County History

Victoria City Seal
(A part of the TXGenWeb project and the USGenWeb Project.)

Martin DeLeon

(from a postcard published by Frank Whaley, Corpus Christi TX)


The earliest records of a white man in Texas go back to 1530 when Cabeza de Vaca and three other survivors of a ship wreck lived in this area with friendly Indians. After several years they returned to Spain. Then Fort St. Louis was established in 1685 by Robert Cavalier de Salle, when he attempted to find the mouth of the Mississippi River. This site, a few miles east of Victoria on what is now the Keeran Ranch, was in ruins by 1689. A mission and a fort were established later on this site and then moved to Mission Valley. There was no permanent effect on this area from these settlements.

In 1824 Martin DE LEON petitioned to establish a colony to be called "Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe de Jesus." When the petition was returned, the official name given was "Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe de Jesus y Victoria." During the Mexican colonial period this was called Guadalupe y Victoria. Eight white families were already living in the area, (including Philip DIMMIT, John LINN, J.J. LINN, Edward LINN, Charles LINN, John David WRIGHT, Joseph WARE and John McHENRY) when Martin de Leon brought 33 Mexican families to the settlement. Victoria is the only city in the state established by a native of Mexico (according to Booth Mooney in History of Texas.)

(From the VICTORIA ADVOCATE, March 6, 1906) "Martin DeLEON received from ITURBIDE, President of the Republic of Mexico, in 1824, a grant authorizing and empowering him to settle a colony in South Texas bounded as follows: On the east by the Lavaca River, on the west by the Coleto Creek, and on the north by DeWitt's colony. He thus became the Empresario of the colony named by the Mexican government "Victoria de Guadalupe." He located his colony at the present town of Victoria on the Guadalupe in 1824 and commenced locating Spanish and Mexican settlers."

For twelve years this community progressed. Homes, churches, schools and stores were established around a "Public Square", later called De Leon Plaza. In 1835 the citizens of the town were so opposed to Santa Anna's program that almost every man enlisted in the Texas army. After the battle of San Jacinto, the name was changed to Victoria. It became an American town, and English became the language. The municipality was organized into the county of Victoria, a County Judge elected, and the town incorporated with a Mayor and City Council.

Many German Immigrants landed in Indianola, with many of them locating in Victoria. Others came from the Alsace-Lorraine area. The first Irish settlers came from 1824-1829, mostly by way of New Orleans. Others were members of McMullen's and McGloin's colonies and Power & Hewetson's colonies and moved here from Refugio. A large number of settlers were Italian and arrived in the 1880's. They came during the construction of the New York, Texas and Mexican Railroad, thus it was called the "Macaroni Railroad." The Jewish population came with the early German and French colonists. Beginning about 1848, they began to take an important part in the affairs of Victoria.

For a more extensive history try this link to the Online Texas Handbook -Victoria County.

Population of Victoria



DA COSTA - was named for Henry DA COSTA, a steamship captain for Morgan Steamship Lines. They had a large ranch in the area, and the business center of the ranch grew into the town called Da Costa.

PLACEDO - Captain Placedo BENEVIDES married one of Don Martin De LEON's daughters. The settlement and trading post here since 1828 was named for Captain Benevides. In 1906 the town was laid off and developed.

RAISIN - This town was first known as "LUCY" from 1889 until 1892 when the name was changed to Raisin.

FORDTRAN - This was founded in 1896 by Henry FORDTRAN of Galveston. It was located on part of the old 44 Ranch, on Old Guadalupe Valley Railroad.

MEXICAN RANCH - A store and station on the OLIVER Ranch was later called "CRAIG".

NURSERY - The town came to be called Nursery because of the large and beautiful Nursery owned and developed by Gilbert ONDERDONK in 1873.

TELFERNER - Prior to 1895 this town was called "KEERAN". From 1895 to 1908 it was called "JASMINE". In 1908 when Count TELFERNER, son-in-law of Col. Daniel E. HUNGERFORD, invested in the Railroad from Rosenberg to Victoria, the name was changed to Telferner.

GARCITAS - Garcitas is located on Arenosa Creek, six miles below Inez. This was on the Stage Coach Route.

ANAQUA - This located on the North Bank of the San Antonio River below the present Railroad Bridge.

McFADDIN - This town, laid off in 1906, was first called "MARIANNA".

BLOOMINGTON - Bloomington is located on State Highway 185, about twelve miles southeast of Victoria. Train loads of home seekers conducted by a Land Company established this town in 1910. For information on the history of Bloomington please see The Handbook of Texas ONLINE .

The following pictures were contributed by Sherrill J. Elizondo . These pictures were taken in front of The Pool Land company in Bloomington, Texas, in 1912 when northerners were coming in by train to buy land.

The pictures of the three men on horses are (left to right): the Bank President, Pool Land Man Sherrel Andrew POOL, and the Bank Cashier.

Sherrel Andrew POOL (grandfather of Sherrill J. Elizondo) is pictured standing in front of the Pool Land Company Office.

Sherrel Andrew POOL was born November 1883 in Buckholtz, Milam Co. TX (may have been Bell Co. at that time.) He died in Boerne, Kendall Co. TX on January 29, 1934. He married Ida Belle ANDERSON of Hallettsville, Lavaca Co., TX. They had a daughter, Jewel, born in Abilene, Taylor County, Texas in 1907. His son, Sherrel Andrew POOL Jr. (aka S.A. or Jack) was born in Bloomington TX on January 5, 1913. The family later moved to Abilene, Taylor Co. TX where Sherrel Andrew Pool Sr.'s father and mother, Andrew Manson POOL and Margaret Francis Mowdy Pool, owned the Adams Hotel. My grandfather Sherrel and grandmother Ida worked in the hotel. In the Victoria Tx census of 1910, the entry states his occupation was restaurant proprietor. (Contributed by Sherrill Jewel Pool Elizondo.)

CARLOS RANCH - It was named for Carlos de la GARZA and was located on the Old Gaffney Road.

KEMPER'S BLUFF - It was laid out in 1854 near a lake named for Dr. BELLO. It was located on the west bank of the Guadalupe River, near McFaddin.

From the VICTORIA ADVOCATE, March 3, 1904:

General Agent W.J. CRAIG has issued a circular announcing a number of changes in the names of stations on his line. "Burns" is changed to "Verhelle", "Thomas Spur" to "Mooney", "Womack" to "Dossat", "Keeran" to "Telferner", "Eli" to "Gerard", "Greenwood" to "Don Tol", "Plater & Stoddard's" to "Buckeye", "Keller's" to "Juanita", "Tres Palacios" to "Palacios". The changes instation names were made on account of their being other names in Texas of the same or similar names, in most instances larger and older, which caused frequent errors in the forwarding of freight.

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