1880s Fayette County, Texas News

Please contact volunteer coordinator Rox Ann Johnson to contribute old news articles found in your research.

Many thanks go to Debbie Hanson and Rob Brown who transcribed almost all of the articles listed on this page.

The Colorado Citizen, 1 Jan 1880


My husband, Geo. Soule, left home about 1st of November, 1877, and I have not heard from him. I am anxious to get any information concerning him. Any person knowing of his whereabouts will confer a favor by addressing Mrs. KATIE SOULE, Live Oak Hill, Fayettte Co., Texas.
Dec. 1, 1879— 41w3

Brenham Weekly Banner,
23 Sep 1880, page 1

—The county commissioners of Fayette county will soon sell, at auction, the remainder of the school lands belonging to the county.

See January 27, 1881 La Grange Journal article about early businesses in La Grange

Colorado Citizen, 10 Feb 1881, page 2

LaGrange Journal: . . . Mr. W. W. Little called our attention to the fact that there was ice at his house for twenty-eight consecutive days during the late cold weather.

La Grange Journal
1 April, 1881

Attempted Suicide

Last Saturday night, March 26, 1881, Mr. S. Szmiderski, a longtime resident of La Grange, laid himself down by the grave of his wife in the Jewish grave-yard, and shot himself in the left side near the heart with a derringer pistol. The ball struck a rib and glanced around the heart, but inflicting a severe wound. He left the following letter to Mr. G. Friedberger:

Dear Sir and Friend:
You were the first who befriended me here; be also the last one. You will find my body at the graveyard. Have me buried by the side of my wife. Signed: S. Szmiderski.

Mr. S. is slowly recovering and will soon be well. We are unable to learn the cause of the act.

Colorado Citizen
7 Apr 1881, page 2

Dr. Smith informs us that he made a calculation of the number down with measles, one day last week, and it ran up to 100 cases.—Journal.

Colorado Citizen
21 Apr 1881, page 4

"Our fellow [townsman], Mr. W. J. Williamson has invented an improvement upon the ordinary sewing machine. The imporvement is intended to convert the sewing machine stand, when not in use, into a table for ordinary purposes, and is affected by turning the machine, or the section of the stand on which it rests on hinges till it is thrown entirely under the stand and opening is closd by a wooden cover adapted and arranged for that purpose, which leaves the survace of the stand as smooth and unobstructed as that of any table. The improvement is adapted to any machine. Mr. W. has filed a caveat in the patent office and will doubtless obtain a patent." —Flatonia Argus.

Colorado Citizen, 25 Aug 1881, page 2

Mr. Reuben Phares made proff before the Commissioners' Court last week, that he is entitled to a certificate for 1280 acres of land, as a disabled Confederate soldier.—Schulenburg Enterprise.

Colorado Citizen, 8 Sep 1881, page 2

Work on the new jail is steadily progressing. A concrete foundation is being laid, which will be built to the surface of the earth. Stone for the building is being hauled from Buckner's creek, 14 miles distant. Four wagons are now at work, and four more will soon be added to the number.—La Grange Journal.

Colorado Citizen,
23 Mar 1882, page 2

The little folks of our town, under 8 years old, had a genuine jollification at the residence of Dr. Walker, on the 11th, which was the birthday of five year old Kitty. Col. A. Henderson, the grandfather, just four score years older than Kitty, was present, and seemed to enjoy the day as well as the youngest. Dr. Walker had an artist on hand and obtained a photograph of those present. The group consists of 70 persons, 60 of whom are not yet eight years old. The dinner prepared for the little ones was excellent, consisting of cakes, nuts, candies, in fact just such goodies as delight the childish tooth, with something more substantial for the elders.—Schulenburg Enterprise.

Colorado Citizen,
25 May 1882, page 2

A branch of an applet tree eighteen inches in length, wa shown us by Mr. Sloma, an employe of the firm of Harrison & Lane, Monday, which had twenty-five well developed apples attached. It came from the orchard of Herman Loessin, proprietor of the Blackjack Springs nursery. The prospect for a good apple crop is said to be better this year than for many years past.—Flatonia Argus.

Colorado Citizen
20 Jul 1882, page 2

The first bale of the season came in on the 12th inst. with Caesar Stephens on deck, weighed 582 lbs., classed middling and was bought by A. G. [Wangemann] at 10 1/4 cents per lb. Caesar has captured the first honest bale of cotton of the State for seven years, and deserves credit for his vim. Schulenburg Enterprise.

The Dallas Weekly Herald,31 May 1883; Volume XXX, Issue 26, Page 1

Bastrop. An Alleged Murderer Caught After Many Years

Bastrop, May 26 – [Special] -  Sheriff Rankin, of Fayette county, arrived at this place this evening having in charge Freeman Shelton, who stands indicted in the county for the murder of James Black, an old negro, who was killed six years ago near this place.  Shelton was captured in Mexico some time ago upon another charge and brought to LaGrange for trial, where it was discovered that there was an indictment here against him, and he was brought here to day (sic) by the sheriff of Fayette county.  He is now confined in jail here.

Transcribed by Donna Baker

Weimar Mercury
26 Jul 1883, page 3

Nat Holman brought to our city the first bale of new cotton last Friday, which wa sold at auction. It was purchased by W. A. Baar at 12 cents amd shipped to Focke, Wilkeins & Lange, Galveston. It was raised by two of Mr. Holman's colored tenants, Handy and Careless Holeman [sic.].

The La Grange Journal
Thursday, December 13, 1883

Cedar Chips

Cedar, December 10th, 1883.

Married – On the 6th day of December, 1883, at the residence of the brides father, Mr. Rudolph Vogt to Miss Annie Nolkamper, Judge J. C. Stiehl officiating.

Over two hundred invited guests were present to witness the ceremony which was conducted in a very impressive manner.  The bride and groom were the recipients of over one hundred presents, a list of which would be too extensive for our limited space, suffice it to say, that they were substantial and designed more for practical use than for ostentation.  At the conclusion of the ceremony the guests partook of a sumptuous repast gotten up in a style that reflects great credit on the ladies that managed the culinary department.  The table was set under a large tent erected for the purpose, and seated twenty-six couples; it was completely loaded with choice viauds calculated to temp the appetite of the most fastidious epicure.  The O’Quin brass band together with a juvenile chorus led by Prof. Wachman, discoursed sweet vocal and instrumental music which added much to the enjoyment of the occasion.

While Bacchus danced attendance upon the thirsty throng,
And wine, and beer, in plenty flowed, all day long;
Morpheus, the sleepy god, then felt his powers wane,
When the muses joined the Bacchanalian ranks and mirth and pleasure reigned.

In the evening the desks, seats, &c., of a large school house adjoining the premises were removed and thither marched the young people preceded by the brass band where they tripped the "light fantastic toe” until the “wee sma hours” and in fact some few continued the hilarity until the next day noon, the old folks remained at the house and enjoyed themselves as best suited their inclinations.  Considering the numbers present it was one of the most peaceable and orderly assemblies we ever attended and taking it all in all it was one of the most enjoyable affairs that has taken place in this community for many years and will be long remembered by old and young.     Chip.
Contributed by Rob Brown

La Grange Journal
April 30, 1885

Mr. Geoge Willrich, of Flatonia, was married last Thursday to Miss Olivia Tuttle, one of the belles of that town. 

THE JOURNAL extends to the happy and youthful couple its best wishes, and hopes the union may be on of unalloyed bliss, and that prosperity may attend them through life.
Contributed by Rob Brown

The La Grange Journal
August 27, 1885

Flatonia Flashes

A military company, the "Flatonia Rifles," has been organized here with the following officers:  Captain, Geo. de L. Willrich; 1st lieutenant, M. J. Sloan; 2d lieutenant, T. O. Kerr; 1st sergeant, C. E. Lane.  This reporter does not know the names of the other officers.  The boys say Flatonia never was beaten at anything her citizens undertook, and that they will make this a first-class company.

Contributed by Rob Brown

Texas Siftings, Austin, Texas, 3 Oct 1885, Volume 5, Issue 22, Page 4

The Texas Thermopylae

A recent issue of the Galveston News contains an interesting letter from an old Texan who recently visited San Antonio, which was the scene of so many stirring events in the struggle for Texan independence.  We quote the following reminiscences:

I also visited the Alamo, but not for the first time, however.  I stood by the side of its ruined and blackened walls when a boy, and tried to imagine the fearful scene as it occurred, and how Travis, Crockett, Bowie, Bonham and Dickinson died, and how the beardless boys who composed a part of this heroic band could make such a fortress and face and attempt to beat back and hurl from its walls the fierce hordes of Santa Anna; but they did, nevertheless, as many grief stricken mothers of DeWitt colony could attest a few days afterward.  The old fortress is now open to visitors, and the Texas veteran, Mr. Rife, who has charge of it, can always be found at his post, ready to show visitors around and impart to them any information which they desire.  Mr. Rife is one of the party who dug up and carried to La Grange the bones of the Mier prisoners who drew the black beans and were shot in Mexico.  There were several sightseers present when I entered, and all seemed very much interested and asked many questions.  In answer to one Mr. Rife said:  “Yes, the enclosed ground mentioned in history was just in front of the main entrance to the church, and was called the long barrack.  It was there that most of the Mexicans fell, and from this room overhead Crockett descended with a few survivors and attempted to force them back from the main entrance, and when all his comrades fell, retreated into that little room there and fought them as long as life remained.”  In one of the rooms of the chapel is to be seen a grave which many think is the grave of Crockett, but which the inscription shows to be that of a priest who was buried there more than a hundred years ago.  I saw several visitors gaze long at the window on the east side of the fortress from which Dickinson leaped with his child in a desperate attempt to save its life, but both were killed by a volley from the Mexican cavalry ere they reached the ground.  From the Alamo I wandered to Soledad street, and entered the old Veramendt house, famous in Texas history as the place where the gallant Milam lost his life when the Texans under him stormed the city in 1835.  From Mr. Pleasant McAnnelly, who was an eye-witness.  I learned the particulars of Milam’s death.  He says that after they are worked their way to the Veramendt house, Deaf Smith, the spy, ascended to the roof and shot Mexican near the plaza, but was in turn fired on and severely wounded, and had to be brought below.  The Mexicans then commenced a heavy fire through the walls.  Franklin Harvey while crossing the yard in the rear of the building, was killed, and in a few minutes Milam came, and seeing a great many balls lying on the ground scooped to pick one up, when one of the men exclaimed:  “Look out. Colonel;” but at that instant a ball struck Milam in the head, and he fell forward.  Several brave men, however, went to  him and conveyed his body into a room.  Near the spot where Milam fell there is a mound of earth and stones about three feet high, where, some say, he is buried; but others say his remains lie on the west side of the San Pedro, with a flat stone to mark the spot.  In coming from San Antonio, I could but notice the changes which have some over this country in the last thirty years one of which is the drying up of streams which then were clear and rapid.  It seems to me when we crossed Salado creek that if I was as active as on a certain occasion when being chased by Comanche Indians, I could run and jump it easily.  And the Cibolo; my first recollection of that is that it was running clear and rapid, and it was something like fording a river to cross it, and now, when the train passed over the bridge across the channel, the white glistening rocks in its bed were almost painful to the eye.  And there is the San Geronimo creek, below Seguin.  It used to turn a mill to which I carried corn more than thirty years ago.  It then flowed clear and rapid and extended from bank to bank.  Where the Seguin and Gonzales road crosses the creek, in its dry bed the foundation of the old mill can be seen.


Transcribed by Donna Baker

Dallas Morning News
3 November, 1885

A Bad Crowd

A Sheriff Fired Upon From Ambush – Miraculous Escape

LaGrange, Nov. 2—Sheriff Rankin, of this county, attended a ball in the Rutersville neighborhood at the request of some citizens, as some rowdies had disturbed the peace there on former occasions. An unusually large crowd had gathered, and when the merriment was at it’s height some unknown parties opened a volley of shots in the neighborhood of the ball. Sheriff Rankin went at once in search of the guilty parties, and when a short distance from the house was fired upon by an unknown man, who waylaid him in the post oaks. Rankin returned the fire at once, when the would be assassin fled. He was followed by Rankin on foot, and fired upon twice by the latter. He ran through a crowd of men, who claim to have been unable to stop or recognize him. Rankin escaped miraculously,  though he had been in close quarters. He is determined to arrest all who attempt to disturb peaceable citizens, and the evil-doers had better look sharp, as he is in possession of such information as will warrant an early arrest.

Cotton is coming in at a lively rate on the river. The fields are white yet and bolls are still opening.

Corn, though plentiful, commands from 50 to 60 cents per bushel.

Transcribed by Debbie Hanson

Dallas Morning News
17 November, 1885

LaGrange, Nov. 14—District Court convened with Hon. Teichmueller presiding. A vigorous charge was given to the grand jury, who are now occupied investigating the cases of the jail birds. Forty suits for divorce are pending at the present term.

Hon. Jas. F. Miller, Congressman for this district, is here in attendance on court. He will go from here to the Cattlemen’s Convention, which will convene at St. Louis.

Transcribed by Debbie Hanson

Dallas Morning News
12 January, 1886

New Officers Elected

La Grange Real Estate in Demand-A Very Proper Charity-Fugitive List.

Special to The News

La Grange, Jan. 11

The following societies and associations elected their old officers for the ensuing year:

La Grange Fire Company No. 1, La Grange Lodge K of H., and the La Grange Building Association. The finances of the latter institute are in healthy condition. The new hotel, the Lester House, erected by them, is flourishing and paying a good dividend to the stockholders.

Mr. John Schumacher is erecting an ice factory here. Real estate is in demand and changing hands at good prices.

The Texas Western will find quite a little city when it reaches La Grange.

The fire company donated $50 to H. Mebas, the man who fell off a roof and was crippled while fighting the fire.

Sheriff Rankin issued a fugitive list, and offers $50 for the apprehension of any one charged with felony in the county. By this means he has succeeded in arresting men who were charged with crimes committed twenty-six and thirty years ago.

Transcribed by Debbie Hanson

Dallas Morning News
11 February, 1886

La Grange

A Fugitive Since 1879 Captured and Jailed


Special to The News

La Grange, Feb. 10--Walter Stroud, who is charged with the theft of a horse in 1879, and who has been a fugitive from justice ever since that time, was located by Mr. John S. Rankin, in the State of Arkansas, and after much labor requiring the skill of a detective, he succeeded in having him brought back yesterday upon a requisition. This is the third of the old time fugitives arrested by Mr. Rankin inside of two months. Mr. Rankin’s fame as a criminal Sheriff is growing beyond the limits of this State.

Capt. Geo. A. Hall, one of McNally’s famous rangers, was married this morning to Miss Bettie Moore. The happy couple went to the Alamo City.

Transcribed by Debbie Hanson

Weimar Gimlet
25 March 1886

Mr. Andrew Jackson, a student at the State University, came last Monday on a short visit to his father's family in this city and returned the next day. he accompanied the remains of William Cockrell, his college mate, from Austin to Flatonia. . . . .

Colorado Citizen
22 Apr 1886, page 2

The LaGrange ice factory is now in full blast, and has a capacity of 6,000 pounds per day.—La Grange Journal

Weimar Gimlet
6 May 1886

J. W. Hill, Esq., county attorney of Fayette county, owing to bad health, has resigned, and will move to San Angelo to practice his profession, thinking that the location will be more favorable to his health.

Dallas Morning News
2 June, 1886

Fayette Light Guards

Special to The News

LaGrange, June 1—Pursuant to a call many of the citizens met at the courthouse last night and organized a military company of forty-one members under the appropriate name of Fayette Light Guards.

The meeting was presided over by Maj. B. F. Dunn, and Mr. John Lane acted as secretary. Everything was harmoniously conducted. The officers were chosen by acclamation without a dissenting voice. Geo. Del. Wellrick, County Attorney, was elected Captain, with Messrs. D. M. Killough and M. S. Townsend as First and Second Lieutenants, Messrs. J. D. Ujjfy, Aug. L. Fink, Leo, Fred and John Ehlinger as sergeants in the order named.

Much interest in the matter is manifested by the members of the company and the citizens generally.

District Court is in session.

Crops are suffering for rain.

Transcribed by Debbie Hanson

Dallas Morning News
19 June, 1886

The United States Marshal

Special to The News

LaGrange, June 18—John T. Rankin, Esq., the newly appointed Marshal for the Western District of Texas, left this morning for San Antonio, after a reception had been tendered to him by many prominent citizens and the LaGrange Brass Band. His resignation of the office of Sheriff was accepted by the County Commissioner’s Court, and Wm. A. Rankin, his chief deputy, appointed to fill the unexpired term.

Transcribed by Debbie Hanson

Dallas Morning News
10 April, 1887

Free Bridge Over Colorado River

LaGrange, Tex., April 9—The County Commissioner’s Court in special session purchased the Colorado River bridge for $41,500, and the LaGrange City Council appropriated $8,000. So LaGrange will have a free bridge from tomorrow on.

Transcribed by Debbie Hanson

Weimar Gimlet
9 June 1887

. . . Mr. Max E. Wolters, a popular young man, was married on Sunday last to Miss Anna Baumgarten, daughter of our enterprising merchant and inventor Mr. Ch. Baumgarten, Judge Willrich tying the knot. The wedding took place at the residence of Mr. Ch. Baumgarten. There were about 200 persons in attendance. A good many valuable presents were presented to the young married couple—too numerous to mention them all. Accept my best wishes, friend Max. I hope your future will be a happy one. . . . Mr. Ernst Baumgarten has a smiling face this morning. The cause of it is a bouncing baby girl.


. . . .

Mr. W. A. Baar, who returned from LaGrange Monday, says lighting struck the Episcopal church there last Sunday, and damaged it considerably.

. . . .

The telephone line between this place and Schulenburg will be in course of construction within a week, and is expected to be in operation in a month.

Weimar Gimlet
16 June 1887

The La Grange Journal says that when lightning struck the Episcopal church at that place on Sunday, the 5th inst., services were in progress. The congregation were greatly shocked. No one was seriously hurt, though several narrowly escaped. The building was greatlly injured. The Journal estimates the damage at $450.

Dallas Morning News
4 August, 1887

Sheriff’s Department

Fayette County

La Grange, Tex., Aug. 3

Sheriffs will please look out for J.P. Ballen, charged with forgery, who left here July 30, 1887. I will pay $25 reward for him delivered to me in any jail. Think he is making for San Antonio. He is 6 feet 2 inches high, weighs about 140 pounds, has had his mustached dyed, has sandy hair and light eyes, wore a black watch cord around his neck, light wool shirt and black hat and clothing. B.L. Zapp, Sheriff Fayette County.

Transcribed by Debbie Hanson

Dallas Morning News
26 May, 1888

LaGrange’s First National Bank

LaGrange, Tex., May 25—LaGrange today organized her first national bank. The following gentlemen were elected directors: A. T. Bradshaw, Hon. Jonathan Lane, J. W. White, H. A. Washburn, A. J. Rosenthal, W. T. Rosenthal, W. F. Crawford and H. A. Gladdish, who in turn elected the following officers: A. J. Rosenthal president, A. T. Bradshaw vice president and H. A. Gladdish cashier.

Want Him to Run for District Judge

LaGrange, Tex., May 25—A lengthy petition is in circulation here soliciting W. L. Holman to become a candidate for judge of this district, composed of the counties of Bell, Lampasas, Burnet and Mills, in the place of Judge Blackburn, the present incumbent. Mr. Holman will probably accept.

Transcribed by Debbie Hanson
The Weimar Gimlet
November 15, 1888

Yesterday at LaGrange, Mr. Sam Seymour, of Columbus, was married to Miss Katie Dunn, a popular young lady of La Grange. The young couple have our best wishes for their future happiness. Several parties from Weimar attended the wedding.

The Weimar Mercury
24 Jan 1889

The annual meeting of the stockholders of the LaGrange Building company was held Tuesday. The old board of directors was re-elected, and H. P. Kaulbach was re-elected secretary and Leo Frede was chosen treasurer. A resolution passed authorizing the secretary to collect from the stockholders by monthly collections a sufficient amount to pay off and discharge the indebtedness of the company, which the Journal is informed is about $20,000.—Journal.

The Weimar Mercury,
31 Jan 1889

Married, at the residence of the bride's parents, in Schulenburg, January 18, 1889, Frank Nitschmann, and Adeline Eichholt, C. T. Willrich, J. P., officiating. We tender our congratulations to the happy pair, and wish them a jouous and prosperous voyage through life.—Schulenburg Messenger.

La Grange Journal
August 22, 1889

Captain Willrich received a telegram Saturday to hold the Fayette Light Guard in readiness to go to Richmond, should their services be required.  Happily there was no necessity for their presence at the scene of trouble.  This was quite a disappointment to most of the boys, who were keen to go – anything, you know, to break the monotony.

Contributed by Rob Brown

La Grange Journal
August 29, 1889

Capt. Willrich of the Fayette Light Guard, received , last week, the following from Adjutant General King:

Sir – The thanks of this Dep’t are due to yourself and company for the promptness shown in your dispatch of the 17th inst, and the willingness to assist the civil authorities in upholding the law, in the recent unfortunate troubles in Fort Bend county.

W. H. King,
Adjutant General

Contributed by Rob Brown