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Wilson County History

The Texas Independence Trail

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The author of this entry is responsible for this content, which is not edited by the Wilson County News or
Gene Maeckel
Historic Moments
January 22, 2014 | 2,927 views | Post a comment

The Texas Independence Trail is one of the 10 Texas Heritage Trail Regions. Each trail is marked by highway signage installed and maintained by the Texas Highway Department. The intent of these highway markings is to support the historical heritage trail for anyone passing through the state.

To implement the program, the state has assigned this responsibility to the Texas Historical Commission in cooperation with the Texas Highway Department. The Texas Independence Trail encompasses an area of 28 counties, including Wilson County. This area reaches from Bexar County to Galveston County. It basically includes the historical area associated with the War of Texas Independence and its development into an independent republic.

The route of this trail takes the highway motorist through areas richly endowed with historical events concerning the Texas Revolution, points of scenic interest, and recreational opportunities. It’s the mission of this trail program to develop and promote heritage tourism in Texas, which will positively impact the state and local economies. This in turn will assist the local historical agencies in preserving their local and cultural sites and events.

The Independence Trail passes through Wilson County in a mostly east to west direction going from a crossing on the Cibolo Creek to Graytown. During the time of the Texas Revolution, Wilson County did not exist, as most of the area was in Bexar County. Almost all of the land was devoted to ranching and was controlled or owned by persons of Spanish heritage, many of whom were descendants of the original Canary Island families who had come from Spain and established Villa de Bexar.

The one ranch very important to the Texas War of Independence was owned by Erasmo Seguin. His son, Juan Seguin, played an important role in the war as 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 the conflict, his father’s ranch site was used as a supply point for horses, cattle, food, and other necessities needed to supply 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 a historical marker located near this site. The exact location of the house is unknown today because it was totally destroyed after the revolution and later plowed over for agriculture purposes. Close to the Casa Blanca complex, the house of his son, Juan’s house was constructed. The foundation of this house is still visible today. Beside the house of Juan Seguin, a hand-dug well, which still contains water, remains at this home site.

Another ranch whose headquarters site is today owned and controlled by the National Park Service is El Rancho de las Cabras. It was the ranch headquarters for the Mission Espada ranch lands, which provided horses and livestock for Mission Espada. Mission San Juan Capistrano also had a ranch called Rancho de Pataguilla. It was located on the east side of the San Antonio River north of Lodi. A third mission ranch called El Paistle was the source of livestock and horses for Mission Conception. No physical evidence of the ranches Pataguilla and Paistle are visible today. Historical documents and deed records do confirm their existence.

During this period, an important transportation route called the La Bahia Road crossed the Texas Independence Trail in the Lodi area. The road passed close to the Casa Blanca house and many times the hacienda served as protection from Indians for local ranchers or as a place for travelers to rest. The La Bahia Road served as the main route of travel between the missions and presidios of San Antonio and Goliad. 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 and are being used as public thoroughfares.

During this period of time the community of Graytown came into existence. It was established by James Gray, who had married into the Mariano Seguin Family and Graytown was a part of the Mariano Seguin land grant. Graytown was a center of activity in trade and social life for the surrounding ranches. It was also the center of Catholic church activity for miles around.

A second community, Lodi, also existed at this time. It was located on the east side of the San Antonio River near the headquarters of the Pataguilla Rancho and up the river from the Rancho de las Cabras headquarters. It was a community of families whose livelihood was linked to working on the area ranches as herdsmen and vaqueros.

Historical markers existing today along or near the present Texas Independence Trail are as follows: Cemetery of Canary Islanders, Casa Blanca, Floresville United Methodist Church, De La Zerda Cemetery, Garza-Valadez Cemetery, James Charles Wilson, Lodi Ferry, Site of Old Town: Lodi, Mission de las Cabras, Walker-Edwards Cemetery, White House Café and Saloon, Wilson County Courthouse, and Yndo Ranch.

Travel along the Texas Independence Trail is directed toward experiencing the history of the county. This travel route permits one to learn more about the county’s local traditions and culture.

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, also available under Links from Click on Communities.
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