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South Texas Living

La Vernia museum receives donations

La Vernia museum receives donations
Steven Schauer, manager of external communications for San Antonio River Authority, and historian Regina Kosub, admire part of the new exhibit made possible by a generous donation from SARA.

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Elaine M. Stephens
May 29, 2013
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The La Vernia Heritage Museum is honored to be the recipient of several recent donations from their supporters. The San Antonio River Authority (SARA) made a generous donation earmarked for the new exhibit, “Cibolo Crossing on the Gonzales Road at La Vernia,” a donation which made it possible to order the beautiful new mural on the museum façade, created by graphic artist D’mitri Kosub, and the interpretive wall timeline which is one of the focal points of the exhibit. Additionally, SARA provided large aerial maps for the exhibit, which help museum visitors locate the Cibolo Crossing, and for many, their own local home.

“It’s exciting to see where my home is now and how close it is to where the old Gonzales Road was,” said one visitor.

The Gonzales Road, which was a vital roadway during the Texas Revolution era, no longer exists. It traversed the Cibolo just above La Vernia at the Cibolo Crossing, located on private property, connecting San Antonio and Gonzales. Many heroes of the 1850s era crossed and camped at the site, including Susanna Dickinson, Sam Houston, Davy Crockett, Erastus “Deaf” Smith, William B. Travis, Mexican General Santa Anna, and many more. Later, as La Vernia began to be settled, other local crossings also became prominent.

Another valuable donation to the museum’s permanent collections is from Ollie Shrank, a professional collector of early Texas pottery. Shrank donated several pieces of utilitarian pottery made by George and Isaac Suttles, Civil War Union veterans who came to La Vernia from Ohio in the 1870s, producing thousands of vessels of useful household pottery. A historical marker for the Suttles Pottery is located near the site of one of their kilns, facing U.S. 87, near the museum. The exhibit includes crocks and jugs on loan from private collections along with artifacts from archeological digs conducted by the La Vernia Historical Association at the kiln site in La Vernia.

An 1850s buckle medallion found in a field near the Cibolo Crossing in the La Vernia area is on loan from the anonymous owner. The U.S. medallion, which has been authenticated, will be on display for a short time only. Museum Director Susan Richter said, “We are honored that this patron has allowed us to showcase his important find, which reminds us that many significant moments in early Texas history occurred right here, in our own back yards.”

Even small donations are important to the museum, such as a book which was recently found at a garage sale by Charlie Ploch and his grandson, John Goodwin, a student at La Vernia Middle School. The book, On the Watershed of Ecleto and the Clear Fork of Sandies, by Karon Mac Smith, includes stories, genealogical information, burial, and marriage information about Wilson County and other nearby counties. John said, “I like history and so does my grandfather. I thought the museum might like to have this book.”

The La Vernia Heritage Museum is open on the first and third Sunday of the month from noon to 3 p.m., and by appointment. Admission is free.

For more information or to schedule an appointment, call 210-392-3281 or visit

Elaine M. Stephens is president of the La Vernia Historical Association.

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