Nixon resident asks county commissioners to fund pair of historical plaques in county: U.S. Census official also makes presentation to commissioners court


A Nixon man is asking the Gonzales County commissioners to fund two historic plaques.

Donald Hoffman of the Nixon Rancho Historical Society made a presentation Monday morning during a meeting of the Commissioners Court of Gonzales County.

"One of the biggest assets Gonzales County has is its history," said Hoffman.

Hoffman has made an application with the state of Texas to place two markers on Highway 80, two miles south of Leesville.

He said two very historic events took place near this location and that's why he is hoping to get the funding to place the markers.

The total cost for the project is $2,200. Each marker costs $1,000 and there is a fee of $100 for each application, he said.

One of the events was an Indian fight "that probably led to Green DeWitt's reluctance to give up the cannon," said Hoffman.

That battle was near the Antioch Cemetery.

He said it was a four-hour battle and the Indians killed all of the traders who were involved in the fight. He called it a "significant" battle and said many believe this was one of the incidents which made DeWitt and the settlers in Gonzales decide to keep the cannon.

That cannon eventually led to the first shot of the Texas revolution and the eventual defeat of the Mexican Army. That led to Texas independence.

The other marker doesn't specify an event but would mark the road which was built from Gonzales to San Antonio. Hoffman said this was a very significant road and is how the 32 men from Gonzales got to the Alamo before being killed in that famous battle.

"I really believe the economy in this county can be enhanced by tourism," said Hoffman.

He said the signs will be placed side by side at the location.

Hoffman also told commissioners the deadline for the application is March 19.

Judge David Bird said they would look into the matter and the issue would be placed on the next meeting of the commissioners.

With that, the board moved to table the matter until more information can be gathered.

Census nears

Another presentation made at the meeting was from Art Ramirez of the U.S. Census Bureau.

"We're progressing very well," he said. "But we still need to hire more people."

Ramirez said people are needed for a "good part-time job." He said all jobs with the census should be done by the end of August.

Currently, he said letters have been sent out to people notifying them the census forms will be coming in the next couple of weeks. He said questionnaires should be mailed by March 15.

Ramirez urged everyone to fill out the census forms.

"We hope that everyone who gets one will respond," said Ramirez.

Ramirez said if they do not respond, a second reminder will be sent. If a third reminder is sent and nobody responds, census workers will be sent to individual homes.

He said the Census Bureau is "very strict" when it comes to census workers and they must have proper identification and credentials. If they don't, he said, you should not give them any information.

Ramirez said they are keeping track of homes by addresses and not names. Letters will be simply addressed to "residents" at individual homes.

He said census workers will also be going to nursing homes and other group facilities in order to count people.

"The numbers are very important," he said. "The more people we count, the bigger slice of the pie from the federal government."

Ramirez also said that a community like Gonzales County "is hard to count."

Their motto is, "Easy. Important. Safe."

One of the biggest difficulties, he said, is counting undocumented people.

"All information is protected by law," said Ramirez. "No information will be disclosed."

He said federal law prohibit census officials from giving out any information. In fact, census workers took an oath and if they break that oath, they can be fined individually up to $250,000 and sent to prison for five years.

"Our job has been to dispel any fears," said Ramirez. "Undocumented people should not be afraid of the census."

He said the census count "impacts the community for 10 years."

Officials are saying that for every 100 people not counted, this area will los $1.2 million in funding over the next 10 years.

He also said local offices will be opening in Gonzales, Nixon and Waelder next week. They will be open a maximum of 15 hours per week.

Ramirez also said they have had two meetings at Holmes Foods in Nixon in both English and Spanish.

"I think we got the message out," he said.

Anyone who is looking for employment with the census or who wants further information should contact the Victoria office at 361-489-3200.