Recently I addressed that Live Oak County and McMullen County have more ties than just a border and a newspaper (The Progress). Here are a few more ties that connect the two counties.
Choke Canyon Reservoir connects Live Oak and McMullen counties. Live Oak County Jail connects LOC and McMullen County. A quilt from 1914 connects LOC and McMullen County.
Mr. George West connects LOC and McMullen County. Land selling schemes connect LOC and McMullen County.
Texas’ most famous feud connects Live Oak County and McMullen County, as well.
Early Texas settlement was largely located along the rivers, for, as in much of the world prior to that, the rivers served as the major source of transportation.
Of course, water was also important for the settlers to survive, providing animal life to hunt, water for livestock and water to grow crops.
The Nueces and the Frio tied the land together that would become the two counties until the building of Choke Canyon Reservoir.
Today, the reservoir continues to connect the two counties, not as far as a means of transportation, but more of a point drawing sportsmen, and providing area recreation.
The Live Oak County Jail ties the two counties together as well.
Strangely enough, in the 1800s, a community having a good jail was considered a mark of civilization, with communities bragging on their jails in promotions of their communities.
Both Live Oak and McMullen have still standing old buildings that once served as a county jail, neither of which is still used for that purpose. In fact, today, McMullen County does not have a jail at all.
When someone is arrested in McMullen County, they are housed in the Live Oak County Jail in George West.
Some smaller counties have found it cheaper to pay neighboring counties to hold their prisoners, than to build and maintain a jail and its staff. McMullen County is one of those.
In fact, the towns of Three Rivers and George West also use Live Oak County to lock up their prisoners.
A 1914 quilt ties Live Oak County and McMullen County together.
In 2014 the Bee County Historical Society was putting a quilt that had been made a hundred years before on display at their McClanahan House Museum.
That quilt was made as a fundraiser for building a church in the new town of George West. The quilt had 30 blocks with each block picturing a vine with 20 leaves, and each leaf was to have a name embordered on it.
Each name was placed at a subscription of 10 cents. A person would give 10 cents and their name, or a name of their choosing, would be placed on the quilt.
In 2014, Sallie, Katie and I had just finished photographing, recording, and assuring each of the identified burials in the Gussettville Cemetery had a memorial on the Find-A-Grave website.
Will Beachamp, a friend of the Bee County Historical Society, knowing of our work, asked that Sallie and I help out with the figuring out the names on the quilt, since we were very familiar with the names from Gussettville.
In our work, Sallie and I used Margaret Goynes-Olson’s book, “Texas Roots” and the Find-A-Grave website, as well as other resources to aid us and confirm the names.
We were able to figure out the majority of the 600 names, and with a great number of them, find out additional information on them. Not only did we find a good deal of people from Gussettville, we found a number of the people from Bee County and families from McMullen County as well.
Names of people included on the quilt, who are now buried in the Hill Top Cemetery at Tilden, are principally from one family, the Byrne family.
These include: Corinne Agnes Byrne, Charles Robertson Byrne, Corinne Cecelia Teal Byrne, Grace Byrne Chandler, Walter Frances Byrne, and Ida Virginia Byrne Holland and her husband William Tolbert Holland.
There are other Byrne family members names on the quilt, but at the time of our research, their final resting places had not been determined. They are: Albert Byrne, Carrie Byrne, James Byrne, Nell Byrne, and Ed Byrne.
I don’t know if the Byrne family was involved with the St. Joseph Catholic church in Gussettville, or were just wanting to help with the fund raising project. Other people buried in the Hill Top Cemetery whose names were subscribed for the quilt are: William Patrick Shannon, Marie M. Teal, and Hannah M. Teal
County borders make for nice lines on a map, and at times, those borders can be seen on the land as well, with rivers and other bodies of water forming those borders.
The border between LOC and McMullen County is not one of those borders, and the West ranch crossed that border.
At one point in time George Washington West’s ranch was 150,000 acres, with 40,000 of those acres being in McMullen county, the remainder being in Live Oak County.
Those figures come from a sale bid for the West Ranch when George West was in a financial bind, but the ranch did not sell. The bind resulted in the West Ranch ending up being sold on the steps of the Live Oak County Court House in Oakville to Dillard R. Fant, the man from whom West had bought much of it (1889).
Financial troubles also caused G.W. West to have to renegotiate his 1884 deal to buy the Cameron County school lands in Live Oak County.
Around 1900, George W. West and Dillard R. Fant would sell a large amount of land to Dr. Charles F. Simmons, and it is there we will leave the story for this week, on the idea of land selling schemes.
The Good Lord willing, we will continue the story of the ties of Live Oak County with McMullen counties and discuss land schemes and a Texas feud.
If you can’t wait, drop by the Grace Armantrout Museum this week and we can talk about it.