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Wilson County News • 1012 C St • Floresville • TX • 78114 • Ph: 830-216-4519 • Fax: 830-393-3219 • Email:
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Wilson County History

A taste of Wilson County history prior to the Texas Revolution




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The author of this entry is responsible for this content, which is not edited by the Wilson County News or wilsoncountynews.com.
Gene Maeckel
Historic Moments
June 26, 2013 | 1302 views | 2 comments

Wilson County did not exist as an individual area prior to this period. However, it was an area which was greatly involved in the Texas Revolution of 1836. The majority of the county area as it exists today was a part of Bexar County with a smaller part from Karnes County. Almost all of the land was devoted to ranching controlled and owned by persons of Spanish heritage, many of whom were descendants of the original 16 Canary Islands families who came from Spain and established the Villa de Bexar.

One ranch that was very important to the Texas War of Independence was owned by Erasmo Seguin, father of Juan Seguin. Juan Seguin played a very direct role in the war. He made an attempt to bring in more forces to help defend the Alamo and was one of the last persons to leave the Alamo before its fall to Mexico’s Santa Anna and his forces. He then assisted Sam Houston in his successful capture of Santa Anna in the Battle of San Jacinto. During the period of conflict, both before and after, the ranch played a very important role in supplying the Texas Army with cattle, horses, food, and other necessities.

The ranch was located about 30 miles southeast of the Alamo and included all of the area of league number 6 of the Simon and Juan Arocha land grant. Its lower boundary was just north of Lodi on the east side of the San Antonio River. The ranch headquarters, called Casa Blanca, was also used as a meeting place by the Texans to discuss strategy related to the war effort. Today, an archaeology dig is being conducted in the River Bend Golf Club area in hopes of finding the actual site of the ranch hacienda. A Texas Historical Commission marker is located nearby on U.S. 181 Business route.

Across the river from the Seguin ranch was the Maria Calvillo ranch. It too was very much involved in supporting the Texas Revolution and supplying the Texas army with food and horses.

An important transportation route traversed Wilson County during this period, called La Bahia Road. Today, this route is included as part of the Caminos Reales de los Tejas National Trail System which was developed by the National Park Service. The road passed near Casa Blanca and often served as a resting place for travelers between San Antonio and Goliad. It also was a place of refuge from Indian attacks by other local ranchers and neighbors.

The La Bahia Road served as the primary route of travel between the missions and presidio of San Antonio and the Missions and presidio in the Goliad area. Many of the men involved in the Texas Revolution, both Texians and Mexicanos, traveled this road between San Antonio and Goliad during this period. Some parts of the road still exist today in Wilson County and are used as public thoroughfares. Other parts are located on private property and are still visible today.

In this same time period, the community of Graytown came into existence in the southeast corner of the Mariano Seguin land grant. It is located on the west side of the San Antonio River near the river crossing called “Sheep’s Crossing,” which is close to the Bexar County-Wilson County boundary. The site was developed by James Gray Sr., who had married Simona Fernandez, the daughter of Seguin, and had inherited the property. The first settlers were Spanish families who claimed direct ancestry from Spain. The Catholic church became the religious center for all the Catholics within a 30-mile radius. The settlers were primarily cowboys and ranchers as the area was the center of a gathering area for creating herds of Longhorns to be trailed to northern markets.

A second community, Sutherland Springs, developed around an area of more than 100 springs along the Cibolo Creek in the eastern part of the county. 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.

Dr. John Sutherland, for whom this settlement was later named, was with the defenders of the Alamo performing the duties of a medical doctor. Because of an injury to his knee, he could not stand but could ride a horse. 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 thus 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 different springs and their curative aids.

Lodi, another community, was started along the La Bahia Road on the east side of the San Antonio River between the Casa Blanca Hacienda and the Las Cabras Mission Ranch headquarters. It was a community of families whose livelihood was linked to working on area ranches as herdsmen and vaqueros. This site also served as a ferry crossing interconnecting the travel routes on the east and west sides of the San Antonio River.

The Wilson County Historical Society meets every third Tuesday of the month at 7 p.m. in the American Legion Hall in Floresville, 1412 Fourth St. Dues are $20 for individuals, or $30 for couples. Call LaJuana Newnam-Leus at 830-393-2166 or visit wilsoncountyhistory.org, also available under Links from http://wilsoncountynews.com. Click on Communities.
 
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Your Opinions and Comments
 
ruben courvier  
san antonio  
July 2, 2013 8:44pm
 
 
my ancestor was a soldier for the spanish army(1780). he was knighted sgt. of arms by the king of madrid. he was awarded alot of land for his services. he was a indian translator,his ... Read More Read More
 
 
Lois Wauson  
Floresville, TX  
July 2, 2013 9:30am
 
 
Thanks for the interesting history lesson, Gene! I appreciate you and your contribution to the Historical Society. You have such a knack for writing and finding so many historical ... Read More Read More
 

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