Kingsbury, Texas 1876-1976

 

     In 1874, Col. William S. Kingsbury from England was making a survey for Southern Pacific Railway from

Houston to San Antonio - as he reached here during his survey, he found this to be the highest point between

San Antonio and Houston.  It is 711 feet above sea level.  He described it to be the land of "Milk and Honey".

     William S. Kingsbury was interested financially in the Southern Pacific lines and this seems to have been his

little private venture.  Land for the town site was given by the Pierce Estate and was named Kingsbury for

Col. Kingsbury.  The deed was filed for the "Plot" of Kingsbury in 1875.  In 1876 the town site was laid out.

The map was surveyed and streets named.  The town plat shows two streets south of Depot and three north

of Depot.  The streets south were Geronimo and Caldwell.  North of the Depot were Guadalupe, Summit, and

San Marcos.  The cross streets were Center, Market, West, Post Office, McNutt, East, and Crockett.  A city map

was made in 1876.

     The railroad was built from 1873 to 1877.  In 1873 the railroad reached Kingsbury, about two years before it         reached San Antonio, and a turntable was built to turn engines around to go back to Houston.  The turntable was still in use in 1903.

     This area was the first to be settled in Guadalupe County and had settlers before the Texas Revolution.  Among them were George Allen in 1831, Samual Highsmith in 1831, and Robert Smith and Stephen Smith in 1831.  James Wales Jones was granted a bounty certificate for 1,280 acres of land in 1839 on the San Marcos River.  He was one of Stephen F. Austin's colonists, coming to Texas in 1821.  The grant was for services in the army and serving in the early Texas Rangers spy unit.

                                                                An immigration company was founded by Sam Neel to aid many settlers

                                                           from England.  One of the early settlers who came to Kingsbury from England

was Capt. Joshua Herbert, his wife, and a daughter in 1883.  He remained about a year and, due to ill health, returned

to England.  The daughter had married so remained in Kingsbury.  She married Bud Neuman.  She longed for England

and her family so she persuaded her younger sister to come for a year's visit.  The same fate befell the younger

daughter of Capt. Herbert - she too married.  She wed Jon Schmidt and remained the rest of her life in Kingsbury.

Two children are still living in the county.  They are Mrs. Violet Wiley of Seguin and Frank (Doc) Schmidt of Kingsbury

who is County Clerk of Guadalupe County.

     The Flynois Hotel was built north of the railroad for the railroad workers.

This old two story building was used as a general merchandise store by Bill Powers and burned in December of 1911.

A hotel was built south of the Depot by the Hamptons and in 1889 was sold to Daniel Wolfshohls.  It was used as a hotel by several renters, some being Mulcahy, Flowers, Albright, Cash, and Wolfshohls.  It was used until 1924.  Then a new hotel was built on the north side of the railroad and called Lynch Hotel and run by Mrs. Carrie Jones.

     There was also a large depot consisting of a Negro waiting room, a white waiting room, a large office and warehouse, a large 500-bale cotton platform, and stock pens holding 300

head of cattle.  Cream, butter, eggs, watermelons, cattle, hogs, and chickens

were shipped out to San Antonio from Kingsbury, and ice and beer were

shipped in.

     A very large gravel pit was opened by the railroad north of Kingsbury and covered one hundred acres.  About two

miles of track were laid through the pit.  Convict labor was used for a number of years.  Later, mules and scrapers were

used.  A barn built from the old cross-ties from the first track still stands on the Wm. Smith place and still shows some

old spikes.

     One of the original English settlers is buried in the Kingsbury Cemetery.  His headstone reads:  " 'Punch' Charles

Othen, born near London, England, 1849, died 1916, Kingsbury, Texas."  He was known by everyone as "Punch" and

was liked so well that John Schmidt had a marker set up for him.  Members of the Osborn family from England are also buried in the Kingsbury Cemetery.

     On August 13, 1876, the first Post Office was opened.  Mark W. Isard was the first postmaster.  The First Methodist Church was organized in 1876 by pastor A. F. Cox.  The first church building was a log cabin with a dirt floor and stood on Caldwell Street.  The present church is located in the first old school building.  The Lutheran Church was organized on April 24, 1887 by Pastor Franz Weisskopff.  The members of the church built the church building.  Amond them were members of the Wofschohls, Donsbach, Busse, Hargenrath, and Frieke families.  The original building is still in use.  The Negro Baptist Church was also one of the oldest churches built in Kingsbury and held their association every year with very big crowds.  It is still used as a church.

     The first school became a reality in 1887.  Nathonial Denton was the first

teacher.  The second school building was red brick and built in 1913.  The

third school building was erected in 1939-1940 and for a number of years was

a twelve-grade school.  In 1962 it became a part of the Seguin Independent School District with all children being

bussed to Seguin.

     In 1906 the population was 325.  Some of the proprietors and businesses were:  J. Allen, saloon; Allen and Wiley,

grocery store; Anderson and Schmidt, cotton gin; A. T. Coates, cotton gin; A. A.. Bading, saloon; Donahooe and Duke,

blacksmith; Martin Flynn & Co., grocery store; A. D. Halm & Bros., grocery store; J. A. Lynch, grocery store; F. W.

Maurer, hardware & lumber yard; W. R. Powers, grocery store; Mrs. Daniel

Wolfshohl, hotel.

     One business building is still standing of the orginal old buildings.  The old yellow building on the main street was Budd's Saloon.  It was later used for coffins and hardware by Albert Wolfshohl.  The First National Bank was constructed of red brick in 1912 and had offices for doctors upstairs.  It was closed in late 1920 and the building burned in 1929 along with a complete block of town including the drug store, Lynch Store Meat Market, and the garage.  In 1976, the old part of town only has the Post Office, Ray's Cafe, Wright's Antique Store, County Ware House, and Kingsbury Woodworks.

     The other side of the track has Hurt Garage, Pat Baker & Sons, and Schmidt's Grocery.  It also has a fire station, Justice of the Peace, and the Blue Bird Inn.  It still has four churches.

     Through the years there were a number of doctors.

Some were Dr. Benbow, Dr. Williams, Dr. Eckart, Dr. Johnson, Dr.

Stamps, Dr. Laforge, Dr. Wright, Dr. Nickle (dentist), and Dr. Gatlon.

     Some names of early settlers were:  Govett, Le Feure, Lillard,

Drummond, Herbert, Brice, Rhamaage, Palmer, Fairburn, Frederich,

Butler, Hoyle, Cook, Madquick, Hammond, Lowther, Jones, Smith,

Goodnough, Bassey, Grinham, Hubbard, Henry, Warren, Moneypenney,

Heron, Barnes, Pittman, Lincoln, Harding, Northcraft, Bridges, Jary,

Powers, Schmidt, Highsmith, Satterwhite, Wiley, Williams, Halm,

Maurer, Wolfshohl, Carter, Wright, Pierce, Barsse, Harborth, Houchin, Pressley, Hickman, Sullivan, Sorrell, Herzog, McNutt, Flynn, Bading, Fearell, Parchman, Littlejohn, Hageman, Anderson, Duke, Mapp, Imhoff, Donsbach, Campbell, Baumert, Rabe, Person, Carlisle, Lorenz, Osborne, Gothardt, Raeme, Baker, White, McClaugherty, Burt, Coates, Roemer, Fricke, Benbow, Beaty, Harris, LaForge, Avertt, Gorden, Allen, and Fulcher.  In 1976 there are still a number of descendents still living here.

 

--- Alleen J. Sramek

Copyright ©2015 City of Kingsbury Texas.  All rights reserved.

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