|Live Oak County
History Of Town Of Lagarto
This was written about 1942 by Jim Henry Newberry
"This is not intended as an attempt at poetry, but
in my simple way endeavoring to record for the future a correct list of
those who lived at Lagarto and vicinity. Also, some
of the happenings in the days of LONG, LONG AGO.
Lagarto was truly a frontier town. The men in those days carried pistols and guns, but all their differences were amicably adjusted. Not a man was ever killed there, which is proof they were a peace loving people."
The town of Lagarto was started about the year
1858 - not so sure about the date.
The location was on Sweet Hollow, near the Steadman
The citizens were all of the Mexican Race.
They built small huts and covered them with grass,
but no floor.
For lumber in those days was only on the Gulf Shore.
On the Nueces River where DEMRIE MILLER now lives,
was called Adkinson Bend.
Quite a large Mexican Ranch was there then.
Down the River from there was the ranch of
Years later it was called Carmel.
Up the river was the Vela Ranch.
A lot of Mexicans lived on the Ramirena Branch.
Farther up the river was Chonaville,
Not so far from Gussettville.
For all these people Corpus Christi was their
To make the trip there and back would take a week almost.
The year 1866 JAMES RATHER, of Corpus Christi,
The early 70's occasionally you would see new
People moving in from other places.
STERLING DOBIE, SR. moved from Buffalo Bayou,
Surely that was a long time ago.
To build his house in the river bottom he cut
He hewed them with an axe until they fit by a squeeze.
The timbers were fastened together with wooden
For in those days they didn't have nails by the keg.
The house is still standing today and the wooden
You can see as well as the original Live Oak Shade trees.
From the main road it's about a mile.
grand-daughter, MRS. FREEMAN McWHORTER,
Go by and see her, if you can, She is one of the DOBIE Clan.
JOHN W. RAMEY moved in from old Fort Merrill.
He was related in some way to BYNUM and BILL FERRELL.
He made saddle trees; his customers he strived
He made them to fit the lean and
the fat, the saddle horn was wide and flat.
Looked like a man's low crown hat, the forks of
his trees would not crack-
Never was known to hurt a horse's back.
The country was full of mustangs and wild cattle-
Of course, everybody had to have
The RAMEY boys,
DIX and BILLIE, rode the Pony
Express - Just the same as it was done out West.
to Oakville was the trail - Once a week they brought the mail.
MR. RATHER tired of his store; sold it to
C. C. COX and returned
To his beloved sea shore.
MR. SAMUEL COOK built a nice home - Part of it
still standing there, all alone.
PATE McNEILL built his house - to the west it
It is now known as the STEADMAN Place.
MR. SWERENGEN built his ranch house of native
MR. McNEILL bought it and there reared a large family and owned a lot of stock.
In the late 70's the citizens on the public square
put down a well,
Over it was erected the first Lagarto wind mill by a MR. CARDWELL.
CLINT LEWIS dug a cistern in a grove of Live Oaks
Over it he built
a house with real lumber.
Since then in that house have lived
The present owner, MRS. MATTIE HARDING, I believe
Don't think it possible to persuade
her to leave.
On the bank of Sweet Hollow where the town started,
A well was dug by Whites or Mexicans,
it's not know which.
Anyhow, it was there in 1876.
In the 70's Sweet Hollow was named by
H. B. NEWBERRY,
For on the branch were many yellow berries.
1875 CAPTAIN COX from the mercantile business
desired to retreat.
He sold his store to H. B. NEWBERRY, of Spring Creek.
Seems from that time Lagarto commenced to grow.
And it grew and grew, until it had hotels, many stores, and a livery stable, too.
From Kentucky came PAPPY STEADMAN and put up a
grist mill -
Evidence of the location is there still.
His son, HARMON, with a short sharp pick would
sharpen mill stones.
When they started grinding corn, they would surely groan.
T. D. NEWTON, a saddle maker and widower, came
to town -
Wasn't long in persuading JOSEPHINE FRANCIS to buy her wedding gown.
BILL DAVIDSON married
J. W. RAMEY's daughter,
He was a boot maker, and could make shoes to button or to lace.
There was a blacksmith named JOHN, as there were no Negroes he didn't stay long.
The greatest drought and stock die up was 1868.
The worst overflow
of the Nueces River was 1869.
To help the stock it came too late.
From Louisiana with his family came
He was a brother of
MRS. S. G. MILLER
and J. EAST now deceased.
He had one son and two daughters,
BELL was so pretty she would hold
you in a spell.
MRS. ALBERT LAMB had several girls and not a boy.
But all those girls were really a
The two LANE girls,
BRENDA and MINNA.
Both were certainly prize winners.
The BEALL family of girls was a large flock.
The writer is quite certain he got
the pick of the lot.
MR. MILTON DODSON lived on the Pernitas Creek.
To be with his daughter,
surely a great treat.
She was always
full of life, jolly and sweet.
The younger sister, RUTH, was a beautiful girl
with pretty bright eyes.
Had she entered
a beauty contest she surely would have taken the prize.
PAT MURPHY had a ranch on East side of River,
and a Catholic School was there.
Don't know when the school was moved or where.
Way back yonder years ago, the
MURPHY ranch was
The stage from
San Antonio to Corpus Chrisiti had a stand there.
The keeper was an Irishman with red hair.
WM. STAPLES claimed he once traveled with a troupe
as a black faced comedian.
But we have no proof that he ever
crossed any Southern meridian.
In Lagarto lived COLONEL JOHN S. CRUMP.
To be as tall as he, you had to stand
on a stump.
Has been said in a race with a Jack Rabbit he
would gain on him every jump.
On his horse over the hills he would
Followed by a pack of well trained hounds.
If you were sick or in distress, he would help and do his best.
BILL HARRISON married
He was tall, slender and not so much
He built the house where now lives MISS ZERAPHA COOK.
JOHN POLLAND of Corpus Christi have been told,
he married MOLLIE GOLD.
To Lagarto they
came and opened a General Store on the Rock Hill,
Near the public road to Oakville, there he built
a bakery. Pie and bread he
a pile of rock on the road to the creek, from MISS ZERAPHA COOK'S.
On the east side of the Nueces River lived Mr.
& Mrs. S. G. MILLER.
They were very
religious and devout -
MR. MILLER was a leader of men as well as a teacher.
He devoted much time convincing the
community they should have a church and a
And a fine bell was put in the belfry
The time of year was early spring.
Every Sunday with much joy
that bell would ring.
MRS. MILLER the organ would play.
MR. MILLER would sing and pray.
Results of this early Christian training.
There is a Christian Church at Mathis
that needs no explaining.
In the belfry is the same wonderful old Lagarto
Every Sunday it's a joy to all those
who hear it ringing.
There you will find MR. MILLER'S daughter
the organ playing.
And one of her sons singing and praying.
In the 80's there were churches, schools, and
Where the girls and boys went in
search of knowledge.
Everybody was serenely happy and full of joy.
Never dreaming that anything their
town could destroy.
The railroad from San Antonio to Alice was built.
That's when poor old Lagarto commenced
Now you can cover what is left with a quilt.
ISUM RAILEY came from Kentucky and started the
connected H-C brand.
He was a shrewd
trader, made money and bought several thousand acres of land.
Came a drought very severe. Water
in the creek began to disappear.
To protect his
own stock he erected the first pasture fence with barbed wire.
Indignation grew like a house on fire. Water and grass had always been free.
The barbed wire
fence was cut down night of December 7, 1883.
To PATE McNEILL he sold his land and all his rights.
The land now
belongs to HOLMAN CARTRIGHT.
JIM DOBIE bought the
RAILEY horse stock and trailed them to Kansas in the Spring of 1884.
From that time
his fortune grew as it never had before.
At Lagarto lived UNCLE BILLIE GOODWIN, by his
friends he was called.
He made Texas
history, the same as RANGER CAPTAIN LEE HALL.
He was with the Texans and helped fight the Mexicans.
Said he with
many others were captured at Mier.
Many days for their lives they had great fear.
One day the
Mexicans came with a pitcher of beans, black and white.
They were blindfolded and told those that drew
a white bean could make their flight.
said fortunately the bean he drew was white.
No time did he lose in getting back to Texas with
all his might.
At Lagarto today
lives one of his sons whose friendship you encourage and win.
It's none other than the smiling, happy genial,
good hearted, fine fellow - BUD GOODWIN.
Lagarto was once a town of much merriment and
Below is a list purely from memory. Some may have been omitted because they have been forgotten. It also includes some that did not live in town, but were
claimed by Lagarto because they traded there and children attended school. No one is listed that was not living there prior to 1889:
J. W. RAMEY - Later County Judge.
CRUMP - Brand 101.
C. C. LEWIS - Buried at Realitos.
John POLLAND - Merchant.
CAPT. C. C. COX - Later County Judge.
Sterling DOBIE, SR.
A. J. KAY
Pate McNEILL and Toll
Mode PEARCE and Bug
A. J. BUSH - Teacher and Preacher.
Frank CROUCH - Teacher
MR. STRINGFELLOW - Teacher
A. J. HART
MR. POOL - It's claimed he was a member of the QUANTRELL and Jesse JAMES Band.
Max BAUER - Merchant
T. D. NEWTON - Saddler
MR. LOCKHART - Merchant
MR. SWARENGEN - Merchant
S. G. MILLER
Tom LEWIS - Carpenter
Runels PETERS - Hotel
? C. BARFIELD, R. C. BARFIELD, KNOX BARFIELD, FRANK BARFIELD
(could be a J or I)
Samuel COOK, Sr., Evans Bob
COOK, Sam COOK, Jr.
Mr. DOW, Leslie
DOW - Later Custom Inspector
Bob DOW - Later Sheriff of Maverick County
Luke DOW - River Guard on Border, Cam
Bob DOBIE, Nevil
DOBIE, Jim DOBIE
Dr. EAST, Albert
LAMB and Townson
a store together
W. B. BOATRIGHT - Brother of Mrs. H. B.
Eli BOATRIGHT and Townson - Brothers of H. B.
Bill DeBERRY, and Al
Albert LAMB and Drew
Frank TAYLOR - Ginner
Joe HANCOCK - Merchant
King HINNANT, Tobe
Alf. ROBERSON - Father Jesse
Clarence McNEILL - Editor of Lagarto Times
Mr. HOLLAMEN - Teacher
R. W. COLE - Teacher
Pony SMITH and Alex
Frank HOWARD - Teacher
Tom STRICKLAND - Blacksmith
Archie CLARK - Hotel
Harmon STEADMAN - Postmaster
Pappy STEADMAN - Miller
Dr. A. C. HEANY
Mr. WHIPPLE - Photographer
Mat HANEY - Teamster
John FUSSELMAN, Sr. and John FUSSELMAN, Jr.
Charlie FUSSELMAN - Texas Ranger. Murdered near El Paso April 17, 1890.
Rudolph ZIMMERMAN - Shot N.
GUSSETT; killed himself
at Corpus Christi.
F. H. DUBOSE
L. K. FOSTER
John R. FRANCIS
Gus KRISHELL - Teamster
Jim DICKENS and Frank
Theofolus LEE - Preacher
Mr. GRAHAM - Preacher
J. C. RUSSELL - Preacher; married Saluda
MRS. Louisa WILLIAMS, Sam
Dick DOBIE and Sterling
D. S. BOOTH
F. L. FAUPEL - Music Teacher
Bill DAVIS - Mistaken for hog; shot by Eps
Joe McCAMPBELL, Jim
W. W. WHITE
Mrs. George WRIGHT, Willis
Chat VELA - Brand FGV
Senobia BALBOA - Wheelwright
Homer SHIPP - Married Minnie
J. R. CHANDLER - Married Mary
Sid COX, Jake
COX, June COX, Jim
D. CRAVEN - Saddler
Brag WRIGHT, Bud
Milton GALVIN - Shoemaker
Miss Lizzie PARKER - Married Virgil
Henry HARROL - Married Betty
Mr. JOHNSON - Henry Bend Ranch
Walter BILLINGSLY - Married Mattie
Billie COFFIN - Married Iona
Three WORRELL boys were murdered at night in their
house by their Mexican sheep herders north
of Lagarto on the Ramirena Creek. The old house
was moved and is now the HOBBS Ranch House.
D. K. WOODWARD
Ben DIX, Olvin
Mr. DOWNEY - Married America
Mrs. THORNHILL, Mollie
THORNHILL and Sadie
- Sadie later San Antonio Chili Queen.
Dr. E. S. COX
Sam McWHORTER and family: Nora, Sylus, Burton,
Wilson, Laura, Rhoda, Freeman (Sam McWHORTER
was H. B. NEWBERRY's mess mate during the Civil War.)
Grandpa DODSON - Father of Milton
Sam WATSON, Pink
George W. NEWBERRY, H. B.
Only two were born in the old town of Lagarto
and married there - they were
(Editor: a newspaper story in San Antonio Express.
Sunday, Nov. 18, 1934, about history of Lagarto is in the library under
"Live Oak County, Texas" - by Dudley DOBIE)