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Burton David & Dena Soekland Hurd

Home of Burton D. Hurd, Collegeport, Texas

Photo courtesy of the Mopac House Foundation

Burton David Hurd

Dena D. Soekland Hurd

Vernon King Hurd

Hurd home under construction.

Taken from a scrapbook donated by Fay Smith Soli, daughter of Lizzie Will Morris Smith.


Hurd home 1914

Hurd home when owned by T. W. Blackwell c 1944-46


Family pictures and the following articles are from a reprint edition of 

A History and Genealogy of The Family of Hurd in the United States
by Dena D. Hurd, 1910

Special thanks to San Antonio Public Library for assistance with the pictures.


Burton D. Hurd, President and General Manager of the "Burton D. Hurd Land Company," one of the largest and best equipped immigration organizations in the country, with offices in Chicago, Ill.; St. Louis, Mo. ; Kansas City , Mo. , and Bay City , Tex. , including an army of substantial representatives, is a perfect type of a successful, self-made man. At the age of 39 years, the business transactions of this real pathfinder had, during the ten previous years, aggregated more than seven and one half million dollars, and more than 200,000 acres of land had been sold to actual settlers of the better class of tillers of the soil. In all this time the fact that Mr. Hurd never foreclosed a mortgage, or caused an investor to forfeit his contract payment, is an added leaf to the laurels his associates bestow upon him as a true "pathfinder," "he who finds the way."

Burton David Hurd, the third son of David E. Hurd was born in Hamilton County , Iowa , Dec. 18, 1868 . From his parents he inherited perfect health and a phenomenal constitution; from his father, unusual strength of muscle and physical endurance; from his mother, a like share of that unusual power of attraction and faculty of inspiring confidence, and both parents endowed this son with abounding good nature and the power to command himself and lead others. The first sixteen years of his life was devoted to work on his father's farm, the development of brawn and muscle, and absorbing those fine qualities of character and self-command for which both his parents were beloved. At the age of sixteen years, the spirit and strength of purpose that has made Burton D. Hurd one of the most successful men in the country in his line of business, drew him out and away from the quiet home life to find the path leading to the goal of accomplishment, toward which the eye of every energetic young American is turned. He gained the reluctant consent of his parents to tread the path the world was calling him to follow, and sacrificed the start in life promised him when he should arrive at the age of 21 years.

During the next five years, he fought his battles single-handed, working days and attending night schools in search for the knowledge his mind has always craved. In Kansas City , Mo. , at Spaulding's Business College, he completed an English and business course; following this with the study of mechanics, to which he devoted nearly all of his time, between working hours, for a year and a half. Finding an opening for the application of his knowledge of mechanics in a factory for the manufacture of farming implements in Pine Bluff , Ark. , this lad of 19 years became the chief mechanic of the establishment, of which he became the head at the age of 21. At this time he launched forth for himself, built a factory at Stuttgart , Ark. , where he was planning to move his interests from Pine Bluff , having purchased that plant with its entire equipment. At this time he paid his first visit to the old home, in the latter part of the winter of 1891, when he was 22 years of age. At this time when the world smiled apparent success upon his efforts, his factory was burned to the ground, a complete loss with all his machines and material, without insurance. His plan to marry was not postponed by this disaster, and on the 21st day of June he was united in marriage to Miss Dena D. Soekland of Stuttgart , Ark. At the age of 25 years, the year of 1893, a most disastrous time for the beginning of any business enterprise, Burton D. Hurd began the foundation for his organization by opening an office in Des Moines , Iowa , for the selling of real estate, principally farm lands. Undaunted by the prospects presented at this time, this young pathfinder, ever watchful for the greatness of opportunity, was among the first to discover the wonderful possibilities of the great Texas Gulf Coast country. At this time both he and his wife took up the study of law and completed the full course, devoting the hours usually consumed in lighter recreation in the pursuit of gaining further knowledge along practical lines.

In the year 1898 he began operations in the great cattle grazing districts lying along the Gulf Coast , developing 75,000 acres of Texas and 16,000 acres of Louisiana grazing lands into rice farms; financing irrigating canals and interesting capital in the building of rice mills. In a few years his organization had grown to such an extent that it became necessary to operate its own private combination sleeping and dining car, making regular trips, twice monthly, from Kansas City, Chicago, and other points, often adding the second or third car, and sometimes whole trains taking into the Texas Gulf Coast country, during the period of eight years, an average of more than 100 people each month.

The year 1908 found Mr. Burton D. Hurd at the head of the largest land and immigration business in the country, but the achievement which will perpetuate the name of this young business man was the meeting the demand of his patrons for ideal homes, in the conceiving of the idea and carrying out the plan of the development of the Tres Palacios River and adjacent Bay properties: the purchase of 55,000 acres of land, with its 14 miles of frontage on the most beautiful river in Texas, extending into 25 miles of Bay shore with seven miles of perfect shell beach, making a boulevard 28 miles in length through this property, and settling the entire tract with substantial citizens, farmers, fruit-growers, gardeners, and hundreds of ideal winter homes, where all semi-tropical fruits and flowers abound most lavishly.

Mr. Hurd is an untiring worker, broad in mind, charitable and generous to a fault; he believes in living right every day, is considered honorable and just in his dealings with all men. He belongs to no clubs or societies, has no hobbies or fads, and his only recreation consists in an occasional jaunt in his yacht, the Dena H., accompanied by his family and a few friends. He has one son, Vernon King Hurd, born Feb. 12, 1896 .

[The Hurds also had a daughter, Florence Veva Hurd, Mar. 13, 1892 - Feb. 10, 1895 .]

A History and Genealogy of The Family of Hurd in the United States And a Partial History of the New England Families of Heard and Hord, including a Treatise on Nomenclature, Heraldry and Coat Armour, and Ancestry by Dena D. Hurd, privately printed in New York , 1910


Vernon King Hurd, son of Burton D. Hurd and Dena D. Soekland Hurd, was born in Des Moines, Iowa, Feb. 12, 1896. He is possessed of a marvelous amount of physical strength, and has a keen sense of reasoning power, being especially fond of mathematics. He began his school work in the public kindergarten at Des Moines , Iowa , and later in a Kansas City, Mo., public school. At the age of eleven he entered the private school of Reverend John Sloan, a learned gentleman and an able scholar. Under his tutorship, Vernon King Hurd has made much progress that his teacher writes of his work:

Bay City , Texas , Mar. 29, 1909

My dear Mrs. Hurd: It gives me great pleasure to teach your son Vernon , because he is a student of the best type. In my judgment his progress is marvelous, at his tender years (thirteen), to have done the following: "Myers' General History," "High School Algebra to Quadratic Equations," finished "Wells' Academic Arithmetic," one book of "Plane Geometry," and almost completed one book of "Caesar's Gallic War," and he is doing nicely with the "Principles of Physics." These and other subjects in recitation and examinations give to me much pleasure and surprise, because I am not allowing his work to become tedious to him, and instead, he is always asking for more lessons to do.

I am, Yours very sincerely,


With a perfect physique, and love of boating, swimming and all outdoor sports, including the kindly disposition he has, his mastery of the problems of life should not become difficult.

A History and Genealogy of The Family of Hurd in the United States And a Partial History of the New England Families of Heard and Hord, including a Treatise on Nomenclature, Heraldry and Coat Armour, and Ancestry by Dena D. Hurd, privately printed in New York , 1910


Vernon K. Hurd who has just returned to his home in Collegeport, Texas, from a three years' course of preparation for technology in Kingsley School, Essex Falls, N. J., brings with him two honors, winning the cash prize of $25 in gold for the highest honors in mathematics and the silver medal, being the prize for second place in scholarship. He received a gold football as member of his football team, and accredited by Dr. James R. Campbell, M. A., head master of Kingsley School, as one of the best students in the school, receiving the second largest number of votes. He is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Burton Hurd of Collegeport, Texas; is 17 1/2 years old, and has never been sick in his life. He expects to enter Rice Institute in the fall for a special course of training.

Matagorda County Tribune, June 27, 1913



Lieutenant Vernon King Hurd, who was commissioned provisional second lieutenant, Field Artillery, U.S.A. is 21 years old, and one of the youngest officers to receive a commission from the president previous to any military training.

Lieutenant Hurd secured his commission in competitive examination with several hundred men from civil life and several thousand in the Regular Army, July 23, 1917. His general average of 88 per cent also entitled him to his first choice of service.

His birthplace was Des Moines, Ia., but he has lived almost all his life in Texas. His early school life was spent in Bay City, in the private school of Dr. John T. Sloane, and one year with Professor Travis of Collegeport. In 1913 he graduated from an Eastern school for boys, Kingsley School, Essex Falls, N.J., from where he won second prize in scholarship, first cash gold prize for mathematics and a gold football from the athletic association.

He continued his athletics during his first two years of college work at Rice Institute, and spent his last two years at the University of Minnesota, where he received his degree of bachelor of science in June, 1917. He is a member of the fraternity of Beta Theta Pi.

He was commissioned provisional lieutenant, Field Artillery, U.S. A., October 26. He is the only son of Mr. and Mrs. Burton D. Hurd of Collegeport, who are expecting him to return to Texas for the holidays.

The Matagorda County Tribune, Friday, December 28, 1917

WASHINGTON, D. C. May 8--The promotion of Lt. Col. Vernon K. Hurd, Bay City, Texas to Colonel was announced today at the Headquarters of Lt. Gen. Lesley J. McNair, Commanding General of the Army Ground Forces. Col. Hurd is now serving in the Training Division of the A. G. F.

Previous to the Army reorganization, March 9, 1942, which placed Gen. McNair in charge of the Nation's new Army, Colonel Hurd served on the staff of GHQ.

Born in Des Moines, Iowa, Feb. 12, 1896 he graduated from the University of Minnesota before entering the military service.

His military education consists of graduation from the Command and General Staff School, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.

He was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in Field Artillery, October 26, 1917.

The Daily Tribune, May 8, 1942


(The Denver Post)  Tall baskets of gladiolas and white clematis will decorate St. Barnabas Church tomorrow evening for the marriage of Miss Emilie Elizabeth Hall and Vernon K. Hurd, which will take place at 8 o'clock.

The Rev. Charles H. Marshall will read the service in the presence of about 300 guests, and following the ceremony a supper will be served to the members of the wedding party in the home of the bride's mother Mrs. F. Dixon Hall.

The bride is to be given in marriage by her brother, Ralph Hall, and he and the other men in the party will wear military uniforms.

Edward Wise will be best man and Glen McColm and Eugene Mechling ushers.

The bride's attendants will be Miss Gladys Falconer of Pueblo, maid of honor, and Miss Frances Smith and Miss Margaret Knox, bridesmaids.

Their gowns are made alike, being girlish affairs of taffeta in the pastel shades. They will wear Georgette hats of a shade to match their frocks and carry pink roses.

The bride will be a pretty picture in her robe of heavy white satin. The draped skirt falls in long simple lines and is elaborately embroidered with seed pearls. The pearl embroideries also outline the flowing sleeves and the square neck. Her veil of tulle which was also worn by her mother, will be caught with orange blossoms and extend to the hem of her court train. A shower bouquet of palest blush roses will lend an attractive touch of color to the costume.

Miss Hall is one of the most interesting girls of the younger social set, where she is very popular. She attended the University of Colorado and is a member of the Chi Omega sorority.

Hurd is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Burton D. Hurd of Hot Springs, Ark. He attended the University of Minnesota and served overseas as a lieutenant in the Field Artillery. He is a member of the Beta Theta Pi fraternity and is now engaged in business in Hot Springs.

The Matagorda County Tribune, September 26, 1919

Well, after all the things that interest the folks of this community, is the marriage in Houston of Vernon King Hurd to Mrs. Valerie Blakeway of Matagorda. A surprise to many especially because of the suddenness with which all plans were carried out. They will be away about three weeks on a trip as far north as Chicago and on return will live in Palacios where the groom is interested in the building of a dam and causeway across the bay.

The Matagorda County Tribune, Thursday, June 25, 1936

Courtesy of Misty Fox, great-great granddaughter of Elmer Nichols.
The document was found in Mr. Nichols' wallet.










Taken from the Writings of

J. S. Cullinan and Carey Smith, Sr.


Photo Courtesy Matagorda County Museum


The history of the development of Matagorda County would be incomplete without the history of the men whose years of far reaching insight into the future, who fearlessly took risks that would make way for those who came after, who were the pathfinders for advancements.


One of the builders in Matagorda County whose activities for twenty years during the height of immigration, when greatly encouraged by the railway companies penetrating the Gulf Coast country from Port Arthur to Point Isabel, was Burton D. Hurd, a man of powerful personality, keen judgement, a discerning mind and a keen sense of values. It has been said of Mr. Hurd that he lived a full quarter of a century ahead of the times. This is clearly evidenced in a resume of his twenty-five years of bringing people to Texas and the manner in which he prepared for the well-being of his people.


Burton D. Hurd was born on a stock farm in Hamilton County, Iowa, where his parents, of Scotch-Irish ancestry, settled in 1865, his progenitors having been land owners near Windsor, Connecticut, before 1640. After public school he graduated from Spaulding's Business College in Kansas City, Missouri, working days and going to college at nights. After having been active in the development and organization of reclaimed lands in central and northwestern Iowa, Mr. Hurd attracted the attention of Arthur Stilwell, builder of railroads. In 1897 he furnished young Hurd with an entire train of Pullman cars, free of cost, which he filled with prospective settlers and prominent men and came to Port Arthur, Texas, where a tract of 40,000 acres of land was sold to settlers. It was the special free trip that laid the foundation for the future development that followed of 16 separate ranch properties along the Gulf Coast of Texas, from Port Arthur to old Point Isabel, on the Mexican border aggregating more than a half million acres.


Fourteen canal systems were financed and built for irrigation of rice; roads, rice mills, warehouses, drainage ditches, schools and churches went into the improvement plan on a large scale. Included in this was the opening for sale of the first lands at Kingsville on the great King ranch, at Sarita on the Kennedy ranch, and another special train of prominent people with B. F. Yoakum on his railroad to open Mercedes, Texas, another garden spot of the south. Also included in the tremendous acreage of land developed by Mr. Hurd and his associates was 56,000 acres on the west side of the Colorado in Matagorda County and 25,000 acres on the east side; 16,000 acres west of Tres Palacios River south from the M. P. R. R. to the head of the bay in Matagorda County.


It has been said of this fine friend, neighbor and home builder that he never cared a cent for any dollar that could not be used for the betterment of the human family. His aim was always to the highest and his fertile mind constantly was active in the behalf of the development of this country.


Matagorda County Tribune, Century of Progress Edition, August 26,1937, Section 7, Pages 1 and 7.

Burton D. Hurd Local Dam Promoter, Dies  

Deceased Was Important Developer of Several So. Coast Cities

 Burton David Hurd, third son of David Elisha and Anna Delight Faye Hurd was born on the family homestead in Hamilton County , Iowa , Dec. 18, 1868 and died Nov. 3, 1936 at his home in Collegeport , Texas , aged 67 years, 10 months and 16 days. Mr. Hurd was baptized into the membership of the Baptist denomination at an early age and was the founder of the First Federated Church of Collegeport, a fellowship of 14 denominations, which church is still the only house of worship in that community. When Dr. William States Jacobs, of Houston , organized the Independent Church , Mr. Hurd became one of his first members.

He was a well known promoter and developer, and was largely interested in the development of Port Arthur , and the early developing of Collegeport and other coast sections. His last work was promoting the building of a dam across the Tres Palacios bay between Collegeport and Palacios which was just recently passed on favorably by the War Department at Washington, D. C.

Besides the widow he is survived by one son, Vernon King Hurd, one grandson, Vernon Hurd II, two brothers, Elgin C. Hurd of Hurdsfield , North Dakota , and Faye Hurd, Galveston , Texas . Two sisters, Mrs. George Boody, St. Paul, Minn., Mrs. Norabel Culp, Minneapolis, Minn.

Funeral services were held in Collegeport Wednesday afternoon, conducted by Rev. G. F. Gillespie and interment made in the Collegeport Cemetery under the direction of the Brandon-Duffy Funeral Home.

The Palacios Beacon, November 5, 1936  



 By Harry Austin Clapp

 The passing of the lion? Aye, the passing of the lion. When Burton D. Hurd passed from the stage of his earthly works, into the great and wonderful over there, it was the passing of a man with the heart and courage of a lion. The works of this remarkable character, from the Sabine to the Rio Grande , will be visible and remembered by generations. Great monuments to his wonderful vision and his ability to execute. Burton D. Hurd needs no monument of stone. His monument will be in the works accomplished, standing so long as there is a Texas coast. Wherever one may wander along this vast coast there one will cross his trail.

I write this copy with sorrow. I am unable to understand why this valuable man should be taken and I should be spared. Burton mixed his paint with sunshine and where he journeyed he traveled with a smile. Many men discussed and analyzed Burton 's plans, visions, ideas. Some were severe in criticism, but none questioned his morals. Burton was "clean as a hound's tooth." Years ago he acquired a conception of what Christianity meant to man's life and he practiced it. According to the light he received from his God he practiced charity, tenderness, good-will and benevolence in contact with his fellows. I never knew a man so eager and willing to overlook and forgive bitter words uttered by men, who no knowing him, did not feel friendly. Many times he told me, that life was entirely too short to spend any time worrying about what might be said of him. As a neighbor he was kind, generous, helpful, willing to aid in any and every way. No better neighbor lived elsewhere. As a citizen he was interested in all civic projects and some of the things we now enjoy results from his unknown and unheralded interest. I have been an intimate and personal friend of this man, for twenty-seven years and what I have written is the result of my own observations. His passing is a great loss to Collegeport, to Matagorda County and to the entire coast country. No man is left to take his place. His smile and his charming personality and his belief in the goodness of his fellow men will be with us so long as memory remains. If Burton had been conscious the last few hours, this is the prayer he might have uttered:

"I rest. My journey done,
I face the West again.
And see the gold of the setting sun,
No longer fell[sic] the pain.
The lights are slowly growing dim--
My ship is going out to sea,
I am slowly slipping o'er the rim,
Into eternity.
But one last prayer, O God,
Thou who knowest best,
Before I am beneath the sod,
Before I am at rest.
Let me have Light
To guide my way
On through the night
Across the bay."

 I pray my God to hold him in His comforting arms and give his soul peace, contentment and well-earned rest. I love this man and he loved me. I enjoyed his respect, confidence and friendship.

Good bye
Burton ! I'll be with you soon, so please linger along the shore. The personal history of this man is full of romance. A builder of railways, vast canal and irrigation systems, rice mills and warehouses, settlement of thousands of splendid farm folk on fertile lands, erecting school houses for the education of the children, organizing churches, all that people might have opportunity for finer lives. Burton had little respect for money, except what might be accomplished with it. Born on a farm in Hamilton County , Iowa , his entire life has been closely identified with some phase of agriculture. He seldom was interested in other developments. His last, and the culmination of years of dreaming, planning, studying was the project of building a dam across Matagorda Bay for the purpose of impounding water for the irrigation of many hundreds of acres and the development of an immense truck industry. Plans for this have all been approved and the burden which is not a light one, now rests on the shoulders of his son Vernon King Hurd.

Burton David Hurd was born
December 19, 1868 and died November 3rd, in his home in Collegeport. He was the third son of David Elisha and Anna Delight Faye Hurd. I knew his parents well, for they used to live here. They were rugged, splendid folk, the kind that has made America . They helped make Iowa and their progeny is now keeping Iowa . It was said that when Garibaldi, the great Italian liberator died, his heart was embalmed and placed in a casket on which was inscribed "Open this casket and there you will find graven on my heart ' Italy "." If one could see the heart of Burton , one would find graven there Collegeport, and so it is fitting that his resting place should be in local soil, on the west side of the cemetery in sight of the sparkling waters of the bay. The funeral services were held at the bayshore home, with Reverend George Gillespie reading the service. Evidence of the respect and regard the citizens had for this man, was shown by the fact that every home for miles around was represented in whole or in part, except those who were detained by illness, and the faculty attended in a body. Many who were unable to be present sent flowers. The floral offerings were gorgeous and seldom has such profusion of bloom been seen. Hundreds of roses, chrysanthemums, carnations, sprays, wreaths and set pieces, one spray being so large that it actually embraced and covered the casket. Relatives who were present, consisted of Fay Hurd youngest brother, his wife and son, Herbert Hurd, from Galveston, Mrs. Flora Morris and Mrs. Anett O'Leary, sisters of Mrs. Hurd, Mr. and Mrs. Howard Morris, Mrs. Austin Oberwetter, Mrs. John Logan, Mrs. Luke Hawks, Mrs. Merle Groves, Frank Groves and Mr. E. L. Morris, nieces and nephews, all of Houston; Mrs. Abel Pierce, Mrs. Webb, Mrs. Della Braden and W. P. Braden of Blessing; Mr. and Mrs. John Cherry, former superintendent of the local school, and Arthur Liggett, of Bay City; Mrs. and Mrs. B. W. Trull, and Mr. George Harrison, of Palacios; Mr. and Mrs. Cyrus Smith, of Gulf; Mrs. Morgan Smith and Mrs. Velma S. Rogers, of Matagorda. Pallbearers were old friends, Messrs. Gustave Franzen, G. W. Corporon, L. E. Liggett, W. V. Batchelder, Eliot Curtis and M. S. Holsworth. Old time friends asked the privilege of preparing the last resting place. In the wet and bitter cold, Mr. and Mrs. Roy Nelson gathered a group who cleared away the wet grass and erected a shelter. All day they labored in the cold storm and when the time grew short more help was sought and more wiling hands asked a part in the arduous task then were needed to work in relays. This noble couple carried out to the workers hot coffee and sandwiches that nothing be left undone to make for their beloved friend a bower of beauty in which to rest. These friends assisted Mr. and Mrs. Roy Nelson, Stanley Wright, Dick and Gaines Corporon, Carl Ackerman, Henry Guyer, Tommy Oliver, Frank Mischa, Orley Brown, James Murry, Clifford Ash, Amos Johnson and Mr. Baggett. As many as thirty-five cars accompanied the remains to the cemetery where the commitment was given by Reverend Geo. Gillespie. Arrangement were in charge of the Brandon-Duffy Funeral Home of Palacios and Matagorda. Many of the facts given were supplied by Mrs. Dena Hurd and I have used them freely. As I have mentioned before, I write this with a heart bowed in sorrow. I feel that I have suffered a great personal loss. I shall miss the almost daily calls of Burton and his always words of good cheer. God rest his soul.

"That's good, read on, "Earth's light was growing dim.
But he--he knew time endeth not for him;
He viewed eternity in wonderment.
Then quietly abided there--content.
He who taught bigness took no narrow room;
He who loved mankind saw no shade of gloom.
"Read on and on" this page is not the last,
Nor is the glory of his years forecast.
The footprints he has made are not effaced,
While time shall last they cannot be erased.
How pitifully weak the small the soul
Compared to him who fought and won his goal!
Prophetic words, "Read on and on and on"
Stronger in Death than Life, He is not gone."--Anon.


In the death of Burton David Hurd, who departed this life at his home in Collegeport, Texas, a town of his own founding, last Tuesday, the state, the county and this section have been deprived of one of its most prominent citizens, real estate operator and pioneer of land and settlement promotions, and a man of keen judgment of values, a perception of development and a dreamer of agricultural enterprises, peopled with happy, prosperous and contented people.

It has been said of this fine neighbor, friend and home builder that he never cared a cent for any dollar that could not be used for the betterment of the human family and, yet, in his various promotions throughout the country he spent thousands of them. His aim was always to the highest and his fertile mind constantly active in the behalf of the development of his country.

Burton David Hurd, the third son of David E. and Anna Delight Faye Hurd, was born on the family homestead at William, Hamilton County , Iowa , December 18, 1868 and passed away November 3, 1936 at 1 p.m. after an illness of three months, battling the return of a trouble sustained in an automobile accident several years ago.

At his home in Collegeport, and present at the final summons, were his bereaved wife and son, Vernon King Hurd, Mrs. Vernon King Hurd, Mrs. Annette O'Leary, of Houston, sister of Mr. Hurd. Surviving are, besides his widow, one son, Vernon King Hurd, one grandson, Vernon King Hurd, II, two brothers, Elgin H. Hurd, of Hurdsville, North Dakota, and Fay M. Hurd, of Galveston; two sisters, Mrs. George Boody, Sr., and Mrs. Norabel Culk, of St. Paul, Minnesota, besides several nieces and nephews.

Mr. Hurd, on June 15, 1891, was wedded to Miss Dena D. Soekland, daughter of one of the old families of Stuttgart, Arkansas, to which union was born a daughter, Florence Vera, deceased, and Vernon K., the latter now residing in Collegeport.

The funeral rites were conducted from the home by the Rev. Gillespie, of Palacios, assisted by a group of women with whom Mrs. Hurd had worked in the county for years.

The Collegeport school and business houses were closed, while tributes of love and esteem were evidenced by the bestowal of many wreaths and set pieces of beautiful flowers. Many relatives and friends from Houston , Galveston , Blessing and Palacios attended.

Mr. Hurd worked on his father's farm until he was 16 years of age at which time he gained his parents' consent reluctantly, to sacrifice his Father's gift to his boys of a farm equipped and stocked and go for himself. He worked nights and attended Spaulding Business College in Kansas City , Missouri , and completed the study of law after his marriage.

He came to Bay City before the railroads--driving from Wharton or Eagle Lake . When the railroad entered Bay City he operated his own private car, increasing that to several cars and often a whole special train, bringing 100 people per month for several years; in al more than 25,000, eighty percent of whom purchased land or entered business in the Texas Gulf Coast country.

A more intimate picture of the activities of the man may be gained in perusal of the following from one of Mr. Hurd's briefs of "Land and Agriculture Development," which follows:

Commencing in 1893, drainage districts were organized and developed in some twenty central and northwestern counties of Iowa . Reclaiming an aggregate of 150,000 acres, sold to settlers, brought from older eastern states through an immigration organization built up for the purpose.

This development and immigration attracted the attention of Arthur E. Stillwell and a deal was made with him and the Kansas City Southern Railroad in 1897 to develop and colonize a 42,000 acre tract of land between Beaumont and Port Arthur , Texas . Also to assist in the development of Port Arthur and the sale of town lots to finance the building of the ship channel from Sabine Pass. The first canal for growing rice in Texas , was built in connection with this project.

Following the Port Arthur development, large tracts of land were purchased from ranchmen, developed by the construction of canals for growing rice and sold to

settlers brought from the North, as follow: 8,000 acres at Iowa, La., 10,000 acres at Vinton, La., 8,000 acres at Cow Bayou, 7 miles west of Port Arthur, 5,000 acres of Hildebrands Bayou south west from Beaumont, both in Jefferson County, Texas, 16,000 acres 20 miles west of Houston between the Brazos River and Buffalo Bayou, 15,000 acres east of Eagle Lake, two canals developing 25,000 acres on the east side of the Colorado River in Matagorda County, Texas 56,000 acres on the west side of the Colorado River in the same county, covering the Collegeport district, 16,000 acres west of the Tres Palacios River south from the M.P.R.R. to the head of the bay in Matagorda County, 42,000 acres near Kingsville, Texas owned jointly by the King Estate and the railroad and 20,000 acres for the Texas Land and Cattle Company, north from Midfield in Matagorda and Wharton Counties, Texas.

The development work for the sale of these lands included the construction and operation of ten canal systems for growing rice, road building, drainage, community development, railroad construction and the building of rice mills and warehouses.

 The Matagorda County Tribune, Thursday, November 12, 1936


1910 Matagorda County Census

Precinct 8                               Enumeration District 147                    Sheet 3B
Household 49/50
Hurd, Burton D., 40, b
Iowa , married 18 years
Hurd, Dena D., 37, b
Indiana , 2 children born, 1 living
Vernon , 14, b Iowa

Mrs. Dena Hurd Dies Suddenly At Her Home In Collegeport
Mrs. Dena Hurd, relict of Burton D. Hurd, died at her home in Collegeport

Tuesday evening about 6 o'clock . Neighbors found her at that time and attempted to minister aid, but she died within a very few moments after the arrival of the neighbors. She had just completed writing her "Collegeport News" as she was correspondent for The Matagorda County Tribune and The Daily Tribune and had mailed her correspondence.

Mrs. Hurd was about 69 years of age. She had come to Texas many years ago when her husband, Burton D. Hurd, was pioneering the development of this section. She was a most active worker in all civic affairs and took a great pride in continuing to push forward the development of this section. Her interests were county wide and she worked ceaselessly in her endeavors in the church, the civic clubs and schools.

Funeral arrangements are under the direction of A. A. Duffy. The funeral was held this afternoon at Collegeport at 3 o'clock .

Mrs. Hurd is survived by one son, Vernon and one grandson.

The Tribune joins the great number of friends of this grand lady in expressing sympathy to Vernon and those of the family. Mrs. Hurd was a well educated woman, _____ and well posted on affairs of every kind. The community has lost a forceful character, the county a great inspirational builder.

The Matagorda County Tribune, May 4, 1939

Mrs. Hurd was born in Indiana and her father was A. H. Soekland who was born in Germany.

Colonel Hurd Is Assigned To G-3 On General Staff

Colonel Vernon K. Hurd, formerly of Collegeport and well known in Palacios, has been assigned to duty as assistant to the Assistant Chief of Staff (G-3) of the Army Ground Forces, according to a news dispatch from Washington, D. C.

Prior to this assignment Colonel Hurd was on duty with the General Headquarters in the National Guard Bureau.

His transfer was a result of the army reorganization of March 9, 1942, which established a separate ground force under the command of Lt. Gen. Lesley J. McNair who is charged with the responsibility of all training of the nationís new army. General McNair ordered the change in duty status for Colonel Hurd.

Colonel Hurd is the son of the late Burton D. Hurd, the founder of Collegeport and real estate developer.

Palacios Beacon, August 6, 1942

Col. Vernon K. Hurd Dies In Houston

Funeral services for Col. Vernon K. Hurd were held at 3 p. m. Wednesday in the Pat H. Foley Funeral Chapel with Dr. Neal D. cannon officiating.

Col. Hurd died at 1 a. m. Sunday in a Houston hospital. He was a veteran of World War I and II. During World War II he taught in the war college in Washington and trained troops in India and China. He was the son of the late Burton D. Hurd of Collegeport and for many years was a resident of that town.

He is survived by his wife, Mrs. Valerie Hurd of Houston; daughter, Mrs. Chipman Ela of Boston and two grandsons.

Burial was in the Forest Park Cemetery.

Palacios Beacon, October 25, 1956

Florence Veva Hurd
Mar. 13, 1892 - Feb. 10, 1895
Buried Woodlawn Cemetery, Des Moines, Polk County, Iowa

Section where Florence is buried. Extensive research by Mr. Pierce revealed that the grave is unmarked.
Photo courtesy of Duane Pierce



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