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  October 31, 2009

          A Palacios Community Project Coordinated by Palacios Area Fund

Information from Family Members, Matagorda County History Books, US Census Records.
Sponsored by Palacios Area Fund, Palacios Cemetery Association, Palacios Area Historical Association
Actors: Palacios High School Drama Class Students, Family Members, Friends & Volunteers


Printable Walking Tour Brochure                                          Virtual Tour of Section 4



Palacios Cemetery History


The primary burial ground for citizens of Palacios, this cemetery dates to the beginning of the community. The death of Alice Singer in 1905. Three years after the founding of Palacios gave rise to the need for a community cemetery.


The land which was once a part of the estate of Texas cattle baron A.H. “Shanghai” Pierce was donated to the City for use as a cemetery by the Texas Rice Development Company and the Palacios Townsite  Company. The plot was surveyed in 1907 and additional land was acquired in 1918 and 1983.


Located just west of the original townsite, the cemetery’s grave sites are marked with a variety of monuments, from single wooden crosses and carved angels to large granite stones. A large monument to honor U.S. Military Veterans was erected 1963 by the local Post of the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars. Soldiers and veterans of six wars are buried here – the Civil War, Spanish-American War, World War I, World War II, Korean War and the War in Vietnam. Additionally stones marking the graves of Vietnamese refugees, a number of which settled in Palacios and other Texas coastal towns after 1975, can be seen here.

These are but an example of the men and women who were born in the 1800s and buried in section 4.  They moved to Palacios to build this community and make it what it is today. This effort is to help Palacios remember some of  its ancestry. Many other heroes  also lay at rest in this section.


Alice (died 1905)

 Played by Lainey Hudson

 Welcome. My name is Alice Singer. This cemetery is here because of me. I was the first person to die in Palacios that needed to be buried in a cemetery. I died in 1905, before the city was incorporated. Land was donated to start this cemetery and I was the first laid to rest. My grave site has been lost over the years and no one remembers exactly where it is. Back in those days, a simple wooden cross was erected. It has long since decayed into dust. Many have followed over the past 104 years, as you can see. As you walk among the stones and hear the stories of our people, remember me because I was the first and I am now lost somewhere in here.

John (1861-1939) & Martha (1860-1957)

My name is John Bentler. I was born November 13, 1861 in Bauine, Michigan. My father was Herman Bentler born in Germany and my mother was Katy Smith Bentler born in Canada. I had six brothers and sisters. I married Martha E. Rush in 1883 in Wilmont, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. She was the daughter of Matthew Rush and Charlotte Hagen born August 10, 1860 in Wilmont, Canada. I was a carpenter and a farmer. We lived in many places before coming to Palacios. Two of our children, Raymond and William, were born in Michigan the same year, 1885. Four of our children (Nora, Earl, Beatrice and John) were born in North Dakota over the next five years. Like many others, we came to Palacios, Matagorda County around 1910. The town was new, exciting and offered many opportunities and land was cheap. I continued to farm and used my carpenter skill to build cabinets and furnishings to support my family. I died September 6, 1939 at the age of 78. My wife continued to live in Palacios. She died in Harris County in 1957. She was 97 years old.

Phoebe Anna Scott (1891-1981) & James H. (1885-1940)

Played by Sue Brotemarkle Stacy, Granddaughter     

My name is Phoebe Anna Scott Brotemarkle. I was born in Kirwin, Kansas in 1891 to Phoebe Willis Scott and Thomas Elmer Scott. My parents died of tuberculosis when I was eight years old and I lived with my grandfather, James Scott, and his wife, on their farm outside of Kirwin. I later attended Washburn College in Topeka, Kansas. I married James Brotemarkle in 1911. We moved from Kansas to Palacios  in 1924 with our two children, Ellen and Norman. My son Norman would later recall the trip to Palacios in our model T Ford over dirt roads. Prior to the move, James had written to my cousin Bruce Trull who had already moved his family from Kansas to Midfield, Texas.  James asked if the weather might be good for my health, as I was recovering from tuberculosis. Several Kansas families moved to the Palacios area around that time, attracted by the promotion of a fig tree farming industry in Collegeport and also by interest in citrus tree farming in the area. In Palacios we moved into a house by the bay and James found work as a cattle broker and also opened a butcher shop in the Sisson Grocery Store in downtown Palacios. We were active in the community and were members of the First Presbyterian Church in Palacios. James died in 1940 and I continued to live in the house by the bay for forty-one years until my passing. I was known for the beautiful quilts that I made in my home and I enjoyed sitting on my front porch and visiting with friends in the Palacios community who stopped by. My daughter, Ellen, lived for many years in Austin. She worked as an accountant for the Presbyterian Theological Seminary.  My son, Norman, was a Palacios resident, who was active in the community as a city councilman and as designer of the Palacios Golf Course. I was blessed with grandchildren and great-grandchildren and lived to 90 years of age.

Sels B. (1892-1957) & Ruth B. (1897-1996)

My name is Sels Andrew Buffaloe. I was born on June 8, 1892 in Rowlett, Dallas County, Texas. My father was Rufus Franklin Buffaloe, Sr. He was born in Vaiden, Carroll County, Mississippi. My mother was Dora Jackson Buffaloe. My parents were married August 5, 1888. I married Ruth Beatrice McDonald on September 23, 1911 in Kemp, Kaufman County, Texas. If you do the math, I was 19 and she was 14 years old. I served in WWII. When we lived in Palacios , we had a store on Main Street. No one seems to remember what we sold. The details of our lives are very sketchy now. Seems that we are slowly being forgotten. I died here in Palacios in 1957. Ruth continued to live in Palacios until her death in 1996. She lived to be 99 years old. All the old time Buffaloes are gone now. It appears we took most of the family history with us.

Cashius M. (1860-1936) & Rose Anna (1865-1944)

Played by Colleen Claybourn

My name is Cashius M. Claybourn. I was born in 1860. My parents were of English descent from William Claybourn who came to Jamestown, Virginia on the good ship “George” in 1621. I married the lovely Rose Anna Caldonia Williams born in 1865. We had eight children before 1902 when we moved to Trinity, Texas for Rose’s health. The following year we had our ninth child. They were: Hershel-1881, Ira Marshell-1882, Arthur Ellis-1885, Verdie Cordelia-1887, Mary Myrtle-1890, Ernest Theodore-1893, Guy Raymond-1897, Glenn Dale-1900, and Forrest Clyde-1903. I had 130 acres of pine timber and operated a lumber mill, and later I had a livery business. We had the first automobile in town - a red Pope-Hartford. Trinity was apparently not far enough south for Rose’s health so in 1907, we moved to Palacios. I brought my automobile on the train - it was the first one in Palacios also. I farmed rice and did carpentry work to support my family. I later established a taxi service and raised some cattle. I died in 1936 and Rose died in 1944. You may know my grandson, Guy Claybourn Jr.

John Wesley (1853-1930) & Emma Tennessee Shelton (1861-1938)

Played by JoAnn Estopinal, Volunteer

My name is Emma Tennessee Shelton Crawford. My father, George Wesley Shelton was born in 1814. He came to Texas as a volunteer with David Crockett and was actively involved in the Texas War of Independence. He received a grant of land in the Corsicana area after the war. I was born and raised there and married John Wesley Crawford in 1879. We moved to Palacios in 1912 with our six children. Although I am proud of all my children, let me tell you about my son Carlton Wesley Crawford. He graduated from Palacios High School in 1916. Went into the Navy during WWI and served on the USS Harrisburg. When he returned home, he attended University of Texas and studied  business. In 1921 he opened a business preserving figs. The business expanded to canned vegetables, Uncle Ollie’s chili and  tamales, and finally shrimp. The Crawford Packing Company shipped canned shrimp to all areas of the United States. Carlton was a good man and was always ready to help those who needed assistance. During WWII, he was one of the first to convert to frozen seafoods because of the shortage of cans. He was active in the National Fisheries Institute, the Shrimp Association of the Americas, and the Shrimp Canner’s Association. He was a member of the Rotary Club, the Chamber of Commerce, served on the Palacios School Board, Director of the U.S.O. Council and served as a state representative from this district for two terms. He was also one of the organizers of MOPS (Men of Palacios) a loosely organized group of men who were concerned with the future of Palacios. I died in 1938 and missed a lot of my son’s career. But a proud Mother none the less.

Harry L. (1861-1941) & Alpha R. (1864-1942)

Played by Maelynne, Great Granddaughter

My name is Harrison Lutrell Curtis. They call me Harry. I was born in Sabina, Ohio on April 11, 1861 to James W. And Catherine B. Lutrell Curtis. I was the 3rd oldest of 6 children - 4 boys and 2 girls. I married my beautiful wife, Alpha Retta Wright in Sabina, Ohio. We had several children. Our first children were twin girls, born in the winter of 1885. They had a very rough start and the first one died at 7 days, and then her sister died 4 days later. Almost a year later to the day, we had our third child, Clarence. He lived to be 19. Then our fourth child came into this world, and then our fifth. The only child to survive birth, youth and live long into adulthood was our fourth, George Wright. Alpha Retta and I decided when all but one of our children died, that we needed to go south. We had received some brochures on Palacios, Texas. We decided to set out for this Palacios. We arrived in 1909/1910. I was not a handy person. I was good with sales and figures, but not tools. In fact, if I were to have a hammer in my hand now, my family would be running in the other direction fearing for what I was going to do with that hammer. I don’t do too well driving, either. After my wreck on 4th street, I decided I would never drive again. I met Bob Sisson . He and I opened a grocery store on 5th & Main. Being in the public eye, I took my appearance very seriously. A hair could not be out of place, suits had to be pressed and my shoes had to be polished. I would go out in the garage and polish my shoes every morning before work. Mr. Sisson and I were good business partners, we had a successful venture. My customers knew, “My word is my bond”. When it was time for us to retire, the business went to my son, George. At this time we were selling automobiles. George later returned to the grocery business. Sundays we went to church. We belonged to the Methodist Church, right across the street from our home at 311 3rd St. Alpha Retta and I lived with our son and his wife for several years. We were able to see our family grow and our four grandchildren born. Our son George took good care of us. I died peacefully at home and Alpha Retta died at home two weeks later.

James Addison (1827-1908) & Sallie J. (1837-1913)

 Played by Mary Sherran

James Addison Elder was my Great Uncle and the first veterinarian in this part of the country. Following his brother to Palacios who had arrived in 1905 to start the first bank in Palacios, “Ad” , as he was called, first managed the pavilion which consisted of renting bathing suits, selling soda waters and supervising dances. On the side he took a correspondence course to become a veterinarian and was called upon far and wide. There was no vaccinations in those days so his practice consisted of breach births or scours. He bought a Ford car which my aunt Jane, a teenager, taught him to drive. My fondest memories were breezing around in his car with him. When his sister died he returned to Ohio to manage her estate until his death and my grandmother had to pay to have him shipped back to her to be buried. I did not hold to my grandmother’s prejudice against Uncle Ad. When his car jugged into the yard I knew there were animal crackers and candy for me.

Annie Laura (1878 - 1909) & Charley F. (1879 - ____)

Played by Colleen Ryan

 My name is Annie Laura Emmons. I was born February 20, 1878. I married Charley F. Emmons in 1894 here in Texas. He was a brick mason and I was a housewife. We had a daughter, Beatrice L. Emmons in 1895 and a son, Joseph V. Emmons in 1897. We moved to Palacios from Hubbard, Texas (in Hill County) some time after 1900. My daughter died October 3, 1909 at the age of 14 years. I died October 17, 1909 (14 days later) at the age of 31 years. We are buried here together. Both our lives were short. My husband put this beautiful marker here for us. Beatrice’s life is reflected on one side and mine on the other. Yes, Mother and daughter, we share this space and monument My husband and son moved away and started new lives.

John (1842-1915) & Savana (1852-1931)

Played by Carroll Cairnes

 My name is Savanna Pfrimmer Henry. I became known as  Susanna. I was born in May 15, 1852 in Sebringville, Ontario, Canada. My father, Jacob Pfrimmer, and my mother immigrated from  Alsace Lorraine, Germany back in 1830. John, my husband,  was born in May of 1842 in London Derry  County Ireland. His Mother’s name was Sarah Bradin, she was born in Ireland. John immigrated to Canada as an adult. We were married in Sebringville, Ontario, Canada in 1872. (The place of my birth) We had three children. Our son John Jacob died at the age of 15 in 1888. Husband John was a contractor and builder. As if that wasn’t enough, he was also a farmer. I was known to all as “Mother Henry”. We moved our family to the United States in 1898. By 1900, we were in Liberty County Texas. John continued his occupations. We spent 14 years building and farming there. Our oldest daughter, Eva, married a doctor. In 1914 we moved to Palacios with our daughter and son-in-law, Dr and Mrs. A. B. Cairnes. John, my husband, died the following year. I lived with my daughter and her family for the rest of my life. I stayed active in my church work,  helping others and various charitable efforts. I died on July 23, 1931 at the age of 79.

Fredrick  (1846-1932) & Elizabeth A. (1845-1920)

Played by Peggy Hafernick

 My name is Elizabeth A. Patrick Hensel. I was born in 1845 in Ohio. I am the daughter of Alexander and Jane Harrod Patrick. I had four brothers and sisters. I married Fredrick C. Hensel in 1865. He was 19 and I was 20 years old. His parents Martin and Elizabeth were born in Germany. They came to Franklin County Ohio before he was born. He had five brothers and sisters. Fredrick worked as a wholesale liquor merchant in Ohio and we had six children while living there. By 1900 we lived in Nebraska. We came to Palacios in 1920. Our youngest daughter Edna Elizabeth and her husband lived here. They came because of her father-in-law’s health. She had married Robert Jay “Bob” Sisson back in Nebraska before moving to Palacios. I died the same year I moved to Palacios. My life in Palacios was short. Fredrick continued living here and worked as a traveling salesman. Fredrick died in 1932. Our daughter Edna Elizabeth and her husband Bob are buried very near us in this cemetery.

Sidney Johnson (1863-1947) & George Alice Boyd (1863-1935)

Played by Margaret Hill Lynn

My name is Eleanor Katherine Mathis nee White. I am the granddaughter of Sidney J. And George Alice Hill. My mother was their oldest daughter, Nora Alice White nee Hill. I have many fond memories of going to Grandpa and Grandma’s for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Sidney J. Hill and his brother Jim, left Georgia after the Civil War. Their family plantation was burned to the ground during the war. They came to North Texas. Sidney J. married George Alice Boyd. Jim Hill stayed in North Texas. Sidney, with his family, moved to the coast. They first lived on the Ward Ranch a few miles west of Palacios. One day when my Mom (Nora) was about 10, she and friend Eleanor Ward went swimming in the bay near the Ranch. While they were swimming, a wagon full of people came to fish. Eleanor grabbed their clothes and ran. Nora (my Mom) had to find a way to get away. My father, Mark A. White was a ten year old boy. He always teased Mother about seeing her “skinny dipping” in the bay. Grandma and Grandpa Hill had ten children; Nora Alice and Lawrence were the oldest and twins, George, Luther, Earl, Bessie (her twin died at birth), Ben, Robert and Mary Jane. My Grandpa wanted all his children to have a good education. So they moved from the Ranch to Palacios. Mother was the first to go to San Marcos Academy in 1903. Mother taught school in Palacios until she married Mark Anderson White in 1911. Grandma and Grandpa moved to their farm on the Tres Palacios River. That is where I remember all the wonderful holidays with everyone and all their families coming for the holidays. Grandpa farmed cotton, corn, and grain until the work was too much. Mom and Dad bought the farm from them and they continued to live there. I graduated from Palacios High School in 1935. Grandma died that same year. We leased the farm out and moved to Kingsville. Grandpa lived with us until he passed away in 1947. My oldest daughter at the age of three would sit on the porch with her Great Grandpa and have buttermilk and corn bread. Grandpa and Grandma are buried here as are many other relatives. Margaret Lynn nee Hill and Eldon Hill were the children of Luther and Donnie Ellis Hill. Many of you know the family. Margaret has been very active in church, school and politics.

Kathryn M . (1873-1961) & Joseph (1878-1926)

Played by Gene Solomon      

 My name is Joseph Hurta. The Austrian spelling is “Josef.” I was born March 14, 1878 in Austria. I married a girl five years older than me named Kathryn Muscial. We called her Kate. She was born in Poland on November 25, 1873. She was the daughter of Mr. & Mrs. Joseph Muscial. We sailed from Bremen, Germany on a ship named “Koln” to the Port of Galveston after the turn of the century. You can find our names on the passenger lists. I was an engineer and a farmer by trade and put my trades to work when we got to the Palacios area. We had a farm in Deutschburg, which is actually in Jackson County but just west of Palacios. I also served on the Draft Board for WWI for Jackson County. Kate and I had three daughters and three sons. I died suddenly on October 22, 1926. My wife lived on in the Palacios area for the next 35 years. She died August 2, 1961 at the age of 88, just before hurricane Carla hit here. “I’m kinda glad she didn’t have to see all that mess”.

Arthur Edgar “Jerry” (1883 - 1965) & Eleanor Katherine Harrison (1888 - 1979)

Played by Kenneth Brandon

My name is Arthur Edgar Louderback but everyone called me “Jerry.” I was born in 1883 to Andrew J. and Matilda Swenhart Louderback in Valparaiso, Indiana. My parents had the first bathtub in that town and saw that my family had the same in Texas. As a young man, I had various jobs including stage hand at a Chicago theatre where “Ben Hur” was produced. I remember horses galloping on stage on huge revolving drums. Oh, those were the days. I arrived in Texas when I was 25 years old in 1908. I bought land on Turtle Creek with the help of my father who was a banker. I built a small shack near the creek which I shared with two friends named Perry and Berry. They gave me the name “Jerry”. Yep, Perry, Berry and Jerry. That name followed me the rest of my life. I courted and married a young schoolmistress from Bay City, Eleanor Katherine Harrsion in 1913. Eleanor was born in Cuero in 1889. Her parents were survivors of the 1875 storm at Indianola. Eleanor and I built a home on our farm land and lived there two years when WWI broke out. We moved to Beaumont where I worked in the shipyards while Eleanor went to business college. Because of a flu epidemic, Eleanor was asked to teach. When she accepted, her business college was free. In 1919 we moved back to the Palacios farm and started a dairy. Eleanor began teaching at Caranchua, sharing a ten mile horse and buggy trip each day with a teacher friend. Our children Mary Eleanor was born in 1921, Geraldine (also known as Jerry) born in 1923 and John Jerome in 1925. I died here in Palacios in 1964. Eleanor died in Wharton in 1979.


Eleanor Harrison Louderback


Eleanor Katherine Harrison was born December 26, 1888, to Francis and Christine Harrison in Cuero, Texas. She came to Bay City with her family in 1902.  In 1908 Eleanor graduated from the Jefferson Davis School in Bay City. After attending "normal" school in Huntsville and Cuero, she was awarded a four-year certificate to teach.


Eleanor Harrison taught her first year of school at Danevang, Texas, and her second year at "The Webber School" near Victoria. In 1912 Eleanor accepted a request from School Superintendent Charles Duller to teach in Blessing. She had received a six-year certificate after attending a "normal" school in Bay City that year. While teaching in Blessing she met Arthur Edgar (Jerry) Louderback, they were married July 10, 1913, The Louderbacks moved to their farm home in 1915, and Eleanor began teaching grades one through six at Turtle Bay, a two-room school five miles west of. Palacios. In 1917 the Louderbacks moved to Beaumont, Texas, where Jerry worked in the shipyards and Eleanor enrolled in business college. There soon became a teacher shortage because of an influenza epidemic. Eleanor presented her letter of recommendation from the Matagorda County superintendent and was offered free courses at the business school if she would help teach. She did not learn shorthand at the school, but she taught it for the following two years.


After the war, Eleanor began teaching at Carancahua until late 1921 when she abandoned her teaching career to begin her family. Three children and six years later, Eleanor returned to teaching.


Her certificate was renewed by Governor "Ma" Ferguson with a stipulation that she continue working toward a degree. She spent six to eight summers at San Marcos State Teachers College, Alpine's Sul Ross, and finally the University of Houston, where she received her degree a good many years before her retirement m 1958.


From the beginning of her teaching career at Danevang through her last days with the Palacios ISD--a span of some 50 years--Eleanor Harrison Louderback was a stable influence, with an innate understanding of students and their families, maintaining discipline and teaching well in her classes.


Born into the middle of a large family, there was always time for parents, brothers, sisters, and their families as well as being a stalwart, loving wife and mother. For 62 years, Eleanor was a faithful member of the Presbyterian church in Palacios. The present church library has recently been redecorated in her memory. She also belonged to the Palacios Order of the Eastern Star serving in one or another of the stations of the Order, including Worthy Matron, and to the Athena Club of Palacios, a literary organization.


Mrs. Irving Moore, Jr.

Edward Carl  (1868 - 1961) & Sara Emeline Doss (1870 - 1955)

Played by Earl Hudson, Volunteer

My name is Edward Carl Pasal. I am the son of Helmut and Sophia Pasal. I was born in 1868 in Canal Winchester, Ohio. When I was 5 months old, my family moved to Savannah, Missouri where I spent my childhood and attended a country school. I married Sarah Emeline Doss in 1895 and we moved to Urbana, Illinois where I worked at the Big Four Railroad. I was making 15¢ an hour. Our daughter Mabel was born in 1902 on our 7th wedding anniversary. I moved my family to Palacios in 1904. Palacios was still just a dream for real estate developers at that time. It had a train depot, a hotel down on east bay and a post office. We opened a small hotel with a dining room which sold meals and groceries so you could make your own meals. We carried water from the railroad station pump. It was the only well in town. I served as assistant Post Master under Christian Doss for nine years. Cattle roamed the streets and one day a cow came in the opened back door of the Post Office and left through the front plate glass window. We joined the Presbyterian Church in 1922 and I used my carpenter skills to craft the baptismal font and the altar chairs which remain today. We lived on Fourth Street in a stately home. My wife, Sara, died in 1955 two months after we celebrated our 60th  wedding anniversary. I celebrated my 90th birthday with friends and family in 1958 My daughter Mabel moved into my home to take care of me and operated an answering service until my death in 1961 (the year of Hurricane Carla). I died at the age of 93. I had a good life.

John Henry (1854-1938) & Martha Elizabeth Pierce (1870-1933)

Played by Nellie Rockenbaugh

 My name if Martha Elizabeth Pierce Rockenbaugh, better known as “Mattie” to all my family and friends. I was born Sept. 3, 1870 in Tennessee. My family moved to Abilene while I was a child. It was there that I met and married my husband, John Henry Rockenbaugh. The date was Jan. 18, 1891 and I often looked at our wedding pictures - me in my hair in small tight curls on top of my head, wearing a long wedding dress with a fitted waist, long puffed sleeves and a bustled skirt and John with his moustache and slicked down hair with his watch fob hooked on the vest of his pin striped suit. My husband was born May 8, 1854 in Arkansas. He came to Texas when he was a young man and made many cattle drives from Texas to Kansas. We had 8 children - 4 girls and 4 boys. I was a seamstress and helped make band uniforms for Abilene Christian College. John Henry and I lived in Abilene and the Wills Point area until we moved to Palacios in November of 1917. We lived on a farm located on Hwy 35 Just north of FM 521 intersection on what was known as the Harriman place. We purchased the land now known as Tres Palacios Oaks and farmed cotton. I forgot the exact year. By that time most of our children had married and moved away: that is all but Fannie Mae and John K. You can find them and some of my grandchildren, Elizabeth and John K. Jr. around here nearby. Some of you may know my twin granddaughters, Frankie Faye and Fannie Raye Stallard. Frankie Faye and her husband Paul Cooper live out in the Deutschburg area. John Jr.’s wife, Nellie lives north of town on 12th St. As we got older and didn’t have any help for the hard, backbreaking farm work, we moved to town, bought a house down here on the north side of Welch Street between 5th & 6th St. We continued to work hard to eke out a living. John Henry had a cow to provide milk and butter and raised a large, beautiful garden and I cooked lunches in our home for those who wanted a good, home cooked, family meal and good conversation, too – all for just $.35. I especially liked to cook cornbread and had a special platter to serve it on. It was getting sort of cracked; I wished my husband would let me buy some new dishes. Of course, some days we served fish – fishing was one of John Henry’s favorite hobbies. You’ve heard of those big fish tales – well, he had many to tell our friends and family, over and over again. I have wonderful memories of my family. My grandchildren, Novella and Lucille, often reminded me of how, when they were small, I always greeted them at the door with a great big smile and “Lordy, Lordy, look who’s here!” I did enjoy all my grandchildren! We had two mean little boys in our neighborhood. I’m not calling any names.........They aggravated my husband and often taunted him with their song, “When the Roll is Called Up Yonder”. Because they were so mean, he’d laugh and say, “Never mind, when that roll is called up yonder, you won’t be there.” After a hard day working, we’d likely be out on the front porch on Welch Street resting and rocking, just enjoying the quiet of a small town. Friends and family were always welcome to stop by, visit a while, and maybe have a cool glass of lemonade.

John Richard (1847-1933) & Margaret J. (1860-1938)

Played by Lucja White

 My name is Margaret Josephine Herman Rowles. I was born in County Heath Ireland on May 25, 1850. I came to America with my family at the age of six and resided in New York. My father’s name was Joseph Herman. John, my husband, was born in Oxford County England on August 13, 1847. He came to New York at the age of 21. We were married in Herman Springs, New York on November 4, 1872 - the very year John arrived. All four of our children were born in New York. We sailed from New York to the Port at Indianola, just south of here, in 1875 with our children. At that time, Indianola was a thriving port. We moved up the Tres Palacios River to Grimes Landing, near the old town of Tidehaven and set ourselves up as ranchers and farmers. My husband was a Mason and we were members of the Church of England (Episcopalians). We celebrated our golden wedding anniversary on November 4, 1922 at our home in Palacios. Our daughter Sara Jane Rowles married Louis Wolf. She is buried in the above-ground tomb over there. John died in his sleep the morning of March 21, 1933. I died October 21, 1938 in Blessing at the age of 88 years.

Guy Alvin (1878-1943) & Jessie Pearl (1880-1964)

Played by Gaye Hudson, Volunteer

 My name is Jessie Pearl Chambers Salsbury. I was born on December 16, 1880 in Minneapolis, Kansas. I was the daughter of William J. And Nellie Scidmore Chambers. I married Guy Alvin Salsbury in 1911. Guy was born in Clairinda, Indiana in 1878 to John S. and Rachel  Reynolds Salsbury. His father was born in New York and his mother in Indiana. He had five brothers and sisters. Guy was a farmer, a ginner and finally a banker. We moved to Palacios in 1911. We lived in a fine home located at 403 East Bay Blvd. Our house is still there. It has a nice big screened-in front porch. My husband headed the draft board in Matagorda County during WWI. In 1920 we operated a movie theater in Palacios. I was an active member of the Methodist Church, the Wednesday Club, Tres Palacios Garden Club, served as President of the Matagorda Federation of Women’s Clubs and the Palacios Library Association. I died in 1964. I left a sister in California and one in Palacios. Her name was Ethel McDonough.

Edna Elizabeth (1884-1971) - Robert Jay 1882-1967)

Played by Peggy Hafernick

My name is Robert Jay Sisson. People called me “Bob”. I was born September 11, 1882 in Illinois to Henry and Clara Robinson Sisson. We moved to Nebraska when I was two years old. I graduated from Hebron High School and attended the University of Nebraska for two years. I had to quit college to manage one of my father’s grain elevators. I married a girl from Columbus, Ohio on April 18, 1906. Her name was Edna Elizabeth Hensel. Her parents were Fredrick and Elizabeth Hensel. She finished the Conservatory of Music in Lincoln, Nebraska after high school. In 1910 our daughter Elizabeth C. Sisson was born. Due to my Father’s health, we were advised to move to a milder climate. We arrived in Palacios in 1911. We opened a grocery store in 1912. That same year our son Harry H. was born. During the Herbert Hoover Administration, I served as Post Master for 16 months. I re-opened the Quality Grocery in 1936 and continued to operate it until I retired. I was a businessman interested in seeing Palacios progress, served several terms on the city council and as director of the chamber of commerce. My wife, Edna served on the School Board and was a member of the Wednesday Club. Her contributions in music to church, school and community are recalled by older citizens of Palacios and Blessing. I died in 1967. Edna Elizabeth died in 1971. Some of you may remember us. Some of you may remember our grocery store.

Jesse Renfro (1858-1936) & Martha B. Smith (1876-1954)

 Played by Sandi Miller, Great Granddaughter

 My name is Jesse Renfro Slone. I was born in Alabama in 1858 to John and Jermina Slone I was one of eight children. We came to Texas when I was 10 years old. We all grew up in Milam and Coryell County in Texas. While living in Rogers, Texas, my younger brother Sammy was sent to water the horses in the river and was attacked by Indians and scalped. He was 16 years old. My older brother James was killed in the Civil War. He was 15 years old. I married Martha Bernice Smith and we had eleven children. I ran a blacksmith shop in Rogers in 1893. In 1900, we moved to Killeen where I had a general store. In 1914 & 1915, we lived in Marlin where we operated the Artesian Hotel. We moved to Whitehall near Ganado and farmed the land. We finally settled in Bay City in 1926 and bought a home on Nichols Street. My son Thomas Earl Slone married Nellie A. Johnson in 1924. In 1927 they bought land and became successful ranchers and rice farmers. The land became known as the Slone Ranch at Palacios. It was formerly the Williamson Ranch and prior to that was farmed by a Japanese native who farmed rice using artesian wells. Because Tom and Nellie were interested in young people, they donated land to be used as the location for the Palacios Recreation Center and Little League ball parks. To this day, my descendants still live and work in the Palacios Matagorda County area.

Charles Edward (1852-1931) & Luella (1855-1946)

Played by Gayle Ayers, Volunteer

My name is Charles Edward Smith, but everybody called me “Pap”. I was born on September 8, 1852 in Warsaw, Missouri. My Father was J. E. Smith. My mother’s name has been lost. As a child (somewhere around 1866) my family moved to Ferris, Texas where I grew up. In 1877, I married the lovely Luella James born in 1855. In 1888, we moved to Ashby, located on the east side of the Tres Palacios River. I was a farmer during those years. In 1900, we moved to the town of Matagorda. In 1920, we moved to Palacios where I was one of the town’s first merchants. I conducted a successful business in Palacios for many years. I am referred to as a “Palacios pioneer and one of its most estimable citizens”. I watched Palacios grow from a small village to an incorporated town and noted every step of progress with much interest. Between the years of 1878 and 1908, Luella and I had four children; Earnest, Ora B., Luella B. and Mary J. Our oldest and only son moved to Danevang. I died in my home on March 12, 1931. Luella died in Corpus Christi November 18, 1946. Palacios was very good to us.

Florence Margaret (1888-1984) & Bruce Winfred (1881-1957)

Played by Leslie Hartmen

My name is Florence Margaret Roberson Trull. I was born in Kingman, Kansas in 1888. My parents were Henry Lewis Franklin Roberson and Nancy Jared Roberson. My father made the race to the Cherokee Strip when it was opened to settlers in 1893. I was educated at Washburn College in Topeka, Kansas. That is where I met Bruce Winfred Trull. He graduated and took a job at the Kirwin State Bank for a year then moved to Midfield, Texas and was making $100 a month. Upon my graduation from Washburn in 1911, Bruce returned to Kansas and we were married the following October. We came back to Texas by train and spent our honeymoon at the new Galvez Hotel in Galveston. Continued on by train to Blessing arriving at night and were met by a wagon load of friends for our trip to our home in Midfield. The bank closed and Bruce expanded his business to include feed, hardware, farming and real estate. We bought Farmers Canal Company. Between 1912-27 we had five children and lived in Midfield until 1929. That’s when we moved our family to Palacios. We both knew the value of an education and sent our children to college. Our third child, Carl Roberson Trull, contracted tuberculosis while in college and died three years later. By 1948 the family began to prosper, so Bruce and I set up the B. W. Trull Foundation of educational, charitable, and religious purposes. In 1967 it became The Trull Foundation. We gave scholarships to graduating high school seniors in Palacios and Tidehaven in memory of our son Carl. The Austin Theological Seminary was close to our hearts and we made substantial gifts there as well. Bruce died in 1957. I continued with our charitable work by contributing to the Palacios Public Library and other charitable endeavors. We both gave of our time, talents, money and influence in the Lord’s work here in the Palacios area until my death in 1984. At my death I left the Trull Marsh to the city as an estuary park. The only one of its kind within a city limits on the Texas coast. You can enjoy it today.

Dr. Joseph Ralph “Doc” (1870-1957)

1st wife - Mary “Minnie” Isabella Wagner (1874-1911)
2nd wife - Harriet B. Jennings (divorced)
3rd wife - Emylee Bonner Wagner (1889-1983)

Played by Don Hyett

My name is Joseph Ralph Wagner. I was born in 1870 in Newman, Illinois to Dr. John Marquand (Marquin) and Sarah Ellen Wagner. I graduated from Rush Medical College in Chicago and began practice in Newman in 1895. About 1902, I moved my family to Crowley, Louisiana and farmed  rice for a couple of years. I moved my family to Palacios in 1906, bought a farm intending to raise rice. I found out that Palacios was in need of a doctor, so in 1907 I took the Texas Medical Examination and opened a practice. Every week, I put an ad in the Palacios Beacon to let people know  that my phone number was #13. I was your typical “country doctor” beginning my practice with a horse and buggy. In 1909 I advanced to an automobile. That automobile wouldn’t always go where I was needed and someone would have to meet me with a buggy to take me over muddy roads to the sick person. Many times, they would meet me and carry me piggyback to the buggy so I would remain clean. Because there was no hospital, most of my practice was done through making house calls. Often I was paid with gratitude and admiration instead of cash. I had a lot of success with medicine but I was a financial failure. Everyone in the vicinity knew when I said this that it was just so much hot air. My practice lasted over fifty-four years in Palacios. I delivered some four thousand babies. In 1949, about one hundred of those babies joined friends and patients in paying tribute to me for my long years of patient, faithful, service to the people of the Palacios area. A dear friend of mine once wrote of me, “It is doubtful that anyone enjoys just plain everyday living more than “Doc “ Wagner. He enjoys talking to his cronies, and listening to the radio, and eating, and traveling and puffing on cigars – he enjoys everything he does.” I was a member of the First Presbyterian Church, a charter member of Palacios Rotary, served as City Health Officer for 39 years, and was a Mason for 65 years. I was married three times but only had three children by my first wife Minnie. She too is buried here. I died in 1957 at Bay View Hospital in Palacios. In 1960 a new hospital was built in Palacios and the town voted to name it Wagner General Hospital in my honor. It has since been changed to Palacios Community Medical Center and referred to as PCMC. But the old timers and those babies still call it Wagner General.

Louis (1875 - unknown) & Sallie J. (Sarah Jane Rowles) (1881 - 1946)

My name is Sarah Jane Rowles Wolf. I was born in 1881. My parents were John and Elizabeth Rowles. My father was born in Oxford County England in 1847. He came to the United States from London at the age of 21. My mother was born in County Heath, Ireland in 1850. My mother and father were married in New York in 1872. They were early pioneers that landed at Indianola in 1875. I grew up living along Tres Palacios Creek near Deming’s Bridge. My father was a rancher and served as Worthy Master of the Masonic Order. I attended Tres Palacios School near early Tidehaven landing which was near my home. My name is on the 1895 census as a student in that school. I had two sisters Elizabeth and Lucy Rowles both born in New York in 1874. They married P. R. Dawdy and Jack Dawdy of Blessing I married Louis Wolf. We lived on the west bank of Turtle Creek across from Palacios in large two story house. We were farmers and ranchers. Our stately old ranch house is no longer there. I died in 1946. My husband buried me in this tomb above the ground to wait for him.


Mort Robért “Dead Bob”

Played by Cody Brandon

I am perhaps the oldest recorded human to have lived and died in this area. I was here back in 1685. That was 324 years ago. I came from France on the ship LaBelle in search of a new life in a new world.  I was a sailor. I went down with my ship in a strong January storm in 1686. I laid in a watery grave just off shore from Palacios for 310 years. On this very day, October 31st,  in 1996, I was found. Those who found me, called me “the skeleton.” It was the local people who recognized I was a human and affectionately gave me the name “Dead Bob.” Because those who found me disapproved of that name, the local people changed my name to “Mort Robért”- a French name. This name in any language is still the same. They moved my bones to Austin and buried me there. I don’t understand why, I never laid eyes on the Austin area. If I could call a place home, it would be here. I was here for a very long time. They may have moved my bones, but my spirit remains. And if it were my choice, I would have been buried here, near the sea, where I belong. I have come to join the other spirits on this night so that I too may  not be forgotten. I played a significant role in the history of Palacios as well. I have no marker here........... Nothing to recall my life or death................ Just the story that I was here.................... And my spirit still sails this bay.

Burial at the Texas State Cemetery

Courtesy of Roberta Ripke and Palacios Area Fund.


Copyright 2009 - Palacios Area Fund
All rights reserved

November 1, 2009
March 1, 2013