Matagorda County Historical Commission

Matagorda County For Kids

Representatives of the MCHC visited Matagorda County Commissioners Court to accept the
2014 THC Distinguished Service Award.
Front row: MCHC members Jerry Lipinskyk, Jr., Mary Johnston, Renee Huff, Ona Lea Pierce and Jerrilyn Capers.
Back row: Commissioners Dan Putska, and Bubba Frick, County Judge Nate McDonald,
Commissioners James Gibson and Kent Pollard (front right). Photo courtesy of Bay City Sentinel, Mike Reddell.

Photo courtesy of David Holubec


Matagorda County Calendar

Members of the

Matagorda County Historical Commission


Appointees 2017 - 2018

David Holubec, Chairman

Becca Sitz, Vice-Chairman           Renee Huff, Treasurer          Nancy Vasek, Secretary

Judith Allen
Jerrilyn Capers
Faye Cunningham
Freda Daniel
Anthony Doubek
Bobbie Gaspard
Michael George
Carol Sue Gibbs

Gertrude Hardy
Carol Ann Huitt

Jackie Jecmenek

Donna Johnson

Becca Sitz


Eileen Ackerman
Renee Huff

Ona Lea Pierce


Shirley Brown


Ray Horton




Kary Havard

Mattie Watkins


Deann Griffith



Colleen Claybourn

Mary Johnston
Robin Lewis

Vikijane Mosier



Barbara Smith



David Holubec



Nancy Vasek



Rep. Dennis Bonnen





National Register Designations

Hotel Blessing
Blessing Masonic Lodge

Bay City
U. S. O. Building
Hensley-Gusman House
Southside Historic District
Brochure 1

Brochure 2
Bay City Post Office
Holman-Allen House

Matagorda Cemetery
Christ Episcopal Church

R. J. Hill Building

Luther Hotel
Price-Farwell Home


Certified Local Government

Historical Marker Dedications

Holy Cross Catholic Church - 2007
Grimes Family Cemetery - 2008
Lukefahr School Community - 2009
Pilkington Slough Ranch - 2009
St. Peter's Catholic Church - 2009
St. Mark Missionary Baptist Church - 2010
Buckeye - 2012
The Luther Hotel - 2012
Blessing Masonic Lodge # 411 A. F. & A. M. - 2012
Dr. Henry Hoffmann Loos - 2014

History Appreciation & Preservation

2008 Preservation Awards
2008 Collegeport Centennial Driving Tour
2009 Preservation Awards
2009 History Appreciation
2010 History Appreciation & Preservation
2014 Preservation Awards
George Deshotels & Matagorda Cemetery

Matagorda County
7th Grade Field Trip

O. H. Herman 7th Graders

Historic Texas Cemeteries

Collegeport Cemetery
Grimes Family Cemetery
Matagorda Cemetery
Midfield Cemetery

Hawley Cemetery

Preserve America


Cemetery Surveys



Matagorda County Officials


County Judge
Nate McDonald


Gary Graham


Kent Pollard


James Gibson


Charles "Bubba" Frick


Helpful Links

La Salle Projects

Matagorda County Certified Local Government

Matagorda County Genealogy

Matagorda County Historical Markers

Preserve America Community


BE IT REMEMBERED, That on this 26th day of April, A. D. 1956, thereon was begun and holden in the City of Bay City in the County of Matagorda, State of Texas, a Special Meeting of the County Commissioners Court, in and for the County of Matagorda, State of Texas, after proclamation thereof was duly made at the Court House door by J. B. Cole Sheriff, pursuant to adjournment, present and presiding Honorable J. J. Spurgeon, County Judge;  T. D. Matthews, Commissioner Precinct No. 1; J. F. Williams, Commissioner Precinct No. 2; Guy Johnson, Commissioner Precinct No. 3; J. E. Cornett, Commissioner Precinct No. 4, and Hilma S. Huitt, County Clerk;


An Order Appointing County
Historical Survey Committee

On this the 26th day of April, 1956, the Commissioners' Court of Matagorda County, Texas, met in Special Session, with all members present, and among other proceedings the following Order was passed by unanimous vote of said Court, to-wit;

WHEREAS the County Judge, with the concurrence of the four County Commissioners' Court of Matagorda County, Texas, met in Special Session, with all members present, and among other proceedings the following Order was passed by unanimous vote of said Court, to-wit:

WHEREAS the County Judge, with the concurrence of the four County Commissioners and the County Clerk, have been requested to appoint a County Historical Survey Committee to be composed of not less than 7 members, with an interest in historical heritage work; and

WHEREAS the Court desires to appoint such a Committee;

NOW THEREFORE BE IT ORDERED by the Commissioners' Court of Matagorda County, Texas, that the following named persons be and they are hereby appointed, upon their acceptance, as members of teh County Historical Survey Committee, to-wit:

Amos Duffy

Palacios, Texas

R. P. Newsom

Palacios, Texas

G. K. Nelson

Blessing, Texas

Mrs. N. W. Terry

Clemville, Texas

Mrs. E. F. Goodall

Wadsworth, Texas

Mrs. G. C. McElrath

Markham, Texas

A. W. McNabb

Matagorda, Texas

Mrs. A. Harris, Sr.

Bay City, Texas

Mrs. Dean Merck

Collegeport, Texas

Mrs. Mae Werlla

Sargent, Texas

Mrs. M. H. Shaw

Pledger, Texas

Mrs. Grace P. Heffelfinger

Blessing, Texas

PASSED IN OPEN COURT this the 26th day of April, 1956.

J. J. Spurgeon, County Judge, Matagorda County, Texas

Mrs. G. C. McElrath Named Member of County Historical Committee

Mrs. G. C. McElrath, THE BAY CITY NEWS correspondent and county historical authority, has been named a member of the newly-formed Matagorda County Historical Survey Committee.

THE NEWS' popular feature writer is also the author of a historical novel titled Bel-Tane that tells the story of a pioneer people that settled in Matagorda County.

The 12-member committee was set up Thursday in a special session of the Matagorda County Commissioners' Court.

A member will be nominated as an organization member of the Texas Historical Foundation, the mother group.

Similar committees are to be formed in all Texas counties.

Purposes of the county groups are to provide representation in the state foundation, to make a study of what each county is doing in the historic heritage realm, and to see what each needs to do.

Also the groups provide a statewide base for surveys, public relations, and other matters of interest to the Texas Historical Foundation and historical survey committee.

In addition to Mrs. McElrath, who is from Markham, committee members are Amos Duffy, Palacios; R. P. Newsom, Palacios; G. K. Nelson, Blessing; Mrs. N. W. Terry, Clemville; Mrs. E. B. Goodall, Wadsworth; A. W. McNabb, Matagorda; Mrs. A. Harris, Bay City; Mrs. Dean Merck, Collegeport; Mrs. Mae Werlla, Sargent; Mrs. M. H. Shaw, Pledger and Mrs. Grace P. Heffelfinger, Blessing.

The Bay City News, May 3, 1956

County Historical Survey Committee Meets In Bay City

The Matagorda County Historical Survey Committee met Saturday, April 6, at the Service Center. Mrs. Arthur Harris called the meeting to order, the minutes were read and approved.

Mrs. I. E. "Jack" Rice, gave a report on the monuments of Matagorda County. The post office of Deming's Bridge was discussed. It is believed that it is one of the oldest in the county, if not the oldest. [Note: Matagorda and Caney were the oldest being established May 22, 1846. Deming's Bridge Post Office was established June 22, 1858.]

The Committee voted that a letter be written to the Texas Historical Association, asking them if it is possible to start some type of move to bid on and buy the Lewis W. Kemp Collection of Texana and keep it in Texas.

Stationery will be purchased for the Survey Committee, with the name of the organization, the officers names and their addresses to be printed on it.

Mrs. Dean Merck, treasurer, was authorized to put all committee monies received from dues payment and otherwise, in a bank.

It is the desire of the Survey Committee to put into print the facts of Matagorda County History.

Mrs. Lawrence Gwin has presented to Committee a photostat copy of the Topography report on Matagorda County taken from the records in Austin, Texas.

The next meeting will be July 6, place to be decided later.

Those attending the meeting were Mrs. Arthur Harris, Bay City; Mrs. Ello Werlla, Sargent; Mrs. Dean Merck, Collegeport; Mrs. Harry Dawdy, Ashwood; Mrs. R. R. Traylor, Matagorda; Mrs. Ward McNabb, Matagorda; Mrs. A. B. Pierce, Blessing; Mrs. G. C. McElrath, Markham; Mrs. Jack Rice, Bay City; and Miss Ural Lee Sanford, Bay City.--Mrs. G. C. McElrath.

Palacios Beacon, April 18, 1957

County Historical Committee Named By Judge Spurgeon

The appointment of a County Historical Survey Committee was announced by J. J. Spurgeon, County Judge of Matagorda County.

Members of the Matagorda County Historical Survey Committee selected for a two year term are
Mr. A. W. McNabb, Mrs. R. R. Traylor, Mrs. T. A. Gibson - Matagorda
Mrs. R. C. Gusman, Mrs. Jack Rice, Mrs. A. H. Harris, Sr., Mrs. Elo Werlla - Bay City
Mrs. Fred Cornelius - Midfield
Mrs. A. B. Pierce, Mrs. A. R. Matthes - Blessing
Mrs. Harry Dawdy, Mrs. Blanche O'Connor, Mr. Burton O'Connell - Van Vleck
Mrs. Guy R. Claybourn, Sr., Mrs. E. I. Chiles - Palacios
Mrs. M. H. Shaw - Pledger
Mrs. Francis Savage - Wadsworth
Mrs. Dean Merck - Collegeport
Mrs. G. C. McElrath - Markham
Mrs. Madge Estill - Cedar Lane

Governor-elect John Connally has designated January 19th as Texas Historical Preservation Day. On this date all new County Historical Survey Committees are to meet on call of the County Judges to elect officers, appoint subcommittees and formulate plans for the year's work.

"The Texas State Historical Survey Committee is happy to have Matagorda County included in the more than 240 counties actively working toward the goal of historical preservation," and Dr. Rupert N. Richardson of Abilene, president of the State Committee. "The Committee wishes to thank Judge Spurgeon for appointing a Historical Survey Committee in this county."

Dr. Richardson pointed out that every county has a unique history, and Matagorda County is no exception. The County Committee will be concerned with historic buildings, museum pieces, markers and records of this county.

The Texas State Historical Survey Committee works to coordinate the historical preservation work accomplished on the local level with programs carried on the state level. Currently County Historical Survey Committees are locating and marking graves of Civil War Veterans and sponsoring Historical Building Medallions to be placed on historic structures.

Palacios Beacon, January 10, 1963

County Historical Survey Committee

Matagorda County Historical Survey Committee

County Judge J. J. Spurgeon appointed 12 persons to the Matagorda County Historical Survey Committee in the fall of 1956. The late Mrs. Arthur Harris, Sr. served as the first chairman.

The purpose of the Committee was to work to familiarize the people of the county with the importance of promoting and preserving history in the County. The Texas State Historical Survey Committee directs the county in its projects.

In 1963, a new survey committee was appointed by the Judge with Mrs. Richard Gusman as chairman. Following Mrs. Gusman's death in April of 1966, Mrs. Howard C. Ham was reappointed to serve again for the 1969-70 year over the 60 other members that Judge Austen H. Furse named to serve on the committee board.

While continuing to function under the leadership of the State committee the MCHSC has been recognized as a valuable assistant to the organization and founding of the other two historical agencies in the county and to the recognition of historical work in the area.

Matagorda County Historical Society

The Matagorda County Historical Survey Committee and the Texas State Historical Survey Committee decided in 1959 that there was a need for an organization that would be opened to all interested persons.

As a result, the Matagorda County Historical Society was formed in that year for the purpose of including the citizens of the county in the promotion work being planned by the two historical survey committees.

The late Mrs. Arthur Harris was elected the first president, and Mrs. Lee Hall Pierce of Blessing is now serving as the Society's president.

Matagorda County Historical Museum Association

Because of two successful Historical Exhibitions sponsored by the Matagorda County Historical Society, the county historical agencies felt that they needed a historical museum.

The Bay City Council granted the use of the "Old City Hall" at 1824 6th Street for the County Historical Museum. The building interior was re-decorated and adapted for use and the museum was opened in the fall of 1966. Mayor R. C. Gusman was the first Museum Board chairman.


The three historical organizations presently operating in Matagorda County are all working in unison toward one goal--to preserve and promote the history of Matagorda and all the rest of America.

Twenty-one historical medallions and markers have been placed in the County by these three units. In Matagorda, one may find markers at Christ Episcopal Church, Dale-Rugeley-Sisk Home, the Old Post Office, Methodist Church, The Samuel Rhoads Fisher Grave Site, the Jane McManus Dream Colony Site and the Culver Home.

The Daily Tribune, August 22, 1969


Matagorda County Historical Society

Members of the Matagorda County Historical Society
Later known as
Friends of the Matagorda County Historical Commission


Judith Allen
Lura Nell Anders
Carl & Catherine Anderson
Sue Bailey
Beth M. Bow
Myra Brhlik
Sophie Burkhart
Robert Christianson
Guy & Colleen Claybourn
Alyne Cox
Cecile Stewart Crawford
LaVerne Culver
Phyllis Culver
Jim & Sandra Davant
Joe Faye Deshotels
Bobbie Dykes
Mary Dykes
Bobbie Gaspard
Carol Sue Gibbs
Nancy Godsey
Deean Griffith
Thelma “Curly” Ham
Mrs. Bob Hanson
Gertrude Hardy
Helga Harper
Geraldyne Havard
Kary Havard
Mrs. Doris Heard
Georgia Herreth
Pauline Hickey
Barbara Holloway
David Holubec
Russell Huebner
Fred & Connie Huitt
Mary Belle Ingram
Jackie Jecmenek
Hubert & Donna Johnson
Henrietta Krumholz

Suzanne Kucera
Leonard Lamar
Margaret Lynn
Martha & Sam Maglitto
Annie Mardis
Joyce Maroney
Mr. & Mrs. Harold Martin
Jack & Ollie Matthews
Mary H. McCaleb
Hal McComic
Bob & Bobbie Middleton
Zia & Jack Miller
Connie Moberley
Doris Moberley
Ola Ann Moseley
Helen Neary
Joyce Parsutt
Ona Lea Pierce
Ruth Pierce
Sally Pierce
Alice Polk
Roberta Ripke
Kay Roe
John Runnells
Betty Rusk
Florence Saunders
Esther Smith
Loy & Helen Sneary
Roland Spurr
Irene Stidham
Muriel Tipps
Judy Triplett
Lurlyn Whitley
Joan Whitworth
Ethel A. Williams
Ernestine Whitfield
Elizabeth Young

Courtesy of Zia Miller


Copyright 2005 - Present by Carol Sue Gibbs
All rights reserved

Feb. 1, 2005
Jul. 7, 2015