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OAKVILLE

OAKVILLE, TEXAS (Live Oak County). Oakville is at the intersection of Interstate Highway 37 and Farm Road 1358, nine miles north of George West in north central Live Oak County. After the Texas Revolutionqv Oakville was a station on the stage line from San Antonio to Corpus Christi. At that time the community was referred to as "on the Sulphur" because it was on Sulphur Creek. It was also called Puenta de la Piedra ("Rock Bridge") by Spanish gold seekers, because two miles east on the Nueces River the San Antonio-Brownsville road crossed a natural rock bridge. Oakville became county seat after Thomas Wilson offered 640 acres for a townsite; residents accepted the location on September 8, 1856. The name was taken by the court from a newspaper advertisement of business lots. Oakville had the county's first post office, established in 1857, and the first Sunday school. The Oakville Baptist Church, constructed in 1856, had 128 members by 1857. Oakville and the region became a "hotbed of lawlessness" during the Civil Warqv and remained so until Capt. Leander H. McNellyqv and his rangers cleared out the outlaws in 1876. Historian Walter Prescott Webbqv described Oakville as "a hard country where civil authorities were helpless and took no notice of any outrage." As the county seat, Oakville grew into a thriving town that shipped cattle, horses, cotton, and wool, with a dozen or more stores, two hotels, a livery stable, a steam gristmill and cotton gin, a school, and two churches. The Live Oak County Leader, later the Times, was founded in 1891 by T. R. Atkins and Miss M. E. Atkins. The county's first free school building was established in 1881, and in 1899 Oakville established the county's first independent school district. The Oakville First National Bank, opened in 1905 by Dudley Blair and Lee Hinton, was also the county's first. The population of Oakville reached 400 in 1885, fell to 320 in 1892, then rose to a maximum of 450 in 1914. The town's decline began in 1913, when the San Antonio, Uvalde and Gulf Railroad was built to the west. George West became the county seat in 1919 when its founder offered $75,000 to build a new courthouse there. State highway maps of 1936 showed a cemetery, two churches, a school, and several businesses and residences at the site. In 1940 the community reported a population of 350. By the 1970s only the Baptist church, the post office, three service stations, and scattered dwellings remained. The population was 260 in 1990.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Live Oak County Historical Commission, The History of the People of Live Oak County (George West, Texas, 1982). Ervin L. Sparkman, The People's History of Live Oak County (Mesquite, Texas, 1981). Walter Prescott Webb, The Texas Rangers (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1935; rpt., Austin: University of Texas Press, 1982).

Brian Michael Todd Kryszewski

Handbook of Texas Online, s.v. "OAKVILLE, TX," http://www.tsha.utexas.edu/handbook/online/articles/OO/hlo4.html
 

 



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