This month in Gonzales County history – April



April 21 – Victory at San Jacinto means Texas is now a free republic


April 4 – Gonzales College opened, 820 St. Louis Street. Built by Captain John Mooney. Approximately 100 to 110 scholars with 60 of them being female.


April 6 – City Council made plans for ditches to be dug to drain city


April 25 – Gonzales holds dinner and ball commemorating the Battle at San Jacinto with 18 veterans in attendance and several local matrons who were alive during the Revolution


April, the Inquirer occupied the second floor of a building on the west side of Texas Heroes Square, adjoining the Keyser House on the south (Block 11). The Plaza Hotel later stood on this site, until it burned in January, 1966. The editor was Carey Pilgrim, the foremen were D.L. Beach and G.W. McNight (Beach and McNight left shortly after and Reese took over in 1885).


April 21 – Cattlemen who were interviewed said that his might be the last cattle drive. It cost $2.25 a head to ship and $2 to drive, but when losses are figured in, the difference is small.

April 28 – People of Gonzales dread funerals because they must bear the bites of the millions of chiggers which infest the cemeteries. They amount to a veritable plague.


April 11 – Contract for new three-story brick jail let to Eugene Heiner, architect. Lots of controversy over location. Some wanted it built on originally designated Jail Square (now Confederate Square) “in the heart of the City” rather than on originally named Market Square on the river where the existing jail then stood. It was finally determined that Central Square was best but later concern was that it was such a large structure that the “Courthouse would look like a shed or an outhouse to the jail”. (The courthouse being compared is the much smaller 1857 courthouse)


April 16 – The quickest time ever made sending livestock to St. Louis was when W.B. Houston shipped eleven carloads of beef on April 11 on the San Antonio and Aransas Pass Railroad. They left at 2:15 a.m. on Saturday, transferred to the MK&T Railroad at 5:40 a.m. and arrived in St. Louis at 3 p.m.


April 1 – Gonzales’ first producing oil well brought in two miles west of Slayden.


April 27 – The IOOF celebrated its 80th anniversary with a parade and a basket picnic. To add to the meal, eight carcasses of mutton, four hogs, and some beef were barbecued.


April 10 – Cornerstone laid at Cotton Mill at 1600 St. Lawrence Street; Masonic ceremony; cost $50,000; 104’x236’; 5000 spindles; 150 workers on day and night run.


April, James F. Miller home, “Walnut Ridge” completed. Built of brick with a slate roof, it has fourteen large rooms, and attic and a basement. Sixty acres of land adjoin the home, with several acres forming a fenced yard. Bricks were made by Gonzales Sunset Brick and Tile Company. Six cedar trees were planted in front by Colonel Amasa Turner in 1872 (Miller’s father-in-law) Architect was Wahrenburger. The house had an eighteen thousand gallon underground cistern with a charcoal filter so that when the river water became murky, it was shut off from the house and the cistern water was used. Acquired by T.F. Harwood in 1912.


April 12 – Parents are admonished for allowing their daughters to wear laces, muslins, gauze hose and slippers to school. The girls should wear heavy woolen clothing for comfort and health.


April 26 – Clean-up days continue and citizens are urged to get rid of unsightly ant hills by pouring gasoline in the hole and setting fire to it.


April 4 – All clocks set one hour ahead (daylight savings program). 


April 27 – At 7 p.m. Dilworth Bank demonstrated new invention called a “radio”


April 18 – Circus elephants escape and rampage in southeast Gonzales for two hours. One, “Little Butch,” found several hours later and driven back to circus grounds in owner Davenport’s Cadillac.