues and 2 labores (about 50,000 acres).

The grant is the oldest on record and also one of the largest land grants in the General Land Office for a private ranch. Therefore, Karnes County and Wilson County have the site of the oldest private land grant on record in Texas. Legally, through this compromise agreement, El Rancho San Bartolome and El Rancho San Francisco became two of the first private ranches in Texas.

All board... the Orphan Train

By Mark Cameron (Wilson County Texas Historian)

"The Orphan Train stopped in Floresville Texas. There was an orphanage out on FM 1303 called the Spruce Orphanage that the children would be taken to. As horrible we think it was absolutely the most humane way to place homeless children at the time. The  Great Grand Daughter of Joseph F Spruce said that J.F. Spruce was an affluent farmer in Wilson County that started the orphanage in Floresville. Come to find out, there were two separate locations of the orphanage. The first location was in Sunny Side. In 1910 they built a large 2 story house on FM 1303 close to CR 120 and moved out there. The WW2 Army Air Force auxiliary strip was on Mr. Spruces' land. There are not any remains of either house. The Spruces' over the years have sold the land."
The United States' greatest and most ingenious feat of social engineering ever undertaken occurred between 1854 and 1929. For seventy five years, a relocation experiment of unprecedented scope relocated an estimated 350,000 orphaned, half-orphaned, neglected, abandoned, and abused children. These children were relocated from New York, Boston, Philadelphia, and other Eastern cities to Midwestern and Western states. This social engineering and mass relocation experiment was the brainchild of Charles Loring Brace, a Methodist minister from Yale, and is dubbed as "The Orphan Train Program". This program is the largest forced movement of individuals in our country's history  and is the forerunner of our modern foster care programs.  
 In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the Industrial Revolution sparked a mass immigration of foreigners mostly from Ireland, Italy, and Germany. The population in the United States grew by leaps and bounds. Upon the immigrant's arrival to the U.S., few jobs were available, there were no labor unions, no sick leave, no insurance, and no welfare. The continued immigration influx lead to low wages and appalling living conditions. Dangerous jobs meant numerous accidents and no safety net for those who suffered injuries and disabilities. New York's social structure buckled under the influx of immigrants. Many children were orphaned when their parents died in epidemics of typhoid, yellow fever or the flu. Households were often plagued by alcohol, violence and crime, and the parents were often unfit. This often left the parents unable or unwilling to provide for their children, so the children were put out on the streets to fend for themselves. On the streets, the children lived hand-to-mouth and often ran in gangs. Often these gangs would force small merchants to pay them "protection" fees. These destitute children were often called "street urchins" and "street rats" and battled for day-to-day survival. Many children on the streets turned to selling newspapers, selling flowers, singing songs, begging for food, or stealing to get by. Girls as young as 10 years old worked as prostitutes. Keep in mind there were few public orphanages, no foster care programs, no public social services, few church sponsored services, no social workers, no welfare programs, no food stamps, no health care for the poor. A popular current play in New York is called "Newsboys", and tells the story of these homeless boys selling newspapers trying to make any amount of money for food.  
 In 1849, a New York police chief's report stated that the children on the streets of New York accounted for a full one percent of the city's population.  In 1850 an estimated 30,000 children were homeless in New York City. Homeless and neglected, these children lived in slums with little or no hope of a successful future. Often the only hope for "social services" for these poor and homeless children were the orphan asylums and almshouses. C.L. Brace felt that such institutions only deepened the dependence of the poor on charity. He also believed the best way to deal with crime and poverty was to prevent it. Brace focused on finding jobs and training for the poor and destitute children so they could help themselves. His initial efforts in social reform included free kindergartens, free dental clinics, job placement and training programs, reading rooms, and lodging for boys. 
Charles Loring Brace envisioned a brighter future for these pauper and vagrant children.  He believed that institutional care stunted and destroyed children. He believed by removing them from the poverty and debauchery of the city streets and placing them in morally upright and Christian farm families, they would have a chance of escaping a lifetime of street violence and suffering and become self-reliant citizens. Work was the answer, as he thought any boy with a trade would feel independence and would much less likely take up a dishonest means of living. He also knew that American pioneers could use help settling the American West. Young souls needed reform. Farmers needed workers. It was a marriage made in Heaven.  
 In 1853 C.L. Brace established the Children's Aid Society (CAS). Children relocated under this program were only sent to Protestant families. Later in 1869, the New York Foundling Hospital was established by Sister Mary Irene Fitzgibbon of the Sisters of Charity of New York as a shelter for abandoned infants. Children relocated under this program were only sent to Catholic families. These two institutions developed a program that placed, homeless, orphaned, and abandoned city children and infants in foster homes throughout the country. C.L. Brace proposed that these children be sent by train to live and work on farms out west. They would be placed in homes for free and serve as an extra set of hands to help with chores on the farms. The program ensured that the children would not be indentured. In fact, older children were to be paid for their labors. These trains that transported the children to their new futures, were called Orphan Trains. This process became known as "Placing Out" the children. 
The CAS made special arrangements with the train companies to transport the children and special discounted fares were given. Now, these were not dedicated trains for the children. They were normal scheduled passenger trains which the children rode, usually in coach. Children would line up and board a westbound train in groups from three up to forty (some accounts say up to one hundred), accompanied by two agents from the society. Prior to departure, the children were bathed, given new clothes, a coat, often a Bible, and reminded of good manners. Local town organizers would create interest in the children's arrival by advertising with notices, circulars and posters, informing residents when the children would arrive and of the viewing location. When the trains stopped, the children were paraded from the train depot into a local opera house or play house, a school, or town hall, for the community to meet and interview the children. At these locations, the children were put up on stage, thus the origin of the term "up for adoption".  Up on the stage, the children would give their names, perhaps sing a little ditty, or say a piece. Not so pleasant showings also occurred which resembled slave auctions. People would come along and prod and feel the children, and see how many teeth they had. 
The demand for child labor was fierce, with many trains visiting the same towns over and over. One Kansas town had 150 families wanting to adopt, or take in, fourteen children. Fights almost broke out on the Kansas town streets because there were so many people wanting these children. In other towns, the children not selected were escorted back on the train and taken to the next stop, often enduring tearful separation from their siblings. The process continued until all the children were gone. The train companies suffered severe disruptions in their schedules while they allowed the "placing out" process to finish so they could move on to the next town. 
By today's standards, the process by which children were gathered and disbursed was frightful. Screening of the children and recipient families was minimal and often ignored. Home placement was the result of interested families picking who they liked when a trainload of children arrived in town. Although the demand for the children was motivated by a need for labor, the Children's Aid Society took measures to ensure the children were well cared for. Many of the children were used as forced child labor, but there are stories of children ending up in families that loved them, cherished them, and educated them. 
Families applying to take children had to be endorsed by local business owners, doctors, and journalists. According to the CAS terms, boys under twelve were to be treated by the applicants as one of their own children in matters of schooling, clothing, and training, and boys twelve to fifteen were to be sent to a school a part of each year. Representatives from CAS would visit each family once a year to check conditions, and children were expected to write letters back to the society twice a year. 
The arrangements for placing orphan children varied. Sometimes they were pre-ordered by couples; at other times a local screening committee tried to make sure the children would be given to good parents; at other times the process was random. 
The first orphan train left New York on September 20, 1854 with 46 ten to twelve year old boys and girls bound for Dowagiac, Michigan. In January 1855 the society sent out two more orphan trains to Pennsylvania. In the early years, Indiana received the largest number of children. Orphan trains continued to transport children to 45 different states including Texas. One account says a Mrs. Evans from Kentucky brought 19 orphans to Floresville, Wilson Co., TX in 1907 to the orphan home ran by Joseph F. Spruce.  
The Orphan Train Program continued to "place out" children until 1929, when the New York Legislature passed a law ending the movement of New York orphans out of state. The onset of the depression made it extremely difficult for families to consider "adding another mouth to feed", and foster care homes were beginning to replace the large orphanages of the past. The last orphan train carried three boys to new lives in Texas in 1929, long after the death of innovator Charles Loring Brace. Brace, who died in 1890, is acclaimed as the most influential child saver of the 19the century. His legacy triumphs Christian family over orphanages. 
 Braces' unusual and controversial idea of "placing out" children by trains to farms was unprecedented and was the largest social engineering experiment ever conducted. The orphan trains were needed at the time they happened. They were not the best answer, but they were the first attempts at finding a practical system for an out of control problem. Many children that would have died, lived to have children and grandchildren. The orphan trains gave these children a fighting chance to grow up in a stable and Christian family. Braces' Orphan Train Program and other Children's Aid initiatives led to a host of child welfare reforms, including child labor laws, adoption and the establishment of foster care services, public education, the provision of health care and nutrition and vocational training.   The last generation of Orphan Train riders is still living in towns across the United States.  The "National Orphan Train Complex and Museum" estimates that only 30 original train riders are still alive as of June 2016. They keep in touch with each other through the "National Orphan Train Complex" and through Children's Aid. Based in Concordia, Kansas, the "Orphan Train Heritage Society of America" helps members establish and maintain family contacts, retrace their roots and preserve the history of the Orphan Train Movement.
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Cadastral map of 1871 Wilson County

Cadastral map of 1871 Wilson County, Texas in the South Texas Plains region. Some notes and borders have been added in different colors of ink. Several features are marked, including the new center of the county and E. Seguin's house, located by the San Antonio River in the "Heirs of Simon and Juan de Arocha" survey. (This map is part of the collection entitled: GLO Historic County Maps and was provided by Texas General Land Office to The Portal to Texas History)
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HISTORY OF MARTINEZ'S CRIME   ...  ( Manuel Martinez was born about 1820 in Texas, the son of parents born in Mexico (father) and Texas (Mother).  Manuel was a farmer and a town constable.  He married Teodora Lazarin about 1858.  Teodora was born about 1826 in Texas, the daughter of Texas-born parents.Two children of the union:  Nicolasa Martinez - born 1858 in Texas and Maximo Martinez - born 1860 in Texas; died 30 July 1897 in Floresville, Wilson County, Texas.
Maximo Martinez was born 1860 in Texas, probably in Bexar County.  As a 20-year-old he was still living at home and worked as day laborer in Bexar County. He married Trinidada Martinez in Floresville on 12 September 1894.  The marriage brought two children : Dolores Martinez - born 1895 in Floresville, Wilson County, Texas; died 5 Jan 1989 in Poth, Wilson County, Texas and Cevera Martinez.
On the night of June 6, 1897 Maximo changed the lives of everyone around him.  His story is given in the newspaper clippings below.
Wilson county people were horrified on Sunday, June 6, when the news of the brutal murder the night before of Plutarco Carrillo, his wife Dolores, and their granddaughter, Juanita Acosta, at their home nine miles south of Floresville, was circulated.  The ages of the three were 81, 51 and 18.  There were no other members of the family on the place.  A grown son of the old couple had been to a dance a few miles distant and returned home at 4 o'clock on Sunday morning.  He was the first to discover the horrible crime, and brought the news to Floresville.
Justice H. B. Gouger and Deputy Sheriffs Wright, Sanderfer, Garza and Seale and County Physician J. M. Mason, with others, left for the scene of the horrible affair as soon as possible after the news was received.  The old couple slept under a brush arbor in front of the door.  They had been knocked on the head with an ax.  The old lady died immediately, with one hand resting on her husband's shoulder.  The old man breathed a few times after the officers arrived, but was unconscious and never moved.
The object of the murder of the old couple was to get possession of the person of the girl.  She was in a room, and resisted the attempt of the brute to outrage her.  She was stabbed in the back with a knife, and escaped by way of a window, but was overtaken and stabbed in the breast and assaulted while in a dying condition.  She was nude, with the exception of a thin shirt, when the young man returned.  He spread a quilt over her and hurried to town with the news.
Judge Gouger examined several witnesses, neighbors of the family, and rendered a verdict to the effect that the three were killed by Maximo Martinez, a well known young Mexican of bad reputation, who lived on a ranch a few miles distant, but who had married near the scene of the murder and had left his wife and two children.
The murderer was named by the young man who brought the news to town.  He had made frequent attempts to obtain the girl, but she feared him and had avoided him.
The officers followed the trail of the murderer, who was on horseback to the ranch where he worked and where he changed horses.  They then went to Falls City, where Sheriff Morris and others joined them, the sheriff having been notified by wire at Karnes City.  From Falls City the officers followed the trail in the direction of Campbellton, Atascosa county, and soon met a mail carrier, who said he had met Martinez in the road and he had told him of the murder.  At Campbellton they were joined by officers from Atascosa county and by Manuel and Theodore Tom, the two latter being experts in following a trail.  The murderer was now on foot.  He had given his pistol for something to eat, and was headed for the Rio Grande.  After much labor in scouring the country, the trail being frequently lost, the murderer was surrounded at a ranch in McMullen county and captured.  He surrendered to Deputy Sheriff Juan Garza of Wilson county, who knew him personally.  On the way back the prisoner confessed everything as told above, except to the outrage of the dying girl.
District court was in session in Floresville.  The accused had been indicted for the three murders.  He was arraigned on June 23 before Judge N. Kennon, and was defended by J. E. Canfield and L. B. Wiseman.  The trial was concluded late at night.  Next morning the jury returned a verdict of guilty and assessed the penalty of death.  He took no appeal and was sentenced the same day by Judge Kennon to be hanged on July 30 for the murder of Juanita Acosta.  He asked to have a band play during his execution, and for permission to see his wife.
On Sunday, June 6, of the present year, a Mexican man, his wife and daughter were murdered at Floresville and Martinez, who had been paying considerable attention to the girl, was suspected.  He had asked the girl to run away with him, but she refused and this is believed to have led to the crime.
At any rate, Martinez had been missing since the murder was committed.  A posse of officers went in pursuit of him.  They hunted high and low.  Sheriff Morris, of Karnes county, with a number of others, took the direction toward the Rio Grande, believing that Martinez was headed toward Mexico.
After a five-days' chase they discovered the trail of their man and captured him somewhere near the boundary line of McMullen and Webb counties.  He was afoot and shoeless.  When he saw that all hope for escape was lost he surrendered and confessed that he was the man wanted.  No time was lost in taking him to Floresville, where he arrived in custody of the officers and was placed at the Wilson county jail.  A crowd of about 400 people was at the depot to meet the officers and the prisoner, and for a while it appeared as if a necktie party was being organized.
In order to avoid a lynching, the train was stopped before it reached the depot, and the prisoner was quietly hustled off to jail, while the people waited at the depot only to be disappointed.
The posse consisted of two officers of Wilson three of Karnes and two of Atascosa counties.  their man was caught on the Osmon ranch in McMullen county by Juan Garza.  The accused feared he was going to be lynched and made a full confession to the officers, begging earnestly for protection.  He detailed how he killed Plutacho Carillo, age 81 years, Dolores Carillo, aged 51 years and the 18-year-old girl Juanita Acosta, the latter after he had ravished her.  He said he would have killed the Martinez family also, including his wife, from whom he was separated, had not daylight come too quickly.  He said he loved the Acosta girl and she would not elope with him.
San Antonio Daily Light June 21, 1897 
Front page, col.1
He Will Be Tried for Murder at Floresville Wednesday.
It is locally reported that Maximo Martinez, who in the Wilson county jail on his confession to the murder of an old Mexican man and woman and a girl, has been indicted for murder and will be tried in Floresville next Wednesday.  A special venue of one hundred men has been ordered from which to select a jury.  In order to give Martinez a fair and impartial trial, the court has appointed Messrs. Caulfield and Wisenian, of Lavernia, to represent the defendant.
San Antonio Sunday Light June 27, 1897. 
Front page, col. 5
He Wants a Brass Band to Play at His Hanging.
Maximo Martinez, who is in the Wilson county jail at Floresville, waiting to be swung in eternity, for the crime of triple murder, is as happy as the day is long.  Henry Merritt, who has occasion to stop at Floresville nearly every day, says that Martinez asks but two favors--he wants to see his mother and relatives and wants a brass band to play while he is being hanged.  He says he wants to die, but not at the hands of a mob, and only regrets that it is not June 30 instead of July 30 when he will get the noose.
The Daily Light July 7, 1897. 
Page ?, col. 4
Floresville, Texas, July 7.--(Special.)--A number of citizens have subscribed $25 to pay for a brass band at the hanging of Maximo Martinez, July 30, as requested by him.
The Galveston Daily News Friday, July 16, 1897. 
Page 6, col. 3
Declares He Will Cheat the Gallows by Suicide.
Floresville, Wilson Co., Tex., July 15.--Maximo Martinez, the condemned murderer, who is to be hanged on July 30, declares he will suicide in jail before the time for his execution arrives.  If no other means of killing himself is presented, he declares he will knock his brains out against the walls of the steel cage in which he is kept.  A metal plate was taken away from him this week which had been cut in half, leaving sharp points and jagged edges.
The Galveston Daily News. July 31, 1897. 
Page 2, col. 3
Two Old People Killed in Order That He Might Get Possession of an 18-Year-old Girl.
Floresville, Wilson Co., Tex., July 30.--Before 9 o'clock this morning the town of Floresville was in a high state of excitement.  It was the day set for the execution of Maximo Martinez, the murderer of Juanita Acosta on the night of June 6.  The ____ of execution was __ed by Sheriff Craighead at 2 o'clock, but it was twenty-four minutes after when the body dropped from the scaffold, a distance of seven feet.  The murderer's neck was broken and life was pronounced extinct in twenty minutes by Dr. Mason of Floresville and Dr. Plekett of Karnes City.
It was as neat a job of hanging as ever occurred in Texas and Sheriff Craighead deserves credit for it.  It is estimated that there were 4000 people around the jail and court house to witness the execution.  A very large per cent of those present were Mexicans, and few of the number felt or expressed any sympathy for the murderer.  Before the noose was adjusted he sang a song, then made a speech, and sang another song.  The nerve of the man was something unparalleled in the history of criminals in Texas.  He thanked the officers and called the names of several he knew, and finally said good by [sic] to all.
Father Vento, a Catholic priest, was with him to the last moment, and prayed for him as the drop fell.  This is the first legal execution wish ever occurred in Wilson county.
***************************************************************, Corpus Christi, Texas 
Floresville hanging
In 1897, a farmworker, Maximo Martinez, killed three members of a family near Floresville with an ax. He was arrested in Duval County, returned to Floresville for trial, convicted and sentenced to be hanged. On hanging day, they gave the condemned man whiskey in a tin cup and kept refilling the cup. From his jail cell, Martinez made speeches and sang songs.
W. L. Wright, who was deputy sheriff before he became a Texas Ranger, was there. He later told Bob McCracken of the Caller: "It was a gala day in Floresville when the murderer was hanged. Everybody turned out; there must have been 4,000 people there."
Salesmen worked the crowd. A gramophone salesman played records. A fire extinguisher salesman put up a small model house in the street, then set it afire so he could put it out with his extinguisher. Some didn't know it was a demonstration and began to run. One man yelled, "Keep your seat; there ain't no fire!" Another ran by, shouting, "You're a damned liar!"
At the scaffold, Capt. W. L. Wright put a black cap on the condemned man's head and fixed the rope. Wright forgot to move away from the trapdoor. He managed to jump aside at the last second when it was sprung. Wright said it would have been like the two Rangers who hanged a man in Brownsville and forgot to get off the trap door. "When the trap was sprung, they went through it, too; fell six feet to the ground."
Bertha Guevara lent this 1897 photograph to "The UTSA DIGITAL LIBRARY" of Maximo and Trinidad Martinez both wearing corsages. Some believe that this photo was taken shortly before he was hanged outside jail in Floresville, Texas, the last hanging in Wilson County.


Josefina López de Ximenes, farmer and the first Mexican-American teacher in Wilson County, was born in Panna Maria, Texas, on April 25, 1865, to Benito and Caroline Opiela López. Her parents were immigrants from Mexico and Poland, respectively, and her father was a businessman in San Antonio and later in Panna Maria. Josefina attended area Catholic schools, where she was an excellent student. She graduated from the Floresville Academy and then taught there until her marriage in November 1893 to Manuel J. Ximenez, a deputy sheriff and United States deputy marshal in Wilson County. The couple had seven children. Josefina López de Ximenes became a teacher in Wilson County.
She was widowed in 1911 but was apparently able to provide for her family, probably as a farmer. She also ensured that they attend school, a difficult challenge for Texas Mexicans at that time. She successfully influenced them with her love of learning, for five of her children pursued teaching careers. She also encouraged the educational goals of her granddaughters, some of whom she raised. Evangelina Bazan, one of these, has recalled that López de Ximenes taught her to read in English and Spanish and urged her to attend college when she was still a child. Twenty-six descendants became teachers. Josefina López de Ximenes died on March 1, 1961, and was buried at Sacred Heart Cemetery in Floresville. In 1986 her story became part of an exhibit called "Tejana Heroines: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow," sponsored by Hispanas Unidas in San Antonio.
San Antonio Express News, April 27, 1986. Louise Stadler, ed., Wilson County History (Dallas: Taylor, 1990).
(Handbook of Texas Online, Teresa Palomo Acosta, "LOPEZ DE XIMENES, JOSEFINA," accessed October 19, 2019)


THE OLD CORPUS CHRISTI ROAD...... Ricardo Rodriguez , Administrator of Alamo Legacy & Missions Association, posted, "Many of us have driven south on this road and actually l enjoy it, since it leads me to my families Cemetery in Elmendorf, Texas, then off l cruise to Floresville, Texas. If there's enough time in the day, l have been known to shoot for Panna Maria or Goliad. 
I've asked myself, what were our ancestors doing living way out here and not in Bexar??? Are you kidding me, this is some of the nicest river flowing green land southeast of Bexar. The friendliest most down to earth people that are working their communities and keeping their Texas history alive. I get it...
Never fails, out of a hundred country roads to Sunday cruise on, l find myself driving down the Old Corpus Christi Rd and sitting in small downtown Floresville Mexican Restaurant, challenging the 2 grilled Jalapenos, that accompany my Tacos al Pastor plate.
The locals smile at me, knowing that this boys not from here, but a grin says he's in Jalapeno trouble again. HEB does not touch them and l have another rematch with my favorite little town in Texas.
Lois Wauson writes, " Long time ago if you were on Goliad Road, and you were driving south and crossed Military Road, continuing on the road at night it was sort of scary. It was called Old Corpus Christi Road, an asphalt road, very arrow, abandoned, very dark, unlit, and very broken up. It continues on in Bexar County into Wilson County and goes through Elmendorf. I wish I knew more of the history of that road. I am still searching on the Internet. But so far only bits and pieces have come up.
I accidentally found that road in Wilson County in Elmendorf. I was out driving on the back roads of that area, and I decided to follow the road to the end and see where it led. I always had turned around when I drove past the underpass of the railroad track which was on F.M. 128 turning right off F.M. 775, before you get to the San Antonio River Bridge.
But the other day, I went pass Aurelia's Kitchen on F.M. 128, which is in a building that has been there almost 100 years. It sits under an enormous old oak tree that is older than the building. One day I will stop there for lunch.
I continued on the road up ahead that was narrow and it had a low underpass. The graffiti on the walls was interesting. As I drove on a long way I realized it was the road that used to go through Saspamco. I drove past a little old abandoned house. When I stopped to take a picture of it, I wondered about the family who first lived in it. Wish I knew their story. Did they have kids, and were they in love, did they have a good life, or were there hard times and sad times?
I went on up the winding road, bordered by farms and little mobile homes on a few acres of land, and wondered if these people were happy because they had a little plot of land to call their own out in the country, or if they yearned for the city life. Maybe they had mixed emotions.
I stopped at a little cemetery on the right as I continued into Bexar County. It had no name. Looked to be about 40 graves there. It was well-kept and most of the graves had flowers. It was peaceful and pretty out there. Didn't seem sad at all.
Later on I saw two houses on the road, with a few men standing by the road talking. One was in an electric wheelchair. I rolled down my window and called out hello to them. The man in the wheelchair came over to the window to talk. I asked him about the cemetery up the road. He didn't know the name. He said a family named Guerra owned it. I think that is why it is so well-kept.
His name was Junior Casanova. He seemed to be about 60. He said he was born in the house behind him. He has lived in it all his life. And his father was from Elmendorf and was born there. He is deceased. He knows a lot about the history of Elmendorf. Maybe I will go back to talk to him at a later date. Ask him if he knew the Alligator Man from Elmendorf, also known as the "Butcher of Elmendorf."
I thanked him and drove slowly down the narrow road. Up ahead I saw a small flock of small homes on the right surrounded by many cars all around the edge of the little community of four streets. It was weird. Were all those cars visitors or occupants of the area? Or was it a used car lot? No signs if they were for sale, or anything. Didn't look like a junkyard. Then I saw the sign that said Hideaway Club and Café, with an arrow pointing down the little dirt road beside all the cars. I was intrigued so I turned and there it was.
 I stopped and sure did want to talk to the owner inside. To find out the history of the place and this little community of little houses and mobile homes, with little yards full of flower beds and interesting things. I didn't take a picture of any of them, but I spied a cemetery at the end of the little lane where I turned left. Not many graves in it but a couple were near the fence all decorated with signs and flowers.
I got out of my car and went up to the edge of the fence to see if I could read the signs and take a picture. What a joy to read the signs and the plaques. The big one was a wooden plaque of a bucket of beer bottles and reads Ice Cold Beer! The smaller one reads DAD and the dates of his birth and death.
They loved their Dad and he must have loved his beer! As I went back to my car, I had a big grin on my face and joy in my heart."
COURTESY/ Wilson County News  December 30, 2015
Lois Wauson wrote the weekly WCN column, Rainy Days and Starry Nights...
Taking the Greyhound on Old Corpus Christi Highway ... Lois Wauson adds, "My story about the Old Corpus Christi Highway has sparked a lot of interest in my readers.
Jim Lamberth wrote about how the road came from San Antonio starting on Goliad Road, meandering through Bexar County into Wilson County, through Elemendorf, and then coming out near the Big Tree, and the old road went on into Floresville, where the bus stopped at Hilda's Café. You could buy a ticket there and then the Greyhound bus would continue to Corpus Christi. So the highway continued south to Poth on what is now called Third Street, then merges with U.S. 181, at what is known as "The Y."
I heard from Micky Atkinson of Coy City the other day, who takes us farther south on the old Corpus Christi Road. This is what she wrote:
"Lois, just to continue with some extending history to compliment Jim Lamberth's memories of the Old Corpus Christi Highway. As a young girl I was born and raised in Hobson, Texas, on South Highway 181 in Jauer Flat. This is a long, flat area between Hobson and Karnes City named after my family. Therefore, I am also familiar with some of the Corpus Christi Highway history."
Micky's grandfather bought the land in 1906. Family members still own a large portion of the property in Jauer Flat. The family home still remains, but without the landmark windmill. They frequently gather there for family reunions and birthdays.
"In 'the good ole' days we all had to work, especially in my family of which there were 17 children. When summer came and school was out, we worked; whether it be in the fields with Daddy or other farmers, babysitting someone's children, or employment in San Antonio. We could not afford another vehicle or gasoline and were too young to drive at this time. So, we rode the Greyhound Bus into San Antonio when our jobs took us there. We usually were off on weekends and commuted home by bus. We used the bus line for many years and the drivers were familiar with us. They did not seem to mind stopping on the Old Corpus Christi Highway, in the middle of nowhere at the little white house with the tall windmill behind it to deliver us safely home for the weekend."
Micky goes on, "I now reside in Coy City, nine miles west of Karnes City, on highway 99 in the house the Coy City Post Office used to be in. My Mother's brother previously owned this property and operated a small country store and the post office between the late 1930s thru the early 1950s. After his death, my Aunt continued to operate the post office until it closed; I think, in the early 70s. Our mail has since been delivered by the Karnes City postal service. I purchased this property in 2007. Just a bit of continuing news off and on the path of 'The Old Corpus Christi Highway.' Lois, thanks for your wonderful articles in the WCN. I personally love reading about the history of Wilson, Karnes, and surrounding counties. I am somewhat of a history lover myself."
The Old Corpus Christi Road has lots of history. Thank you, Micky, for sharing your memories with me."
COURTESY/ Wilson County News  March 16, 2016
Lois Wauson wrote the weekly WCN column, Rainy Days and Starry Nights...
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Wilson County

Floresville Wilson County Texas ... The carriage was gaily dolled up either as a parade entry or celebrating the festive mood of the day.  It may have been for the Wilson County Fair. No details available. COURTESY/ Wilson County Historical Society.

Early Travellers Through Wilson County ....

In the  early 1700's, once Spain and France had settled their political differences in Europe and America, Spain began to investigate cost-reduction measures involving their 
remote presidios in far away places like Texas. Viceroy Juan de Acuña in Mexico City accommodated these "budget cut" desires by appointing Pedro de Rivera y Villalón to inspect  the presidios of New Spain's northern frontier. 
Pedro de Rivera y Villalón was  given the duty of travelling from the western edge of California to the most eastern reach of New Spain in Louisiana. The Viceroy instructed Rivera to draw a map of the  entire region and assigned engineer Francisco Barreiro to assist in this task. He was  also provided him with three thousand pages of documents concerning the frontier and many of the problems it faced. Rivera was  to report back his findings and suggest possible savings to be  instituted at each presidio. Pedro de Rivera y Villalón travelled by horseback and reached Texas in the  summer of 1727. He planned to visit the presidios of La Bahia, East Texas and Los Adaes. In 1728, he  returned to Mexico City with recommendations for the Viceroy. Later, in 1736, Rivera published a diary based on the records he  kept during the  expedition.
By August of 1727, he  completed visiting the presidios west of the  Rio  Grande River, the  expedition then headed  for San Antonio. On August 18th, 1727, Rivera left  the modern-
day city and headed  east-northeast to the presidio at Adaes. The expedition arrived at Los Adaes on September 15th, 1727 and was the first presidio to be inspected in Texas.  On September 26th,  he  left  Los Adaes and began his return to San Antonio—he followed the  same routes and used  the same campsites as  before. After  five days of travel, Rivera arrived in San Antonio on the 31st of September. Allowing his horses to rest for three days, Pedro de Rivera y Villalón  departed for the La Bahia  presidio. After  travelling four  leagues (11.184 miles) he  crossed the  Salado Creek  in south Bexar County and continued  for another eleven leagues (30.756 miles) that day. A camp  was  constructed at the well-known campsite "El Aguila" close to the  junction of the  Eagle and Calaveras Creeks.
The next day (November 4th) the  group  travelled east-southeast for nine leagues (25.164 miles) through level land with woods of oak,  mesquite and walnut trees. After crossing 
the Cibolo Creek, the expedition established  camp on the eastern side of the stream. On November 5th (1727), Rivera headed east; he  travelled 6 leagues through very  similar 
terrain as  the previous day. The evening campsite was  set up on the  west side of the  Ecleto Creek, this being their last stop in Wilson County. At this site water  was not  very  plentiful; it could only be found in the deepest pools of the creek. 
Travel continued  on the 6th of November—the party ventured 6 leagues (16.776 miles) east through alike landscapes, but with less  brush and fewer  trees  than the  past two 
days, and grass-covered  hills.  In  the  evening, the  camp was set up in Gonzales County on the west side of a small stream feeding  into the  Sandies Creek.
Starting in the  same direction as  the previous day, Rivera travelled for 11 leagues (30.756 miles) through almost identical lands. After  journeying approximately  five 
leagues (13.98 miles) the  group reached  the Guadalupe  River and a route was  followed along the west side of the river.  After  the river's  junction with Sandies Creek in De Witt County, Rivera constructed camp for the  evening.
On November 8th, the expedition continued to head east-southeast for 9 leagues (25.164 miles) along the western embankment of the  Guadalupe. Another three leagues 
later, the  group forded  the river at a crossing near the  city of Cuero. They  then continued  along the  eastern side of the river until reaching the  La Bahia  presidio.
After the inspection of the presidio was completed, Pedro de Rivera y Villalón  began the  return to San Antonio on the 27th of November. He and the  soldiers who accompanied 
him used  the same campsites and route as  before. The entire return journey encompassed five days of travel covering 54 leagues (approximately 150.984 miles).
In the mid 18th century, Apache and Comanche  Indians led many excursions into the  New Spain area of Texas. This increased  hostility  between  the  two entities  and the 
current cost of supporting  the  missions  concerned the Spanish King. To  better protect  the New Spain Territory and its people, the Spanish Government decided to change its  method of support. The presidios were  to address  the Indian attacks more aggressively  and to revise their operating systems as based on the  current regulations. Hopefully,  these changes would make the  presidios more effective and in turn  reduce the  cost  to the  Spanish government. 
To  implement  these changes, King Charles III appointed Marques de Rubi in 1765 to visit  all the  presidios on the  New Spain northern frontier. This would be  the  first  such review of their activities  since Rivera's  inspection some forty years earlier.  Included  in his responsibilities would be  to propose changes to the King of Spain, such  as  locations and operating procedures to better protect the citizens of New Spain and to lower the  operating costs for the  government.
Rubi reached the San Antonio presidio on August 8, 1767 after completing all  his other visits to the  presidios west  and north of the  Rio Grande River. On August 25, 1767, he  resumed his assigned  inspections of the  Spanish facilities primarily in the northeastern part of New Spain. He started by going to the presidios in the Las Adaes area. He left  San Antonio proceeding down along the banks of the San Antonio River to visit  missions located  along the river margins. After  leaving Mission Espada, which is approximately  six leagues from the Alamo, he  traveled downstream another league where he crossed Salado Creek. At this time there wasn't  much water in the  creek, so he moved on, continuing southward. Upon reaching the intersection of the  Calaveras and Eagle 
Creeks,  he reviewed a previously established  camping area here. He continued  marching south  another three leagues through sandy soil with an  abundance of many trees and 
bushes, with a terrain of gentle hills. He then returned to the San Antonio River  where he camped overnight on the riverbanks at an  area called Los Chayopines.
On august 26, he  left  camp, going southeast for 15 leagues. The scenery was very  similar  to the day before. After  six more leagues they arrived at a large  pond named Charco de 
Marcelina. Four leagues later, they arrived at the Cibolo River. After  leaving the  Cibolo and heading another five leagues southeast, they passed through gentle hills full of trees and wild life. This daytrip ended at the Ecleto Creek and here he camped on its  banks  for the night.
On August 27, the group  began heading northeast fourteen leagues. The terrain was  nothing more than a few gentle hills and scattered trees. About halfway, they ran  into a junction of three streams including  Coleto Creek  and the Guadalupe River. The daily march ended after they arrived at the Guadalupe River where they set up their campsite.  From  here the  river ran northwest to the southeast until reaches the  Gulf  of Mexico. This river crossing has had many different names such as "El Governador", Vado del Governador" and "Vado de Adarsenous". It is located near present day Cuero, Texas.
On August 28th, Rubi's party headed northeast to Adaes. After inspecting the presidios in that area, they returned to this junction point on October 28th and took the  third route 
to the  Presidio de la Bahia. Here  he camped about 2 leagues below the ford, then crossed the  Guadalupe River. The assistance of hand made  canoes  was needed, as  the 
river was very  difficult to cross due to high water conditions.
On October 29th, he  continued down river searching  for another way  to cross  the  Guadalupe River.
On October 30th,  a suitable crossing of the river was located. After  crossing  the river the  group marched for a short distance searching for the  Presidio Road. From there on, they traveled south  along the road and crossed Coleto Creek.
On October 31, still heading south, the  group  marched another 7 leagues until it reached the junction of the San Antonio River with the Guadalupe River. Rubi stopped  here for several days to inspect  La Bahia  Presidio.
On November 12th,  Rubi and his men left  La Bahia to travel to Laredo and then move on to Mexico City,  inspecting other presidios along the way. He arrived in Mexico City at 
the  end of the year, completing his assigned  inspection trip.
Information compiled for this article can be  found at the Wilson County Historical Society Archives,  located  in 
Floresville, TX. Author: Gene Maeckel, Member of Wilson County Histirical Society
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Center of Wilson County

CENTER OF WILSON COUNTY ...  The relatives of Barber, Garrahan, Sellers, Jackson & Click families helped establish a church in Center Point Community.  They had a church and school house off CR 312.  It was a small community which got its name because it was the center of Wilson County. Both buildings are gone, but Kathy Robinson has one of the church pews in her house. Her daddy, Woodie Robinson,  rescued 3 pews before the church collapsed & was able to make 1 pew out of the salvaged pieces. Woodie and Mary Robinson also had a historical marker erected at the site of the church building. The marker lists the names of all of the families that helped establish the church. (Courtesy of Kathy Robinson)

Information and maps of Wilson County

Allen Kosub, Historian & author of Lost Texas Roads, shares the following information & maps with Talk of Wilson County TX Historic Towns . [Thank you Allen!]
"I have been traveling and missed your excellent question about the center of Wilson County.
In the late 1860s and the 1870s, there was a struggle for the location of the county seat between Sutherland Springs and what is now Floresville.  Ideally, the Texas Legislature preferred that it be located near the center of the County.  Wilson County Commissioners ordered a map from the state to answer the question.  In the 1879 version of the map, the center of the county was located in the Joseph Jordan survey.
It is a very small survey is located near the intersection of CR 401 and CR 403.  It is on the Wilson County Appraisal District map.
I have attached an extract of the 1879 map and another from a google map. 
I love the attention you are bringing to the history of Wilson County - I try to keep up with your posts."
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Wilson County Texas Prosperity in 1883

Wilson County Texas Prosperity in 1883 .... a "San Antonio Light Newspaper"  tells about 1883 businesses thriving within the towns of Floresville, Lodi, Sutherland Springs, & Fairview.  COURTESY/ Allen Kosub

Good Roads Club

June 27, 1923 newspaper articles about the Good Roads Club being formed in Wilson County.
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Tordilla Hill

Tordilla Hill is the highest and most prominent hill in the area of northwestern Karnes 
County (28°51'42'' N, 98°08'45'' W). Tordilla Hill lies in a graben structure formed by the Fashing and Falls City geologic faults. It can be traveled to by road on FM 791 approximately 11.2 miles west of Falls City. Maps dating back to as early as 1856 reference the site as Tordilla Mountain and show a lagoon to its north.i Tordilla Hill stands with an elevation of 525 feet and was well-known to early travelers of the San Patricio Trail and was a significant navigational landmark since it could be seen miles away. During World War II an airplane rotating navigational beacon was set up at the top of the hill.ii
The San Patricio Trail passed by Tordilla Hill's base to the north. At the hill's base, Rock Spring was established. Rock Spring was a stage stop with a natural water hole in a basin formed by the hills along the trail.iii Here, travelers, stage passengers, freighters, and livestock could obtain water in the mid-nineteenth century. Rock Spring's water hole was first used by General Zachary Taylor's soldiers in 1845-46 and was the only place between Oakville (Puente Piedra) and Graytown (Gray's Rancho) where there was a sure supply of water.iv Rock Spring was the predecessor to Tortilla Mound. The community of Tordilla Mound was formed and is one of Atascosa County's first communities to have a post office. The post office operated from August 4, 1858 to April 15, 1859. Ruins of two old stone buildings were found in 1963.v
Circa 1939, there were seen ruins of many houses, of graves, and a thousand holes dug by treasure seekers. There are tales of buried Spanish treasure, and tales of robbers and their caves which are big enough to drive ox carts Steven Raabe states: "There are stories of buried Spanish gold in Javelina Cave in the Tordilla Hills. The story goes that Spanish missionaries were traveling up the Matamoras Road just west of El Tordillo, the main prominence in the hills, when attacked by Indians and the missionaries hid a gold cross destined for one of the San Antonio missions in Javelina Cave. Of course no one survived the attack and the cross was never recovered".vii
In 1954, anomalous radioactivity and surface exposures of uranium minerals were discovered at the base of Tordilla Hill. Intense exploration activity for the uranium was conducted by major oil companies and individual operators and lasted until the summer of 1956. The area around Rock Spring was disturbed in the 1970's by quarrying operations to supply 
crushed rock for Interstate Highway 37 and the railroad track from Campbellton to the San Miguel lignite plant near Christine.viii Today the water flow from Rock Spring has ceased and is no longer a natural reliable source of water. 
Compiled by Mark Cameron, July 26, 2016; Wilson County Historical Society
Member Steven Raabe adds that Tordillo is an old Spanish word used to describe the dappled grey color of a horse. The Spanish explorers named these hills "Tordillo or Tordilla" because the weathered sandstone that made up the hills reminded them of the dappled grey of a horse.


   ...   The first Wilson County Fair was initiated in 1920. A group of Wilson County citizens organized the Wilson County Fair Association, which had its headquarters in Floresville, Texas. The association sold shares of capital stock at $30.00 each to create a fair 
grounds area approximately where the Floresville High School is located today. The fair complex included a horse race track with a grandstand, exhibit buildings, show buildings and other related structures. The purpose of the fair was to create a county wide effort to encourage diversification and development. To achieve this goal, it was intended to 
stress educational features, social events and entertaining programs.
In 1920 a fair was scheduled for three days in September. It began on a Thursday and ended on the following Saturday. The opening event featured a parade through the 
downtown streets of Floresville on the first morning of the fair. After the parade, the fair was formally opened at the fair grounds with addresses by local dignitaries and 
political candidates. Visitors and participants in the fair's events came from all parts of Wilson County and from neighboring counties. The fair management established a 
practice of admitting all kinds of agriculture or livestock exhibits without an entry fee. Cash prizes were awarded to all of the winners. This policy encouraged widespread 
The social features of the fair helped to insure the fair's continued success. The fair itself was larger than camp meetings, a roundup or a big horse race. Old friends had an 
opportunity to meet and reminisce about the days past. Conversations and observations with fellow citizens encouraged them to compare economic situations and to see how their personal industry could be improved. 
Women were encouraged to select fresh and canned vegetables and fruits as well as dried fruits for exhibit. Flowers, fancy needle work, old curios, and relics were called for. Baked goods such as breads, pies and cakes were displayed. Poultry was also placed inthe exhibits. School girls were asked to present their favorite candy recipes. All of the 
presentations were to be entered in the women's department of the fair, which was managed by the county home demonstration agent.
Goat roping contests were well attended events at the fair. These contests were held each afternoon and became a major feature. Participants in the competition were 
individuals from Wilson County and surrounding counties.
Football each day was another entertaining event. On opening day of the 1920 fair, Floresville High defeated Beeville High 13 – 0. On the second day a group of all star players from Floresville won over a picked team from Nixon and Stockdale by a score of 32 - 0. In the football game on Saturday Floresville high defeated the Lutheran College of Seguin by a score of 13 – 6. This gave Floresville High an undefeated fair record.
During this first fair, amusement was furnished each day and night by the De Kreko Bros. Amusement Company. Included were six big shows, a Ferris- wheel, a merry-go-round 
and other attractions. There was dancing each night at the new Floresville Amusement Company Hall. Some of the music included a fine jazz band. Daily horse racing at the 
fairgrounds was another major entertainment event. An airplane stunt exhibition was presented over the fairgrounds in front of the grandstand about fifteen minutes before 
the beginning of the horse races. During other parts of the day the planes were available to give individuals a demonstration flight over the Floresville area.
The first Wilson County fair in 1920 was a gala celebration and it went down in history as a memorable event. Thousands of people attended the fair which had ideal weather. The livestock and poultry shows were better than anticipated. The Women's Department in the main exhibit building, the agriculture displays and associated booths were a great credit to what Wilson County had to offer. The first fair in 1920 was a great overall success from the beginning of the parade on Thursday morning to the last piece played by the orchestra at the grand ball on Saturday night.
The fairs were held annually until 1931 with the exception of 1925. With the early successes, the fair directors increased the event from three to four days. It began on Wednesday morning with the opening parade. The fair directors decided not to have a fair in 1931. However, they were hopeful that a fair would be held in 1932. This decision was reached after the pros and cons were discussed with the various citizens from all parts of the county. The collapse of the cotton market had created unfavorable economic conditions. It was generally pointed out that it would be almost impossible to present a fair equal in kind to fairs of the previous years.
(Compiled by Gene Maeckel from the files of the Floresville Chronicle Journal and the archives of the Wilson County Historical Society.)
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Wilson County Fair, 1930

WILSON COUNTY FAIR ..... 1930 newspaper article courtesy of  Allen Kosub. Tambria Read adds, "The Fair Grounds, Leroy Sellers told me, were apparently where the FHS 800/900 building, the football field, and N toward the Basketball field, & Tennis courts are. Then the WPA dormitories were in approximately the same area."

What is Wilson County Texas history of music?

Historian Allen Kosub shares that some years ago, at a Wilson County Historical Society meeting Viola Henke passed around a sign-up sheet for a trip to Branson Missouri, a celebrated music venue.  I was amazed at the response and the aftermath.  From my best memory, it may have been the beginning of the Floresville Opry (Viola would know best).
The response made me wonder, "What is Wilson County's history of music?" The information discovered showed that music has been an important part of Wilson County from its earliest days.
Before Floresville was established, Clemente Delgado, celebrated Mexican ox-cart organizer, held parties with live music at his rancho.  It would be hard to imagine a party by the German, Czech and Polish settlers without lively music.   The settlers at Sutherland Springs held grand balls at Bailey's Hall with music provided by "Professor" Dosiedo (a freed slave).
After Floresville was established, numerous mentions may be found of an opera hall, city band, concert band, brass band, and string band.  Floresville's Concert Band was a serious undertaking with a band director, Fritz Teltchik, who was inducted into Texas Bandmasters Hall of Fame. According to newspaper accounts, his band became the Floresville Tiger Band in 1932.
[Mr. Kosub shared several newspaper clippings from past research mentioning music venues]
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[ Allen Kosub research files]
Historical society logo   1 med hr

Opry helps fund historical markers

( July 2015) The Wilson County Historical Society has received permission to use funds raised by the Floresville Opry to replace damaged or missing Texas State Historical Markers in Wilson County.
Viola Henke told the Wilson County News that some of the proceeds from the quarterly musical event will help replace historical markers that have been stolen, damaged, or vandalized. Funds also will assist with obtaining future historical markers the society is pursuing.
The Wilson County Historical Society's popular Floresville Opry events feature classic country music, drawing young and old from far and wide. The next Opry will be Thursday, Aug. 6.
Wilson County historians uncover, document, and preserve the rich history of Wilson County and the area along the Alamo-La Bahia Corridor. The land beside the San Antonio River and along the Cibolo Creek has seen human occupation for many centuries.
Wilson County was created in 1860, with Sutherland Springs as the first county seat. Spanish-era mission ranchos existed in what is now Wilson County, including the Rancho de las Cabras near Floresville, part of the area's rich ranching and farming heritage.
Major trade routes, such as the Alamo-La Bahia Road, the San Antonio and Gonzales Road, the Seguin Trace, Corpus Christi Road, and San Patricio Trail, traverse Wilson County.
Texas State Historical Markers identify sites in the county, such as the Wilson County Courthouse in Floresville, the Polley Mansion near Sutherland Springs, the King Lorenz house in Stockdale, and the White House Café in Floresville, among others. Historical markers tell us today and our children tomorrow of this rich history.
COURTESY/ Wilson County News 2015


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 
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. 
Compiled by Gene Maeckel and Maurine Liles from the archives of the Wilson County Historical Society, 
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:
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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".
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.
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