The year that saw The Republic of Texas become The
State of Texas, Guadalupe County was created. All ?Good? Texans believe
that the year 1846 marks the time when Texas became a state of the United
States: because it was on February 17,
1840, that the Flag of the Republic was lowered on the State Capitol at Austin. and the Flag of the United States of America was raised The Supreme Court has ruled, however, that legally Texas became a state in the last week of 1845 when the joint resolution of Congress admitting Texas was signed by President Tyler of the United States. Guadalupe County was created partly from land that had been a part of Bexar County and partly from land that had been a part fron Gonzales County. The southwestern part of Guadalupe County lying along the Cibolo Creek was a part of Bexar, but all the rest of Guadalupe County was a part of Gonzales County. The section that was a part of Gonzales County. was in Green DeWitts grant from the Mexican Government in 1825. This southwestern part was a portion of the old Spanish settlements at Bexar One of these grants in the very corner of Guadalupe County?now in Bexar, Wilson and Guadalupe Counties, was in the name of Erastus Smith better knovm as Deaf Smith, the famous Scout of the Texas Array at San Jacinto. The first grant of land from the Spanish Government was to Jose de la Baume in 1806 (as far as historians have been able to find deeds). This was The region known to us as ?The Capote Hills?; however, it was not until 1825 that de la Baurne perfected his right to the grant. This was due to the fact of revolution in Mexico. and not until Mexico freed herself from the rule of Spain did la Braune actually make efforts to settle at Capote. The Mexican Deed to this six leagues is dated November 4th, 1828, according to the record of Titles to Special Grants? at the Land office in Austin.
The First Minutes of The Commissioners Court of Guadalupe County has the date of August 7, 1846, but the actual act of the Texas
Legislature creating Guadalupe County bearz the date of 30th March. A. D. 1846 and is recorded as "An Act? in Gammels Laws of Texas, and reads as follows: ?To create a new county out of the counties of Gonzales and Bexar. to be called Guadalupe County, beginning at the month of Nashes Creek on the Guadalupe turning norm until line meets San Marcos
thence up San Marcos to where The Old Nacadoches Road crosses the San Marcos - . - thence north . and then west . . to the Cibolo to lower line of Nichili League on the Cibolo - thence down the Cibolo and its tributaries to a line east and north of mouth ot Nashes Creek.?
As before stated the Flag of the Republic came down from the Texas Capitol on February 17, 1840. Guadalupe County was among the first ten counties created by the First Legislature in I846 But on March 24th. 1846, another act of the First Legislature reads: ?An Act, Be it enacted by The Legislature of the State of Texas that the town of Seguin be declared the Seat of Justice of the County of Guadalupe?. ? So we had a County Seat before we had a county.
Page one of Book A of The Commissioners Minutes of Guadalupe
County records the fact that the county was organized ?according to law?,
and this is dated August 7th. 1846. Present at this "orginization" were
Thomas H Duggan. County Clerk: Milton Osborn, Sheriff; Asa A. J.
Sowell, District Clerk; William B. King, Assessor and Collector; George
William Tom. William Beard. and James M. Day, County Comnmisioners.
William Tom was chosen to preside.
The following men are listed on page one as the first officers of Guadalupe County: Michael Erskine Chief Justice (County Judge):
W. Price. Constable. They made bond and set the date for a second meeting of the County Court on August 24th, l846.
Our present county judge has collected the photographs of as many of our Chief Justices (County Judges) as he has been able to find, and they hang along the west wall of his offices. This is an appropriate way to remember those who have served the county in the past, but since all of the photographs are not there. a roll of their names follows with the years they served. It is of interest to note that Henry Maney and W. P. H.
Douglass served in this capacity both before the War Between the States and after it, and that J. F. McKee and James Greenwood also served as judges at two widely spaced intervals.
CHIEF JUSTICES OF GUADALUPE COUNTY
1846-1842 - Michael Erskine 1874-1876 -. A. B. Moore
1848-1852 - - ? Jeremiah S. Calvert 1876-1878 Henry Maney
1852-1858 Henley Gruber Henderson 1878-1884 W. P. 11. Douglass
1858-I860 Henry Maney 1884-l888 - J. F. McKee
1860-1862 W. P. H. Douglass 1888-1894 James Greenwood
1862-1865 - James McClaugherty 1894-1802 F. C. Weinert
1865-1866 . W. C. Wiseman 1902-1904 . James Greenwood
1866-1867 ? Nathaniel Benton 1904-1910 Harry M. Wurzbach
1867-1868 D. C. Marsh 1910-1914 ? James M. Woods
1868-1870 ? James F. McKee 1914-1930 J. B. Williams
1870-1874 Asa J L. Sowell 1930-1946 Hennan E. Heideke
Wiseman and Marsh were appointed by governors of Texas when
Guadalupe County citizens were disfrancised by "Carpet Bag Rule? in
Texas. Between 1870 and 1876, when at last Texas was able to draw up
her constitution, no judge was elected and no judge was appointed; but
Asa A. J. Sowell and A. B. Moore served ?by deputy.
On April 5th. 1882, Justice W. P. H. Douglass stated, Having gone into Military Service of the Confederate States, I hereby resign the office of Chief Justice at Guadalupe County. The Confederate Script of Guadalupe County all bears the signature of James McClaugherty, Chief Justice of Guadalupe County, Nathaniel Bentnn, Chief Justice in 1886 served a few months in 1865 after being elected by the voters of the county, but was removed by by Carpet Bag Rule of Texas and in 1866 again was elected, this time he was permitted to serve. Benton was a veteran of The Battle of San Jacinto and Asa A. J. Sowell and Henderson were early Texas Rangers.
Guadalupe County's first official act was the installation of its officers: Michael Erskine Chief Justice; J. S. Calvert. James M. Day. William Beard. and William Torn, County Commissioners: Thomas H. Duggan, County Clerk: Milton Osborn. Sheriff; Asa A. J. Sowell District Clerk; William H. King. Assessor and Collector; George W. Price Constable. All this dated August 7th, 1840
The Court then adjourned until. ?Monday 24th day of August inst." It was at this meeting that the County Court took on the business of the county just as business is handled today by the County. First they summoned citizens of the County to serve as members of the ?grand-jury? to investigate any law violations. This was no routine matter in those days and those indictments brought by that ?grand-jury? would certainly not be found on the docket of today?s court.
Before discussing any other business of the county court, it is interesting to look into the lives of these men who were our first officers and the grand-jury panel' of 1840. Michael Erskine, The Chief Justice, early settled at Capote Ranch?as early as 1842. Before that time he had been near Linville on the coast where a brother Was killed during the Commanche raid. His wife had once been a captive of the Indians and had been ransomed by a white trader and returned to her home in Virginia, Chief Justice Michael Erskine wrote all this in a Diary, the original being in The Library of the University of Texas. He was the first man to make a "Cattle Drive" from Guadalupe County. This drive was made in 1854 and it might be said that a man This have had courage and a good right arm to have driven a herd of cattle from Seguin to California across those hundreds of miles of unknown desert in 1854.
James S. Day was an early Texas Ranger and the only Texian" seriously wounded at the time of The Battle Ground Prairie? fight three miles east of Seguin, on the Gonzales Road. This spot was marked by Texas during the Texas Centennial. A special act of the legislature granted Day a pension for life. The little dobie house that still stands on the southwest bank of Walnut Branch on West Court Street. was his home; and it was in his home before the County was formed, that wounded Texas Rangers found care.
William Beard, another County Commissioner, had two sons lost in ?The Mier Expedition? when they were taken prisoners. The hardships endured by these men was similar to Bataan. William Beard is buried at San Geronimo Cemetery. He and his wife were buried there in a single unmarked grave. It was he who gave all the east end of the Cemetery for a "Burial ground. The descendants of this Commissioner still have a ktter, written by The Beard Boys? while prisoners, to their father.
William Tom, County Commissioner had a son, John Tom, who at The age of fifteen took part in The Battle of San Jacinto and who afterwards became Sheriff of Guadalupe County. Commissioner Tom fought at The Battle of New Orleans with Andrew Jackson, and the Seguin Mercury of 1858 records that on January 8, 1858, the Flag of the United States flew over our Court House to honor William Tom one of old ?Hickory?s? fighters. Texas removed his remains from an old family cemetery and reinterred it with ?Texas Great? in The State Cemetery at Austin.
Jeremiah Calvert was a descendant of Lord Calvert. who settled in Maryland, and he with his family and friends set up what might be called ?The Upper Crust of Society in ?Old Seguin?.
Book A of the Commissioners Minutes of Guadalupe County wns thougt to be so representative of ?Early Pioneer? living in Texas that a Federal Grant to the University of Texas made it possible to copy exactly the entire book and this copy is in the Library of The University, of Texas. The popular manner of writing and even the spelling were checked and rechecked to preserve those forms.
The second meeting of the County Court on August 24, 1846. "sum moned members" for the District Court?. Here, too. is recorded the names ol our citizens who had long served The Republic of Texas as soldiers and statesmen. Among these were: Pendleton Hector, John Tom, Peter D. Smith, John W. Berry, I. J. Turner. John Baker. Paris Smith, John R. King, Ezekiel Smith Wm. Winters A. J. Sowell, Wilson Randall. S. W. Brill. A. J. Sowell was one of the messengers sent by Travis from the Alamo to secure beef for the besieged garrison. He had his name inscribed among the martyrs on the first monument erected to those heroes. He afterwards claimed he was the only man to live and see his name inscribed among the names of those who fell at The Alamo.
John H. King. listed above. elected Mayor of Seguin in 1853 when again the Town of Seguin became incorporated, His name is signed to the Ordinances printed in The Seguin Mercury of September 24, 1853 as Mayor of Seguin. It appears from such records as are available that when the County was organized in 1840. until January 1853 the County government and the City government were one and the same. John B. King fought at San Jacinto and so loved the tune played (Come to My Bower)
that he asked that it be played at his funeral-and it was.
Other men listed here, served in the Texas Revoluntionary Army Some San Jacinto, others as Rangers and Scouts. Ezekiel Smith the father of Paris and Peter D. Smith, was the oldest man to go on The Meier
Expedition HIs grave was marked at Riverside Cemetery in 1936 with
Texas Centennial Marker
Alter the business of summoning these citizens to serve on "The jury"
the Court took up the business of establishing roads. The Bastrop Road
was "ordered" to be laid out by James H. Callahan, Andrew J. Sowell, Joseph
F. Johnson and Charles A. Smith. They are to Review and blaze the road
from the town of Seguin to the County line of Gonzales County on the most
direct route to The Town of Bastrop."
The Minutes of October 12, 1846 state that the Bastrop Road, "com at the residence of H. B. King in the Town of Seguin Thence on a straight line to Callahan Crossing on San Geronimo thence following the blaze of the Callahan Trail to Martins Ford on the San Marcos, and that said road be opened from York's Creek direct to Callahan's Ford as laid down in the Judicial Report."
Captain Callahan was one of the very famous early Texas Ranger Captains. He was a famous scout and above all he was a blacksmith. This last rank saved his life at Goliad His life was spared because it was thought he would be useful to Santa Anna when It came to putting shoes on the horses. Captain Callahan's Muster Roll on file In The Archives of Texas State Library at Austin dated January 0, 11856 has among the eighty-seven the name of Luther Blassingame who some years later killed Callahan. A group of men, friends of Callahan road "Up to Blanco" where Blassingame then lived, called Blassingame from hIs home "and shot him dead. Thus believed thier honor vindicated. This Martin Ford on The San Marcos is referred to later in the minutes . as Martinis.
In the same session of the County Court of Guadaupe County on August 24. 1846 two other roads were ordered to be "reviewed and blazed". One of these was the Gonzales Road ?Ordered by the Court that S. R. Miller, William Beard, J. W. Nichols, French Smith and Peter D. Smith be appointed to lay out the road from the Town of Seguin to the lower line of the County on the most direct route to the Town of Gonzales." The other road was the one leading to San Antonio.
The Minutes of the Commissioners' Court for October 12th, 1846 state that "Beginning at the Town ol Seguin, thence to Beards' Mill, thence on the route as blazed and marked to the residence of S. R. Miller on Mill Creek. thence intersecting tbe old Gonzales Road about three-fourth miles from the residence of said Miller thence with said old road to the present crossing on Nashes Creek.
Since the history of any county is along its rivers and roads, the development of the roads of this county as a means of transportation is of great significance. The Gonzales Road is a good example of this. Along its right-of-way Is written events of importance both to Guadalupe County and to Texas itself. Where this new right-of-way intersects be the old Gonzales Road" we look back to a time before the . Texas Revolution. For that "Old Gonzales Road" referred to in the Minutes is a part of what is called "The Wood Road to Gonzales" in the early deeds ot this county. Follow this road from this intersection, above mentioned in the Minutes, in a southerly direction and you the Guadalupe River But In an easterly direction from the point of intersection is the route to the town of Gonzales.
The actual Battle of Gonzales (The first Battle of the Texas Revolution may have taken place near this istory for High Schools and Colleges states, "In the intersection. Page 223 of Dr. Eugene Braker's Texas
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