The valley between the Lavaca and Guadalupe rivers began as an Indian settlement called "Half Moon." It was a place of ranchers and cattle, the railroad and Indians, outlaws and Texas Rangers.
In 1885, a post office called Half Moon was opened at a trading post near the present site of Shiner. When the San Antonio and Aransas Pass Railway came to the area in 1887, it bypassed Half Moon and built through land owned by Henry B. Shiner. George West, one of the first to drive cattle in this part of Texas, was married to a Shiner - and Henry B. Shiner donated the land for the town of Shiner to have its start in 1887 and the town grew around the new transportation facilities. At first, the community was called New Half Moon, but in 1888 its name was changed to Shiner. Shiner was incorporated in 1890, and L.P. Amsler was elected the first mayor. The town was incorporated in 1890. Czech and German immigrants soon became the dominant ethnic groups, and Shiner developed a cohesive Czech community that still heavily influences the town's culture. Ranching was an important part of the town's history. Historically notable families of the area are the Wolters and Welhausen families which the "Edwin Wolters Memorial Museum" and the "Shiner Welhausen Park" are named after respectively.
Shiner is the home of the Spoetzl Brewery, the oldest independent brewery in Texas. The brewery is most well known for producing Shiner Bock, a dark German/Czech-style beer that is now distributed in 41 states.
The town supports a weekly newspaper, the Gazette, which was established in 1892. The most important agricultural products are dairy and beef cattle, cotton, and corn.
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“Turkey Trot” on November 16, 1912
The city of Cuero had its start in the mid-19th century as a stopping point on the Chisholm Trail cattle route to Kansas. However, it was not recognized as a town until 1873, when it was officially founded. The city was named for the Spanish word meaning "hide", referring to the leather made from animal hides. The industry was extremely short-lived, however, and gave way to various forms of ranching. The city had several Old West gunfights related to clan feuding following the Civil War.
Cuero's population grew considerably in the 1870s and 1880s, as residents from the coastal town of Indianola, Texas, settled here after major hurricanes in this period destroyed sizeable portions of that city. Cuero thrived through much of the late 19th and early 20th centuries by the introduction and practice of turkey ranching in the area. Today, agriculture is still the primary industry in the region. Cuero is considered to be one of the top cattle producers and shippers in Texas.
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Market Street – Flatonia, Texas
Flatonia was established on April 8, 1874 on land that the Galveston, Harrisburg and San Antonio Railway acquired from William Alexander Faries (the family name is also spelled Ferris and Farris). The community, originally made up of Anglo American settlers, was named after F. W. Flato, a local merchant and one of the first settlers. Residents placed their homes in the former Flatonia settlement, one mile southeast of the current Flatonia, and Oso, Texas, three miles northeast, on wagons and moved to the new location. The post office, established in the former Flatonia in 1870, moved to the new Flatonia with the same name. Flatonia was incorporated on November 10, 1875 and held its first election on December 6 of that year. In 1878 the town had 800 residents and an economy dependent on cattle and cotton.
The location of the railway and inexpensive real estate led to the arrival of Arab, Bohemian, German, Greek, and Italian immigrants in several waves. The north-south line of the Waco branch of the San Antonio and Aransas Pass Railway opened in the mid-1880s, leading to new settlements of Muldoon and Moulton. Competition from the settlements, respectively north and south of Flatonia, and an agricultural depression damaged Flatonia's economy. By 1900 Flatonia had a significant population decrease.
During the first half of the 20th century Flatonia's prospects increased and decreased according to the national economy and cattle and cotton markets. In 1950 Flatonia had 1,024 residents, 50 businesses, and a wide farm and ranch service area. In the 1960s cotton no longer was a substantial aspect of the area economy; therefore many area farms began to ranch cattle.
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La Bahia Mission
In 1829, the name of the Mexican Texas village of La Bahía was changed to Goliad, believed to be an anagram of Hidalgo (omitting the silent initial "H"), in honor of the patriot priest Miguel Hidalgo, the father of the Mexican War of Independence.
On October 9, 1835, in the early days of the Texas Revolution, a group of Texans attacked the presidio in the Battle of Goliad. The Mexican garrison quickly surrendered, leaving the Texans in control of the fort. The first declaration of independence of the Republic of Texas was signed in Goliad on December 20, 1835. Texans held the area until March 1836, when their garrison under Colonel James Fannin was defeated at the nearby Battle of Coleto. Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, then President of Mexico, ordered that all survivors were to be executed. On Palm Sunday, March 27, 1836, in what was later called the Goliad Massacre, 303 were marched out of the fort to be executed, 39 were executed inside the presidio (20 prisoners were spared because they were either physicians or medical attendants); 342 men were killed and 28 escaped.
The famous Mexican General Ignacio Zaragoza was born in Goliad in 1829. He commanded the forces resisting the French Army in the battle of Puebla, now celebrated as Cinco de Mayo on May 5, 1862.
The Texas gunfighter King Fisher lived for a time in Goliad before moving to Eagle Pass in Maverick County, Texas.
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Gonzales is one of the earliest Anglo-American settlements in Texas, the first west of the Colorado River. It was established by Empresario Green DeWitt as the capital of his colony in August 1825. DeWitt named the community for Rafael Gonzáles, governor of Coahuila y Tejas. Informally, the community was known as the DeWitt Colony.
The original settlement (located where Highway 90-A crosses Kerr Creek) was abandoned in 1826 after two Indian attacks. It was rebuilt nearby in 1827. The town remains today as it was originally surveyed.
Gonzales is referred to as the "Lexington of Texas" because it was the site of the first skirmish of the Texas Revolution. In 1831, the Mexican government had granted Green DeWitt's request for a small cannon for protection against Indian attacks. At the outbreak of disputes between the Anglo settlers and the Mexican authorities in 1835, a contingent of more than 100 Mexican soldiers was sent from San Antonio to retrieve the cannon.
When the soldiers arrived, there were only 18 men in Gonzales, but they refused to return the cannon, and soon men from the surrounding area joined them. Texians under the command of John H. Moore confronted them. Sarah DeWitt and her daughter sewed a flag bearing the likeness of the cannon and the words "Come and Take It," which was flown when the first shots of Texan independence were fired on October 2, 1835. The Texians successfully resisted the Mexican troops in what became known as the Battle of Gonzales.
Gonzales later contributed 32 men from the Gonzales Ranging Company to the defense of the Alamo. It was the only city to send aid to the Alamo and all 32 men lost their lives defending the site. It was to Gonzales that Susanna Dickinson, widow of one of the Alamo defenders, and Joe, the slave of William B. Travis, fled with news of the Alamo massacre. General Sam Houston was there organizing the Texas forces. He anticipated the town would be the next target of General Antonio López de Santa Anna' Mexican army. Gathering the Texians at Peach Creek east of town, under the Sam Houston Oak, Houston ordered Gonzales burned, to deny it to the enemy. He began a retreat toward the U.S. border. The widows and orphans of Gonzales and their neighbors were forced to flee, thus precipitating the Runaway Scrape.
The town was derelict immediately after the Texas Revolution, but was eventually rebuilt on the original site in the early 1840s. By 1850, the town had a population of 300. The population rose to 1,703 by time of the 1860 census, 2,900 by the mid-1880s, and 4,297 in 1900. Part of the growth of the late 19th century can be attributed to the arrival of various immigrants, among them Jews, many of whom became peddlers and merchants.
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