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Ellen Gardner

 Gardner, Ellen                                                        Feb 11, 1867     Aug 13, 1941

Location:                              28o44.502 N             096o10.183 W

NOTES: Ellen Gardner was born in Arkansas and died in Palacios, Matagorda County , Texas . Her father was Winston Bennett? who was born in Arkansas and her mother was Mary Sweeden also born in Arkansas .


Jack Harold Halfen

Halfen, Jack Harold                                              Dec 11, 1913     May 11, 1985

Location:                              28o44.482 N             096o10.168 W


Funeral services for Jack H. Halfen, 71, of Collegeport were held May 13 at 2 p.m. at the Palacios Funeral Home Chapel with Rev. Lloyd Nixon officiating. Interment followed at Collegeport Cemetery .

Halfen, a resident of Collegeport since 1966, was born Dec. 11, 1913 in Kansas City, Missouri, the son of Harley Harold and Linette Mae Kwell Halfen. He died May 11, 1985 at Leisure Lodge Nursing Home.

A resident of Collegeport since 1966, he was a member of the Presbyterian church.

Survivors include his wife, Mary R. Halfen of Collegeport; two daughters, Rose Marie Caldwell of Roswell, New Mexico and Linitte Holsworth of Collegeport; two sons, Leroy Halfen of Houston and Billy Wayne Halfen of Morgan City, La.; four sisters, Frances Savage of Bay City, Erma Pennell and Vera Mae Bradley of Houston and Mary Ann Jackson of Pearland; 11 grandchildren and four great grandchildren.

Pallbearers were Earl Halfen, James Romine, Mason Holsworth, Harley Savage, Gustav Franzen and Russell Corporon.

The Palacios Beacon, May 16, 1985

Photo courtesy of G. W. Franzen

Mary Magdalene Halfen
March 10, 1915 Feb. 26, 2007

Mary Magdalene Halfen, 91, of Bay City passed away February 26, 2007.

She was born March 10, 1915 in Kingston, Oklahoma to the late Mike and Lillian Lasiter Roberts.

She is survived by: two daughters, Rose Marie Caldwell of Roswell, New Mexico and Linette M. Keton of Boling; two sons, Lee Roy Halfen of Houston and Billy Wayne Halfen of Morgan City, Louisiana; eleven grandchildren and several great and great great grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by her husband Jack H. Halfen in 1985.

A graveside service were held 10 a.m. Friday, March 2, 2007 at the Collegeport Cemetery with the Rev. Harley Savage officiating.

Online condolences may be sent by visiting

Memorials may be made to the Collegeport Cemetery Association.

Arrangements with Taylor Brothers Funeral Home in Bay City. 979-245-4613.

Bay City Tribune, March 4, 2007

Charles Albert Heemer

Heemer, Charles Albert                                       Jul 05, 1905       Jun 05, 1914

Location:                              28o44.493 N             096o10.162 W


The little eight-year-old son of Mr. and Mrs. Heemer of DeMoss died suddenly last Friday of diphtheria. The family has the sympathy of the entire community. There have been a number of reported cases of diphtheria in the country lately.

The Matagorda County Tribune, June 11, 1915


Charlie, the second son of Mr. and Mrs. J. W. Heemer died on Saturday morningn of diphtheria and was buried the same day in the Collegeport Cemetery . Had he lived one month longer, he would have been eight years old.

The people of the entire community sympathize with the bereaved family in their hour of bereavement.--Collegeport New Era.

Matagorda County Tribune, June 18, 1915


NOTES: Charlie Heemer was born in Ontario , Canada . He died in 1915 in Collegeport. His parents were born in Ontario , Canada and were John William Heemer and Corrie Soper.


Evelyn Heemer

 Heemer, Evelyn                                                     May 07, 1903     Jun 17, 1914

Location:                              28o44.492 N             096o10.162 W  

NOTES: Other records indicate that Evelyn's first name may have actually been Evaline. They also indicate that she was born May 7, 1904 in Ontario , Canada and died June 17, 1915 in Collegeport. She was the daughter of John William & Corrie Soper Heemer who were both born in Ontario , Canada


George Rupert Hendrix

 Hendrix, George Rupert                                      Feb 11, 1893     Jun 26, 1937

Location:                              28o44.486 N             096o10.203 W


NOTES: George Rupert Hendrix was born February 11, 1894 in Ozona, Crockett County , Texas and died June 26, 1937 in New Gulf , Wharton County , Texas . His father was Warren C. Hendrix born in Bastrop , Bastrop County , Texas and his mother was Emma Temple Hendrix born in Tyler , Smith County , Texas and died in 1948. He was the husband of Hester Belle Fulcher Hendrix.


Jose M. Hernandez

 Hernandez, Jose M.                                             1875                   1928

Location:                              28o44.517 N             096o10.191 W  

no information found


Jack F. Hill

 Hill, Jack F.                                                             Sep 09, 1876     Dec 02, 1934

Location:                              28o44.482 N             096o10.195 W            Map: #59

J. F. Hill

J. F. Hill, 57, brother of Mrs. Sam Primm, of Wharton, died suddenly Sunday morning at his farm between Blessing and Danevang. Funeral services under direction of the Wharton Undertaking Company were held Monday and interment of the body was made at Collegeport. Mr. Hill lived in Matagorda County for many years, but spent three years immediately preceding his death in Tennessee. He had moved back to this section the day before his death and was unloading some of his equipment when the stroke which caused his death was suffered. Three sisters, Mrs. Primm of Wharton, Mrs. Albert Galbreath of Dallas and Mrs. Julia Adams of Lebanon, Tennessee, survive.Wharton Spectator.

Palacios Beacon, December 13, 1934

1920 Matagorda County Census

Precinct 7                               Enumeration District 142                    Sheet 8B

Hill, John F., 45, head

Hill, T. J., 84, father


Burton D. Hurd Land Company Sales Schedules for "Ace of Clubs" Ranch 1908 - 1912

John Hill, El Dorado , Arkansas , purchased block 2, lot 35


Thomas Jefferson Hill

 Hill, Thomas Jefferson                                        Sep 07, 1837     Nov 23, 1921

Location:                              28o44.483 N             096o10.195 W  

Mr. Thomas Jefferson Hill died in Palacios, Matagorda County , Texas . His father was Braxton Hill and his mother's maiden name was Tarpley.

1920 Matagorda County Census

Precinct 7                               Enumeration District 142                    Sheet 8B

Hill, John F., 45, head

Hill, T. J., 84, father              


Tressie Lorene Huffhines

Huffhines, Tressie                   Oct 29, 1916                    Mar 14, 1931

Location:                              unknown

Firsthand Account by youngest brother in the boat, Elisha G.  Penland

Two  Children of A. A. Penland Are Drowned in Bay
Boat Capsizes in High Gale; Bodies of Children Have Not Yet Been Found.

The extent of the receivable information is that the two children of Mr. A. A. Penland were drowned at Collegeport Saturday afternoon late while playing around in a boat out in the bay. Evidently the high wind capsized the boat and the two children were drowned. As yet the bodies have not been recovered.

Saturday night Tressie Huffhines, twelve years of age was playing with her four little nephews, the Penland children on the bay shore. An oar [the only oar] was lost overboard and the boat drifting into deep water Tressie, who can swim removed her boots and started for shore to secure aid. Clyde Penland, six years-old being frightened jumped from the boat with his rubber boots on and Tressie returned to save him and both drowned. The boat with the three remaining children drifted across the bay towards Palacios, where it was discovered and the children taken home. Dragging for the bodies since Saturday night has been without success. It is thought that the stiff northern wind which blew all day Sunday drifted them down into the lower bay and perhaps they will not be found for some time.

Daily Tribune, March 16, 1931

Drowned Victim To Be Buried Tomorrow

Tressie Huffhines, the 14-year-old girl who met her death by drowning, Saturday afternoon while attempting to save her nephew, will be buried at Collegeport Wednesday afternoon. The body was found Monday afternoon after a diligent search of two days. The body of the eight-year-old boy has not yet been found. Taylor Bros. will be in charge of the services.

Daily Tribune, March 17, 1931

Boy's Heroism Saves Lives as Boat Drifts

PALACIOS, March 16.--A movement was under way here today to obtain medals for two childish heroes of the tragedy here Saturday afternoon, which took the lives of two children, one of them the 14-year-old girl who sacrificed her life in a vain effort to save an 8-year-old playmate from drowning.

The body of the girl, Tressie Huffhines, was recovered late today. That of the boy, Clyde Penland, son of A. A. Penland, had not been recovered.

Ten-year-old Glenn Penland is the other hero. He it was who took charge in the rotted and waterlogged skiff in which six children, five of the Penland family and the Huffhines girl, Mrs. Penland's sister, were playing about noon Saturday at a wharf on the old Pierce ranch, across the bay from Palacios, when the rope holding to boat to the wharf [beach] parted and the old skiff began drifting out on the rough waters of the bay.

As the boat drifted farther into the bay Tressie pulled off the rubber boots she was wearing and jumped overboard and struck out for shore to bring aid to the frightened children in the boat. She had almost gained the wharf when Clyde, distracted with fear, jumped out of the boat. He did not remove his boots and could not remain afloat. When Tressie saw that he was sinking, she turned and swam to his rescue. She reached him as he went down the third time, but was unable to drag him to shore. She sank with him.

The old boat began to take water as it was buffeted by the rougher waves and Glenn began bailing with an old bucket which the children had been playing with.

Two-year-old John Penland, Glenn's baby brother and the other two children, were crying and screaming. Several times, Glenn said in telling the story as the waves threatened to engulf the little boat, first one and then another of the frightened children none of them more than babies, would try to climb over its side into the water to swim to shore. Glenn would pull the child back with one hand as he frantically bailed with the other hand.

For more than two hours the boat drifted. Then after covering more than three miles it came near to the Palacios side of the bay where the screams of the children could be heard, and boats put out and took them from the skiff and brought them ashore.

Searching parties were organized and dragging for the bodies of the two victims was started. The search was kept us all day Sunday and today.

Daily Tribune, March 17, 1931

Tressie Huffhines Buried Tuesday
Body of Clyde Penland Drowned With Her Is Not Found

By H. A. Clapp.

Special to the Tribune

COLLEGEPORT, March 17--The funeral of Tressie Huffhines was held today in the local cemetery with a large attendance. Services by Reverend Connors of Palacios. The body of Clyde Penland, who was drowned at the same time has not been recovered. Both the children were pupils of the Collegeport school and were making good grades. The school was closed and all teachers and pupils attended the services.

Daily Tribune, March 18, 1931

Two Children of Near Collegeport Drown Saturday
Funeral Services For Girl Held Wednesday; Boy Found This P.M.

Untold sorrow has come to the home of Mr. and Mrs. A. A. Penland, who live on the Pierce place south of Collegeport across the bay southeast from Palacios, by the drowning of their 8 year old son, Clyde, and a sister of Mrs. Penland, Tressie Huffhines, aged 14 years, on last Saturday afternoon.

It seems that while the girl, with four of the Penland children were playing in an old skiff on the bay shore near their home, that the anchor broke loose, and they had drifted out quite a distance from the shore before they noticed the fact. Having no oars, Tressie, who could swim, took off her rubber boots and started for the shore to get aid. She had almost gained the wharf when Clyde , distracted with fear jumped out of the boat. He did not remove his rubber boots and could not remain afloat. Tressie saw he was sinking and swam back to his rescue. She reached him as he was sinking the third time but was unable to drag him to shore and sank with him.

This left the other three children in the boat by themselves to drift at the mercy of the wind, which was from the southeast. The old boat began to take water as it was being buffeted by the rough waves and Glenn, age 10 years, began bailing with an old bucket which the children had been playing with. For more than two hours they drifted and covered a distance of over three miles before some parties living in the B.Y.P.U. grounds were attracted to their cries and noticed the boat out in the bay a short distance from the pier. A boy got in his skiff, went to their rescue and pulled them in. The older boy, upon being questioned, told who they were and where they lived, and Jack Lee and son made their boat ready to take them to their home. While this was being done the children who were almost frantic and chilled by exposure to the wind and water were warmed and made ready for the trip and then to reveal to the mother, who had no suspicion of the terrible news that awaited her and the father who was at work in the field nearby.

As soon as it was learned that two bodies were in the bay, searching parties were sent out, working throughout the night and all day Sunday. Work was resumed again early Monday morning and an airship sent out, and they located the body of the girl on the shores of Coon Island, 3 miles south of Palacios that afternoon.

The remains were taken to the home and funeral services were held at the Collegeport cemetery Wednesday afternoon, conducted by Eld. C. F. Conner of this city. The father, who lives in Oklahoma , was notified and accompanied by his wife, came to be with his daughter and attend the service.

Parties have continued search for the body of the little boy and about 3:30 this, Thursday, afternoon, R. Kirkman found it a short distance out in front of John LeCompte's place on East Bay . Mr. Kirkman had waded out in the water up around Grassy Point, and was on his way back when he sighted the body, which was in fairly good condition.

The Palacios Beacon, Thursday, March 19, 1931

NOTES: Tressie's parents were Adonia Wright Huffhines b Texas and Maggie Fitzgerald b Tennessee .

Obit courtesy of Susie Penland Genck daughter of A. B. and Marguerite Penland, granddaughter of A.A. and Vannie Penland.

Picture courtesy of Gene Penland.

The marker for Tressie pictured above was placed in Collegeport Cemetery on Sunday, May 27, 2007 by Gene and Patsy Huffhines.

Burton David Hurd

 Hurd, Burton D.                                                     Dec 18, 1868     Nov 03, 1936

Location:                              28o44.500 N             096o10.203 W

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





Palacios Beacon

Burton David Hurd, third son of David Elisha and Anna Delight Faye Hurd was born on the family homestead in Hamilton County , Iowa , December 19, 1868 and died November 3, 1936 at his home in Collegeport , Texas aged 6[sic] 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 in 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, Minnesota, Mrs. Norabel Culp, Minneapolis, Minnesota.

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.


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 feel 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

Hurd, Vernon , 14, b Iowa


Dena D. Soekland Hurd

 Hurd, Dena D.                                                        May 07, 1871     May 02, 1939

Location:                              28o44.499 N             096o10.202 W

 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.

Matagorda County
Tribune, May 4, 1939

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


Copyright 2004 - Present by Carol Sue Gibbs
All rights reserved

Dec. 2, 2004
Jul. 5, 2006