Matagorda County, Texas
Veteran Memorials
 


Casualty Pages



Information and photos courtesy of
Kenneth L. Thames


MATAGORDA COUNTY WAR MEMORIAL
 


Matagorda County War Memorial
Bay City Courthouse Square

 

 

Memorial Information Brochure

Dedication Program

Dedication Photos

Casualty Lists

 
 

The idea for a county war memorial was presented by Mr. Vernon Miles of VFW Post 2438 sometime in 1985 or 1986.  After further consideration a committee, The Promoters of Patriotism, was formed to spearhead a monument project, with Mr. Lamar Evans serving as the chairman of the committee.

Using US Government lists of casualties, newspaper articles and input from the community, a list of names for the memorial was slowly developed by the committee during their many working sessions.  Mr. Ronnie L. Miller of Taylor Bros. Funeral Home, and Mr. Walter Lamar Evans, Sr., co-owner of the Walker-Evans Landscape Maintenance Co., and owner of the Gold Coast Nursery, Inc., worked on the basic design of the memorial; they used a photograph of a similar monument found in the trade journal Elberton Graniteer as a reference. Mr. William "Bill" M. Hilton drew an artist's rendition of the design that was used for both a brochure about the memorial and the dedication program.

This was ushered in following the publication on July 16, 1981 of a letter to the editor decrying the lack of American flags on display on July Fourth [in Bay City]; the letter was from Mr. Dixon Brown of San Antonio, Texas.

A war memorial brochure was provided to the community explaining that a fitting and lasting memorial was being planned to reverently remember all those from Matagorda County who made the supreme sacrifice of giving their lives in World War I, World War II, and the Korean and Vietnam Conflicts.  It went on to say that the cost of the memorial would be $27,000.00, and that help was needed to make it a reality.

Through public donations from the citizens of the community, civic organizations, local businesses, and the large plants in the county, a total of $29,000.00 was successfully raised.

The 15 ton, 12 foot tall gray and black granite monument was crafted in Elberton, Georgia by the Standard Granite Company, with installation on the north side of the courthouse being completed shortly before the dedication.

With great fanfare, the beautiful memorial was dedicated on Veteran’s Day, November 11, 1967.

With the advent of the availability of the computer, and all the resources it provides, it has been determined that a few errors did occur during the process of determining whose name would be placed on the monument.  This is not to detract from the efforts that were made by the The Promoters of Patriotism committee, which used every resource that was available at the time. They are to be highly commended, for this beautiful memorial is a testament to their painstaking work and the many hours they committed to the project.    
 


BAY CITY AMERICAN LEGION POST NO. 11 MEMORIAL
 



 

In 2006 Bay City American Legion Post No. 11 dedicated a monument to service members who had made the highest sacrifice on the Altar of Freedom. The monument is located on their front lawn at 2106 Cottonwood Street, Bay City, Texas.


MATAGORDA COUNTY CONFEDERATE MONUMENT
 



 

Bay City Courthouse Square

Matagorda County Confederate Monument

The first memorial in Matagorda County that was solely dedicated to military service was the Confederate Memorial, originally located on the Southeast corner of the courthouse square facing East, and erected in 1913.  It was dismantled and moved in 1965 when the old courthouse was razed, and relocated on the South side of the new building.  This beautiful monument was erected by the Captain E. S. Rugeley Chapter No. 542, United Daughters of the Confederacy of Bay City.

Confederate Information


RUGELEY'S COMPANY MEMORIAL
 


Matagorda Incident               Matagorda Cemetery

In Memory of The Men of Rugeley's Co. C. S. A.
Who Perished Dec. 31, 1863 In Matagorda Bay

Confederate group markers located at Matagorda Cemetery are dedicated to the men of Capt. Rugeley’s Company, CSA who perished in Matagorda Bay during a violent winter storm on December 31, 1863, and to the men of Company D, 6th Texas Volunteer Infantry Brigade, CSA 1861 – 1865 – Matagorda Guards.  These monuments were also donated by the Capt. E. S. Rugeley Chapter No. 542, UDC of Bay City.  The large Rugeley monument was paid for by public subscription, and was dedicated on Sunday, July 6, 1930.
 



 


 


COMPANY  D  MEMORIAL
 

Matagorda Cemetery

Honoring Company D

6th Texas Vol. Infantry Brigade
Confederate States of America

1861 - 1865

Matagorda Guards

It is not known when this memorial
was installed or dedicated.

Company D 6th Texas Volunteer Infantry Brigade



 


BAY CITY MEMORIAL STADIUM
 




Bay City Memorial Stadium

Mr. Lewis M. Matchett, local mortician and Secretary of the Bay City Lions Club, originated the idea of building a new football stadium for the high school. In presenting the proposal to the club it was pointed out such a project was to be undertaken with the cooperation of the Rotary Club, Chamber of Commerce, Junior Chamber of Commerce, the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars. All of the organizations unanimously approved the construction.

The Lions Club donated $5,000 to get the project started.  The Bay City Gas Company also donated $5,000; this was followed by local sports fans, citizens of the community, local businesses and civic organizations contributing another $5,000.  The School Board issued Revenue Bearing Bonds for $50,000 which made it possible to then erect the stadium.  No tax dollars were used in the construction.  The stadium was to be situated on a part of 27 acres of land the Bay City Independent School District had purchased from Alexander D. and Margaret “Maggie” Hensley on March 21st, 1941 in the northeast section of the city.  The new stadium was to be dedicated to Matagorda County’s veterans of World War I and II and was to be named Memorial Stadium. A memorial plaque commemorating these servicemen was to be placed at the entrance to the stadium.  This plaque is missing today (2012). 

The school board received five bids to construct the stadium in August 1947. All five were rejected as being too high.  In another round of bids in October of 1947 three bids were received and P.E. Garrett Construction Company of Bay City was accepted as the low bidder, their bid being $51,346.  The construction consisted of twin concrete and steel bleachers with a capacity to seat 4,000 people and restroom facilities. The stadium was constructed with an easy incline, and an unobstructed view was available from any seat.  Noteworthy and highlighted in several of the newspaper articles concerning the construction of the stadium were the field lights. They were to be mounted on 80 foot poles behind the bleachers so no one’s view of the field would be obstructed. Several articles bragged they were the best that could be bought and they were said to be twice as bright as the lights on the old football field, and that the field would be one of the best lighted in Texas.   

The stadium, after the original dedication date was rained out, was dedicated on the evening of September 24, 1948 during the halftime with an impressive ceremony. Reverend Luke Bolin, a former Army Chaplain during WWII gave the dedication address.  In closing his remarks he stated “This stadium is being dedicated to all those of this community who served in either World War I or World War II or both. - “In honor of the men who played football for Bay City High School and who fought in either or both World Wars – we dedicate this stadium! – “In honor of all veterans of both wars in this community – We dedicate this stadium! – “In memory of all who gave their lives in the Great Wars – We dedicate this stadium!”

It had been thirty-five years since the first war memorial had been erected in Matagorda County.  That memorial was dedicated on the courthouse square in 1913, to the men of Matagorda County, who had served in the Civil War.  There were no memorials for those who had served in World War I or World War II.  The dedication of the Memorial Stadium served to fill that need, and is recognized as the second major war memorial in the county.

That first football game in the stadium was between the Bay City Black Cats and the Edna Cowboys before a crowd of approximately 3,000 people.  The Black Cats were victorious, winning the game 13 to 6.

Memorial Stadium Dedication Newspaper Articles
 


PAYNE-WICKHAM AMERICAN LEGION POST
 



Holsworth Home
 

Private First Class Marvin Arthur Wickham

 

Payne-Wickham Post Newspaper Articles

Little is known of the Payne-Wickham American Legion Post. It was discovered by accident while doing research on the Palacios American Legion Post. Some information can be pieced together from newspaper articles published in 1928 in The Daily Tribune and the Palacios Beacon, and from the federal censuses for Matagorda County.  From these articles it was found the new pastor of the Collegeport Presbyterian Church, Reverend Merriman L. Smith (1894-1991), who had been an Army Chaplain during WWI, and had been wounded, initiated the organization of an American Legion post in Collegeport. The post was established around May 1928, and was named the Payne-Wickham Post No. ___.  Most posts are usually named after servicemen from the local community who have died in war.  It is presumed Wickham would be PFC Marvin   A. Wickham, US Army who died in France during WWI.  His family was living in the Palacios, Texas area when he died.  The Payne name requires more speculation, as there is no serviceman known by that name from Matagorda County who died in WWI.  Researching the Payne name in Matagorda County immediately prior to WWI it was found there was a Joseph “Joe” E. Payne, age 13, living with his family on the Blessing Road near Palacios.  Joe was born in Virginia, and his father, also named Joseph, died in 1900.  By 1910 his mother, Rosemary Eveline aka Mary E, had re-married to a William H. Brown, and the children appear to have intermittently used both the Brown and Payne surnames.  He did serve in WWI, and it appears while he was in the service, his family moved to Harris County, Texas.  In as much as he returned to his family (surname Brown) in Harris County after the war, speculation arose in the Collegeport area that he had been killed in the service.  This was not disproved until August 1937 when his brother Waller [William?] was visiting with Mr. Harry Austin Clapp, Collegeport’s author of “Thoughts”, an amusing newspaper column concerning daily happenings in the local area. He stated Joe was alive, well, married and had twin boys.  It has not been determined if the post ever had a permanent home.  The first meetings were held at the home of the Commander, Mr. Mason Standish “Jack” Holsworth (1894-1959), who had served in the Army during WWI.  Other meetings are known to have been held at Oscar Chapin’s barber shop.  It is not known when the post closed.  As of this writing (Sep 2012) the Texas American Legion Headquarters in Austin, Texas is doing research on the post, but nothing has been found to date.
 


CLARENCE GREENWOOD AMERICAN LEGION POST NO.  476
GREENWOOD-CURTIS AMERICAN LEGION POST NO. 476

 

On July 20, 1928 the Clarence Greenwood American Legion Post No. 476 was chartered in Palacios, Texas. It was named in honor of PVT Clarence Greenwood, USA, who was killed in action in France during WWI. After WWII, the post was renamed to include CPL George M. Curtis, USAAF, who was missing after the Bataan Death March in the Philippines. It was learned he had died as a Japanese POW. PVT Greenwood is buried at the San Antonio National Cemetery, San Antonio, Texas. CPL Curtis is buried at the Manila National Cemetery, Manila, Philippines. When the Greenwood American Legion post was first organized in 1928 they held their meetings upstairs in the Palacios State Bank, which has been demolished.The post is no longer active, and no photograph has been found of the post home which was destroyed by Hurricane Carla in 1961.
 



 





 

American-Legion Post Organized At Palacios

At a meeting held in Col. Dallas J. Matthews quarters at Division Headquarters, Friday, July 20, the newly organized post of the American Legion was duly organized and the officers installed by Captain  Ernest C. Cox, Assistant State Adjutant.

The Post shall be known as Greenwood Post in Honor and as a tribute to Clarence Greenwood, son of J. D. Greenwood, who was killed in the recent World War.

Many speakers of prominence both in the Legion and National Guard were present, a few of those present were Brigadier General George P. Rains, 42nd Brigade; Col. Holman Taylor, 144th Infantry; Lt. Col. Dallas J. Mathews, Assist. Chief of Staff, 36th Division; Lewis Lauterstein, State Membership Chairman, San Antonio; Ernest Cox, Asst. State Adjutant, Austin, Texas.

The officers elected for the coming year are L. S. Appleton, Post Commander; Claude Allen, Vice Commander; Wm. Clement, Jr., Adjutant; Wallace McDougal, Treas.; George Hunter, Sgt. At Arms; Wm. A. Elder, Historian; J. A. Derrick, Chaplain.

Palacios Beacon,July 26, 1928
 


PHILIP H. PARKER POST 2438 VETERANS OF FOREIGN WARS
 
 

In 1948 Bay City VFW Post 2438, chartered on November 24, 1940, changed its name to Philip H. Parker VFW Post 2438 in honor of Capt. Philip H. Parker, USAAF, who was killed in action in China on March 23, 1945. Captain Parker was buried with full military honors at Cedarvale Cemetery, Bay City, Texas. The post is still active in the community.
 


 


Permanent memorials for these men may be found within the post, and are available for public viewing. The Gajdosik Memorial was donated by the Bay City High School Senior Class of 1964; the Kaiser Memorial was donated by his parents, Ann and Sam Kaiser of Columbus, Texas; the Parker and Winfrey Memorials were created by the post with assistance from each family.
 




Capt. Philip H. Parker
 



PFC Johnnie Paul Winfrey

 



SSGT Ernest Wayne Gadjosik
 



SSGT Larry K. Kaiser
 

 


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Copyright 2012 - Present by Carol Sue Gibbs
All rights reserved

Created
Aug. 11, 2012
Updated
Aug. 16, 2012
   

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