Lavaca County Historical Commission

MISSION STATEMENT OF THE LAVACA COUNTY HISTORICAL COMMISSION

The main functions of the Lavaca Historical Commission are to identify, preserve, interpret, and maintain historic and archeological sites. The agency:

Provides leadership and training to local citizens, heritage organizations and county museums in Lavaca County.
Offers preservation consultation to the public.
Works with communities to help protect Lavaca’s diverse architectural heritage, including our historic courthouse and other public buildings.
Administers the state’s historical marker program
Acts in partnerships with communities to stimulate tourism and economic development.
Works with property owners to save archeological sites on private lands.
Consults with citizens and groups to nominate properties as Recorded Texas Historic Landmarks, State Archeological Landmarks, and to the National Register of Historic Places.
Ensures that archeological sites are protected as land is developed for highways and other public construction projects.

The Lavaca County Historical Commission meets four times a year in February, May, September and November.

For more information contact:
Doug Kubicek
Lavaca County Historical Commission
P. O. Box 811
Hallettsville, Texas 77964


16th Annual Alton C. Allen Historical Conference

The Texas Rangers

Bringing "First Order and then Law" to Texas: The Frontier Battalion, 1874-1901

Saturday, October 20, 2012
American Legion Hall, 107 E. Park Street, Hallettsville, Texas

Sponsored by the Lavaca County Historical Commission and the Dickson-Allen Foundation

Program

Time

Speaker

Event

8:00 – 9:30   Registration
9:30 – 10:30 Harold J. Weiss The Life and Legend of Texas Ranger Captain Bill McDonald
10:30 – 10:45   Break
10:45 – 11:45 Chuck Parsons

The Three Lives of Captain John R. Hughes

11:45 – 1:15   Chicken Noodle Soup Lunch
1:15 – 2:15 Paul Spellman Great Ranger Captains, John H. Rogers and J. A. Brooks
2:15 – 2:30   Break
2:30 – 3:15 Texas Ranger Museum

Texas Ranger Research Center - Official Library & Archives of the Texas Rangers

Speakers

Harold J. Weiss

Harold J. Weiss, Jr. is a retired professor of history at Jamestown Community College, New York. Born in the coal fields of Pennsylvania, he moved westward to try to separate pop culture fantasy from historical fact by obtaining degrees in history from various colleges, especially a doctorate from Indiana University at Bloomington. He has given conference papers, wrote articles, and has published a highly acclaimed biography of Ranger Captain Bill McDonald. He is also co-editor of an anthology on the Rangers in the nineteenth century. In all these endeavors Weiss found out that Texas is not just a place, but also a state of mind in the American psyche.

Chuck Parsons

Chuck Parsons is a native of Iowa, and grew up in Iowa and Minnesota in a farming family. After graduating from the University of Minnesota, earning his Master’s from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Chuck has numerous books on Texas Rangers, the latest; Captain John R. Hughes. He is Book Review editor of the Journal of South Texas (Texas A&M University - Kingsville); former columnist of True West. He lives in Luling, Texas with his wife Pat. Their time and energy are devoted to research, writing, speaking engagements, travel, and enjoying their children and grandchildren.

Paul Spellman

Paul Spellman, with degrees from Southwestern, SMU, UT-Austin, A&M-Corpus, and a PhD from University of Houston, Paul will be in his fifteenth year as professor of U.S. and Texas History at Wharton JC. He has published six books to-date (Capt. John H. Rogers and Capt. J. A. Brooks) with three more in the hopper (one on the “Old 300”, and two historical novels). Member Western Writers of America, Texas State Historical Association, and others. Corpus Christi born, he now lives in Richmond with wife Kathleen, four grown kids, two grandkids.

Save $5 when you pre-register! Pre-registration saves you money & helps better prepare for those attending. Pay with cash or make check payable to the Lavaca County Historical Commission.

Pre-registration Fees:
$15.00 per person
$20.00 per couple
$5.00 senior citizen, K-12 & college student, & teacher with school ID

October 20, 2012 Registration Fees:
$20.00 per person
$25.00 per couple
$10.00 senior citizen, K-12 & college student, & teacher with school ID

Registration Includes Lunch
Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup With Chicken Salad Sandwich

Registration Form

See Photos and Program Info from 2004-2011 Alton C. Allen Historical Conferences


Christmas Ornament Fundraiser

Ornaments are $10.00 each. Shipping and handling is a flat fee of $1.00 Send a check, money order or cash to: Lavaca County Historical Commission, P.O. Box 18, Hallettsville, TX 77964-0018

Lavaca County Courthouse

Construction of the Lavaca County Courthouse began in April of 1897. This three-story structure in the Romanesque Revival style was designed by architect Eugene T. Heiner. The cornerstone was dedicated on February 1, 1898. The courthouse itself was dedicated on July 4, 1899. The building is listed on the National Register of Historical Places.

Lavaca County, Texas

Originally called La Baca for the Spanish word meaning cow. Created in 1846 the county covers 970 square miles of the Coastal Plain in South Texas between the Lavaca and Navidad Rivers. Today Lavaca County includes the towns of Hallettsville 1849, Moulton 1887, Shiner 1887 and Yoakum 1887.

Lavaca County Fire Departments

The tradition of volunteer firefighting began early in American history (1653 - 1736). The volunteer fire departments in Texas were often the core of the social, cultural and political institutions in local communty life.
After decades of dedicated community service the following volunteer fire departments are still active:
Yoakum: Org. in 1887
Hallettsville: Org. in 1890
Shiner: Org. in 1893
Moulton: Org. in 1932
Sweet Home: Org. in 1955
Employed and volunteer firefighters in Lavaca County remain the first line of response to public safety battling everything from chemical spills to hurricanes and fires.

Head of the Cow

Historical Sources suggest that the earliest Europeans to set foot in Lavaca County were ship wrecked survivors of the 1527 Narvaez Expedition namely Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca. The family had been given the surname "Head of the Cow" after distinquishing itself in battle.
Cabeza de Vaca spent several years living among various native Texas tribes both on the coast and inland. Accounts vary, but he traveled through environs of Lavaca County in 1530. His trek ended in 1536 when he and other survivors were found.

The San Antonio & Aransas Pass Railroad
In Lavaca County - 1887

In 1887, the San Antonio & Aransas Pass Railroad Co. organized by Uriah Lott, constructed a main line from San Antonio to Houston that traversed Lavaca County from southwest to the east. On this route were stops in the towns of Yoakum, Sweet Home, Mont, Hallettsville and Sublime. A branch line was also constructed from Yoakum, the division shop, to Waco traversing Lavaca County along its western boundary. Alon this route were stops at the towns of Midway, Shiner and Moulton.

The West-Wagner Homestead
Old Sweet Home, Texas

First settled by members of the West family in 1854 who named the area Sweet Home. The West homestead was located in a mott of live oak trees with water for cattle in nearby Mustang Creek. A ranch house was built by George West in 1875 who lived in it until 1883 when he sold it to his brother Ike West who in turn sold it to Frank and Anna Wagner in 1891.
Since 1875, both the West and Wagner families used the house as a ranching and farming headquarters. In 1996 Dr. Patrick Wagner of Shiner, Texas purchased the property and restored the house and barn. The West-Wagner House received a Texas Historical Marker in October of 1997.

LaSalle's Journey Through Lavaca County

French explorer, La Salle, established Fort St. Louis on Garcitas Creek southeast of Victoria, Texas.
On January 12, 1687, La Salle and seventeen men left the fort attempting to reach French settlements to the north.
La Salle entered Lavaca County on Jan. 17, 1687 near Speaks, Texas. Traveling up the Navidad River, camps were made east of Vienna, Texas on Jan. 19 and northwest of Sublime, Texas on Jan. 23, 1687. La Salle and his group exited the county on Jan. 26, 1687 east of Oakland, Texas.
His own men killed La Salle on March 19, 1687 near Navasota, Texas.


Marking History in Lavaca County

The Lavaca County Historical Commission and the Raymond Dickson Foundation produced this spiral-bound paperback in 2001. The text of each historical marker in the county is given along with historical photographs, drawings, transcripts, maps, and more. 196 pages.

The book is $10.00, plus $1.50 shipping and handling.

Send a check, money order or cash to:
Lavaca County Historical Commission
P.O. Box 18
Hallettsville, TX 77964-0018

15th Annual Alton C. Allen Historical Conference

Episodes of the Texas Revolution Reconsidered

175th Anniversary of the Texas Revolution

Saturday, October 15, 2011
American Legion Hall, 107 E. Park Street, Hallettsville, Texas

Sponsored by the Lavaca County Historical Commission and the Dickson-Allen Foundation

Program

Time

Speaker

Event

9:00 – 9:30
Registration
9:30 – 10:30
Stephen L. Moore

Rangers & The Texas Revolution

10:30 – 10:45
Break
10:45 – 11:45
Dennis R. Riedesel, Ed D.

The remarkable story of Isaac Hamilton, survivor of the Fannin Massacre

 

11:45 – 1:15

Chicken Noodle Soup Lunch
1:15 – 2:15
Brazoria Historical Militia
Demonstration
2:15 – 2:30
Break
2:30 – 3:15
Dr. Gregg J. Dimmick

The San Jacinto Campaign: A Mexican Army Perspective

Speakers

Stephen L. Moore

Stephen L. Moore, a sixth generation Texan is the author of 14 books on Texas History & World War II. Steve’s Texas history books include the four volume series, Savage Frontier: Rangers, Riflemen and the Texas Indian Wars. He is also author of other history books, including Eighteen Minutes: The Battle of San Jacinto and the Texas Independence Campaign. (2004)

Dennis R. Riedesel, Ed D.

After several years of presenting the Goliad Massacre, the members of the Crossroads of Texas Living History Association noticed that many of the spectators never understood what happened on Palm Sunday of 1836. Dr. Riedesel did the research on Isaac Hamilton and combined his primary documents, the primary documents of many other participants of this event, some secondary documentation from the Hamilton Family, and some interpolations from other sources to develop a "First Person Impression of Isaac Hamilton".

The Brazoria Historical Militia

The Brazoria Historical Militia is a living history organization dedicated to the preservation and presentation of the history of Brazoria County, Texas, with the intent of promoting historical research and awareness. Their time period is 1823-1837, representing Austin’s Colony during colonial and republic periods, including the Anglo and Mexican political cultures present in the area. These activities will be conducted through proper use of dress, arms, and equipment as used by the average craftsman, citizen, and militiaman residing in Austin’s Colony.

Dr. Gregg J. Dimmick

Dr. Dimmick is a medical doctor whose avocation for many years has been archeology.  Beginning with his work with the "Sea of Mud" in Wharton County, Gregg Dimmick has done more to advance our understanding of the Mexican Army in Texas during the Texas Revolution than any other historian or archeologist before him.  He is a member of the Houston Archeological Society and the Texas State Historical Association.  He is a member of the Board of Directors of the Friends of the San Jacinto Battleground and the Wharton County Museum.

 

 

14th Annual Alton C. Allen Historical Conference

Ridin’ Out the Storm

Hurricanes and their effect on South Central Texas

Saturday, October 16, 2010
American Legion Hall, 107 E. Park Street, Hallettsville, Texas

Sponsored by the Lavaca County Historical Commission and the Dickson-Allen Foundation

Program

Time

Speaker

Event

9:00 – 9:30
Registration
9:30 – 10:30
Paul Yura

Hurricane Forecasting, The Science Behind the Storms

10:30 – 10:45
Break
10:45 – 11:45
Linda Wolff

Indianola, a Gulf Coast Seaport with a Stormy History

11:45 – 1:15

Chicken Noodle Soup Lunch
1:15 – 2:15
Mary Jo O'Rear
Political Hardball and the Hurricane of 1919: Corpus Christi’s Struggle for a Deep Water Port
2:15 – 2:30
Break
2:30 – 3:15
John Metz

A Look Back at Hurricane Carla

Speakers

Paul Yura

Paul Yura was born and raised in Austin, Texas and received his Bachelor of Science degree in meteorology from the University of Oklahoma. He joined the National Weather Service in 1992 and has worked as a forecaster and lead forecaster in Norman, Oklahoma; Brownsville, Texas; and Charleston, South Carolina. Paul became a Warning Coordination Meteorologist in 2002 and transferred back to Texas in 2008 to work at the Austin-San Antonio National Weather Service Office.

Linda Wolff

Formerly, Linda was a staff writer for the Victoria Advocate  and chair of the Victoria Historical Commission for eight years. She has published historical articles in the Journal of South Texas & presented papers to the Texas Folklore Society, Texas State Historical Association and the East Texas Historical Association. Her topics have ranged from Indianola to Chupacabras. Her book “Indianola and Matagorda Island 1837-1887” was published by Eakin Press in 1999.

Mary Jo O'Rear

A former secondary teacher in the Corpus Christi I.S.D., she received a Master’s Degree in History and Political Science from Texas A&M University-Kingsville, teaching United States History at Del Mar College.  Her article, “Silver-Lined Storm: the Impact of the 1919 Hurricane on the Port of Corpus Christi,” won the  H. Bailey Carroll Award from the Texas State Historical Association in 2006. Her book, Storm Over the Bay: The people of Corpus Christi and their Port, published by Texas A&M Press, came out in March, 2009.

John Metz

John is the Warning Coordination Meteorologist at the NWS in Corpus Christi. TX John graduated from the University of Wisconsin with a degree in Atmospheric Science in 1992. John has worked in the NWS for 18 years including offices in Springfield IL, Del Rio TX, Victoria TX and Corpus Christi TX. His interest in Meteorology began as a small child when he came dangerously close to several tornadoes. These events caused fear, which grew to fascination, then to a career. 

13th Annual Alton C. Allen Historical Conference

Archeology
In South Central Texas

Saturday, October 24, 2009
American Legion Hall, 107 E. Park Street, Hallettsville, Texas

Sponsored by the Lavaca County Historical Commission and the Dickson-Allen Foundation

Program

Time

Speaker

Event

9:00 – 9:30
Registration
9:30 – 10:30
William C. Foster

Historic Native People of Texas: Between the Lower Colorado and San Antonio Rivers

10:30 – 10:45
Break
10:45 – 11:45
Jim Bruseth
From A Watery Grave: The Discovery and Excavation of La Salle's Shipwreck, La Belle
11:45 – 1:15

Chicken Noodle Soup Lunch
1:15 – 2:15
Steven D. Hoyt
Indianola: Discovering the Ruins of a Lost Port City
2:15 – 2:30
Break
2:30 – 3:15
Gregg Dimmick

Sea of Mud: The Retreat of the Mexican Army After San Jacinto, An Archaelogical Investigation

12th Annual Alton C. Allen Historical Conference

Law and Disorder
In South Central Texas

Saturday, October 18, 2008
American Legion Hall, 107 E. Park Street, Hallettsville, Texas

Sponsored by the Lavaca County Historical Commission and the Dickson-Allen Foundation

9:00 – 9:30
Registration
9:30 – 10:45
James Smallwood
The Feud That Wasn't: The Taylor Ring, Bill Sutton, John Wesley Hardin, and Violence in Texas
10:45 – 11:00
Break
11:00 – 11:45
Susan Kaufman
Wanted: Using Criminal Records in Genealogical Research
11:45 – 1:15
Chicken Noodle Soup Lunch
1:15 – 2:15
Kyle Coleman
Police Officer Memorial Foundation Case Research
2:15 – 2:30
Break
2:30 – 3:30
Donaly Brice
Finding a Solution to Reconstruction Violence: The Texas State Police

On Site Exhibit

Keeping the Peace in Lavaca County
by the Lavaca County Historical Museum

11th Annual Alton C. Allen Historical Conference

When Cotton Was King
In South Central Texas

Saturday, October 20, 2007
St. Mary's Parish Hall, St. Mary's, Texas

Sponsored by the Lavaca County Historical Commission and the Dickson-Allen Foundation

Program

Time

Speaker

Event

9:00 – 9:30
Registration
9:30 – 10:45
Dan Utley

"Steve Allen Never Picked Cotton in Texas"

10:45 – 11:00
Break
11:00 – 11:30
Doug Kubicek
"There Goes The Neighborhood"
11:45 – 1:15

Chicken Noodle Soup Lunch
1:30 – 2:15
Henry Wolff,  Jr.
"Memories of the Cotton Patch"
2:15 – 2:30
Break
2:30 – 3:15
Bill Crawford

"Please Pass the Biscuits Pappy,
Governor W. Lee “Pappy” O’Daniel &  Border Radio"

The 10th Annual Alton C. Allen Historical Conference

"Lavaca County & South Central Texas Country School Legacy"

Hagan School, 1932-33

Click photo to see enlarged view

Saturday, October 21, 2006
St. Mary's Parish Hall
St. Mary's, Texas

Program

9:00 a.m. - 9:30 a.m. — Registration

9:30 - 10:45 — Dr. Thad Sitton
Author of Ringing in the Children: Texas Country Schools

11 - 11:30 — Part I, Sheron Barnes
Special Collection Librarian, Victoria Regional History Center
VC/UHV Library, Victoria, Texas

11:45 - 1:15 — Chicken Noodle Soup Lunch

1:30 - 2:15 — Part II, Sheron Barnes

2:30 - 3:15 — The Legacy Continues: Ezzell I.S.D, Sweet Home I.S.D., & Vysehrad I.S.D.
Ezzell - Donald Egg
Sweet Home - Jo Ann Bludau
Vysehrad - Paul Darilek

Photos from 9th Annual Alton C. Allen Historical Conference

"On the Home Front in World War II: Lavaca County and the Downed Flyers"

October 22, 2005, Hallettsville, Texas

commemorating the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II

The conference was held Saturday, October 22, 2005 at the Hallettsville KC Hall.

Dr. Bruce Ashcroft, Air Force historian at Randolph AFB, spoke about the Army Air Corp in WWII.

Other speakers included Victoria Advocate columnist Henry Wolff, Jr. who presented "Wings Over the Coastal Bend: Foster & Aloe Fields, Matagorda Island and the Peninsula." Local historian Doug Kubicek spoke about the fliers downed in Lavaca County during WWII and how the county has memorialized those who lost their lives.

Surviving family of the fliers downed in Lavaca County traveled to the conference from all over the country.

The conference ended with a concert given by the Veterans Band of Corpus Christi and a fly over by the Commemorative Air Force.

Photos from 8th Annual Alton C. Allen Historical Conference

"Mapping Your Ancestors"

October 23, 2004, St. Mary's, Texas

Speakers

L to R: Gary McKee,
Data Entry Coordinator for the Texas Historical Sites Atlas, Texas Historical Commission
"Using the Texas Historical Sites Atlas as a Genealogical Resource"

Martha Everman Jones, Ph.D.,
President Texas State Genealogical Society
"State and Federal Land Records – What is the Difference?"

Jerry Drake, M.A.,
Division Director, Archives and Records Division, Texas General Land Office
"Using Map Resources in the Texas General Land Office"

Recommended Web Sites

Texas General Land Office

Texas Historic Sites Atlas

Deed Platter

Quilt Fundraiser

Lavaca County Historical Commission member, Norma Casey, who pieced the quilt, left, and the winner and conference attendee, Gladys Brewer, right

Photos provided by Brenda Fisseler