Oldest citizen born and reared in Matagorda
County passed away on November 2, 1932.
Mrs. Mary Ann Bruce, the eldest daughter of Jacob
and Elizabeth Smith was born on Matagorda Peninsula, Dec. 22, 1845
where the old historic Forstier Cedars now stand and lived there
until the great storm of 1854. With her parents they moved to
Lampassas County to stay, and a short time after returned to
Matagorda County, and settled on Cash’s Creek, west of the Colorado
While living there and during a protracted
meeting under the direction of Reverend Walker, she united with the
Baptist Church and was a devoted member of that church up to the
time of her death. From Cash’s Creek they moved to lower Caney, near
where the little village of Sargent is now located. She attended
school in Matagorda where she first met her late husband,
Bruce, and they were married Jan. 3, 1897. They lived a while in
Matagorda, then moved to lower Caney and settled where the Caney
bridge crosses below Sargent. Several years later they returned to
Matagorda to be in position to send their children to school. She
was the mother of eight children, four boys and four girls, namely:
Matagorda County Tribune, November 17,
Matagorda, Jan. 4, 1924.—Miss Adelaide Smith, in
this community a much loved elderly maiden lady, departed this life
Dec. 26, 1923, and was laid to rest two days later in the Matagorda
The remains, when brought from the hospital, were
first taken to the home of her brother, Mr. J. Morgan Smith, where
she resided. A short time before the funeral services the casket was
taken to the Methodist church and there many friends of the deceased
gathered for the last sad rites that were impressively conducted by
Rev. J. W. Wardlow.
Her illness and death resulted from a fall on the
stairway on Christmas Eve and the family immediately rushed her to
the Gulf hospital, they thought for repairs only, but complications
set in which speedily ended her career in this life and now she is
quietly sleeping beside loved ones who have preceded her to the
“Aunt Adelaide” as most every one lovingly called her, was born Nov. 16, 1848, and in 1885, she united with the Baptist church and has continued a devout and earnest Christian up to the time of her demise, never failing to attend services unless providentially hindered and those who are accustomed to her presence in the pew she occupied will miss her for a long time. She cheerfully contributed to the support of the church and made many warm friends in life by her amiable and contented disposition. Of late years she had gotten to be very decrepit and her eye sight nearly gone so when none of the family were available she called the colored cook to read her Bible to her. Not only occasionally but daily she craved this spiritual food and she surely deserves a rich reward in an eternal life with her Savior.
Jacob Smith was born
in Germany, from whence he came to the United States in the early
thirties, and coming to Texas, became a rancher and farmer, and was
very successful. He participated in the war with Mexico, was in the
war between Texas and Mexico, and when was was declared between the
states, he once more enlisted and fought in the Confederate army
until peace was declared. This excellent farmer and sturdy citizen
lived until 1903, when he passed away at the age of 84, at
Matagorda. Eight children were born to him and his wife, namely:
Jacob, who died at the age of fifteen years; Mary, who married A. C.
Bruce, a stockman of Matagorda County, had eight children; Millie
A., who never married; Cornelia, a daughter, who married Henry
Freeman, a farmer of Matagorda County, had five children; August
George, who was the next in order of birth; Belle, who married Tom
Burke, farmer of Matagorda County, had one child; and Morgan, who
was in the stock business and was the owner of the ice place in
Matagorda, married Winnie Holt, and they had four children.
At the time August George Smith was a boy and youth the opportunities for acquiring an education in Texas were very few, and such as he had were afforded him by a private school, but he did the best he could, and he added to his store of knowledge by close observation and contact with men of affairs. His first business experience came through farming, and in it he found his life work, and he continued to farm and raise cattle until about 1918, when he sold his interests with the exception of 206 acres, which he rented to tenants. He owned a comfortable house in Matagorda and was a man of substance and influence.
August George Smith lived through many stages of development, including the Indian period, the open range and ox driven wagons. He was numbered among the most highly esteemed residents of Matagorda County.
Genealogical Society Publication, Oak Leaves, Vol. 8 #3, May
It again becomes our sad duty to chronicle the
death of another Pioneer Matagorda citizen—Mr. Augustus George
Smith, who departed this life Friday noon, June nineteenth, in the
Gulf hospital after an illness of two weeks to the day, from
Mr. Smith was born in Lampassas county, April 7,
1857, his parents moving to Matagorda county when he was a boy. He
lived on Caney until after he married Miss Sallie Walker and three
children came to bless their home, Jacob Smith, Belle Smith, now
Mrs. Clifford Lawhon, and Guy Smith. Mr. and Mrs. Smith and family
moved to the town of Matagorda in 1904 and he has resided here ever
since, his wife passing fifteen years ago to the month. Mr. Smith
was of German-English parentage, his father immigrated here from
Hesse Darmstadt, Germany, and his mother, Mrs. Elizabeth Sargent
Smith, from London, England.
Mr. Smith was a retired cattleman and was a
gentleman in every respect. He was held in high esteem by all who
knew him and always did right by his fellowman in every way. If he
ever had an enemy it is not known. He was a true blue Christian and
observed the Golden Rule thoroughly. His exemplary life is a
wonderful heritage to leave his children. No finer tribute can be
paid him than this—His children and his surviving brother, Mr. J.
Morgan Smith, are crushed with sorrow at having to give him up at
this time. The casket was taken to the Episcopal Church Saturday
afternoon from his home, where his children wanted him until time
The pallbearers were Austin Savage, Eric Culver,
Claude Lawhon, Arthur Culver, Sam Lawson and Murray Watkins. Many
relatives and friends gathered at the church where Rev. Paul Engle
conducted the funeral rites. The floral offerings were many and
magnificent and were beautifully arranged near the casket and all
across the chancel. From the church a very large procession of cars
followed the remains to the cemetery where they were consigned to
Mother earth by the side of his wife.
Surviving him besides his two sons and daughter, are the one brother, Mr. J. M. Smith, two grandsons, Gene and Joe Lawhon of Matagorda, a step-son and step-daughter, Mr. Lee Walker of Matagorda and Mrs. Steve Phillips of Sargent.
The sleep that we call death is but transition to
the larger, happier life through the dream of which may be heard a
gentle voice saying in softest, tenderest accent, “It is I; Be not
Matagorda County Tribune, Thursday, June
Mr. and Mrs. Frank Smith and family of Winchester and Mr. and Mrs.
Cyrus Smith of Bay City, were called to Matagorda Monday, by the
desperate illness of their father, Mr. J. Morgan Smith.
Mrs. Hurd and Mrs. Rogers, the two daughters, were at his bedside.
By Wednesday, he became so very much better seemingly, that the sons
returned to their homes only to be recalled Friday morning early, by
his passing away.
The body was held at the family residence until Sunday, pending the
river waters receding, but when they showed no signs of doing so,
the funeral took place Sunday afternoon at three o’clock from the
home. Rev. R. M. House conducted the funeral rites.
Relatives attending from our of town beside the family, were: Mrs.
E. S. Daniels, Miss Grace Nazelle Daniels, Dr. and Mrs. L. L.
Tuttle, Houston; Mr. and Mrs. Temple Lide, Galveston; Mr. and Mrs.
Guy Smith, Newgulf.
Mr. Smith has been in ill health for about two years and after a
very serious sick spell, he recovered sufficiently to resume his
business at the ice plant, but a few weeks ago, he went down again
and has been confined to his bed ever since until the end came
On May 25th 1938, he reached his sixty-sixth birthday,
his nieces and nephews gave him a surprise party that evening and he
was so happy. Mr. Smith was one good man, a gentleman of the old
school, a Christian all the way through, a friend to all and enemy
to none, and was universally loved.
His was a devoted, happy and affectionate family. They are all going to miss him as will his friends and associates as well.
Surviving him are his widow, two sons, Frank Smith of Winchester and
Cyrus Smith of Bay City; two daughters, Mrs. Vernon K. Hurd of
Collegeport and Mrs. Billie Rogers of Houston and seven
The Daily Tribune, Thursday, August 4, 1938
Matagorda, Texas, July 22—Mrs. Mary Burke, wife
of Mr. Will Burke, became ill suddenly and seriously at her home
here July 4, and as soon as it could be arranged she was moved to
the Bay City Hospital where an operation was performed for gall
stones, the physicians hoping thereby to save her life, but a few
hours after having regained consciousness she passed peacefully
away, July 6, 1919, at the age of 59 years and the remains were
brought home the following day for interment in the Matagorda
The casket was taken to the Methodist Church
where it remained for several hours, giving the loved ones and
friends an opportunity to look their last upon the lifeless form.
Rev. T. S. Williford officiated and once again sympathizing friends made up the funeral procession to the cemetery and sadly saw another form lowered to its narrow bed of beautiful evergreens and flowers, to await the resurrection morn.
Mrs. Burke is now at rest beside her son, Gussie
Smith, who died with pneumonia last October, and for whom she had
Many lovely floral contributions covered the
grave when all was over and the sad-hearted mourners turned their
faces homeward, realizing that they could only cherish the memory of
a beloved wife and mother and to submit to His divine will, “who
doeth all things well.”
Mrs. Burke, nee Miss Mary Murdock, was born in
Scotland and came to America from England at the age of 14 years
with her parents, one brother and two sisters and has resided in
these parts ever since. When a young lady she was married to Mr.
Louis [Lewis] Smith of Caney, Matagorda County; when their children
were quite small Mr. Smith died and several years later she was
united in matrimony to Mr. Will Burke.
Mrs. Burke has been the mother of nine children,
four of whom have preceded her to the grave.
Surviving her is her husband, Mr. Will Burke;
They have thrown all their cares upon the Master
who will never forsake them if they retain their trust in Him.
The sympathies of their friends go out to them in these dark hours.
The Matagorda County Tribune, July 25,
Picture courtesy of Gale French
Roland Smith 1884-1959 Matagorda Cemetery
Photo courtesy of Gale French
Copyright 2007 -
Present by Carol Sue Gibbs
Apr. 11, 2007
Aug. 14, 2011