Fayette County, her history and her people, Texas

It is customary for a writer to have in the preface of his book a short address to the reader either to recommend his work, or tell of its aims, its history and the difficulties encountered in preparing it. The writer of this book has chosen for his theme the description and history of the grand old county of Fayette. If works of fiction find the approval of an enlightened public, the writer hopes that his book, wherein he has shown, on the hand of public records, the development of a struggling community to a prosperous county, one of the proudest and foremost in the state, the home county of the reader, where the scenes of his childhood lie, where he has grown to manhood and of which he is a political factor, will appeal to his love of home and be a source of interest to him. History is nobler than fiction, a grand fact greater than a noble thought. The book contains a world of grand facts. If they have not been always treated with the dignity of critical exposition and embellished by philosophic thoughts, there is nothing to hinder the reader to improve these shortcomings and to recall, on hand of these furnished facts, a more vivid picture of the scenes and the life of the past.

Some friends of the writer have asked him to place his biography in this book. This he does not feel inclined to do on account of his short residence in the county. But to a history of the preparation of this book the reader is entitled, the more so as it reflects the greatest credit on the people of Fayette County and is also in many other respects quite interesting.

The intelligence of the writer had secured him the position as traveling agent of that great German weekly, "La Grange Deutsche Zeitung," in which position he became afflicted with rheumatic fever and landed in the Fayette County Hospital. Here, in his fever visions, the scenes of his childhood and the chronique of his native place which he had read in his youth presented themselves before his mind so often that after he grew well, he considered the question of writing a book on Fayette County. Realizing that the people of this county are as enlightened and patriotic as those of his native land and realizing that his book would take in a wider scope, he talked the matter over with his friend Jake Wolters, who quite approved the idea. In January, 1901, Mr. W.R. King and Mr. Chris. Steinmann, who both approved the idea, saw the writer in regard to his prospective book at the County Hospital, and Mr. King made a verbal agreement with him about printing it. The writer thought a book like that could be gotten out in about six months. But in this he was mistaken. He has worked at it for about fourteen months. It took him more than six months to procure data and notes and go over the records. As the progress of the work was rather slow, his practical friend "Jake," a leading lawyer of La Grange, whom the writer sometimes went to see, one day asked him: "Now, look here. Lotto, on what are you going to live while writing this book? You have not a cent." To which he replied: ''Well, Jake, I have studied Thackeray's chapter 'How to live on nothing a year,' and my friend, Judge Kennon of Colorado county, claims that I could have given Thackeray pointers on this. I am just going to freeze it out." "You mean sweat it out." "Well, that may amount to the same." But a man cannot live on prospects; he has to have something more substantial. Thus, the writer accepted again the position as traveling agent of the great German weekly and gathered material and notes for his book whenever he could. A great many citizens of Fayette county welcomed the idea and gave the writer all possible assistance and encouragement. In a great many cases, or rather, to be truthful, in must cases, they went so far as to secure him patronage for his book and even bore the expenses of obtaining it. He received numerous invitations to come and see them and make his stay with them while engaged in his work. Where he had no invitation, he was a more or less welcome guest anyway. The writer can not thank them too much for their kindness. For, without their generous assistance and encouragement, he would have despaired of his work. If, on his canvass, he sometimes found a man who ridiculed the idea of writing a history of Fayette County and in his feeling of the superiority of his nothingness looked down on him and refused him his patronage, the thought of the generous friend ship of the majority of the people upheld him. The people the generous, liberal, patriotic people of Fayette county were on the side of the writer and this was the greatest source of pride and pleasure to him and on that account he could well afford to overlook the remarks of cutting sarcasm which wereintended to hinder the author in his work. The fact remains that the generosity of the people of Fayette county enabled the writer to get out his work without having a cent in his pocket, a fact which reflects still greater credit on them than on him. In fact, such could be accomplished only among people of the very highest intelligence, among people who judge a man by his acts rather than by his money-purse. To have secured their friendship, or, at least, patronage and good will, will be a source of everlasting pride and gratification to the writer.

The author had labored all these months without money, but now he had come to that stage in his work where he must have money to procure engravings, binding and a hundred and one things which required money. It. was now a question whether the work of all these long months should be thrown away or whether this book should yet reach the hands of the public. The author again turned to Jake Wolters and laid the matter before him. With him it was only a question: "How much do you need, Lotto?" Then he talked to John B. Hollo- way, the big-hearted and patriotic cashier of the First National bank, and the cashier and Jake fixed it up. Thus the writer found his Maecenas in Jake Wolters. To him he is indebted for financial aid as well as for his encouragement and influence. For the writer must confess that there were times when he felt discouraged and felt inclined to throw up the undertaking. But words of good cheer always roused him up to move forward.

 

Table of Contents

PART I.
DESCRIPTION OF FAYETTE COUNTY.

PART II.
HISTORY OF FAYETTE COUNTY.

FIRST PERIOD.
From the early settlement of Fayette County to the organization of the county (1821-1838).

SECOND PERIOD.
From the organization of the county to the civil war (1838-1861).

THIRD PERIOD.
Fayette county during the civil war (1861-1865).

FOURTH PERIOD.
Fayette county during the era of reconstruction (1865-1876).

FIFTH PERIOD.
Era of development (1876-1902).

APPENDIX
BIOGRAPHIES

County officers.
The bench and bar of Fayette county.
Members of Fayette county bar.
Leading citizens of Fayette county.
PART III.
CITIES AND TOWNS OF FAYETTE COUNTY.
INCORPORATED CITIES.
TOWNS AND SETTLEMENTS.

 

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Fayette County is situated at a distance of about eighty miles northwest from the Gulf of Mexico in the southern portion of Central Texas. It is traversed by the Colorado River, which divides it into two nearly equal parts. The thirtieth degree of latitude and the ninety-seventh degree of longitude west of Greenwich cross each other in the northwestern portion of the county near the town of Winchester. The county seat, La Grange, is under the same longitude as Dallas, Texas, and Lincoln, Nebraska, which are due north of it, all three places being some twelve miles east of the ninety-seventh degree of longitude. LaGrange, the county seat, is also under the same latitude as New Orleans.