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DUNBAR

By Colleen Claybourn

 

Dunbar was a neighborhood settlement on the west side of Tres Palacios Creek in the Alexander Tims Survey, Abstract 396, about one mile north of the FM 521 bridge to Collegeport. Dunbar was named for the Dunbar family, one of the earliest in the area, who had a large tract of land just across the creek on the east and other lands north and east of Dunbar.

 

George W Anderson came with his family to Texas from Buffalo, Kansas, in 1910 and built what he termed "the first house this way from Dunbar" on the west side of the Tres Palacios. He remembers Dunbar as just a store on the west side of the creek. In 1911 or 1912, the county hired George to stay at the "turn" bridge to Collegeport to "turn" it when any boats needed to get through. There was considerable traffic on the stream at that time- mostly pleasure boats, but some freight. Cattle, peaches, and other products were shipped from Dunbar.

 

 

The longhorn cattle roamed wild over the prairie in that area. There was no school; the local children attended school at Prairie Center A Mr. Ifland had a store and post office.

 

A small, white, one-room church building stood north of the old two-story Dunbar store (just northeast of the present J W Jenkins, II, home). About 1912 a Mr. Fleier was the pastor, Montie Lee played the organ, and Elmer Johnson led the singing. The church was non-denominational. In a June, 1912, issue of the Palacios Beacon, it was reported that, "Quarterly meeting will be held at Dunbar Saturday and Sunday, June 29 and 30. Services Saturday evening and Sunday morning by the presiding elder."

 

For a number of years, a column called "Dunbar Dots" was carried in the Beacon. Following are items from some of the issues.

 

     Everyone appreciated that fine rain last week, especially those who were fortunate enough to have their corn planted. 

     Mr. Hutchinson, who recently arrived from New York, has begun building on his 16 acres he bought on the boulevard. His wife will soon arrive and they will enjoy the "sweet sunny south." We welcome them to our community.

      The program given Friday night at the school house under the auspices of the W. C. T. U.  was well rendered and a large crowd attended. This program was given as memorial to Francis Willard . The music was grand , especially the solo by Lillian Phillips. This young lady is not six years old and does her own playing for her songs. The young ladies of the No. 2 Sunday School class sold candy and popcorn balls, which they made and cleared $3.09. The whole affair was a grand success, and we hope for more such times. (March 3, 1911)

 

     J. M. Wood was seen in our neighborhood last Monday with some land seekers. John makes quite an up-to-date real estate man.

     Several men of our community were floundering Saturday night and were not seen at Sunday school. Better go Friday night next time.

     The Bible school expects to have the new organ by next Sunday which will be an improvement to their Sunday School. (January, 1911)

 

     Peach trees in full bloom this 25th day of Jan. What about our northern friends? Can you boast of anything half so nice. Its the truth just the same, if you are from Mo. , call at the C. W Morgan farm and "we'll show you."

     When a man leaves the house to attend a temperance lecture with his wife's coat instead of his own overcoat and doesn't know the reason he can't get into it, when he weighs 200 Ibs and she only 90, we really believe he needs to hear temperance lectures and heed them.

     Mr. and Mrs. Frank Monniger were very agreeably surprised last Friday night by the Dunbar church people. Each one brought their share of the luncheon; at the usual hour sandwiches, cake, apples and candy were served. (January 27, 1911)

 

It can be determined from these quotations that church, farming, fishing, fellowship, and eating were important parts of the lives of those around Dunbar.

 

In 1914 the Beacon reports that there was a Dunbar Lend a Hand Club. In that same era Sydney Johnson Hill purchased a number of lots in the area, until he owned a large tract of land that was the site of old Dunbar The store building was purchased by Hill who then lived upstairs.

 

Families in the Dunbar area included. Ellis, Dyer, Anderson, Lee, Jenkins, Hill, Elmer Johnson, Guy Johnson, Viets, Powers, Harrison, Schnedgar, and Reed.

 

Dunbar never was formally organized into a town. As the people became more mobile, the neighborhood settlement became unnecessary and eventually Dunbar was lost in the weeds and grasses along the Tres Palacios Creek.

 

Historic Matagorda County, Volume II, page 336

 

 

Copyright 2005 - Present by Carol Sue Gibbs
All rights reserved

Created
Jun. 15, 2005
Updated
Feb. 28, 2014
   

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