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Obituary of W. J. Wilkinson of Menard County, Texas

2016 January 24
by Jan Wilkinson

When I begin to write a historical blog post I always hope that I have everything but this one had many conflicts. This history of William Jackson Montgomery Wilkinson, son of Daniel King Wilkinson and Elizabeth Osborn Braden in Union Church, Jefferson, Mississippi is as close as I can get with supported facts.

I was able to get a scan on Saturday from the museum in Menard of the framed copy of the Menard Messenger newspaper’s front page dated Thursday, May 29, 1919. It contained the obituary of William Jackson Montgomery Wilkinson’s written by Hon. James Callan. It states that W. J. died on Thursday, May 15th, 1919 at his home at his ranch at Clear Creek, Menard County, Texas.  Below is a photo from the museum of “Uncle Jack” sitting outside of his home at Clear Creek Ranch undated and not part of the obituary.


W. J. Wilkinson at Clear Creek, Menard County, Texas.

W. J. Wilkinson at Clear Creek, Menard County, Texas.


W. J. is my husband’s great grandfather who came to Menard County and was buried on the day he died at the Pioneer Rest Cemetery. There are different dates for his birth; one shows 1833; the CSA gravestone marker shows 1835-1919 and the family headstone shows 1828. Nancy was the informant on the death certificate and said his birthday is November 29, 1828.  Below is W. J.’s CSA service record with enlistment date of November 9, 1863 at Camp Colorado and age 28, (this was considered in Callahan County.) That is where they got the 1835 on the marker.

The full Indian story can be read at my blog post about the Col. W J Wilkinsons Indian Experience.

This obituary was written by long-time family friend J. J. Callan in advance of his death in 1917. He and W.J. first met in Coleman County (was Brown County at the time) back in 1860’s.

James Joseph Callan, born May 6, 1833 in Dundalk, Ireland and died in Menard October 4, 1917.  He reached Camp Colorado on Christmas Day, 1857, and married Margaret Jane Sheen on March 13, 1859.  Prior to the Civil War he served in the Texas Rangers, then in March 1862, he joined the Confederacy and was a Captain in Co. I of McCord’s Frontier Reg., Texas Cavalry.  In 1864, J. J. was elected to the office of Chief Justice of Coleman County, so he tendered his resignation as Captain in the Confederate Army, November 1, 1864.  J. J. and Margaret Jane had 14 children (2 girls stillborn were not named).

A few more of my blog posts on this family:

Texas State Champs – Dan Auld c1918

2015 September 17

Alex “Dan” Auld bottom row fifth from left

West Texas Military Academy, San Antonio, Texas, photo taken sometime before 1918, when Alexander Daniel “Dan” Auld left for war in May.  Founded as West Texas School for Boys and popularly nicknamed ‘West Point on the Rio Grande’ and in 1926 became Texas Military Institute.

Alex D. Auld in his football uniform


Cadet Alex D. Auld at West Texas Military Academy

The San Antonio Light newspaper published on October 19, 1915 has the results of the West Texas defeats High Team 19 to 6.  This game was a hard fought game on both sides of the ball and listed the players for the teams.  Cadet Alex D. Auld was named as left guard.  


Alexander Daniel Auld Sr WTMA football SA Light Oct. 19, 1915

The most amazing part of this newspaper article is the Referee, Lieutenant D. D. Eisenhower.  My grandfather, Alex D. Auld was a Marine in World War I and became a successful husband, father and independent oil man and sheep, goat and cattle rancher in Texas.  And to think, Lieutenant Eisenhower became a five-star general and our 34th United States President. 

Mamie Eisenhower, with her husband, Dwight, on the steps of St. Mary’s College, San Antonio, Texas, in 1916. They married July 1, 1916 in Denver, Colorado.

David Dwight Eisenhower and bride Mamie Doud in San Antonio, Texas.



Photos from the Wilkinson Ranch collection



Milroy Powell – 35 years as San Antonio Horse Show Superintendent 1950-1985

2015 June 21
by Jan Wilkinson

The San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo was such a big part of my growing up since my daddy, Milroy Powell first started in 1950 as the Horse Show Superintendent and his career ended the spring of 1985. Every year he spent a big part working on the preparation and coordination of the annual event which was held two weeks every February. He loved the people, the events and the horses, which were a part of life. He was so hurt and devastated when Mary Nan West decided to “let him go” after 35 years of dedication and love of his job. The importance of his knowledge and abilities to run the show were ignored! This certainly was not how he envisioned his retirement. I am so proud of him and his work and miss him every day. Guy Milroy Powell went to heaven while waiting for a heart transplant on Easter weekend April 7, 1991. We lost him too young!!

This is the San Antonio Light article from December 15, 1985.

San Antonio Light
December 15, 1985


Anne Miller

’86 Rodeo to Double Funds for Scholars

Officers of the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo hope to double scholarship money for young prize winners at the 1986 show by cutting back on paid employees and using more volunteers to staff the annual event.

The 37th Stock Show & Rodeo is scheduled to open Feb 7 at Freeman Coliseum.

The purpose of the event, said Mary Nan West, president and chairman of the board of the San Antonio Livestock Exposition Inc., is “to help youth in agricultural education. That’s why we’re here.”

Even though the livestock show is the part of the event that is of greatest importance to people involved in agriculture, it doesn’t make enough money to support itself, West said. So the rodeo and entertainment part of the show supports the livestock part and even allows the exposition to show a profit, she said. “The rodeo we have is merely to raise funds, to make money to operate.” West said.

A great deal of the money collected through donations, fundraisers, souvenir sales, commercial exhibits and other means goes into a scholarship fund for FFA and 4-H students deserving of financial assistance in the academic study of agriculture. In 1984, 15 scholarships of $6,000 each were awarded and 30 were awarded in 1985. West hopes to double that figure in 1986.

The primary way West plans to get the stock show lean enough to be able to double the scholarships is through the use of a nearly all-volunteer staff. Of the hundreds of workers contributing to the Stock Show & rodeo, only six are full-time, year-round staff, she said. When the show actually begins, other full-timers will be taken on just for the term of the ten-day show.

“The volunteers make this show,” West said. “Without the volunteers we couldn’t afford to run this show. We’ve got some really hard-working people here.”

The Livestock Exposition is adding two new events to its horse show program: the Arabian horse show and the Donkey & Mule Show. While putting on the added events, the exposition is “doing something this year we’ve never done before. It was always handled by a paid employee,” West said. But “the officials decided that we had some very talented volunteers who could put on the horse show at not cost to the show.”

Longtime Horse Show Superintendent Milroy Powell, with the Stock Show since its inception in 1950, is the “paid employee” who lost his job when the payroll was thinned down.

“I did 35 of ’em,” Powell, 58, reminisced, speaking of his role as assistant superintendent and, later, superintendent of the horse show. “We built it up too, if not the best, one of the best.”

He said he’s been told several times over the years by rodeo contestants that the San Antonio show was “the best calf-roping in the world. You get a fair shake.”

“I’ve made a lot of friends out there,” said Powell, who worked for several exposition administrators. “Mr. Joe Freeman was chairman of the board forever until he died, and then Mr. Harry (Freeman), his brother, took over.” Powell worked under West from the time she took over in mid-1984 until the spring of 1985.

Powell has observed that trends in the Stock Show parallel trends in the marketplace. He says both are going towards animals with “rail-thin carcasses,” although Powell himself prefers a little fat on his animals.

The land the coliseum is on was deeded by the city of San Antonio to Bexar County in 1948 with the restriction that it be used for agricultural expositions. Shortly thereafter, a group of local businessmen including Joe and Harry Freeman, Perry Shankle, Fred Shield and Perry Kallison decided to build a coliseum, Powell recalled. The first Stock Show was held in 1950.


Beauty in the Texas Hill Country

2015 April 21

We are so very blessed living in the Texas Hill Country on the Edwards Plateau!! The beauty is a daily reminder of the gifts we receive from our maker.

On Sunday, April 19 this tiny little male Vermilion Flycatcher landed outside my window. I was so thrilled to get his picture!!

On April 15, 2015, this was our lovely evening sunset. You could almost hear a hiss when the sun finally set.

Our pastures in Menard/Kimble Counties and Real County have been so striking with the Claret cup cactus. The color is so beautiful!

We came across this sweet unusual white Mountain Laurel bush in Real County. The blooms are so fragrant and sweet it is overwhelming!

And we are so proud to be growing the food that you eat, too!!

I am so grateful you read my post and hope you enjoyed the beauty!!

Milroy Powell won the first calf scramble at the Houston Rodeo in 1942

2015 March 6
by Jan Wilkinson

My Daddy, Milroy Powell won the first calf scramble at the Houston Rodeo in 1942. In 1931, the Houston Fat Stock Show and Livestock Exposition was founded and the first show was held at the Sam Houston Hall. In 1938, the show was moved to Sam Houston Coliseum. In 1942, the first star entertainer was Gene Autry, “the Singing Cowboy”; and the calf scramble event was added to the Show’s rodeo and is still a popular event nightly between major events in the rodeo.

Facts about the Rodeo: When the calf scramble was added to the rodeo in 1942, each student who caught a calf received a purchase certificate or hard-luck award for $55. Today, the certificates are worth $1,000 donated by an individual or company to buy a heifer. More than $7 million has been awarded since the calf scramble first began.

This is a photo from the website and could possibly be Milroy Powell in 1942.  (See below; we now know it is not Milroy because he had brand new tennis shoes!)

I just think it is amazing!! Seventy three years ago, my Daddy would have been 15 years old and was chasing a calf and won the Houston Show!!

(UPDATE)  Here is what my brother Mark Powell wrote about our Daddy.

I want to share with you a story about my dad, Guy Milroy Powell. He went by the name of Milroy Powell. His calf scramble story was told to me a number of times over the years. He caught the first calf in the first calf scramble held at the Houston Fat Livestock Show and Rodeo. He was very proud of this and told the story with pride.

The first calf scramble at the Houston Fat Livestock Show and Rodeo was held at the Sam Houston Coliseum. In 1966, after many years in the Coliseum, the show was moved to the Astrodome. I was lucky enough to be at the Houston Show in 1974, showing sheep. Some of my classmates and I bought tickets and attending the Rodeo, one night. We were really enjoying the Rodeo in this giant venue of the Astrodome. Much to my surprise, I heard the announcer say that he wanted to welcome into the arena, Milroy Powell! He was being recognized as having caught the first calf, ever, in the Houston Rodeo Calf Scramble in 1942. I had no idea he was there or this was going to happen, but was amazed and proud to witness his recognition. The best part of this story is you get to read it in my Daddy’s own words from a letter that he wrote to the General Manger of the Houston Show in 1965. This is his story as transcribed as part of that letter.

“l didn’t find out until the last minute that l could be in that first calf scramble. It came as quite a surprise. As we were at the Houston show showing our livestock (we stayed in a pen in the barn) I didn’t have any foot wear except rubber boots (used for washing hogs and cattle) and a pair of high top work shoes. A breeder of Karakul sheep (I think his name was Moore but I’m not sure), across the aisle from us found out that I had the opportunity to be in that scramble but didn’t have any tennis shoes so he told me he would buy me a pair if I’d participate and promise to catch a calf. So thirty minutes before the show I ran all the way up town to a shoe shop, bought my tennis shoes and ran back just in time to enter the arena. I had a pulled tendon in my right arm and was unable to straighten it out and had the arm in a sling for two or three weeks. But I took it out of the sling, determined not to let my Dad (Guy Powell who was Breeding Sheep and Goat Superintendent of your show for a number of years) and this Karakul Breeder down. Besides that, I wanted that calf to feed.”

Dad is in the lower right hand picture of this newspaper article. Look at those new tennis shoes!



Destruction of the San Saba Mission

2015 January 5

This account of the Destruction of the San Saba Mission is from the Frontier Times January 1925 issue. You can visit the Presidio de San Saba in 2015.

Personal letters written in Spanish, dating back 175 years, and containing interesting historical information in regard to the establishment of the San Saba Mission in Texas were recently brought to light in Mexico City by Dr. Lota Mae Spell, assistant librarian of the Garcia collection of books and manuscripts of the University of Texas. She obtained copies of the letters and is now translating them into English. They give an account of the early hardships encountered by the priests when the San Saba Mission on the San Saba River near the present town of Menard, was founded. They also tell in a personal way the reactions of the founder, Father de Terreros, and give an insight on the early Spanish life among the Indians.

It is expected that when the work is completely translated much valuable information will be added to the history of this early Texas mission.

The letters were discovered by Mrs. Spell last summer while she was in Mexico City. She met the Marquis of San Francisco, a direct descendant of Pedro de Terreros, the financier of the enterprise, and he graciously consented to allow her access to the archives of the family.

While hunting through this great mass of manuscripts, Mrs. Spell found these letters and obtained copies of them for the University. She also obtained a picture of an old oil painting now in the possession of the marquis, which portrays the massacre of the San Saba Mission.

According to the material unearthed from these letters, the money for the founding of the mission was furnished by Don Pedro Romeo de Terreros, Count of Regla, and the founder was Father Fray Giraldo de Terreros, a cousin of the financier. The letters were written by Father  Fray Giraldo de Terreros to the Count of Regla.

The San Saba Mission was founded in 1756 when Father de Terreros was granted a charter by Don Barrios, then viceroy of Texas and Coahuila districts. The purpose was to Christianize the Indians and the money for the first three years expenses was to be furnished by the Count of Regla. A garrison of soldiers was sent to protect the expedition, but on account of a misunderstanding between the priests and the soldiers the fort was built across the San Saba river three miles from the mission.

Work was finished on the mission by the later part of the year. Ground was cleared for crops, a chapel and vestry was built, and the priests’ quarters and stables were completed. From the first the priests had difficulty with the Apaches and they did not desire to embrace the Christian religion. In his letters to his cousin, Father de Terreros laments this fact and speaks of the treachery and general shiftlessness of the Indians.

When spring came there were few converts. Rumors were heard of the Comanches, the northern neighbors of the Apaches being on the warpath and the Apache neophytes prophesied that their enemies would soon be in the San Saba county.

Little attention was given to these rumors by the priests, although the soldiers became alarmed and tried to force the priests to seek the protection of their garrison. This the priests refused to do and in one of his letters, Father de Terreros speaks of the idle fears of the captain.

But the padre’s ignorance of Indian treachery cost him his life. In about two weeks the little mission was awakened by the cry of “Indians,” and rushing to the windows, the priests were able to perceive the whole plain covered with strange Indians, gaily bedecked in war paint and ready for battle.

Father de Terreros attempted to appease their chief with gifts of tobacco and beads, but according to the old accounts, he was shot down in cold blood. A general massacre of the whole mission then followed and only one survivor lived to carry the news of the massacre to the garrison across the river.

The Indians pillaged and burned the buildings, drove off the stock and mutilated the dead bodies of the priests.

In his letters to his cousin, the martyr, Father de Terreros, seemed to forecast the tragic end of the mission as he stated in his last letter that the Indians were not desirous of Christianity but were savage heathen.

Great Battle on the Concho in 1875 by John Warren Hunter

2015 January 5

Our Menard County area of Texas is in the heart of Texas history. You don’t have to go far to find great stories and one place is in the Frontier Times magazine. In the September 1954 issue there are two different stories written by John Warren Hunter. The first was originally published in 1906 and is titled Nine Years With the Indians, which is about Herman Lehmann and his brother Willie’s capture by Indians from their family home in Loyal Valley, Texas in 1869.

The second story was told to Mr. Hunter in 1907, which also coincides with the accounts from Captain Lamb Sieker (Lamartine “Lamb” Pemberton Sieker), Ed Sieker (Edward Armon Sieker Jr.), and Captain Dan Roberts as told to John Warren Hunter.

Thomas P. Gillespie, member of Captain Dan Roberts’ company of Rangers,

gives the following account of the fight on the Concho Plains west of

Fort Concho, in which Herman Lehmann narrowly escaped capture by the Rangers:

In August, 1875, while scouting in the upper San Saba valley,

we discovered an Indian trail on Scalp Creek, a tributary of the

San Saba in Menard county. The trail was comparatively fresh,

and indications were that it had been made by a band of twelve

or fifteen Indians with a bunch of forty of fifty head of horses.

Our command consisted of Captain Roberts, Mike Lynch, Jim

Trout, Jim Hawkins, Ed Sieker, Jim Gillett, Andy Wilson, Henry

Matamore, myself and one or two others whose names I have

forgotten, but I think those mentioned were all that was present

on this chase. Our horses were in bad condition for a long pursuit,

but there was no alternative and we began the chase without delay.

The trail led out across the head of Dry and Rocky

Creeks in to the north part of Menard county and on in the

direction of Kickapoo Springs, crossing the Ft. McKavett and Ft.

Concho road about nine miles south of Kickapoo Springs. It was

nearly night when we reached this road and our horses being

very much jaded and suffering for water, we left the trail and

went to the springs where we remained over night. As many of

our horses had flung their shoes and were lame in consequence

we went to a ranch the next morning and reshod our stock, after

which we resumed the pursuit. Some twelve or fifteen miles

above the head of the South Concho we again came upon the

trail and followed it to the top of a mountain where the Indians

had halted and had removed the shoes from their stolen horses.

Just why they should want to pull the shoes from their stock has

always been a mystery. Several theories have been advanced by

the rangers and frontiersmen but none hold good. These horse

shoes were left where they had been pulled off and in addition

the Indians had torn two long strips from a blanket and had

placed these strips in the form of a cross on the ground, and in

this condition we found them. It was about 2 p.m. when we discovered

this sign on the mountain, the weather was dreadfully

hot, but we took up the trail and pushed on as fast as our jaded

horses could carry us. We knew from those signs so familiar

to a ranger that the Indians could not be far away and that they

were moving leisurely along and we hoped to overhaul them

before nightfall. We followed the trail, which led in a southwest

course, until we came out on the plains after which the trail

led due west. About half an hour by sun we came to a pond

where the Indians had watered their stock. The water in the

horses’ tracks was yet muddy and the grass on the margin where

the horses had come out was still wet, showing that we were

close at their heels. It being nearly night Captain Roberts said

we had better cook supper here and give our horses a brief rest,

which we proceeded to do, and after supper we remounted and

followed the trail as long as we could see. It becoming too dark

to distinguish the trail we lay by until dawn, giving our horses

a good rest which they sorely needed. By the time it was light

enough to see we were in the saddle and expecting every minute

to come in sight of the enemy. We rode at a moderately brisk

gait until 7 o’clock, when Captain Roberts suddenly halted and

said: “Boys I believe I see them. “Far ahead in the plain we could

see a few dark objects but not sufficiently to tell whether they

were horsemen or other objects. Unslinging his field glass, Roberts

got a good view of them and said: “Boys, there they are.

They are riding slowly. They have not discovered us yet. Now

you fellows close up behind me in single file. The sun is at our

backs and by following my directions we can get close in on

them before they see us.”

We were all keen for the fight and the captain’s orders were

obeyed to a letter. We rode in the manner indicated and were

within 600 yards of the Indians before they discovered us. There

were eleven of them and as to numbers we were about equally

matched. Besides the eleven, there were two riding along at a

considerable distance to the left and these two were the first

to see us and gave the alarm. We broke rank and raised the

yell “every man for himself”, making full tilt for the savages. The

Indians began rounding up the herd and mounting fresh horses

and when we got near enough to do execution they scattered

and each sought safety in tall running. However; when we got

in about 150 yards of them they rallied on a small elevation and

opened fire on us. This was evidently for the purpose of giving

some of their numbers time to catch and mount fresh horses.

We killed three or four horses and probably killed or wounded

an Indian or two before this crowd broke and ran. We carried

Winchesters and needle guns and every man in the company

was a crack shot. A running fight followed and our men singly

or in pairs, selected their game and put in after them. The Indians

scattered in pairs and when our men killed a horse, the

rider would hop up behind his comrade and continue the flight.

After a run of 500 or 600 yards they brought down one of the

horses and as quick as a flash the Indian was up behind his

mate and the race continued until the horse ridden by the two

Indians began to lose his wind and began to circle a maneuver

often practiced by the Indians when cornered under like circumstances.

The boys had fired at least a dozen shots at these two Indians

during this run, but on account of their shields had failed to

bring them down. Seeing this circling ruse, Jim Gillett dismounted

and with his needle gun took deliberate aim and broke the horse’s

neck and then sprang back into his saddle

and dashed forward alongside with Ed Sieker. When the horse

fell, the Indian mounted on behind hit the ground a-running, still

holding the shield over his back, while the horse in his fall had

pinned the other Indian to the ground. The boys dashed up to

the fallen horse and Jim Gillett threw his pistol on the Indian

lying pinned under the horse, and was in the act of shooting

him when Ed Sieker shouted: “Don’t shoot him! Don’t you see

that he is a white boy?” Gillett lowered his pistol and a bare

glance showed that the boy was closely held by the body of the

horse and, even if foot loose, he could not escape, they hurried

on after the fleeing Indian whom they overtook and killed after

a race of about 300 yards. After having killed this Indian they

tarried a short while to get his scalp and to gather up his bow,

quiver, shield and other accoutrements worth carrying away as

trophies and when they returned to where they had left the

boy under the dead horse, he was gone! At this they were

puzzled beyond expression. The scene of the fight and the chase

was an open plain with nothing to obstruct the view for miles

and from the moment the horse was killed until their return to

the spot they had been in full view of the surroundings and the

boy could not have gotten away without their having seen him

start. There were a few scattered mesquites but none large

enough to offer concealment. The grass was green and seven or

eight inches high and into this he must have crawled off and

secreted himself. The search began and in a short time the entire

company came up and joined in the search. Every square rod

for a mile around was gone over and every bush and tuft of

grass was examined but no boy was found and we gave up the

search as hopeless and went away completely mystified as to

what became of him.

Some years later I learned that this boy was the captive,

Herman Lehmann, who when a child, was stolen from his

parents in Mason county and kept nine years, during which time

he became thoroughly Indianized, joined his adopted people in

their wars and horse stealing raids, but at length was restored

to his mother and became in the course of time, a good citizen.

In this fight we captured thirty head of horses which we drove

to Mason county and delivered to their owners. At the first

onset, we crowded the Indians so close that in mounting fresh

horses they had to abandon their saddles which we captured, but

being old and worthless we cast them aside.

Historical Menardville, Menard County, Texas photos

2014 November 4
by Jan Wilkinson

Here are a few of historical Menardville, Menard County, Texas photos from different collections. I love the punctuation by the sign painters. Hope you enjoy!

1800’s D. G. Benchoff (Post Office) Saddlery and General Merchandise, Menardville, Menard County, Texas by N. H. Rose

1800’s Iron Clad Saloon, Menardville, Menard County, Texas

Late 1800’s Murchison and Brothers Dry Good & Groceries


1886 Menard County Courthouse designed by Oscar Ruffini 1885-1886, photo by Baker


1899 Sacred Heart Catholic Church built in Menard, Menardville, Texas.

Thank you for visiting my blog and would love to hear from you.

The Presidio de San Saba in Menard County, Texas

2014 September 3

We have a treasure in Menard County!  We are located in the Texas Hill Country along the Texas Fort Trails and in our little San Saba river valley, over 257 years ago, the northern-most and largest and most advanced Spanish Colonial fortification was built. 

The Presidio de San Saba, (originally called Presidio San Luis de las Amarillas), was established in April 1757, by a Spanish force led by Captain Don Diego Ortiz Parilla with the combined efforts of the Spanish soldiers, priests, and Apache Indian labor. The fort was established to protect Mission Santa Cruz de San Saba (four miles down the San Saba River) which was also built in 1757. The mission was destroyed by over 2,000 Comanche, Caddo, Wichita, and other Indians on March 16, 1758. The Presidio only lasted another decade and a half, abandoned by decree of the Viceroy of New Spain in 1772.

This Menard County historical treasure has been honored as a Registered Texas Historic Landmark (RTHL) in 1971; National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) in 1972, and State Archeological Landmark (SAL) in 1981.

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 course of history was changed at the Mission and Presidio; eventually, the Spanish withdrew from the frontier creating other lines of defense along the Rio Grande.

In 1937, as part of the Texas Centennial Commission, our little community partially reconstructed the northwest bastion area of the presidio complex and received a Texas Centennial marker honoring its history.  My father-in-law, F. L. Wilkinson took the below two photos when the work was completed in 1937. He was an excellent photographer.

The below was stated on the State of Texas Centennial paperwork for the Presidio.

Real Presidio de San Saba was originally established on the San Gabriel as the Presidio de San Francisco Xavier in 1751. Moved to a site one mile northwest of Menard in 1757 as a protection to Mission Santa Cruz de San Saba, it was known as Presidio de San Luis de las Amarillas until March 1761, when its name was changed to Real Presidio de San Saba. An allocation of $11,800 supplemented by a contribution of $500 by Menard County was used to acquire the twenty-five acre site and to restore the stone building as it was in 1761. The plans were drawn by F. L. Napier, architect. The building is maintained by the county as a museum.

The Texas historical marker states:










You can read about the celebration at my blog link:

Another good compilation of our history is in the Texas Almanac. It is a wonderful article. Here is my blog post.

Several archaeological digs have been conducted at this historic site and it has undergone significant restoration work. The site sits on almost 25 acres along the San Saba River and includes a covered pavilion with restroom facilities.

Today, we are very fortunate through support of Menard County, the Presidio de San Saba Restoration Corporation and the Texas Historical Commission, Phase I of a management plan was completed in 2011. Now we are ready for Phase II which includes a Learning and Visitor’s Center.

Through educational and diverse historical narrative, which is suited to a wide audience, we are able to provide a very important benefit to our community.  We welcome you to come visit this wonderful site and see what a small group of unpaid volunteers can do with hard work and determination.

Heritage tourism is a big part of Menard County.  Plan a trip to see the newly renovated Presidio and keep in touch on Facebook/Presidio-de-San-Saba or website Donations to support the preservation and development of Presidio de San Saba are always welcome.  You can contact the Presidio de San Saba Restoration Corporation at P. O. Box 1592, Menard, Texas 76859. The corporation has 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status.


Surrender of Japan, Tokyo Bay, 2 September 1945

2014 September 2
by Jan Wilkinson

My father-in-law Francis Lamar Wilkinson enlisted in the Navy 11 February 1942 and separated 15 November 1945. He was a Photographer’s Mate First Class and was stationed in Hawaii during the war as an aerial photographer. Here are five photos from his collection given to him by a fellow photographer taken during the Japanese surrender ceremony on September 2, 1945; which was performed in Tokyo Bay, Japan, aboard the battleship USS Missouri. Here are the photos and for reference are the ones from the Navy or National archives.

We thank all the veterans for their service!

UPDATE: Here is a YouTube of the event; really great to see!

After finishing his introductory statement General MacArthur directed the representatives of Japan to sign the two Instruments of Surrender, one each for the Allied and Japanese governments. At 9:04 AM, Foreign Minister Shigemitsu signed, followed two minutes later by General Umezu. General MacArthur then led the Allied delegations in signing, first Fleet Admiral Nimitz as United States Representative, then the representatives of China, the United Kingdom, the Soviet Union, Australia, Canada, France, The Netherlands and New Zealand. All signatures were in place by 9:22. Following a few brief remarks by MacArthur, the ceremonies concluded at 9:25.

Japanese Foreign Minister Mamoru Shigemitsu signs the Instrument of Surrender on behalf of the Japanese Government, on board USS Missouri. Lieutenant General Richard K. Sutherland, U.S. Army, watches from the opposite side of the table. Foreign Minister representative Toshikazu Kase is assisting Mr. Shigemitsu.

You can see another view of this photo at the Naval History and Heritage Command Photo #SC 213700 from the Army Signal Corps at this link:

General Yoshijiro Umezu, Chief of the Army General Staff, signs the Instrument of Surrender on behalf of Japanese Imperial General Headquarters, on board USS Missouri (BB-63), 2 September 1945.

Watching from across the table are Lieutenant General Richard K. Sutherland and General of the Army Douglas MacArthur. Representatives of the Allied powers are behind General MacArthur.

General of the Army Douglas MacArthur signs the Instrument of Surrender, as Supreme Allied Commander, on board USS Missouri (BB-63), 2 September 1945. Behind him are Lieutenant General Jonathan M. Wainwright, U.S. Army, and Lieutenant General Sir Arthur E. Percival, British Army, both of whom had just been released from Japanese prison camps.