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Hello and Welcome

2011 March 27
by Jan Wilkinson

Thank you for visiting my blog and I hope you enjoy looking Out My Kitchen Window.  Please look at the Blog Archive to see the interesting and informative history, genealogy and photography about our ancestors. I may also include anything else I see along the way!

I am the great-great granddaughter of Joshua D. Brown, the first settler and founder of Kerrville, Kerr County, Texas in 1856. My husband’s great grandfather was William Jackson Montgomery Wilkinson, originally from Mississippi and pioneer to Menard County, Texas in late 1860’s.

I welcome your comments and feedback. You may send them to [email protected] Thanks for stopping by for a while.  You might enjoy visiting our Facebook Wilkinson Ranch page or our website

Menard County Texas Historical 1800’s Photos

2020 November 7
by Jan Wilkinson


1800’s Iron Clad Saloon Menardville, Texas from Alicia Brown from Menardville Museum

1800’s Benchoff D G Saddlery and General Merchandise Menardville, Texas by N. H. Rose

1889 Las Moras Ranch House, Menard County, Texas.

1884s construction of Old Rock Saloon owned by William Johnston

1899 Jun 6, Menardville flood by Rose, N. H.

1898 Dec 24 N. H. Rose Menardville five months before flood

1890 Menardville School

1890’s Murchison and Brothers Dry Good and Groceries, Menardville, Texas

1894 c Dr. Dorr, Luckenbachs and two unidentified at Emil Toepperwein Photographer building, Menardville, Texas

1892 May 15 A H Murchison Grocery Store Menardville

1894 Menardville Jail

1895 entire Menardville school

1870 c Annie Splittgerber Ellis photo from findagrave

1874c Fort McKavett photo shared by Cody Mobley on Facebook.

1875 c ambrotype to CDV stereo viewer Ragsdale photo of Mexican homes depicting earthen dugout in the San Saba River near Fort McKavett Texas Historic Commission

1875c Ragsdale ambrotype into CDV 10th Infantry Regiment hauling water to Fort McKavett from Government Springs West Texas Collection San Angelo THC

1878 M C Ragsdale photo of Company D and Captain D W Roberts Ranger Camp below Fort McKavett from UTSA website

1880 May 15 Texas Rangers at Fort McKavett, Menard County, Texas UTSA website

1881 Schuchard Home, Menardville, Texas

1885 Aug 27 Frontier Times photo of Early Day Cowmen taken at San Angelo Texas

1885c Wallick’s Store with Sam Wallick and family when army was there. This was in front of Episcopal church parking lot shared on Ft McKavett Facebook

1886 Menard County courthouse by Ruffini, Menardville, Texas.

1887 May 17 Felix Mann’s herd watering on the San Saba river, trailing to Clayton, New Mexico Andy H Murchison the trail boss on the gray horse in the foreground from Free State of Menard

1890 J. W. Hunter’s last school, taught at Menardville, Texas.

1890s c Nauwald, Sophie, Mrs. Emil Toepperwein (left) and Ella Nauwald (right) sisters from dsloan website.

1890s photo of Australian Hotel and downtown Menardville Jones Collection shared on Facebook by Cody Mobley

1890s photo of courthouse, jail and school Jones Collection shared on Facebook by Cody Mobley.

1890s View of Menardville from east looking west shared on Facebook by Cody Mobley.

1891 Menardville Sheen family on the San Saba River near Menard

1894 Fort McKavett school from Facebook shared by Fort McKavett State Historic Site

1894 Wilhelm ranch house folks identified shared on Facebook in Menard County History and Genealogy group.

1895 last ox team to pass through Menardville. Mr and Mrs Alvin Halling and family moving from Fredericksburg to Sonora by E Toepperwein Menard News

1895 Luckenbach family original home photo with dormers shared on Facebook Hannah Beall

1895 Menardville Cornet Band from Free State of Menard

1895 Road Workers near Menardville Texas from Free State of Menard

1897 Jan 29 Wedding picture of Mr. and Mrs. Emil Toepperwein from Alicia Brown’s website.

1898 Menardville looking East shared on Facebook Menard County Texas History and Genealogy

1899 c Sacred Heart Church built in Menardville photo from San Angelo Standard Times 2007

1899 dedication of Catholic Church in Menardville from Alicia Brown’s website.

1899 dedication of Catholic Church in Menardville from Alicia Brown’s website.

1899 dedication of Catholic Church in Menardville from Alicia Brown’s website.

1899 Toepperwein Emil photo by photographer Asa Brack for Barr Studio San Antonio cabinet card from dsloan website.

Presidio de San Sabá as described on TSHA

2019 October 7
Even today, October 7, 2019 the complete history of the Presidio de San Sabá in Menard, Menard County, Texas is still not completely told.  This is what is shown on the Texas State Historical Association.  I’m going to share more published sites here on my blog and share the centuries of history in Menard County, Texas.
FYI; the name San Luis de las Amarillas was only used as long as it was a wooden structure as originally built and when the fort became rock the name changed to Presidio de San Sabá.


Kathleen Kirk Gilmore

SAN LUIS DE LAS AMARILLAS PRESIDIO. Presidio San Luis de las Amarillas (popularly known as San Sabá Presidio), one mile from Menard on the north bank of the San Saba River, was established in April 1757 as a support for the Santa Cruz de San Sabá Mission to the eastern (Lipan) Apaches. The presidio and its accompanying mission were the first place that Europeans in Texas came into conflict with the Comanche Indians and found that Plains Indians, mounted on Spanish horses and armed with French guns, constituted a fighting force superior to that of the Spanish colonials. The Indian menace eventually led to the Spanish withdrawal from Texas and the establishment of the new line of defense along the Rio Grande.

Raids on San Antonio and other Spanish settlements by eastern Indian tribes, including the Apaches and their allies, convinced Spanish authorities of the need to establish a mission and presidio for the Indians. Pedro de Rábago y Terán, commander of the San Xavier Presidio, was sent to explore the San Saba River country in 1754 to look for suitable locations for a presidio-mission complex. After his return to San Xavier he urged removal of the San Xavier complex to the San Saba River. The mission was moved temporarily to the San Marcos River near San Antonio and Rábago died soon afterward. Diego Ortiz Parrilla, named to succeed Rábago y Terán, received instructions on September 1, 1756, to transfer the San Xavier garrison to the San Saba River and to recruit an additional fifty men in San Antonio and the Mexican provinces. The San Sabá presidio thus became the largest in Texas. While a jurisdictional question was being debated over whether the mission lay within the boundaries of Texas or Coahuila, the new post remained under the viceroy. The matter was finally settled in favor of Texas.

The mission to the Apaches on the San Saba River was personally funded and supported by Pedro Romero de Terreros, whose cousin, Father Alonso Giraldo de Terreros, was put in charge. The presidio, which was to protect the mission, was government funded. In April 1757 the missionaries destined for the mission under Giraldo de Terreros, mission president, arrived on the San Sabá site. Arguments occurred between Giraldo de Terreros and Ortiz Parrilla, with the commandant arguing for abandonment of the projected mission. The mission fathers prevailed, and building began on timber structures for the presidio and the mission, to be called Santa Cruz de San Sabá, in May 1757. The presidio, located on the north side of the river, was about four miles from the mission, which was on the south side. In January and February of the following year small raids and theft of the presidial horse herd by northern Indians, enemies of the mission Apaches, gave warnings of an impending attack. Shelter at the presidio was offered to the missionaries and their staff, but it was refused. The attack by 2,000 Comanches and their allies came on March 16, 1758. Two priests and six other persons were killed, although about twenty-seven managed to escape to the presidio when Ortiz Parrilla sent a detail of men to the mission after dark. Ortiz Parrilla, with the garrison of the presidio, reduced from 100 men to approximately thirty, gathered the almost 300 civilians into the fort, but the Indians did not attack the presidio.

In the fall of 1759 Ortiz Parrilla led a large force into northern Texas to punish the northern tribes for the massacre. At the fortified Taovaya village on the Red River, near the site of present-day Spanish Fort, he was defeated. He maintained that the French were providing assistance to the Indians. He was forced to return to Mexico City, where he was relieved of his command; Capt. Manuel Rodríguez of San Juan Bautista took charge on the San Saba for almost a year. By 1760 Rodríguez was replaced by the nephew of Pedro de Rábago y Terán, Felipe de Rábago y Terán, who had been absolved of charges made against him eight years earlier when he was commander at San Xavier. Rábago y Terán replaced the timber buildings with stone; a quadrangle fort with four corner bastions was built and a moat was dug. In 1761 he called the fort Real Presidio de San Sabá. He also explored west as far as the Pecos River, hoping to find a trail to New Mexico, and founded two new missions for the Apaches on the upper Nueces River.

During the years that followed, Comanches continually harassed the presidio and mission. Supply trains were cut off and livestock taken. The Marqués de Rubí‘s inspection of the presidio on July 27, 1767, found conditions deplorable, the worst in the provinces. Nevertheless, Rábago y Terán was refused permission to remove the presidio to the upper Nueces River near Mission San Lorenzo. Nicolás de Lafora, Rubí’s engineer, drew a plan of the presidio. Rubí recommended that the presidio either be abolished or moved to the Rio Grande, which he considered to be the actual frontier as part of a new defense line. Conditions became worse during 1768, with increasing Indian raids, food shortages, and a severe epidemic. Rábago y Terán, without permission, ordered the presidio abandoned early in June, and the entire garrison and their families moved to Mission San Lorenzo on the Nueces, where they arrived on June 22, 1768. Rábago y Terán was severely reprimanded for the abandonment and for his failure to burn or raze the buildings, and he eventually was removed from command. Rábago y Terán, who was replaced by Capt. Manuel Antonio de Oca y Alemán on April 1, 1769, is believed to have died en route to Mexico City. Oca withdrew from the Nueces in June 1771, transferring the soldiers to various presidios in San Antonio and Coahuila to fill manpower shortages. It was not until 1772 that a royal decree officially abandoned the fort on the San Sabá River.

In the ensuing years there were visitors at the abandoned presidio, including Governor Juan de Ugalde of Coahuila in 1789 and Francisco Amangual in 1808. Some left their names scratched in the gate: Padilla 1810, Cos 1829, Bowie 1831, Moore 1840. Ferdinand von Roemer visited the site in 1847, and his description served as a guide for rebuilding part of the structure in 1936. The modern road to the ruins of the presidio leaves Highway 29 west of Menard. Limited archeological reconnaissance and testing have been done at the site of the presidio. A. T. Jackson and A. M. Woolsey made a surface survey in 1934 and collected artifacts which are at the Texas Archeological Research Laboratory in Austin. In 1967 the State Building Commission with Dessamae Lorrain and Kathleen Gilmore performed limited testing. The artifacts are at Southern Methodist University. Jack Ivey in 1981 and Daniel Fox in 1983 did limited testing. Artifacts consist of aboriginal flint scrapers and projectile points, aboriginal pottery, Spanish colonial ceramics, gun flints, and metal.


Carlos E. Castañeda, Our Catholic Heritage in Texas (7 vols., Austin: Von Boeckmann–Jones, 1936–58; rpt., New York: Arno, 1976). William E. Dunn, “The Apache Mission on the San Saba River: Its Founding and Failure,” Southwestern Historical Quarterly 17 (April 1914). Kathleen Gilmore, A Documentary and Archaeological Investigation of Presidio de San Luis de las Amarillas and Mission Santa Cruz de San Sabá (Austin: State Building Commission, 1967). Paul D. Nathan, trans., and Lesley Byrd Simpson, ed., The San Sabá Papers (San Francisco: Howell, 1959). Ernest Wallace and David M. Vigness, eds., Documents of Texas History (Austin: Steck, 1963). Robert S. Weddle, The San Sabá Mission (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1964).

All copyrighted materials included within the Handbook of Texas Online are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 related to Copyright and “Fair Use” for Non-Profit educational institutions, which permits the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), to utilize copyrighted materials to further scholarship, education, and inform the public. The TSHA makes every effort to conform to the principles of fair use and to comply with copyright law.

For more information go to:

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.


The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, Kathleen Kirk Gilmore, “SAN LUIS DE LAS AMARILLAS PRESIDIO,” accessed October 07, 2019,

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

Who was Martha Carolyn Spiller who marries W. J. Wilkinson?

2019 July 17

Who was Martha Carolyn Spiller and what is her family genealogy, has been asked by many family members.  This is the research I have been able to put together from many sources.

Martha Carolyn Spiller was born 22 Dec 1852 in Milam County, Texas.  Her parents were Jeremiah M. Spiller, Jr. (also shown spelled as Spillers on some records) was born 28 Nov 1822 in St. Helena Parish, Louisiana and he married Tennessee Jane Frazer on 13 Feb 1848 in Jefferson County, Texas. They had 10 children. 

1850 Census Milam and Williamson District in County of Milam, Texas

1850 Jeremiah Spiller and family in Milam County, Texas from ancestry

The 1860 census for the Post Office San Gabriel, Milam County, Texas and shows his brother Meredith and wife Martha Ann Courtney and their 6 children were living with him and his family.  Meredith Spiller is the younger brother of Jeremiah and was born 20 May 1825 in Livingston Parish, Louisiana.

1860 Census in Milam County Texas, Post Office San Gabriel enumerated on 6th day of July 1860 shows the father, Meredith Spillers, age 38 born in Louisiana with his wife Martha Spillers age 30 with their 6 children living with his brother J Spillers age 38 with his wife Tennessee J Spillers age 31 and their 6 children including Martha C Spillers.  This census includes both brothers living in same house in San Gabriel, Milam County, Texas)

Post Office: San Gabriel
Family Number: 257
Name: Tennessee J Spillers
Age: 31
Birth Year: abt 1829
Gender: Female
Birth Place: Tennessee
Home in 1860: Western District, Milam, Texas
Post Office: San Gabriel
Family Number: 257
Household Members:
Name Age
J Spillers 38
Tennessee J Spillers 31
George F Spillers 11
Martha C Spillers 8
James Spillers 6
John B Spillers 4
Perry Spillers 2
Paddy Spillers 2/12
M Spillers 38
Martha Spillers 30
Jacob Spillers 12
Thomas Spillers 9
Mary Spillers 8
Melina Spillers 5
Jerry Spillers 2
Wade Spillers 1

J. M. Spiller, age 43 was a private in Texas State Troop, TST, under Captain W. R. Wood during the Civil War enlisting and mustering February 6, 1864 at San Saba, Texas and serving through July 1, 1864.

Muster card for J. M. Spiller

Unsure the date when the family moved to Coleman County, Texas but Jeremiah and Tennessee Jane were successful at cattle raising.  Here are three photos shared on ancestry showing 1870, just before Jeremiah dies.

1870 Jeremiah Spiller photo in Fort Worth, Texas shared on ancestry


1870 Tennessee Jane Frazer Spiller photo in Fort Worth, Texas shared on ancestry


1870 Martha Caroline Spiller future wife of W. J. Wilkinson taken in Fort Worth, Texas shared on ancestry

Jeremiah Spiller Jr. was a father of ten children and a successful cattle raiser in Coleman County, Texas but unfortunately died at age 47, April 1870.  His wife, Tennessee Jane moves with her family to McCulloch County and was appointed postmaster 19 September 1884.  Also the 1870 census show his younger brother Meredith Spiller and family are living in McCulloch County, Texas.

1870 United States Federal Census  Year: 1870; Census Place: Coleman, Texas; Roll: M593_1579; Page: 307A; Image: 211440; Family History Library Film: 553078
(Husband, Jeremiah M. Spiller died from measles at the age of 47 shown as age 50)
Name: Tenn J Spiller
[Tennessee Jane Frazer Spiller]
Age in 1870: 40
Birth Year: abt 1830
Birthplace: Tennessee
Dwelling Number: 40
Home in 1870: Coleman, Texas
Race: White
Gender: Female
Occupation: Keeping House
Personal Estate Value: 40000
Real Estate Value: 1000
Household Members:
Name Age
Tenn J Spiler 40
George F Spiler 22
James H Spiler 16
Perry C Spiler 14
Charles W Spiler 11
Ida M Spiler 6
Emma A Spiler 5
Francis Spiler 3
Lester Spiler 1
John Birks 26
Sarah Funderberg 17

Tennessee Jane moves with her family to McCulloch County after the death of her husband in 1870.  She is appointed postmaster 19 Sep 1884 in Voca, McCulloch County, Texas. 

William Jackson Montgomery Wilkinson married Martha Caroline Spiller in Coleman County, Texas, when she was 17 in 1869.  Their first child, William Neille Buie Wilkinson was born 1 Sep 1869.  There are many spelling differences in their son’s name including Neal or Nealie and also Bowie. 

The Wilkinson’s moved to Menard when Neille was four years old in 1873 and lived at the old Max Menzies ranch at 5 Mile Crossing.  Martha Carolyn was expecting their second child.  W. J. continued raising cattle, as well as in Coleman County, and took a herd of cattle to New Orleans.  While he is gone she gives birth to their daughter, Martha Caroline “Carrie” Wilkinson on 2 December 1873, but Martha Caroline dies on 11 December 1873 when she was 21 years old.  There are stories written about the time before she died and it is said she hid $10,000 in gold under a fence post to protect it but didn’t tell anyone.  J. Frank Dobie wrote about this incident in his book, Coronado’s Children: Tales of Lost Mines and Buried Treasures of the Southwest.

George Bihl Wilkinson did many years of research on the Wilkinson family genealogy and tells of the headstone for Martha Caroline.  Inscription reads;

Martha C.

Wife of

W. J. Wilkinson

Born Dec. 22, 1852

Died Dec. 11, 1873

She was a kind and affectionate wife

a good Mother and a friend to all

As stated by George Bihl’s research papers, “The grave is marked with a stone that is a large, tall one, and it seems unusual for the time and place that is resting.  Altogether it is probably seven feet tall and is surrounded by a cut rock fence with very large, cut limestone rocks”, and above inscription.  I am trying to get access to her grave site on private property at the old Max Menzies Ranch in Menard County, Texas.  This is located about fifty yards from the old headquarters on this ranch about a mile south of the Old River Road east of Menard. There are other stones and burials at this location, too.  I hope to get permission to document this cemetery with the new owners soon.

The other question is how is Carolyn Spiller kin to the other Spiller’s who married into the Wilkinson family?

Meredith Spiller, younger brother of Jeremiah Spiller, Jr. married Martha Ann Courtney and their 10th child, Robert Harvey Spiller marries Mary Frances Carter and they raised 5 children, one child, Robert Roy Spiller (1900-1979) marries Nancy Ethel Mears (1905-2004), and they have 4 children.

W. J. Wilkinson (1828-1919) marries a second time to Nancy Rosary Mires (1860-1955) on 22 Dec 1875 in Menard, Menard County, Texas.  They have 9 children.  Their oldest was Emma Permelia Wilkinson (1877-1970) marries Edward L. Mears (1878-1933).  Their second daughter, Nancy Ethel Mears (1905-2004) marries Robert Roy Spiller (1900-1979).  Their son, Rob Roy Spiller is a cousin to Martha Carolyn Spiller.


Menard Texas Glass-plate Negatives circa 1913-17

2019 July 9

I have scanned a box of glass-plate negatives loaned to me from Menard. They are 3-1/4″ X 4″ in size. I believe all are families and locations in Menard by an unknown photographer or date.  The school classroom photos have the Bank of Menard calendar for January 1917 and February 1917 on the wall. Some of these have been shared and published in the Menard News in the past and shown as courtesy of Bill Murchison.

I have posted these on the Facebook page Menard County, Texas ~ History and Genealogy from a share on my Facebook page in an album Menard Glass-plate Negatives circa 1913-17

I welcome anyone and especially some of the great history sleuths out there to help identify these folks and/or locations.


I believe the square building on the top right side is the Menard Jail. Still hoping to find out the identification of these folks.
Image may contain: 12 people, outdoor
Image may contain: 32 people, outdoor
Image may contain: 5 people, tree and outdoor
Image may contain: 6 people, people sitting, child and outdoor
Image may contain: 18 people, outdoor
Image may contain: 10 people, people sitting and child
Image may contain: 10 people, people smiling
Girls basketball has been played for many years in Menard. Here are several girls ready to play standing in front of the school building. Scanned from a glass-plate negative, unknown photographer or date or identity. Happy girls wearing bloomers and stockings and long sleeved white shirts with big collars.
Image may contain: 18 people, people sitting and indoor
February 1917 calendar of the Bank of Menard in the classroom of students with their teacher. Scanned from glass-plate negative. Previously shared in the Menard News courtesy Bill Murchison. Using the Menard News article of teachers, this teacher is Elizabeth Peterson Thurman.   Notice the flags on the walls above the calendar and above the blackboard.
Image may contain: 19 people, people sitting and indoor
January 1917 calendar of the Bank of Menard in the classroom of students with their teacher.  Identified: Bill Murchison is the one on the far right row, seated, second from the back.
Image may contain: 10 people, people sitting and indoor
Image may contain: 14 people, people sitting and indoor
Image may contain: 9 people, people sitting and indoor
Image may contain: 1 person

This glass-negative photo was published in the Menard News. Said to be 1916’s downtown Menard, Johnny Frazier was a busy man with his harness repair shop, making boots and repairing shoes. His place of business was where the Napa Store (old Western Auto) is now located. Photo courtesy Bill Murchison.

Image may contain: one or more people and child
Image may contain: 1 person, outdoor
Man in front of “Blacksmith and Horse Shoers” building holding a brace and bit drilling a hole in the box on the cart. The horse is wearing a britchen harness which would allow the horse to back up. Scanned from glass-plate negative, unsure if Menard.
Image may contain: 1 person, standing, tree and outdoor
Image may contain: 4 people, people sitting
This photo was published in the Menard News courtesy by Bill Murchison. Taken at Shaefer’s and Grandstaff’s Drug Store. Men in the picture are, left to right, Dr. J. A. Leggett, Bob Westbrook, Schaefer, and George Grandstaff. Scanned from glass-plate negative.
Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, sitting and child
Sweet baby boy sitting on the counter, possibly at a store downtown Menard. Looks like his Mom is on the left with her hat beside him. Scanned from a glass-plate negative.


Image may contain: 2 people, indoor
Photo shared in Menard News in early 1900’s and was likely taken in the William Bros. Gro. Store downtown Menard.  The man standing in front of the counter has been identified as Leo Callan. Photo courtesy Bill Murchison.

Texas Rangers in Menardville

2019 May 16

A while back I bought this article from an eBay seller.  It contains Texas Rangers history in and around the Menard County area.  It is a good read and contains photos and facts in our central Texas San Saba River valley written by James B. Gillett.  There were hard times for settlers of which we have many family members.  Enjoy!


Wilkinson Family Photos

2019 April 13
by Jan Wilkinson

We are lucky to have many family photos in our collection.  Facebook works for sharing but makes it hard to find in the future.

Here are three Allen Studio, San Angelo, Texas photos of Wilson Lamar and Mayme Turner Wilkinson and their only child, Francis Lamar Wilkinson, estimated to be 1923.  F.L. would have been about 8 years old.  They were living in Sutton County on the Riley Ranch when these were taken.

Wilkinson, Wilson Lamar Allen Studio photo without cover

Wilson Lamar Wilkinson, 1923c

Wilkinson Mayme Lousie Turner portrait Allen Studio without cover

Mayme Louise Turner Wilkinson, 1923c

Wilkinson, Francis Lamar as a child portrait Allen Studio without cardboard frame

Francis Lamar Wilkinson, 1923c

This precocious young boy, Francis Lamar, enjoyed riding his pet Angora goat in the pasture at the Riley Ranch in Sutton County, around 1923.  He was my children’s grandfather and was precocious until his death in 2000.

Wilkinson, FL riding angora goat in pasture from back est age 8 1923Wilkinson, FL riding angora goat in pasture est age 8 1923Wilkinson, F L riding an angora about age 8 est 1923

261st Anniversary of the Destruction of the Mission Santa Cruz de San Sabá

2019 March 18
Mark Wolf, Father Innocent Eziefule, Cynthia Jordan, José L. González, Cee Cee Kelley and Col. Terry Kelley at wreath laying ceremony.
Mark Wolf, Father Innocent Eziefule, Cynthia Jordan,
José L. González, Cee Cee Kelley and Col. Terry Kelley
A nice group attended the 261st Anniversary of the Destruction of the Mission Santa Cruz de San Saba and the Martyrdom of the Fathers Alonso Giraldo de Terreros and Jose de Santiesteban Aberín

Saturday, March 16, 2019, the Menard County Historical Commission with Chairman, Col. USMC Terrell Kelley (ret.), the Presidio de San Saba Restoration Corporation board members and Menard’s Sacred Heart Catholic Church, along with many commission members, locals and out of town guests attended a wreath laying ceremony to commemorate the 261st anniversary of the attack and destruction of the Mission Santa Cruz de San Sabá and the Martyrdom of the Fathers Alonso Giraldo de Terreros and Jose de Santiesteban Aberín.

The site of the Mission has a Texas State Historical monument which was dedicated during the Texas Centennial in 1936.  The Mission was located between the San Saba River and extended to where the historical marker is now located on the north side of Highway 2092, about two miles east of town. We thank Monte Lyckman and his family for allowing us access to the site during the ceremony.  Attending the event was Drue Lyckman Bearden and her daughter Chel with her three children from Mason.

We were especially honored that Mark Wolf read his cousin’s first-hand deposition of the attack during the ceremony. Mr. Wolf is a direct descendant of Juan Leal, the principal assistant at the mission to Father Terreros. Leal was wounded during the attack, but fully recovered. Mark helped in the re-discovery of the lost mission site and was also a key contributor to the Phase I restoration of the Presidio site.  [The Presidio de San Saba Restoration Corporation is working on their Phase II now and welcomes donations and sponsors for our wonderful historical site.]

The short ceremony included a wreath laying and a blessing of the site by Father Innocent Eziefule from Nigeria, pastor of Sacred Heart Catholic Church Parish.  The wreath made by Cee Cee Kelley included the Coat of Arms for Cortegana, Spain, our Sister-City.  Cynthia Jordan, composer, singer and songwriter from San Angelo, Texas, famous for her song ‘Jose Cuervo’, sang her original ballad, “El Corrido de San Saba”.

We were again honored to have as part of the ceremony, reenactor José L. González, portrayed Fray Miguel de Molina, who was a member of the Mission in 1758. Mr. González plays this part in the ‘A Walk through Time’ historical event which will be held at the Presidio de San Saba on Saturday, April 6, 2019.  Also appearing will be Cynthia Jordan singing her ballad about the San Saba Mission and local Rhome Hill and his Song of Silver.

San Antonio River and Bridges photos

2018 July 20
by Jan Wilkinson

I have found many photos of postcards of the San Antonio River and its bridges and wanted to share them for your reference. I love history and especially photos.  Wagons would drive into the river to soak their wheels to tighten them up.


RPPC San Antonio River and Navarro Street Bridge by Nic Tengg


RPPC postcard from booklet in my collection from the Perry Estate sale.


RPPC Postcard of San Antonio River from Mill Bridge


1880c Commerce Street bridge view looking west from Alamo Street the iron bridge was installed in 1880.


RPPC postcard of San Antonio River with court house in background.


RPPC postcard of the San Antonio River by Nic Tengg.





Joshua D. Brown, Founder and Father of Kerrville

2018 June 11
by Jan Wilkinson



Paper and oral history by Jan Powell Wilkinson for the Edwards Plateau Historical Association meeting and publication.
Those of us here today love history and are proud of the stories our ancestors have told us. We have all traveled down these crooked paths but today I will attempt to keep on the straight path of my family history. I have been working on bits and pieces of the facts for many years about our family legend and my great-great grandfather, Joshua D. Brown.
My mother was Joan Auld Powell, and her mother was Gussie May Brown Auld, and her grandfather was Joshua D. Brown (1816-1877) [my 2nd great grandfather]. He is unfamiliar in most local historic accounts; but he was very important to the settlement of Kerrville and Kerr County. There is no school or street bearing his name, but he was the first Anglo-American pioneer to this, the upper Guadalupe River, and should rightly be known as the “Father of Kerrville.”
Joshua D. Brown was a frontiersman, a patriot, a Mason, a father, and a shingle maker. He descended from old English stock who settled in Baltimore and Carroll Counties, Maryland during the U. S. Colonial Period.
Edward [my 3rd great grandfather] was the father of Joshua D. and was the son of Joshua [4th great grandfather] (1757-1826) and Honour Durbin (1761-1848). It is believed that Joshua was named after these grandparents. I believe the middle initial “D.” is for Durbin, but I cannot find any signature by him other than Joshua D. or J. D., so this is not yet proven. Others think it is David. The many ancestors in the Brown family repeat the same name each generation and it has been very difficult to keep them straight.
Our family’s first known genealogical records begin with my 7th great grandfather, who was George Edward Browne (with an “e” on the end), born in either England or Scotland in approximately 1685. He married Mary Nancy Stevenson and they have two sons, Edward George and Richard, both born in Baltimore, Baltimore County, Maryland. Edward was my 6th great grandfather, born 1714 in Baltimore, who died in 1770 at Pipe Creek, Frederick County, Maryland. He married Nancy Stevenson, who was born in 1716 and died in 1776. Their son, Edward is my 5th great grandfather, born in 1734, died in 1823, and married Margaret Durbin in 1753 in Baltimore. Their son Joshua was my 4th great grandfather, born in 1757 in Frederick, Frederick County, Maryland, died 1826 in Madison County, Kentucky, and married to Honour (Honora/ Honor) Durbin, daughter of John Durbin and Ann Logsdon, in 1780 in Maryland. The couple migrated to Madison County, Kentucky and had seven children before dying there. Their son Edward is my 3rd great grandfather who was born 1789 in Kentucky but died in 1846 in the former DeWitt Colony, Gonzales County, Republic of Texas.
The Brown-Comly Families Genealogy book (on page 6) states Edward was a farmer, and the owner of a grist mill and distillery. He was an earnest Episcopalian and a patriot. He was born in Pipe Creek, Frederick County, Maryland (which is now Carroll County). During the American Revolution, he enlisted 18 July 1776 and served under Captain John Reynolds in Maryland. He is listed under Daughters of the American Revolution No. 248941. It is evident that he moved to Berks County, Pennsylvania and then to Cumberland County; and after the close of the war, in 1785, he moved to Burgestown in Washington County, Pennsylvania. From there he moved to Holliday’s Cove in Brook County, West Virginia. Then about the year 1795 he moved to Madison County, Kentucky, where he remained until his death on August 14, 1823. His first wife, Margaret Durbin, was born in 1736 to Samuel Durbin and Anne Prudence Logsdon. She died at Holliday’s Cove, West Virginia on March 20, 1795. He married his second wife, Sarah Callaway, the widow of Major Hoy, on November 27, 1797; and they bought a parcel of land on Tate’s Creek, Madison County, Kentucky. There were no children of this marriage. He was 89 years old at the time of his death in 1823. Also found in The Brown-Comly Families Genealogy book (on page 7), Joshua spent his childhood in Frederick County, Maryland. We find that in the years 1780-1782 he was captain of a company in the 8th Battalion of the Cumberland County Militia, of which Alexander Brown was the colonel. [See page 562, volume six, Penn Archives, 5th series]
The impetus for the family of Edward Brown to depart for Texas occurred in Saltillo, Mexico: the colonization law of the joined States of Coahuila and Texas, enacted on March 24, 1825. Under empresario grants issued from April 14, 1823 until the last issued, May 11, 1832 (twenty-six in all), DeWitt’s Colony was granted on the 15th of April 1825. Green DeWitt of Ralls County, Missouri had the right to settle four hundred families west of Austin’s colony and north of Don Martin DeLeon’s Colony. Before these grants were finalized, Major James Kerr resigned his seat in the senate of Missouri, and with his wife, children, and servants, he moved to Texas under an agreement with DeWitt to become surveyor and administrator (temporary) of the colony. He arrived a full month before the concession was made to DeWitt at Saltillo. Kerr was surveyor of the colony (and also surveyed DeLeon’s Colony) and had charge of it when DeWitt was absent. He surveyed the ground and built log cabins a mile west of the present town for the capitol and named it Gonzales in honor of the first Governor of Coahuila and Texas. Each capitol was allowed four leagues of land. After Indian troubles, the colony was moved to the Lavaca River and block-houses were built for defense. Their little fort was called “Old Station.” Later, DeWitt and others returned to Gonzales. Seven years later, this part of Texas was to become the “Lexington of Texas” in the revolution against Mexico.

Brown, Edward married Janey Campbell 8 Aug 1815 Kentucky County Marriages 1797-1954 familysearch

Edward Brown and Janey Campbell – August 8, 1815 _ Marriage Ledger, Kentucky Clerk Office

In Kentucky, Joshua D.’s father, Edwards first wife was Rosanah Campbell and they married on August 31, 1812. They had a son, Honor A. Brown, born about 1813 in Madison County, Kentucky. I am unsure what happened to Rosanah, but on August 8, 1815, Edward married Janey Campbell (born about 1793; unsure of death) (believed to be the sister to Rosanah) in Madison County, Kentucky. Their only child, Joshua D. Brown, was born sometime in 1816. I have been unable to find JDB’s birth month or date record or any reference to when his mother died.
His father Edward married his third wife, Anastasia Worland (abt. 1784-1837), but I do not know what date they married. They had seven children, all born in Kentucky: James Steven Brown born 24 Apr 1817, John C. Brown (1823-), daughter Mary Jane Brown (1824-1857), Edward W. Brown (1826), Diana J. Brown (1827-1906), Honer Anne Brown (1828-), and Anastasia Brown (1830-1913). After the death of his wife Anastasia, in Gonzales, Texas in 1837, Edward married Sara Goss (1789c-1843) in 1837 in Sabine County, Texas and they had a son, John Caleb Brown (1838-1919).
Joshua D. Brown, at approximately age 21, came to Texas before October 1, 1837. He was following his father Edward (1789-1846) and step-mother Anastasia Worland Brown (1779- 1837) to Sabine County, Mexico/Texas where they emigrated before in 1831. He, along with his father and third wife and children, all moved to Gonzales.
An unconditional certificate No. 90 was issued by the Board of Land Commissioners of Gonzales County to Joshua D. Brown for 640 acres dated 8th Nov 1837 and issued 5th Jul 1844, witnessed by R. E. Brown and W. M. Phillips. Joshua D. and Rufus E. Brown were witnesses for the William M. Phillips certificate. Rufus Easton Brown was a year older than Joshua and was the son of Henry Stevenson Brown and Margaret “Peggy” Kerr, who was sister to James Kerr. Joshua D. was close to the Kerr family. They were together in DeWitt Colony and later R. came to the Center Point area of Kerr County in 1856. Henry Stevenson’s father Caleb Brown was a younger brother of Joshua in Maryland.

JDB excerpt of headright ledger certificate 91 1839 Sabine County from familysearch

Certificate Ledger, Sabine County, Texas, 8 November 1837

As a patriot, Joshua D. Brown endured the hardships and perils of war by participating in military service for Texas Independence during 1839-1842. He later was a minuteman responding to and defending against Indian raids and performed military duty against Mexico for the Republic of Texas, serving in the Cherokee Expedition under General Rusk in 1839. He was a private soldier in the Company of Mounted Volunteers commanded by Captain Adam Zumwalt in an expedition of the Woll Campaign in 1842; and he was in the battle fought against the Mexican invading army on Salado Creek in Bexar County near the City of San Antonio on or about the 11th of September 1842, during the Dawson Massacre. Joshua D. was also in the Somervell Campaign known as the Mier Expedition in the year 1842, under the command of Captain Isaac N. Mitchell (who was married to James Kerr’s daughter), serving in the Regiment of Col. James R. Cook, and returned after having crossed the Rio Grande at Laredo. Joshua D. was in Col. Ben McCulloch’s Spy Company in 1846. An application for a pension was filed by Joshua D. Brown in 1875. One affidavit dated the 23rd of March 1875 says that during the night before the Battle of Salado, Joshua D. rode in company with Private Tilberry who the bearer of a dispatch from Captain Dawson to Colonel Caldwell. That he was one of the volunteer detail sent by Colonel Caldwell to the scene of Dawson’s Massacre. He, with said detail, found the men of Dawson’s command yet warm in their blood upon the field of battle. Later, Joshua D. Brown served the Confederate forces during the Civil War under Captain Henry T. Davis for the Texas State Troops, mustering in during April 1862, and ending service in July 1863.1850 map of State of Texas by J. DeCordova

De Cordova’s Map of the “State of Texas -1850”

After his military duties were over, Joshua D. Brown left the town of Gonzales to learn a new trade. He moved west to what is now a part of Kendall County north of Waring, Texas on Curry’s Creek. The site, known as Brownsborough or Brownsburg settlement, was approximately four miles from what is now Comfort on the Guadalupe River. After a few months of learning to make cypress shingles out of the bald cypress trees he decided to move up river to make his own shingle camp. He went west to the headwaters of the Guadalupe and found abundant cypress trees and a large spring to build his camp. In 1846, he, along with nine other shingle makers, established the first known business, a shingle making camp, near what is now downtown Kerrville, Texas.
This shingle camp was able to work peacefully and provided some safety to the others living in the area. It is said that half the men stood guard and the others worked. When the ox wagon was full of shingles, they would take them to San Antonio or Austin to trade for supplies. The journey required about four days. Shingle making was a new industry and there were also good markets in Gonzales and San Antonio. The 1,000 shingle bundles were packed and sold for $5 to $8 per bundle. During this time, there was little or no money in circulation and everything a man had to sell was traded for something he needed or did not have. When Indians became overly troublesome, these men returned to Kendall County settlements or to their former homes in Gonzales; but they came back to Kerrville in 1848.
After returning to Gonzales, Joshua’s father Edward died December 1846 and Joshua was the executor for his estate. He married his first wife Eleanor Smith on 20 July 1846 and they had a daughter, Mary Louisa Brown, on 21 December 1847. Unfortunately, Eleanor died in Gonzales on 8 July 1848. But, on 20 May 1849, Joshua married Sarah Jane Goss (1834-1892), daughter of Rev. John Frederick Goss (1811-1892) and Mary Lee “Polly” Dear (1808-1892), originally from North Carolina, and they had seven children.
Their first born was a daughter, Eleanor Ann “Ellen,” who arrived 7 Feb 1851 in Gonzales. On 16 Jan 1868, she married Peter Osborne Alonzo Rees and they had 13 children in Center Point, Kerr County, Texas. John William Brown born 8 Dec 1854, married Frances Henley on 19 Aug 1877. Mary E. L. A. Brown was born 31 Mar 1857 and died sometime after without confirmation. James Stevens Brown born 16 Apr 1859 in Center Point, married Martha Ann Witt on 25 Nov 1879 having eight children; and he died 18 Apr 1941. Nicholas J. Brown, born 1861 in Center Point, married Elizabeth Fenley and he died about 1906. Virginia A. Brown, born 10 Sep 1868 in Center Point married Charles Barlemann 15 Sep 1887, and she died 7 Apr 1890. Joshua D. and Sarah’s youngest child was Alonzo Potter Brown, born 17 Apr 1870 in Kerr County and married Grace Ida Stulting on 18 Nov 1891. They had three children and were my great-grandparents.

1873 Brown Sarah Joshua Alonzo Potter

1873 tin-type of Joshua D. Brown and wife Sarah Jane Goss Brown with youngest child, Alonzo Potter Brown

Joshua sold his property in Gonzales and moved his family permanently to what he called “Kerrsville,” which he named after his cousin and friend, Major James Kerr, veteran of the War of 1812 and the Battle of San Jacinto; during the period of the Texas Republic. James Kerr was Joshua D. Brown’s father Edward Brown’s first cousin by marriage. His first cousin Henry Stevenson Brown’s wife was Margaret Kerr. James Kerr was her brother, and because Kerr was the first Anglo-American to settle on the Guadalupe River at Gonzales before the state was the Republic of Texas. Major James Kerr had an important role of Texas’s beginning and played a key role in the break with Mexico and the struggle for establishment of an independent Republic of Texas. Joshua D. Brown participated in the founding of Texas along with Kerr in many military campaigns. Major Kerr represented Jackson County in the House of the Third Congress and introduced anti-dueling legislation as well as a bill to make Austin the State Capitol. Kerr never came to Kerrville because he died in 1850 in Jackson County on his farm seven miles north of Edna on Kerr’s Creek and was buried in the Kerr Cemetery. Engraved on the vault over his site is:

“Sacred to the memory of Dr. James Kerr, born in Boyle County, Kentucky, September 24, 1790. Emigrated to Missouri in 1808, then to Texas in the year 1825. Having participated in most of the trying scenes of the struggle for Texas Liberty, he died in Jackson County, December 23, 1850.”

Kerr was a life-long friend of Stephen F. Austin, the most successful Texas empresario, who was instrumental in bringing American settlers to this new land, known as “Original Three Hundred”, and Kerr followed him to Texas from Missouri.
Major James Kerr (a Lieutenant in the War of 1812) was surveyor-general of the Green DeWitt Colony, whose grant was awarded by the Mexican government on April 15, 1825, to settle 400 colonists on the Guadalupe River, and also the DeLeon Colony. Kerr, like Austin, above all other interests, was an unwavering and loyal Anglo-Mexican patriot, working for the welfare of the Texian colonists, and their economic and political freedom as adopted citizens of Mexico. His name has been honored on our town (Kerrville) and county (Kerr County).
In 1850, Joshua D. Brown moved his family to what was known as the old Brown place behind the present-day Kerr County “Ag Barn” on State Highway 27 on the north side of the Guadalupe River. He built a log cabin and two story log barn with fine chinking. His brother-in- law Spencer Goss’s barn, just below his, was not chinked, and during an Indian raid, even though they could not open the barn door, they shot through the walls and killed all the animals. This is where the youngest son, A. P. (Alonzo Potter) built his home when the old homestead burned in 1877. To help understand the value of the land; Joshua gave approximately 100 acres to his son Nick Brown and he traded it for a horse. Most of the land was sold for 50 cents an acre. Today, the name Joshua D. Brown is found throughout the land titles in Kerrville. He was the first real estate broker in Kerrville. The first 88 pages of Book 1 of the Kerr County Deed Records are for lots for businesses and homes sold by Joshua D. Brown.
In 1855, Joshua D. Brown, along with many other locals, petitioned the State of Texas to form a new county out of Bexar County, and on January 26, 1856, Kerr County was formed by the 6th Texas Legislature.

Brown, Joshua, log cabin Collier Brown Book Feb 1980

Joshua D. Brown’s log cabin, 40 feet by 25 feet, with rock lined cellar, built after 1850, near present location of VA Hospital on Comfort Highway (Collier Brown Book, 1980)

On May 15, 1856, Brown bought 640 acres for $2 an acre from Alfred D. Beck of Gonzales, all of Survey 116 in Kerr County which was awarded by the State to Benjamin K. Cage (Beck’s half-brother) for his service at Battle of San Jacinto. Four days later Joshua D. Brown asked the very first Kerr County Commissioners Court to make “Kerrsville” the seat of county government. The next day, May 20th, the court accepted Mr. Brown’s proposal to locate the county seat of Kerr County on Survey 116, owned by said Brown and “that said Brown shall make a good and satisfactory warranty deed to said county to at least four acres of land for a public square; and all the streets that may be laid out in the town plat, said streets leading out from the public square for county use to be eighty feet wide, and all cross streets to be sixty feet wide; one choice good sized lot fronting on the public square for county use, one lot suitable for public church, one lot suitable for public school house, one lot suitable for public jail, and that the above be received on the above named conditions.” There was also a stipulation in the deed that the “water privileges of the river front of said river” belong to the public. We need to thank him for his foresight to make our streets the width they are so our town could grow and expand without problems. I want to thank Joshua D. Brown for coming here in 1846 and becoming the “Father of Kerrville.”
Brown, John Henry, Indian Wars and Pioneers of Texas, [1880]; digital images, ( : accessed May 01, 2014), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History,; crediting UNT Libraries, Denton, Texas.;
Bennett, B. Kerr County, Texas, 1856-1956. (1956). San Antonio, TX: Naylor.
Brown, Rev. George D. D. Recollections of an Itinerant Life,
Brown, James Comly. 1912. The Brown-Comly Families Genealogy
Chavez, Michael R., B. A. 2010. Exploring Patterns of Historic Settlement in Kerr County, Texas From 1846 to 1875: A Case Study in Predictive Settlement Modeling. M.A. thesis, Texas State University-San Marcos.
DeWitt Colony Militia Captains, Isaac N. Mitchell, ( Sons of DeWitt Colony Texas. (Wallace L. McKeehan, ed.) [April 1, 2014].
Dodd, Jordan. Kentucky Marriages, 1802-1850 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc., 1997.
Edward A. Lukes, “DEWITT, GREEN,” Handbook of Texas Online (, accessed April 08, 2014. Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Modified on June 18, 2012. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
Herring, Joe, On-line.
Texas Historical Commission (THC). 2014. Texas Historic Sites Atlas. Database on-line. . Texas State Historical Association. The Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, Volume 4, July 1900 -April, 1901. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. ( Accessed April 28, 2014.
Texas State Historical Association. The Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, Volume 12, July 1908 – April, 1909, George P. Garrison, editor, Journal/Magazine/Newsletter, 1909; digital images, ( / : accessed May 01, 2014), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History,; crediting Texas State Historical Association, Denton, Texas. Reminiscences of Jno. Duff Brown
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Watkins, C. 1975. Kerr County, Texas, 1856-1976. Bicentennial Edition. Kerrville, TX: Hill Country Preservation Society, Inc.

Nashville City Reservoir 1887-1889

2017 October 11
by Jan Wilkinson

Nashville City Reservoir taken by unknown photographer and unknown date 

Just got another one of my glass-plate negatives identified.  It was made by an unknown photographer during late 1880’s.  I have three boxes and most of his pictures are taken in Texas and a few in Tennessee.

You can see more at these links:

Part Two-Help Me Identify Texas 1800’s Glass Negatives

The Nashville City Reservoir, located at 1401 8th Avenue in Nashville, Tennessee. The reservoir was built between 1887 and 1889. The structure was constructed on top of Kirkpatrick Hill, the site of Federal Blockhouse Casino during the Civil War, built by the Federal occupation forces as part of the fortifications surrounding the city to the south and the west. The structure of the reservoir is elliptical in shape, and major axis is approx. 603 feet. The distance around the reservoir at the top of the wall is about one-third of a mile. The capacity of the big water basin is approx. 51,000,000 gallons. The reservoir was built when Charles P. McCarver was Mayor, and the Board of Public Works was composed of Messrs. Ewing, Nestor and Kercheval. J. A. Jowett was the City Engineer. Forms part of Record Group 3, Metro Davidson County Photographer. 1 photograph negative : b & w ; 2.5 x 2.5 in.

Here is a great video of the building of this structure:

Thanks to the help from the Random Acts of Genealogy Kindness on Facebook for finally finding this photo’s location.

Hope you enjoy these little gems!