By Dorothy Franzen Merck
Baulser Van Buren Merck, son of Baulser and Susanah Merck, was born in Fayetteville, Alabama, on April 4, 1863. He came to Austin, Texas, when he was eleven years old. He became a cowboy at an early age and made two trips up the Chisholm Trial to Dodge City, Kansas, with his saddle for a pillow and his slicker for a bed. He and his chum were the first to climb to the top of the State Capitol in Austin. He made the same climb again when he was eighty years old. He was in the group who made the rush for the first homesteads in Oklahoma. When he secured his homestead he returned to Austin for his sweetheart, Sadie Bell Moore (1876-1940), a teacher at Bee Cave School and the daughter of former Texas Ranger, Maurice Moore, and his wife, Bell Eanes.
After their marriage, they settled on their homestead near Independence, Oklahoma. It was here that they became the parents of eight children, all born in a dugout. Mr. Merck was allergic to the Oklahoma field dust, so he was ready for a change of scenery when an agent from Burton D. Hurd Land Company lured him to Collegeport in 1909. His family lived in Palacios while he was having a two-story house built on the northwestern edge of the Collegeport townsite. This home was eventually sold to Mr. and Mrs. Hugo Kundinger, who added it to the Collegeport Drug Store for their dwelling quarters.
When Dr. and Mrs. F. V. Bryant, Mrs. Merck's brother-in-law and sister, left the area because physicians did not have much of an income there, the Mercks purchased their twenty acres adjoining the Merck property which had a two story home and a large orange orchard. The trees soon froze. The family rented additional land and made their living raising cattle, corn, cotton, chickens, and ducks.
Mr. Merck was an avid hunter and fisherman. He made cast nets for his relatives and friends. He was a charter member of The Industrial League. He spent his last days going fishing on his motor scooter and entertaining his hunting friends.
Mrs. Merck was a charter member of The Woman's Club and occasionally she was called on to substitute in the Collegeport School. She served as school Trustee and was a member of the First Presbyterian Church.
The Mercks had eight children.
All of the children were deceased in 1984 except Dean.
The home place on highway 1095, known as Merck Place, was owned by Dean Merck, and was occupied by his grandson, Mark Merck.
The barbecue shed and pit at the Mopac property, where meat is barbecued for Collegeport Day on the last Saturday in May, the annual homecoming, was a gift from John Merck, Jr., who resided in Bay City. The plaque on the building reads:
GIVEN IN MEMORY OF MR. AND MRS. B. V. MERCK AND JOHN MERCK (his grandparents and his father). The Presbyterian Fellowship Hall built in 1969 was given by Dean and Dorothy Merck in Memory of their pioneering mothers and was named The Sadie-Ellen Hall after Mrs. B. V. (Sadie) Merck and Mrs. Gust (Ellen) Franzen, Sr.
Mr. and Mrs. B. V. Merck and their oldest son, John, are buried in the Merck Plot at Hawley Cemetery.
Historic Matagorda County, Volume 2, pages
Collegeport Pioneer Passes Away Here Wednesday Morning [Night]
B. V. Merck, age 85, a resident of Collegeport, Texas for over 40 years, passed away in a local hospital at 10:30 p.m. Wednesday.
He is survived by five daughters, Mrs. R. K. Legg of New Gulf, Mrs. J. F. Kilpatrick, Dallas, Mrs. Rowan McRee, Mrs. C. E. Wilson and Mrs. M. Jack Martin of Houston; three sons, Gerald Merck of San Antonio and John and Dean Merck of Collegeport; two granddaughters, Mrs. Dupree Snell and Mrs. Wade Burleson of Houston; six grandsons, Henry Legg of Bay City, Jack and Jerry Martin of Houston, W. J. Merck of San Antonio and Dean and John Merck of Collegeport and one great-granddaughter, Kay Francis Legg; and two sisters, Mrs. Melvina Lohman of Leander and Mrs. Bettie Stevens of Albuquerque, New Mexico.
The funeral services will be held at Taylor Brothers Funeral Home in Bay City, Friday afternoon at 3:00 o'clock. The grandsons will be pallbearers and the Rev. Ernest Deutsch will officiate.
[Mr. Merck was born April 4, 1863 and died February 2, 1949. Burial was in Hawley Cemetery, near Blessing, Texas.]
The Matagorda County Tribune, Thursday,
February 3, 1949
Last rites for B. V. Merck, who passed away Wednesday night, February 2, 1949, were held Friday afternoon at 3 o’clock at the Taylor Brothers’ Funeral Home in Bay City with Rev. Ernest Deutch, pastor of the First Presbyterian Church officiating. Burial was in the Hawley cemetery, his six grandsons acting as pallbearers.
Baulser Van [Buren] Merck, son of Baulser and Susannah Merck was born in Fayetteville, Alabama, April 4, 1863. He came to Austin, Texas when he was five years old. He became a cowboy at an early date, and made two trips up the Chisholm Trail to Dodge City, Kansas—with his saddle for a pillow and his slicker for a bed. He was the first man to climb to the top of the State Capitol at Austin. He made this same climb again when he was eighty years old. He was in the group who made the rush for the first homesteads in Oklahoma. When he had secured his homestead he returned to Austin for his sweetheart, Sadie Moore. After their marriage they settled on their homesteads near Independence, Oklahoma. It was here that they became the parents of eight children. In September, 1909, the family moved to Collegeport. When he had to give up his farming because of advanced age, he spent much time enjoying his hobby of hunting and fishing. Many of his neighbors and relatives are proud of the cast nets he made for them. He was such a jolly fellow, always ready to joke with someone.
He was preceded in death by his wife in 1940. He is survived by five daughters, Mrs. R. K. Legg of New Gulf, Mrs. J. F. Kilpatrick of Dallas, Mrs. C. E. Wilson, Mrs. Rowan McRae and Mrs. Jack Martin all of Houston; three sons, Gerald of San Antonio, Dean and John of Collegeport; two granddaughters, six grandsons and one great granddaughter. Two sisters also survive, Mrs. Melvin Lohman of Austin and Mrs. Bettie Gorman of Albuquerque, New Mexico.
The Palacios Beacon, February 17, 1949
Mrs. Baulser V. Merck, 63, years, 6 months and 24 days, died in a local hospital at 9 Wednesday morning.
She was born in Austin, and had lived in Collegeport for the past 30 years and had been in Houston for 3 weeks. She was a member of the Presbyterian Church.
She is survived by her husband, B. V. Merck of Collegeport; five daughters, Mrs. R. K. Legg of New Gulf, Mrs. J. F. Kilpatrick of Dallas, Mrs. R. McRee of Houston, Mrs. C. E. Wilson and Mrs. Jack Martin both of Houston; three sons, John Merck of Collegeport, Dean Merck of Collegeport, and Gerald Merck of San Antonio; three sisters, Mrs. Pearl Galloway of Custer, Oklahoma, Mrs. T. T. Johnson of Custer, Oklahoma, and Mrs. F. V. Bryant of Athens; eight grandchildren, Mrs. Sadie Vee McRee, Earl McRee, Jack Martin, Jerry Martin, all of Houston, W. H. Merck of San Antonio, Henry Legg of Bay City, John Maurice Merck and Dean Merck both of Collegeport.
Funeral services were held Thursday...[Remainder of article was missing. Death date was January 24, 1940 and burial was at Hawley Cemetery, near Blessing, Texas.]
The Matagorda County Tribune, January 31,
Copyright 2006 -
Aug. 1, 2006
Jun. 26, 2011