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Family of
Jacob and Elizabeth Ann Sargent Smith

Mrs. Mary Ann Bruce


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 River.

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, A. C. 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:
Mamie (now deceased), the wife of Mr. Tom Kain of Matagorda;
Lillie, the wife of Mr. Culver, deceased of Matagorda;
Dora (deceased), wife of Mr. Martin Funk of San Marcos;
Charlie, now living in Matagorda;
Finley, (deceased);
Eugene, now living in Palacios, and
Culver, (deceased).
[Only seven children were listed.]

Her husband died Oct. 11, 1921, and since his death she has lived with her daughter, Mrs. G. B. Culver. The last four years of her life was spent in bed and in an invalid chair, but she was always cheerful and happy through all her great trials and tribulations, and died as she had lived, a true and devoted Christian. She was a great lover of children, and many past middle age of life often speak of the time when passing home from school, Aunt Mary would call them by and treat them to tea cakes and cookies, of which she kept a plentiful supply on hand for them at all times. She was connected by blood or marriage to nearly everyone living in Matagorda. She is survived by two brothers, A. G. and J. M. Smith of Matagorda, two daughters, Mrs. G. B. Culver and Mrs. J. B. Hawkins of Matagorda; C. A. Bruce and Eugene of Palacios. She has seventeen grandchildren living and twenty-one great grandchildren. During her life of activity she never tired of preparing delicacies for and nursing the sick and consoling the bereaved. She was foremost in prompting anything that was for the good of any church or of the needy. Her visiting friends were numerous and her Christian influence caused many a one to reflect over their past and change for the better, having once visited her. At her last resting place she was surrounded by many loved ones and friends, who after the benediction, bade all left of her on earth a long and last good bye.—Signed: The many friends of Matagorda and community.

Matagorda County Tribune, November 17, 1932

Miss Adelaide Smith

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 cemetery.

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 grave.

“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.

Daily Tribune
?, January 5, 1924

August George Smith

August George Smith was born in Lampassas County, April 7, 1857, a son of Jacob and Elizabeth (Sargent) Smith. Elizabeth (Sargent) Smith, a native of England, died at the age of 76 at Matagorda.

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 married Mrs. Sallie Walker, the widow of Henry Walker, of Flatonia, and three children were born to them; Jacob, who was in the confectionery business at Gulf, Texas, married Josephine Sargent, no children; Belle, who married Clifford Lawhon, an oil operator, had two children, Jane and Joe; and Guy, who was field manager for the Gulf Sulphur Company, married Cottie Savage, no children. Mrs. August G. Smith passed away at Matagorda June 6, 1918 and is buried there. Mr. Smith was a Democrat, although he never sought public office and gave his party full support. He did not affiliate with any religious organization, nor had he any fraternal connections, his home and family having absorbed his interest.

There were few men in this section who stood any higher in public esteem than he, and he had a wide circle of warm personal friends.

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.

Texas Under Many Flags, Clarence W. Wharton, American Historical Society, 1930

Matagorda County Genealogical Society Publication, Oak Leaves, Vol. 8 #3, May 1989

Augustus George Smith

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 apoplexy.

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 for burial.

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 afraid.”

Matagorda County Tribune, Thursday, June 25, 1935

Another Pioneer Gone “Home”
J. Morgan Smith


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 Friday.

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 grandchildren.

Our Father “Doeth all things well”

“Some where the load is lifted,
Close by an open gate;
Somewhere the clouds are rifted,
Some where the Angels wait.”

The Daily Tribune, Thursday, August 4, 1938

Obituary of Mrs. Will Burke


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 cemetery.

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 continually mourned.

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;
her daughters,
Mrs. Ed Zipprian, nee Miss Minnie Belle Smith;
Mrs. Arthur Gottschalk, nee Miss Vera Burke;
Misses Alice and Myra Burke; and
Mr. Roland Smith.
Also one brother, Mr. Tom Murdock,
and one sister who lives in Jayton, Texas.

Mrs. Burke was a member of the Baptist Church and a faithful wife and mother, and to show the depth of the devotion and grief of her family we give an extract from a letter written by one of them a few days after her death:
“This is the darkest hour of all our lives. The death angel crept into our home and took our dear mother from us. Our home is broken and never can our beloved mother be replaced. She has gone to a home of eternal peace and joy and love; it is so very hard to see her go but our God is just and wise and we cannot comment on His taking her from us. The loss is so severe we can hardly live over it but we put our lives in the hands of God and pray that we shall all meet her in the great beyond.”

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, 1919                                                        Picture courtesy of Gale French

Last Rites Monday For William Burke

Funeral services were held Monday afternoon at 3:30 at the Methodist Church in Matagorda for Mr. William Burke, 82, who died Saturday morning at the Matagorda County General Hospital.

Mr. Burke was a long time resident of Matagorda county and at the time of his death he made his home in Matagorda with his daughter, Mrs. Arthur Gottschalk.

He is survived by three daughters, Mrs. W. T. Lundy, of Bronxville, N. Y., Mrs. D. T. McIver of Fischer and Mrs. Arthur Gottschalk of Matagorda, two sisters, Mrs. James Miller of Belton and Mrs. Eugene Simmons of Livingston.

Interment was in Matagorda cemetery.

Matagorda County Tribune, July 19, 1951                                                                             Photo courtesy of Gale French

Roland Smith      1884-1959      Matagorda Cemetery
Photo courtesy of Gale French


Gussie Smith

Clara "Cottie" Savage Smith

Arthur Cleveland Bruce


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Apr. 11, 2007
Aug. 14, 2011