Communities
Communities
Fairview
Fairview is at the junction of Farm roads 536 and 2505, ten miles west of Floresville in western Wilson County. The town was established in the late 1850s, when German and Polish settlement began in the western portion of the county. Old Rock Church, a mile north, was the site of revival meetings and the scene of the trials of outlaws captured by the last of the local vigilante committees under Charles Westermann and Drake Gilliland.

A Fairview post office opened in 1868, and by 1892 the town had four churches, three general stores, a drugstore, a barbershop, and a population of 100. A two-teacher school was in operation by 1896, when it had an enrollment of sixty-seven. The post office was closed in 1908 and the mail ordered to Floresville.

The town declined during the 1920s and 1930s, and by 1947 it had two stores and a population of fifty. Fairview subsequently began to grow again and in 1990 had two churches, several businesses, and 322 inhabitants. The population remained unchanged in 2000.
 
Floresville
Floresville, the county seat of Wilson County, is at the junction of U.S. Highway 181 and State Highway 97, thirty miles southeast of San Antonio in the central portion of the county.
The area was settled by Canary Island immigrant Don Francisco Flores de Abrego, who established a ranch headquarters six miles northwest of the site of present Floresville in the eighteenth century. The Spaniards founded Rancho de Las Cabras to serve as a principal provider of meat and dairy products for Mission Francisco de La Espada in San Antonio. Goliad Road in Floresville is part of the original road that ran from San Antonio to Goliad and on to the Texas coast during the Spanish colonial rule.

In 1833 the nucleus of the town included the Flores home, a chapel, and a graveyard. The community was called Lodi and served as the Wilson County seat from 1867 to March 1871, and again from July 1871 to 1873.

In 1867 Floresville, named for the Flores family, was founded; its site included part of the area known as Lodi. In the early 1870s a townsite was surveyed and laid out. At that time a prominent citizen, Andrew G. Pickett, who owned a ranch with an irrigation system, started raising peanuts. A Floresville post office was established in 1872. In November 1873 county voters made Floresville the county seat.

In the 1870s Floresville Academy offered several levels of education. Development accelerated in 1883, when the San Antonio and Aransas Pass Railway announced plans to construct a line through the town. By 1885 Floresville had two hotels, several stores, a weekly newspaper named the Chronicle, two steam cotton gin-gristmills, and a population of 400. The town was incorporated in 1890, when the reported population was 1,500. A five-teacher school was in operation by 1896, when it had an enrollment of 206.

The town continued to grow during the early years of the twentieth century, supported by both the cotton and livestock industry, and by 1910 it had two banks and a population of 1,800. Peanuts were developed as a cash crop in the surrounding region around 1915 and in later years residents nicknamed Floresville the "Peanut Capital of Texas."

Between 1930 and 2000 the town grew steadily, from 1,581 residents in 1931 to 1,935 in 1952; 2,980 in 1965; 5,414 in 1990; and 5,868 in 2000. There were 342 rated businesses in 2000. The town serves a market center for area peanut, small grain, and cattle producers. Many residents now commute to work in San Antonio. Floresville is best known for its annual Peanut Festival, started in 1938, which attracts 10,000 to 15,000 visitors each year.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Louise Stadler, ed., Wilson County History (Dallas: Taylor, 1990).

Just Notes:
•Floresville is the birthplace of Texas hero Juan Seguin.
•The Wilson County courthouse, in Floresville, was built in 1875.
•Eramus Seguin, one of the founders of Texas, settled in what is now the Riverbend Subdivision in the late 1700s.
•Floresville is the hometown of Governor John Connally.
 
Graytown
Graytown is on Farm Road 2579 some eleven miles northwest of Floresville in western Wilson County. It was named for Scottish immigrant James Gray, who brought in laborers and renters to develop the land that his wife, Simona Fernandez Seguín, inherited from her father.

St. James Church, completed in 1854 and dedicated by Bishop Jean Marie Odin, became the religious center for all Catholics within a thirty-mile radius. The name of the church was changed in 1877 to Our Lady of Guadalupe.

When its post office was established in 1860, the community was in Bexar County, but a boundary change put it in Wilson County in 1869. For many years the post office was a gathering place for area cowboys and ranchers. A school was in operation at the community by 1896, when it had an enrollment of sixty-four.

A peak Graytown population of 369 was reached in 1900, but after that many residents moved to nearby Elmendorf on the railroad. The post office closed in 1912, but as late as the mid-1930s the town still had a school, a store, a church, and a number of houses. After World War II the school and store were closed, and in the early 1990s Graytown was a dispersed community with a population of sixty-four. The population remained the same in 2000.
 
Kicaster
Kicaster is on Farm Road 3432 twelve miles northwest of Floresville in northwestern Wilson County. The community was founded after the Civil War.qv A school was in operation by 1896, when it had an enrollment of forty-nine. In the mid-1930s Kicaster had a school and a number of houses; several stores were located nearby. After World War IIqv the school was closed, and in the early 1990s only a cemetery and a few scattered dwellings remained. The population was 100 in 2000.
 
Kosciusko
Kosciusko is at the junction of Farm roads 541 and 1347, twelve miles east of Floresville in southeastern Wilson County. It was named for Polish General Thaddeus Kosciusko when it was established about 1890 as a rural supply point for Polish and German settlers brought to the area by the San Antonio and Gulf Railroad. In 1900 Frank Nieschwietz operated a store, and the population was twenty-two. A local post office operated from 1906 to 1920, when the mail was ordered to Stockdale. Kosciusko had a population of ten in 1930. Three businesses and a population of forty were reported in 1947. The population was fifty in 1965 and 390 in 1990 and 2000.
 
Labatt
Labatt was on the San Antonio and Aransas Pass Railway and near the San Antonio River, some ten miles west of Floresville in western Wilson County. The area was originally part of the ranch holding of Francisco Flores de Abrego. In 1886 the San Antonio and Aransas Pass built a flag station and switch at the site and named it after Galveston attorney Henry J. Labatt. During the mid-1930s the area had a store and a number of houses. Later most of the residents moved away, and in the early 1990s only a few scattered dwellings remained.
 
La Vernia
La Vernia is on the south bank of Cibolo Creek at the junction of U.S. Highway 87 and Farm Road 775, fifteen miles north of Floresville in northern Wilson County. The town was first settled around 1850. W. R. Wiseman of Mississippi, who organized a Presbyterian church at the site around 1851, is said to have named the place Live Oak Grove for a grove nearby.

In 1853 a post office was established under the name Post Oak, which was changed to La Vernia in 1859. The origin of the name is uncertain. The Brahan Masonic lodge was established at La Vernia in 1859.

German and Polish immigration brought the population to 110 by 1885, when the community had three churches, a steam gristmill, and a cotton gin. H. Suhre, owner of the general store, was the first postmaster. In 1890 La Vernia had a population of 200. Construction of the San Antonio and Gulf Railroad across the area in 1893 brought the population to 343 by 1900.

A two-teacher school was in operation by 1896, when the enrollment was sixty-six. In 1915 the town had two gins, a bank, four churches, a pottery plant, a brick works, and a population of 500. In 1947 it had seventeen businesses.

In 1965 it had 700 residents and twenty-five businesses. The community incorporated around 1980 and in 1990 had a population of 639 and thirty-six businesses. In 2000 La Vernia had 136 businesses and a population of 931.
 
Lodi
Lodi, at the junction of Farm Road 536 and the Goliad Road, six miles northwest of Floresville, was the first settlement in Wilson County. Don Francisco Flores de Abrego established his hacienda there before 1832, and his home, church, and cemetery became the nucleus of a community that was made county seat in 1867. Lodi lost its position as county seat to Sutherland Springs in March 1871, regained it in July 1871, and in 1873 lost it again, this time to Floresville, a new townsite on the survey of the San Antonio and Aransas Pass Railway.

A post office was established in Lodi in 1858 and operated until 1872. A school was in operation by 1896, when it had an enrollment of 154. The town declined after 1900, and by 1940 only the ruins of the hacienda and church remained. A Texas Historical Commission marker was placed at the site in 1971.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Marker Files, Texas Historical Commission, Austin.
 
Loire
Loire, on Farm Road 536 fifteen miles west of Floresville in extreme western Wilson County, was first settled in the 1890s. A post office operated at the site from 1895 to 1912. The community is said to have been named by J. M. Swindler, the first postmaster, who moved to the area with a group of settlers from the Loire river valley of central France.

In 1896 the town reported a population of 200 and also had St. Luke's Catholic Church, a carpenter, a mason, and a school. In the mid-1930s Loire had a school, a church, a store, and a number of houses. After World War IIqv the school was closed, but in the early 1990s a church, a community center, a cemetery, and a few scattered dwellings still remained. In 2000 Loire had a population of fifty.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Atascosa County History (Pleasanton, Texas: Atascosa History Committee, 1984). Margaret G. Clover, The Place Names of Atascosa County (M.A. thesis, University of Texas, 1952).
 
Nockenut
Nockenut is on Farm Road 1681 twenty miles northeast of Floresville in northeastern Wilson County. It was settled in 1857 during the wave of German and Polish immigration into the area around Marion in Guadalupe County and Panna Maria in Karnes County. A post office opened there in 1858. The settlement was included in Guadalupe County until the boundary was changed in 1869.

In 1885 the community of seventy-five persons centered around a cotton gin and store operated by Joseph P. Watkins. H. S. Hastings, rancher, was postmaster; A. G. Hastings contracted to bring mail from Seguin; E. E. Hastings operated a general store. By 1890 the town had a population of eighty and a church, a school, a general store, a cotton gin, a grocer, and a wagonmaker.

Nockenut declined when railroads were built further south but remained a rural post office until 1906. By the mid-1930s only a few houses remained. In 1990 through 2000 the reported population was ten.
 
Pandora
Pandora is at the junction of U.S. Highway 87 and Farm Road 1107, twenty miles northeast of Floresville in eastern Wilson County. The area was probably first settled in the mid-nineteenth century. The town was established in the late 1890s as a stop on the San Antonio and Gulf Railroad. Wesley Irvin opened the first store there around 1900, and a post office was established in 1906. By 1914 the community had three general stores, two blacksmiths, a cotton gin, a druggist, a meat market, and a population of 100. Its population was reported as 200 in 1947. Afterward the number of residents slowly declined, and in 1990 the estimated population of Pandora was 125. The population remained the same in 2000.
 
Pleasant Valley
Pleasant Valley, on Farm Road 1107 nineteen miles northeast of Floresville in eastern Wilson County, was settled after the Civil War. A school was in operation there by 1896, when it had an enrollment of fifty. In the mid-1930s Pleasant Valley had a school, a cemetery, and a number of houses. After World War II the school was closed, and in the early 1990s only a cemetery and a few scattered dwellings remained.
 
Saspamco
Saspamco is on the northern bank of the San Antonio River off U.S. Highway 181, eleven miles northeast of Floresville in western Wilson County. Its name was derived from the initials of the San Antonio Sewer Pipe Manufacturing Company, which around 1901 began using the red clay of the area for the manufacture of tile products. Also in 1901, a post office opened there.

A loading switch on the San Antonio and Aransas Pass Railway became the nucleus of the community, which by 1915 had a population of 125, Baptist and Catholic churches, three grocers, two general stores, a hotel, a cotton gin, and a dairy. In the late 1930s Saspamco reported 200 residents; at that time the pipe plant employed about 150 people and had a production capacity of 120 tons of sewer pipe a day.

By the mid-1960s the town had 300 residents and six businesses. Thereafter the population grew slowly, though most of the businesses closed. In 1990 Saspamco reported 443 residents and one business. The population remained the same in 2000.
 
Stockdale
Stockdale is at the junction of U.S. Highway 87 and State highways 97 and 123, thirteen miles northeast of Floresville in eastern Wilson County. The town was named for Fletcher S. Stockdale, lieutenant governor when the town was established in 1863. A post office was established in 1871.

German and Polish immigration brought the population to 300 by 1885, when the town had four churches, a school, two mills, two blacksmith shops, two general stores, a grocery, and a drugstore. In 1898 the San Antonio and Gulf Railroad reached Stockdale, and by 1914 the population had grown to 900.

By 1925 industries included a planing mill that manufactured furniture and cabinets. In 1929 the estimated population was 1,000. The population declined during the 1930s; in 1939 the town reported 696 residents and thirty-five businesses. Since that time Stockdale has grown steadily, reaching 1,100 in 1965 and 1,264 in 1990. The number of businesses, however, had fallen to twenty-nine by 1990. In 2000 the population was 1,398.

More History on Stockdale's Website
 
Sutherland Springs
Sutherland Springs is on U.S. Highway 87 at its junction with Farm Road 539, twenty miles east of San Antonio in northern Wilson County. Sutherland Springs, was started in 1831. At that time it was an area of more than 100 springs flowing into the Cibolo Creek. These springs were known to the Indians for years and they often camped near here to drink and bathe in the warm sulphur waters in hope of being cured of the maladies affecting them.

Situated on land originally granted to Manuel Tarin, the town occupies a portion of the plat surveyed on the west bank of Cibolo Creek in 1854 for Dr. John Sutherland, Jr. Sutherland, for which this settlement was named, was with the defenders of the Alamo performing the duties of a medical doctor. But because of an injury to his knee he was unable to stand for any period of time. This, however, did not inhibit his ability to ride a horse. Therefore, Colonel Travis asked him to serve as a messenger and deliver his message addressed to the "Inhabitants of Texas" to the Texas forces in Gonzales and Goliad. His knee injury thus saved him from martyrdom at the Alamo. After the revolution, he returned to Sutherland Springs to establish a medical practice. This included using the different chemical properties of the various springs as curative aids.

Sutherland had settled in the area in 1849 and had opened a stage stop and post office in his home in 1851. The settlement by 1860 had a diverse population employed in agriculture, wagon trade along the Goliad Trace and Chihuahua Road that intersected in town, and a steady tourist enterprise focusing on the sulphur springs nearby. Church and school met in a small rock building by the river. The legislature designated Sutherland Springs as the provisional seat of the new Wilson County in 1860, but after the Civil War voters selected Floresville as the permanent seat, initiating a bitter controversy.

Livestock became important, and many families trailed cattle to Mexico or Kansas. Completion of the Galveston, Harrisburg and San Antonio Railway from the coast to San Antonio in 1877 ended the drives but revived local freight trade. Tourism increased, halting a brief temperance campaign in Sutherland Springs. Two schools opened, and the first Wilson County newspaper, the Western Chronicle, began publication in 1877.

By 1885 the population was almost 150. Tourism increased with the construction of the San Antonio and Gulf Shore Railway on the east bank of Cibolo Creek by 1895. The Sutherland Springs Development Corporation, after many years of legal suits, surveyed New Sutherland Springs near the Sunshine Depot in 1910, and most businesses in the old town moved to the new site. Patrons from all over the United States and several foreign countries regularly visited the "Saratoga of the South," staying at the fifty-two-room Hotel Sutherland and other lesser enterprises and reading the weekly newspaper, entitled the Health Resort. A disastrous flood in October 1913 destroyed the pools and bathing pavilions, and although Thomas Williams purchased and rebuilt much of the resort, tourism never recovered, and the Hotel Sutherland closed for good in 1923.

Businesses returned to the original townsite after the completion of U.S. Highway 87, but by 1940 new Sutherland Springs was almost deserted. In 1990 only a few concrete ruins remained; Patillo Higgins razed the hotel and many other buildings to expand his production of Buffel grass, and the Southern Pacific abandoned the railroad in 1971. Highway 87 did not support trade for old Sutherland Springs, and the population declined steadily from 400 in 1920 to 114 in 1980. By 1987, however, it had risen to 362.

Most of the early structures have been removed except Whitehall, built in the early 1850s as the home of Joseph Henry Polley, an Austin colonist later active in the development of Sutherland Springs. The town became part of the Floresville School District in 1954. In 1989 it had one store, which sells groceries and hardware, and a post office, on a site near the well that marks Sutherland's old homeplace. In 1990 the population of Sutherland Springs was 362. The population remained the same in 2000.
Sutherland Springs promotion
Early 1900s gathering
Sutherland
 
Three Oaks
Three Oaks, on Farm Road 1344 eleven miles south of Floresville in southern Wilson County, was settled around 1900. In the mid-1930s the community had a school, a church, and a number of houses. After World War IIqv many of its residents left, but in the early 1990s a church and a few scattered dwellings still remained. In 2000 the population was 150.


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